How a Mobile Home Park Community Manager Extended the Lifespan of the Property's Pavement Asset

We interviewed Mike Fiala, national community manager of Airway Mobile Home Park, about how in-house asphalt maintenance helped prolong the lifespan of the property’s pavement assets.

Judson Burdon
Posted by Judson Burdon on February 04

Are you a mobile park or RV park owner or property manager looking for resources on in-house asphalt maintenance? Then you're in luck because we recently met with Mike Fiala (virtually, of course), and we talked about crack repair, sealcoating, and more. Check out our interview below to learn more about how DIY crack filling and sealcoating extended the lifespan of the property's roads and driveways.

Judd Burdon:

What was the number one reason why you started maintaining these pavement assets in-house?

Mike Fiala:

Mainly for the increased quality [of the work], the ability to take our time, and to do it right. When we would hire out asphalt maintenance jobs, the only option was a guy that came in with a spray truck. Unfortunately, we would have little control over that. Was the sealcoater going too fast? What kind of mix was put in that truck before it arrived?

So we did some research with a really good company that does all high-level paving, and he would refer us to people that did the crack filling and the sealcoating. He basically shared with us his special mix that was a lot thicker and better with some hardeners and more sand. The guy was really an expert.

But when we took his direction and gave it to third-party asphalt contractors, they basically said, "We're not going to do it like this. You're right, this is good. This would be the way to do it. If you want me to spend all week with my entire company at $25,000 in your community, we'll do it this way. Otherwise, go buy equipment and do it yourself, because then you'd be in control. You can rope off a small 20 x 200-foot section and keep it roped off for three days while you sealcoat it, crack fill it carefully, and take your time and do it right."

[Conducting DIY asphalt maintenance] produced a way better quality than the companies that would come in. They did an amazing job and knocked it all out in one day. But unfortunately, we had to do it again the next year. When we started doing asphalt maintenance ourselves and took the time to use a proper mix, we'd get three to five years it seems before we need to do it again.

Related: Invest in Professional Turnkey Pavement Sealcoat Sprayers

Judd Burdon:

You've got to be saving a lot of money by doing it yourself as well. Correct?

Mike Fiala:

If we put a pencil on it, maybe. It's hard for us to figure out [right now] because of the manpower we've already got on hand. So we're not attributing those costs to this project.

But material-wise, definitely. I think we're saving some costs, but it's probably not a huge saving as much as a much better quality job and a better value for the long run. [The good news is] you're getting three to five years instead of needing to do it every other year.

Judd Burdon:

You said you didn't really have the experience personally [at DIY asphalt maintenance], but you spoke with a paving company that became your mentor in making sure that the mixes were right, etc. I'm sure that was a crucial part of making sure that the application was giving the result that you were looking for.

Mike Fiala:

Personally, I've not done the work, but my history goes pretty far back in hiring and contracting people to do this type of work. So I'm very familiar with it, and I've gotten a lot of expert opinions [on it]. We created very good contractor call logs and questionnaires that our managers onsite use for every contractor when they're bidding on these types of projects.

[But] there are still some markets where we don't own the equipment because it doesn't make sense for us to have that equipment on hand. And we are one of the communities in the area so we have a good contractor that can provide the service [whenever we need it].

Judd Burdon:

What's the feedback from your service people on the crack filling machines that you're using to seal the cracks? Is it fairly easy or do they find it challenging?

DIY Mobile Home Park Asphalt Maintenance with Mike Fiala

Mike Fiala:

They found it very easy [to use]. It seems like, over the years, I probably had three or four upgrades from your company. We learned by trial and error, and each upgrade has improved the use of the machine. The guys who were using it indicated that the most recent crack filling machine we purchased from you was very easy to use.

[Take note] that they're not super skilled in this [task]. They started out with some of the YouTube videos [Asphalt Kingdom produced] and they followed the instructions. You can't just slap it on top of the [cracks] and hope for success. They cleaned out the cracks really well, ensuring that the product would adhere properly to the cracks.

Judd Burdon:

Would you recommend other mobile home park and RV park owners that they do some of these services in-house?

Mike Fiala:

Definitely. Start with the crack filling operation where you want to reduce the water infiltration that can get under your roadways. If you're anywhere where that water infiltration freezes, you definitely want to fill the cracks, keep them filled as much as possible, and stop that from happening to extend the life of your roads. Then I would personally ease into the sealcoating.

[What you can do is] pick a test area and buy maybe a small tanker with the spray equipment. Work on your test area, take your time to do it properly, and get a very good coat. Hire an outside contractor to just do a quick spray one time. The reality is you probably cannot tell the difference after the job is done.

You're probably going to notice a year down the road. Check the test area which you did yourself and compare it with the area done by the contractor. Which came out better? What's going to be the additional life expectancy of that job? If you want to determine the numbers, you can figure out which cost more.

Many families in the community had owned property here since the '50s. These are third-generation residents and we want to maintain [the roads] for as long as possible. We're not flipping properties where we want them just to look nice and black [for the advertisements]. We want to keep these roads forever, so I'd love to spend 20 to 40 grand a year maintaining my roads rather than spend a million dollars replacing them.

Judd Burdon:

What is the oldest pavement asset that you guys own right now? How many years old is it?

Mike Fiala:

The oldest would be the 1950s. The family purchased the property in 1956. The initial roads were probably put in place in the 1950s or late '40s even. I'm sure they've been repaved over and removed and replaced a few times over the years. But pretty consistently we've maintained them for the last 30 years.

Judd Burdon:

If there happens to be a question by a big mobile home park that they want to just have a word with you, is there a possibility to email you?

Related: 6 Tips on How to Use a Crack Filling Machine

Mike Fiala:

Yeah, that would be fine. I don't give out my email address to everyone, but if you have someone specific that has some questions, I'll be more than happy to assist. Our industry also hosts trade shows in Las Vegas, Louisville, and Mississippi.

Judd Burdon:

We're excited. We're thinking about putting up a booth and being an exhibitor with, let's say the RY10 PRO Crack Sealing Machine, a crack cleaning machine, and some rubber [crack filler]. The reality is that it's much easier to seal cracks than it is to sealcoat. So it's kind of a doorway to getting used to a do-it-yourself type pavement maintenance program. Thank you so much. Appreciate you, Mike. Have a great day and keep in touch about a trip down.

Mike Fiala:

You too. Take care now.

Conclusion

Thank you very much for reading our interview with Mike Fiala. If you're a mobile home or RV park owner or manager who needs help with DIY asphalt maintenance, we encourage you to reach out to us via phone or email. Our chat support agents are also on standby to help you.

 

DIY Mobile Home Park Asphalt Maintenance with Mike Fiala

 


 

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Topics: Property Management

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