Having your own sealcoating business has always been your dream. But the problem is you don't know where to begin or who to turn to for help in starting your new venture. You're probably the first entrepreneur in your family. Or you're shifting careers after 10 or 15 years, and you can't help but feel like you're a fish out of water.
Okay, first, take it easy. Rest assured that you landed in the right website, and there are people in the industry willing to help you get your business of the ground. You can also use this Asphalt Kingdom blog to learn about everything you need to start your own sealcoating business. Here are those crucial things you need to have before you launch your pavement asset management business.
1. A deep understanding of how sealcoating and other asphalt maintenance services work
You've watched all those sealcoating videos on YouTube, and you're probably thinking that it's such a piece of cake anyone can do it. How difficult can dumping sealer on the pavement and pushing it around with a squeegee be?
Make $100/Hour - Start A Driveway Sealcoating Business
But although you don't need a degree to become a sealcoater, applying asphalt sealer is still a science. Maintaining asphalt parking lots and driveways need accuracy and precision.
You can't just buy drums of sealer and dump the liquid on your customer's parking lot without knowing how many coats you need put down.
You also don't want to apply sealer when it's raining or neglect to put additives when the conditions are not optimal. That's why (and we can't stress this enough) you need to learn everything you can about the business you venture into.
So, where do you go to study sealcoating? Are there even schools that offer sealcoating and asphalt maintenance training? The answer is yes, there are trade schools and even universities that offer pavement maintenance courses all over the country.
But you don't need to go back to school just to learn about it. You can study sealcoating online and train in your own or your extended family's driveway.
Asphalt Kingdom offers asphalt maintenance courses to would-be sealcoaters. Check out our courses below to get started.
2. Adequate startup capital
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko
Without adequate funding, buying a 275-gallon tote of asphalt emulsion sealer or a sealcoat sprayer is impossible.
It will be hard to purchase website hosting, pay someone to create your website, or create some flyers and other marketing collateral for your company.
And how are you supposed to pay for gas and pay your employees without adequate funding?
The good news is there are other options available for entrepreneurs who don't have enough capital at the onset. The caveat? They all come with their own pros and cons.
You can apply for a small business loan with local banks or other financial institutions, or ask friends and family to loan you a certain amount of money to fund your business. Other options include using your credit card and crowdfunding to purchase sealcoating equipment.
If you want to purchase select asphalt maintenance supplies and equipment but don't have enough capital right now, then apply for a loan with Asphalt Kingdom's partners Klarna, Clicklease, and The Funding Booth. Visit our website to learn more about sealcoating supply and equipment financing for new entrepreneurs.
3. A unique and unforgettable business name
What do DeWalt, Starbucks, and Google have in common?
These brand names are unique and memorable. They are easy to spell, they roll off the tongue easily, and they're simple.
Here are a few guidelines on naming your new sealcoating company.
- Make sure your chosen name defines your company
- The name should be descriptive and clear
- It can stand the test of time
- It is easy to optimize on search engines
- Feel free to use an acronym or your location if you wish to
Note: Make sure no one else owns your chosen brand name to prevent disputes or costly litigation.
4. A well-written business plan
A business plan is a tool that helps entrepreneurs outline the things they need to do to reach their goals. If you are planning to start a sealcoating business, then creating a business plan is definitely a must.
This document can help you strategize, assess your competitors, and gain a deeper understanding of your market. A well-written business plan can help you identify the steps that will help you establish a competitive advantage. It will also help you find ways to attract top talent, find the right suppliers, and acquire new clients.
Creating a well-thought-out and comprehensive business plan can also help you attract funding and potential investors for your sealcoating company.
It might seem like a simple document, but business plans can also help you prepare for upcoming challenges and help you determine the best way to grow your company.
Tip: Create your sealcoating business with the help of this Asphalt Kingdom guide. Moreover, keep your plan updated as your company grows.
5. The correct business legal structure
The choice of the business structure plays a huge role in filing your taxes, managing your finances, and other aspects of running a new business. Each type of business structure has its own set of requirements, and choosing the right one is crucial to your sealcoating business's success.
There are four business structures sealcoaters can choose from, and these are
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability company
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each type can help you make the right decisions in running your company.
A sole proprietorship business is probably the easiest to understand among all business legal structures. It allows you to be your own boss, but keep in mind that you are personally liable for any debts incurred by the business.
If your sealcoating company is considered a small or midsize enterprise, then you should consider setting up a limited partnership. Limited partners are not liable for any debts incurred by the business, and there is no limit to the number of members/partners who can join the venture.
An LLC or limited liability company is a good option if you want to keep your personal assets separate from the business. Incorporating your business also allows your company to gain access to certain tax write-offs.
The corporation is the most complex of the three business structures. A corporation, like an LLC, is an independent legal entity, but sealcoaters will have to follow more complicated legal and tax requirements to maintain it.
Choosing the right business structure for your business will not only help you avoid fines and penalties, but can also help you raise funds for your business and develop long-term plans.
6. Register your business
Photo by Cytonn Photography
Are you going to conduct your sealcoating business under your legal name? Then registering your business with your state is not really essential. But remember that registering your business comes with a host of benefits including tax and legal benefits, protection from personal liability, credibility, and more.
If your business is listed as a corporation, LLC, or partnership, then it's necessary to register it with the state where you are planning to operate.
Requirements vary depending on the state where you are operating in. In Georgia, for example, you need to provide your legal name, address of your sealcoating business, employer identification number (EIN), NAICS code, and contact information.
Registering a business may have additional steps in other states. In the state of Washington, for example, you need to apply for a business license with the Department of Revenue to kickstart the process. You also need to apply for a Universal Business Identifier, obtain other licenses and permits (if applicable), and obtain an EIN.
Check your state's website for more information on how to register your business.
7. A reliable supplier
Your chosen supplier has the power to make or break your business. Imagine promising your very first commercial property customer that you will come in and sealcoat their parking lot on a specific date and your supplier fails to ship your supplies on time. A nightmare, right?
So how do you find a reliable supplier for your sealcoating business?
Choose a supplier that's been in the business for many years. To be clear, smaller or newer suppliers are nothing to sniff at. But unless you personally know the supplier and have a positive relationship with them, it's probably wise to order your supplies from bigger, more established, and reliable suppliers.
Make sure that your supplier has a good reputation online and among other sealcoaters. Check their ratings and reviews on Google Business Profile and Facebook. Crowdsource and ask other sealcoaters (whether online or in-person) for leads on reliable suppliers.
Look for a supplier that offers high-quality products, but make sure that the prices of their goods are also reasonable.
Choose a supplier with great customer service (prompt and responsive to any issues customers might have).
Lastly, good suppliers do not shy away from responsibility when their merchandise is found to be defective or needs to be improved.
8. The right insurance
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
There are many things to consider when evaluating an insurance plan for your sealcoating business. These include the types of business insurance available for small business owners like you, what's legally required of you by the state, and the risks your business carries.
It's also important for you to do your homework to ensure you're getting the best protection for your company.
A good place to start is with the local state requirements. When purchasing business insurance, you'll also want to make sure you're getting the best value for your money.
For example, you may want to ask your insurance agent about discounts for multi-policy discounts and make sure you ask about deductibles and exclusions. Having the right insurance can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls of running a business, as well as protect you and your workers.
The first step to getting the right insurance is to shop around and get a free quote online. If you have additional questions or you think online is too impersonal, then schedule an in-person appointment with your chosen insurance agent.
Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, they'll be able to answer all your business insurance-related questions.
Choosing the right insurance for your asphalt maintenance business can be daunting. Fortunately, there are a variety of insurance products out there to help you out.
Check out Asphalt Kingdom's guide on how to choose the best insurance for your sealcoating business.
9. Competent and dependable employees
One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is hiring the right employees. Not only will the right people allow you to speed up the sealcoating and crack filling process, but they can also help you get more jobs. However, it can be hard to find the right candidate for your organization.
So how do you find the right employees for your sealcoating business?
One of the easiest ways is to advertise your vacancy on employment websites or job boards, such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Snagajob, and more. You can also try posting job vacancies on LinkedIn, Craigslist, Facebook, and other social media sites.
You can also try asking family and friends if they know someone who needs a job. Other options include offering apprenticeships to students and recruiting people right out of trade school.
10. Bank accounts
Like it or not, launching a sealcoating involves paperwork – a lot of it, in fact. And one of the most important pieces of paperwork you need to accomplish is to secure multiple bank accounts.
Business bank accounts are necessary if you're operating your sealcoating business as a limited liability partnership or company. They are also a must if you're planning to set up a corporation.
One of the advantages of having business bank accounts is that they help you set aside funds for taxes and expenses. They also lend your sealcoating business a veneer of professionality and allows you to examine your finances properly.
But what's more important is that a separate bank account for your business shields your identity from the public, as well as protects your personal finances from liability when things go sideways.
Types of Bank Accounts Essential for Business Owners
- Income bank account
- Bank account for operating expenses
- Net profit bank account
- Bank account for taxation purposes
- Owner compensation bank account
Read this Asphalt Kingdom blog to learn more about business bank accounts.
11. Website and social media presence
Once you've registered your business and applied for business bank accounts, it's time to set up your website and social media pages.
But how important is your business's presence on social media? And is a website really necessary for a service-based business like sealcoating?
According to a report by leading accounting firm KPMG, 47% of consumers visited company websites before making a purchase. Meanwhile, 55% of the respondents said they read online reviews before buying something.
But these are just a few benefits of having an optimized business website and social media pages. A solid online presence allows internet users and potential customers to contact you directly and later boost your company's sales.
You can also showcase the quality of your work both on your website and social media. One of the best examples of this is sealcoater Greg Francis and viral sealcoating videos on YouTube.
At the time of writing, his channel has over 225,000 subscribers, and one short video alone has a jaw-dropping 38 million views. There's no doubt having a hit YouTube channel has contributed to the success of his sealcoating business.
12. Reliable Transportation
You love your trusty sedan or SUV, but they're not exactly the best vehicles to transport a bulky sealcoating machine, such as an AK230 Sealcoat Sprayer.
With that said, then what are the ideal vehicles for transporting drums of asphalt emulsion sealer and your sealcoating machine?
Full-size trucks are ideal for transporting sealcoating machines and other asphalt maintenance supplies and equipment.
Need to haul additional sealcoating supplies and equipment? Then hitch a utility trailer to your pickup truck.
So there you have it! Your guide to starting your own asphalt sealcoating business. Don't forget to check out Asphalt Kingdom's Business Packages if you want to start this venture now. Here you'll find asphalt maintenance and repair bundles put together to fit your budget. Shop now!