Helpful Tips for Parking Lot Striping
Helpful Tips for Parking Lot Striping
Running a successful line striping business can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor. For many line striping companies, parking lots will comprise the majority of their jobs. Looking for ways to maximize efficiencies along with taking good care of your clients can lead to increased profits and satisfied customers.
Be More Productive with Technology
Living in the 21st century has its advantages – especially when it comes to technology. It seems like there are dozens of new apps and other digital systems launching every day. Here are a few suggestions that can help you maximize your striping efforts using today’s technology.
Of all the mobile apps available, Google Earth is an excellent resource for striping contractors – and it’s FREE! With the ability to see multiple views of a property along with the ability to zoom in and out of a map or corresponding image, striping contractors are able to bid the majority of parking lot striping jobs without ever having to take time out of their day to visit the site.
The app provides the level of detail necessary to get key dimensions, including measurements of curbs and parking stalls. While they may not be “exact”, the dimensions pulled from Google Earth are close enough, often within inches, to use for rough layout and bidding purposes.
Photo Editing Apps
Mobile apps that allow you to make visual notations or callouts on an existing picture is another way to take advantage of the information provided by Google Earth. When bidding jobs, these apps make it easy to make indications on the satellite photo of the location to use as reference when confirming job scope.
For example, if a customer wants to add a new handicap spot in a certain area of their parking lot, you can simply pull up the location photo on Google Earth, make a screenshot of the photo and use a photo editing app to circle the area where the new spot will be located and add any other relevant information to confirm the job scope. As an industry leading striping contractor, you can send this new photo image and corresponding cost estimate to the client without visiting the jobsite. Depending on the day and the number of jobs to bid, this can easily save many hours of travel time – providing more time for striping and making money.
Many clients request proof-of-job information as part of the scope of work and for those who do not, you can proactively provide this information – providing proof that the job was done to their exact specifications. This will create trust with your clients and differentiate you from your competitors. To help address this need, select striping equipment available today includes technology that allows striping contractors to keep track of job details. The J-Log System on select Graco LineLazer Stripers provides the ability to store and download job quantities such as paint volume used, linear footage and mil thickness. The system can store up to 50 jobs at a time and provides you with the ability to download the data via a USB drive so that you can share this data with your customers or save it for yourself – allowing you to better understand your business.
Restripe jobs are the easy jobs as you have existing lines to follow – no layout required. Because of this, restripe jobs are less profitable. Striping new parking lots or after a reseal coating is applied require layout work, which requires a more time, labor and skill. Traditionally, parking lot layout required a tape measure, string line, chalk and 2 or 3 people. However, recent technology advancements have greatly simplified the layout process while reducing the labor required.
Graco’s LineLazer HP Automatic line stripers take all of the guesswork out of parking lot layout and allows for layout work to be completed by a single operator. The LazerGuide 2000 Laser-Guided Layout System eliminates the need for a string line – as the laser ensures perfectly straight lines every time; the AutoLayout II system measures as you walk, eliminating the need for a tape measure; and the HP Automatic guns put down pre-marks at predetermined distances, eliminating the need for chalk. All of these technologies result in less labor, less time required to complete the job and the best possible results.
Even though we’re living in the 21st Century, the reality of dealing with time cards still exists. Fortunately, there are multiple time card mobile apps that make this mundane, but necessary, task a breeze. In addition to segmenting jobs and tasks for billing purposes, these apps can also be configured to provide reminders to log time when arriving or leaving a job or at the shop. While these apps capture the information needed for certain jobs, they are ideal for providing a basic structure to make sure employees are spending their time where expected.
Take Care of Your Customers
As a business provider, there are many things you can do to enhance your parking lot striping service and deliver an A+ experience for your customers.
Menu Approach on Larger Jobs
Bids on larger jobs can get overwhelming for customers. To help make their decision process easier, it’s always a good practice to break bids for larger jobs into smaller, manageable sections. With this approach, your customers will be able to better understand the scope of work involved. You’ll also prevent the potential need to reconfigure your bid to address customer concerns.
With a menu approach, the customer is able to choose the sections they want to stripe based on potential budget and schedule challenges you may not be aware of when preparing the bid. By providing a detailed, menu bid, you are telling your potential customer what is required to do a quality job which will show that you do quality work and will help prevent you from being undercut by someone who is not bidding the same level of work.
As an example, it is common practice to cover up old, unwanted lines with black paint – “blacking out” lines – as it is the least expensive option. However, by simply “blacking out” the line, they will be partially visible months later as the black paint wears or chips away. “Permanently” removing unwanted lines requires a scarifer. This is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other striping contractors by adding a Graco GrindLazer to your equipment lineup and scarifying to your business.
Finally, it’s good business practice to proactively send out bids for restripes of previous year’s jobs as this will not only make life easy for your customer but will also increase revenue for your business – a real win-win.
Make a Good Job A Great Job
Here are a few additional services that you can provide to increase your profits and better serve your customers
- Sweep parking lot
- Paint curbs & light poles
- Installing and/or painting parking blocks
- Remove old lines and stencils
- Paint crosswalk/pedestrian paths in parking lot
- Use anti-skid grit for crosswalk appplications
Ultimately, you want to do everything possible to let your customer to know you want to be their parking lot striper for life, rather than just a one-time, low bidder. Treat them fair and follow these helpful tips to prevent them from possibly calling another striping contractor down the road.