Now that this season is just about over im looking back at what i did and how i did it. Im asking myself what did i do right and what did i do wrong? Does anything need improving and how can i make these improvements? This was my first year sealing residential driveways. One thing i did wrong was worry that i may have had my pricing per square foot set too high and i spent a little too much time double checking my estimates in relation to worrying if i should drop them a penny or two pennies per square foot. I soon came to the conclusion that it wouldnt have mattered i had dropped them one penny, five pennies or even ten pennies. That there are basicly two type of people i gave bids to... those who could afford it and those who could not afford it. The minute i heard the phrase "fixed income" i didnt spend a lot of time attempting to aquire that job. One thing i did wrong when first starting out was to quote a couple of 8000 to 8500 square foot jobs too cheap and im darn glad these folks were too tight to take me up on it. Thats two times i finally realized it might be good for people to be stingy. So far as pricing is concerned i learned my best policy was to quote one penny over what i actually wanted to make pers square foot and if they wanted to negotiate that price i would allow them to bring me down one penny. I think this gave some of them a sense of empowerment by knowing that even though fuel and material prices are on the rise that they werent completely helpless in being at the mercy of often unpredictable material and fuel costs. I dont have a full scale spray unit and im working out of 55 gal barrels. From the customers point of view i can see the difference between a guy who comes in with fully equipped spray unit and a guy who comes in with a pickup truck with a trailer loaded down with 55 gal barrels. I know the guy with the fully equipped spray rig can do three drives to my one single driveway. But this is what i learned. I was told by several customers that i was the first person who bothered to use a string trimmer to edge the grass and dirt in such a manner that they could see where the grass and dirt actually met the asphalt. That i was the first person who used water pressure to clean and flush debris out of cracks several days prior to filling the cracks. That i was the first person to use water pressure to clean the edges of the pavement and the first person to seal those edges all the way down to the ground level with a thick nap roller. Several folks told me that my previous customers had recomended me in such a manner that they were quite willing to pay me more than they would others due to not having to worry about getting ripped off. My primary weakness is i dont have a fully equipped truck and with the present state of the conomy and the rising prices of material and fuel costs theres no way im going to take out a loan to buy one. But i did learn that by modifying my techniques and making some simple design changes to my barrels i can do the work without having to hire a helper. I also learned that by paying close attenton to details that others would commonly overlook the customer feels their money is being better well spent. Details such as personal appearance played an important role in me getting some of my better paying jobs. I often heard phrases such as "This one guy stopped by and i just didnt like that way he and his helper looked".