Looking to get into seal coating, know the basics but looking for more info

Discussion in 'Seal Coating Forum' started by jason6586, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. jason6586

    jason6586 LawnSite Member
    from WI
    Messages: 11


    I am looking into getting into the seal coating business as a side job "for starters". I have read many posts about spray units, equipment and such. I have decided to build my own and use 2-275 totes so i will have a 550 gal cap. I am in northern WI, does anyone know what type of sealer would be the best to use in my location with the set-up i will be building? Also being that i will not have an agitator and just a circulation system are there sealers that work better than others. I am also concerned on clean-up and storage, do you guys wash your spray rig after every job and how long can sealer sit in the tanks? I have also read on here about a trigger wand over the ball valve, I would think the trigger want would be much easier to control. Like i said i am just in the beginning stages and want to get it right. I have owned 2 businesses before and pride myself on satisfaction and quality. I want to charge a "fair" going rate and not cut corners like many of the fly by nighters. Also with my spray unit will i need to manually "squeege" on sealer around the edges or can the whole works get sprayed with the proper equipment and customer property protection for over spray.
  2. SurfaceMax

    SurfaceMax LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 72

    You can't build a really professional sealcoat machine with "totes". :nono:
    The problem is recirculation with a trash pump cannot adequately mix additives or sand evenly throughout the sealer. There's just no way to get a good mix.
    If you are going to use a pre-mix sealer from a distributor that adds sand to the sealer before you buy it it will work but it still won't have the maximum performance and you are then paying the "sealer price" per gallon for the added water the distributor had to use to get a consistency where they can mix in the sand... expensive way to pay for water and sand.

    Getting into sealcoating in this economy is really tough so you'll need good sales skills and probably your customer base from landscape work. But before you go spending a lot to make a "rig" that really won't do the best job look in a magazine called Pave Market-subscriptions are free and there's TONS of used sealcoating rigs for sale. You can probably get a 5 year old rig in good shape for what you would spend building one that wouldn't work as well.
    Sealcoaters who got in in the easy times 2-3 years ago without great marketing & sales skills have been going under in droves and the market is flooded with used equipment driving prices down. Of course new equipment can be had at bargain prices because they aren't selling hardly any new rigs with all the good used ones out there.

    PaverMarket is a free magazine just classifieds like your local "auto trader" or such but national. There's also a lot of used equipment in the free classifieds at the NPCA site on their forum and there's also links to PaverMarket in one of their forum's ads.
    I'd suggest doing some shopping. With a professional rig with hydraulic agitation you can buy totally concentrated sealer and add your own additives and water so your materials are not only better but a lot cheaper in the long run.
    You'll also find a lot of info about sealcoating in their forum that are open to the public (they have public & member's forums) a lot of newbies have probably asked the same questions you have if you do a search and set it to "all dates" in the sealcoating forum there.

    But there's really no sense in building your own right now. It's not as good as a couple of months back when there were pages & pages of machines being "dumped" but there's still a lot of good used machines out there as big companies are downsizing and "newbies" can'[t make the payments & such. I have seen 2 or 3 GREAT rigs-loaded out name-brand for "take up payments".
  3. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    I agree, their is a lot of company out there that specialize in seal coating system, they make very reliable products.

    It's to bad you are not where I live, I could give you some great contacts on where to buy the equipment and the sealer.

    As for me, I can keep my sealer in my tank for quiet a while, as long as its not open to air, it will not dry. And to clean my system? very tricky, it is almost impossible for me to keep my equipment dirty, you will always find sealant on your tank, when you fill your tank. Theirs always some that will spill, then you have your hose that will be dragging on the fresh seal driveway, so now your hose is dirty, then when you reel it up, then your reel is dirty.

    I wait for when I have an afternoon not so busy, then I take my scrapper and some varsol or paint thinner and clean it up!

    But anyways, just like SurfaceMax said, with the economy now it is very tricky, you must learn to be a good sales man, but also the work speaks a lot for you. I do a lot of door to door, the hardest is to get the 1st customer, but after that, people see your quality work and your chance of getting a 2nd customer is much higher. As long as you say your local, you are here to stay for ever, so you stand by your work since its your reputation, they will understand that more then fly by nights.
  4. Asphalt Kid

    Asphalt Kid LawnSite Member
    from Milford
    Messages: 14

    Hello Jason my name is Ricky im from Connectcicut. I have been in business for about 9 years now. I started out in my half ton dodge pick up going door to door using buckets of sealer from home depot & a squeegee. I have learned a thing or two about this business.
    #1 DO NOT USE A TOTE: they can not be cleaned & you can not mix the sealer plus the plastic valve gets stuck.

    #2 YOU DO NOT NEED 500 GALLONS: If you are only doing residential all you would need is 100 gallon to 300 gallon tank just to start off.

    #3 TRASH PUMPS: Trash pumps are O.K. they get the job done but they wearout fast depending on the one you get. But you said that perfection is what you do & if thats the case, then you need a dual diaphram pump 1inch or 1inch and a 1/2 & if you get a diaphram then you need a air compressor (Whole differant story) But being that you are doing residential you can just about get by with a trash pump (I used a few trash pumps & i got by OK but i seen a diaphram & i changed because i do BIG Commercail jobs)

    #4 HOW TO's: you have to edge around things that you don't want to get sealer on like concrete, garage doors, paver stones, siding & things like that, some times people don't like when it gets on their grass but realy it does not hurt the grass just tell them it grows out

    I can tell you more but i have to go right now. I have things to take care of, But i will leave you with this

    I can sell you a
    300 gallon sealcoating tank with a hand agitation system with a 16inch manhole,
    50ft hose,
    6.5 hp 2inch trash pump,
    fittings & connections,
    Spray wand & spray tips,
    All the valves.
    All of this is BRAND NEW NEVER USED ready to go just add SEALER
    Your cost $1,550.00 + Shipping
  5. Asphalt Kid

    Asphalt Kid LawnSite Member
    from Milford
    Messages: 14

  6. BIGBOY2008

    BIGBOY2008 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Ive never used a plastic tote for sealing driveways. I have used 55 gallon barrels and as hard as it is to mix sealer in barrel i wouldnt dare want to try to mix it in a tote. I rememebr it would take a good fifteen minutes of constant stiring to re-mix it in a barrel. So i cant imagine the difficulty involved in attempting to mix sealer in a plastic tote. If im not mistaked the plastic totes have a small opening in the top which would make it very difficult to properly mix.
  7. swandrie

    swandrie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    do you have any pics for this rig you can sell??
  8. CntrlSealing&PropertyCare

    CntrlSealing&PropertyCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I want to upgrade and found a sealcoating machine with a 450 gal tank, hand agitation. It has a 2" wilden diaphragm pump, and a new 8 gal hitachi air compressor on it 5.5 hp honda engine. Will the compressor run the pump ok, is there enough volume? I know the psi is ok (145) I plan on putting some sort of power agitation on it. any information would be helpful. Thanks
  9. Asphalt Kid

    Asphalt Kid LawnSite Member
    from Milford
    Messages: 14


    You need to make sure the air compressor has at least 11 cfm or more. I am using a Jenny air compressor with 8.2cfm & it works but not like it should.

    I am wasting sealer & i am getting two streams out of my wand. A stream of sealer on top of the spray fan & one on the bottom & mist in the middle.
    & after the sealer dries you can see wave patterns (Looks very bad)

    At first i thought it was the tip. Then i found out my compressor was not strong enough.

    P.s. How much is this tank & what do you get with it if you don't mind me asking?
  10. CntrlSealing&PropertyCare

    CntrlSealing&PropertyCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    It is a 450 gal round steel tank, sweep agitation, he wants $2500 for the rig. He said he has other pumps, he has a 1.5" wilden pump too. I assume they will operate at lower cfm? How do the smaller pumps perform as opposed to the 2"? I want to be able to apply the sealer to manufacturer specs. I have used a trash pump before and wasn't really impressed, I mean it sprayed..... but i want to do it right.

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