Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Looking To Start Striping

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Looking To Start Striping

    Howdy, I've been reading on striping a bit and have been looking at potentially trying my hand at it. At the moment I'm a 19-year-old engineering student out of Arkansas looking for something to do in the summer months that could potentially turn into a full-time deal once I graduate. I started looking into it because the family on my mothers side stripes and seals here in AR and a bit in adjoining states, and I live outside the area they work. I would talk with them about it, but we don't talk to them after they threatened to burn the house down and shoot dad (Gasp!) I could possibly talk to my grandfather, but it leaves a lot of room for the whole thing to unravel and cause a ruckus, so I've come here to you, the great peoples of the internets.

    So, all humor and dysfunctional family members aside here's what I've got going for me. I still live at home right now, and I'm going to school in town on scholarship, so all profits can be turned back into the business. I live in what I feel like is a good triangle, with a population of 3 million within about 1-1.5 hours driving distance. Draw a triangle between Tulsa-Springfield MO- and Fayetteville AR and that would be my main stomping grounds. I'm a late night person, so the hours don't bother me, nor does good honest, dirty work. I would love to be able to work for myself, after a few years of working for "The Man" I don't think that's the kind of life I want to live. (Nothing wrong for the guys who do) I have this cool tendency to fall in with some good ol' boys who like hard honest work too, so I feel I have a good pool of potential partners (I know, be careful with friends and money) and both my parents striped for a bit before we moved away from my mothers family.

    What I'm looking to do is try and get an idea on what it would cost me to get started small scale, things like gas stations, local mom and pops, and small-town shopping centers. I figure if I do enough work to pay off a small scale machine, that will give me an idea if I want to keep going, or I can sell out and come out ahead for learning something while breaking even. I was eyeballing something like a Titan Powrline 850 to get me started. I know its an anemic machine, but I think going slow at first wont hurt me, and if I decide I want to stick with it and upgrade, it would be something I could hand off to a partner to run stencils while I run lines. I was also wondering if y'all could help me out with ideas on fair pricing for the south, I don't expect to be able to demand top dollar yet, but I deserve fair pay for my work. Along with that what I should be thinking about paying for paints, stencils and other consumables.

    And I understand, there's a lot that I don't know what I don't know, so any words of wisdom are appreciated. I find that listening to older guys who've been there will save you many dollars worth of headache.

    Thanks for your help - Woo Pig

  • #2
    Welcome to the striping world. First, avoid the Titan 850 like the plaque it is. Look for a used machine for under $2000. You can get a used Graco 3400 for about the same price. The only thing you will have is your reputation and using a Titan 850 will not help it at all. You will also need some basic stencils which you can make out of wood to start with, go to a parking lot at night with large sheets of tracing paper and make you own. Its goinf to cost you 2-$3000 to start up but quickly make that back.

    Comment


    • #3
      For getting started out, what makes the T850 plague like? Inconsistent spray?

      Comment


      • #4
        One big thing is be realistic about your thoughts. Striping my appear like easy money, but that’s often an illusion. Not to discourage you at all, just be realistic. You’re going to need start up capital, that will cover your machine, tools, paint, plus overhead such as insurance, cell phone, advertising and so on. Realistically 5k is prob a minimum, but your looking closer to 10 to have a real business. Of course you can start cheaper, but those that do are often working for beer money. To do it right requires investment. I would research some costs of used machines like jpanz suggested, some insurance, business licenses, marketing etc, then draw up a business plan. From there you’ll be able to see if you have what it takes to make it work, or if you would be in the weekend warrior beer money category. Keep in mind that the jobs you will start with are usually minimal profit, so you’ll need several to cover that overhead plus put some in your pocket. I’m by no means trying to talk you out of it, in fact, I encourage entrepreneurialism, but I have learned the hard way on a few times, and for sure have fallen for the illusion of money in this business. As long as you have a decent plan and are realistic about your expectations, you can do it. Take it easy start slow and you’ll have a better shot. Keep us posted, we are here to help.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thats what I forgot to ask, insurance and licensing. Reading around on the internet thats the hardest info to find. Im sure each state will be a bit different, but what kind of insurance do you have to have as well as licensing? I figured that to get a good workable setup would be around the $10k mark, but I figured I would fall in closer to your beer money class while I'm still in school. What I was hoping to do was spend about 2-2.5K to get a small striper and stencils, and hustle like hell to get enough jobs to pay off the initial investment, and that will tell me if I hate it or not. If I hate it, thats my exit point. Sell the machine to a property manager, I broke even, and I learned some stuff. If I like it, at that point I would be looking at spending the 4K or so to get a good higher output machine. Not sure if I would pay that out of pocket or work the mone up with the small machine, but that's a bridge to cross later.

          I do appreciate the warning to stay realistic, good to keep in perspective. I figured with my situation living at home, if over the next 3 years if I could get some good experience behind me and a couple of property managers that I'm in good with, that would put me in a decent position to launch it as a full business if I don't decide to pursue an engineering job after graduation. All that to say, I think I have a big advantage in that this isn't feeding me, and I'd be perfectly ok with paying myself $50 and investing everything back in until I have my nice striper, stencils, cones, etc With that said do you have any opposition to that?

          Also are there any other forums worth joining? The more opinions the merrier.

          Comment


          • #6
            Also forgot to add, I'd be open to including seal coat as well after I get enough money squirreled away to pay for it, but that would be after I got a handle on striping

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by No_Dude View Post
              For getting started out, what makes the T850 plague like? Inconsistent spray?
              Its a weedwacker on a really cheap frame. You need a reliable pump that will give you very good line. But with a pump the frame can make or break a machine. The 850 or 550 was designed for grass fields where you do not see a crappy line. In anything but perfect asphalt you will see every bump and dip in the lot. this machine magnifies the imperfections in the parking lot. Not even a starter unit.

              Comment


              • #8
                Gotcha, makes sense. As for finding a used unit, where would y'all suggest I look? I have been keeping an eye on ebay a bit, and craigslist, but anything that comes up always seems to be on the east coast or the pacific north west.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think there were a few used machines on this site, you could check, or also make a post that you are in search of.......machine.

                  As far as the other business advice, I totally understand where you are coming from, and its still not bad.... Let me explain a little further. The problem in the industry, people look at the gross or total job number. Say its $2,000 for a restripe. Well if you know your costs accurately, and I mean everything from the things I mentioned like insurance and licensing to even the fuel. One of the biggest reasons for failure is because guys fail to accurately job cost. They typically say, I have this much in material and this much in labor, the rest is mine. Well they've failed to account for the little stuff that adds up. So that $2,000 job may have cost them $2,100 to complete, meaning they lost $100. They dont realize this because they now have a $2,000 check in the bank. They continue to repeat the cycle. While their account grows, so do the losses. Eventually those material bills come due, and all of a sudden there's nothing left.

                  To check insurance, call around to a few agents, and have them quote it. If you are your only employee, you won't need workers comp, just need a simple liability policy. Check with your city/state on licensing. Striping is usually easier to get an often its just a business license, but some states do require a contractors license. I know working in Florida without a contractors license is a Felony, so do watch that close.

                  One idea too, is get a p/t job with another striper, then you can learn the ropes on their dime. Even if its only a few months.

                  As far as sites, this is the only forum left, and one of the best places for advice. Some guys here have decades of experience, so feel free to ask away, no question is ever too stupid to ask, thats how we all learn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I’m by far no expert, just starting myself. I had a little money from selling a stump grinder, bought an almost new Graco 3400 and an MA10 crack machine for $3500 last year and then another MA10 new for $1200. 3 weeks ago a guy bought a Sealcoat package with two Graco 3500’s, he traded me those 3500’s for an MA10. I was putting some money away for a better machine for awhile and came across a guy in New York last week on craigslist(I’m in Boston) selling some Graco paint machines and a 5900 IV, he wanted $3000 so I made the trip. Last summer I met a guy who has a small sweeper company, he has two older 3500’s that he wanted $600 for, I told him I would pay that if he helped me get them running, he said yes and blew me off. After I made the first trade I called him, he said $200, just come get them. He has extra guns and pump rebuild kits to, they look like they fell out of a skittles commercial but I figure the extra parts and anything that’s good can be used with the 3500’s that I just got. A pump rebuild for that machine is almost $100 and guns aren’t cheap either.
                    Point of my rambling is don’t just look on Craigslist and eBay, bump into people like maybe an owner of an older pavement company that might have a machine but dislikes striping, sell some stuff you don’t need(like some of your older video game nonsense) to put a little more scratch together to get something decent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good info on the job costing and such. When job costing how do you figure things like insurance etc in, do you do it based off a per day kind of deal, a set percentage of the yearly or ??? My only issue with going P/T with a painting crew and then starting my own is I feel like that's a good way to tick some folks off. I know I personally would be an unhappy camper, but maybe I'm overly cautious about that. I'll keep an eye out semi-locally and see what pops up. I'll ask around too. If I decide for certain I want to do it, I'll post here with a WTB. I'm considering talking to gramps and seeing if they have a used unit they would sell, but that could get everyone sideways, so we'll see.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Asphaltman really nailed it and layed everything on the line for you (not to be funny)! I agree with his advice 100% but feel I should add that aside from just starting out thinking that striping is an easy profession, there are also many State, County and Municipal regulations that you must become acquainted with! In parking lots as well as local roadways, you must know where & how high to place certain signage. Pavement markings too have certain do's and don'ts for placement and sizes for compliancy. Your eventual background in Engineering will certainly help you along the way but you MUST keep updated as to changes that happen quite often in the marking industry. Good luck to you in your business and education!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by No_Dude View Post
                          Good info on the job costing and such. When job costing how do you figure things like insurance etc in, do you do it based off a per day kind of deal, a set percentage of the yearly or ??? My only issue with going P/T with a painting crew and then starting my own is I feel like that's a good way to tick some folks off. I know I personally would be an unhappy camper, but maybe I'm overly cautious about that. I'll keep an eye out semi-locally and see what pops up. I'll ask around too. If I decide for certain I want to do it, I'll post here with a WTB. I'm considering talking to gramps and seeing if they have a used unit they would sell, but that could get everyone sideways, so we'll see.
                          There are multiple ways to figure, and also several computer programs. Usually it’s a matter of accounting for eveything, and I mean everything. Even if you buy a machine, it’s wise to even charge a portion for repair and replacement. Anyways, add up said costs and start with a monthly amount and then divide by the amount of days per month you can work. Maybe it’s 15 to 20 days, but be realistic. Then you’ll have a daily rate. Take that rate and you can divide by how many jobs per day. Of it’s one job, you know you need to cover. X amount to make costs. You’ll be able to tweak it as you see how many jobs per day and per month. Also as you learn your costs, some may be costs that are around all year, and others may only be accruing while you’re working.

                          Working for someone else is a good idea to get a feel of what to do. I don’t think you would be a slime bag if you worked for a guy then started your own thing. Just give him a good honest effort, and leave on good terms. Hell Im friends with most of my competitors, and we all give each other work all the time, so it’s possible. What will piss a guy off is if you work and are a lousy worker, then quit and run to your own thing and try and poach his clients.

                          Oddly enough, while owning your own thing can be nice, often it’s even better to just work for a good company that appreciates you. Owning a business is a lot of work and a lot of stress and not for everyone.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's kind of how I figured it would go for the daily costs. I'll have to poke around and see whats available in my area in terms of P/T work. I'm taking some summer classes, but they are online, so its possible I could do it. And I noticed the mentioning of different ordinances per locality in some of my reading. Anything from solvent vs water-based paints, sizes and locations of markings etc etc

                            Also, I feel like I already know the answer, but the Newstriper Roller Striper is probably a no go?
                            Last edited by No_Dude; 05-31-2019, 10:46 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For sure that is a no go. Follow Jpanz and asphalt mans advice and get a good machine. No matter who you work for if you put down crappy lines that is what your reputation will be.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X