Parking Lot Striping as an Add On Service or Stand-Alone Business

My name is Dan Zurcher and I own The American Striping Company. I’ve been striping parking lots for (28) years, full time. I’ve striped everything from banks to schools, playgrounds, restaurants, small airports, mall after mall and miles of roadway. At the (16) year mark, I wrote my book; How I Stripe a Parking Lot. I’ve striped everything. If you have any questions about striping, I can answer those questions. I’d like to help.

If you’re reading this article, you may be interested in either adding Pavement Marking / Parking Lot Striping as an additional service or starting your own Parking Lot Striping company. In either case, I’d like to encourage you and there are (5) reasons why.

The (1st) reason is the Cost of Start-Up. I say; (6K) or less and, there are (2) categories: Machine and Incidentals. Most of the (6K) is the machine. I recommend an Airless machine. Airless machines have several advantages that I cannot do without. I talk more about that in my book. In a perfect world, the cost of a machine will hover around 4500.00. There’s another Airless model that’s in the 2000.00 range. Those are the only (2) models I recommend. Incidentals can cost 1000.00, or less. Incidentals include: 18” traffic cones, not 12” traffic cones, a 30’ measuring tape, not a 25’ measuring tape, chalk, stencils, etc. BUT…you may not need a 300’ measuring tape until job (10). The bottom line, I say, Start-Up Costs are (6K) or less and will include the Airless Machine and the Incidentals.

The (2nd) reason is that there’s no real, recurring inventory. Inventory includes: Stencils and Paint. We manufacture stencils, please see our ad. Buy stencils once. Buy as you go. Buy as you grow. Your Handicap stencil may last (28) years. It is a (1) time cost. If you choose to buy your Handicap stencil in the thinner, 1/16” material, you may buy every few years, but, stencils, in general, are not a recurring job expense. Next; Paint. Buy paint on the way to the job, after you’ve been given the job. Most stripers buy paint daily. We don’t need to buy pallets, in advance, unless you choose to. Again, Inventory consists of Stencils and Paint.

Reason (3) is that no “real shop” necessary. I worked from my (2) car garage for (12) years. I have an open landscaping trailer to this day. The machine is about the size of a lawnmower. It can be stored in your garage or shed. If you have an enclosed trailer, lock it and park in the drive, if you can. You may consider renting a “U STORE IT” type garage. A 10’ x 15’ may cost 100.00. Or, park it in their outside area. If you do this, I’d recommend a gated location with (24) hour access. Again, I say; you don’t need a “real shop”.

Reason (4) was huge for me. I did not need to quit my job. Start slow. Work part-time. I can stripe the Bank on a weekend or a weekday evening. I can stripe a restaurant before they open, even if it means (2) trips; 6 AM to 8 AM. Keep in mind that you never have to go full time. I did. Teachers stripe in Summer and Fireman stripe on their days off. A friend of mine will not quit his (19) year job because of benefits. Bottom line here, you can work around your day job. You can go full time or stay part-time.

Reason (5) is all about the economy. I’ve been through both. In a good economy, people build parking lots, people work on parking lots and people seal coat parking lots. That means I have work. That means we all have work. But, in a slow economy, businesses will only re-stripe. Retail stores will only re-stripe. Car Dealerships, in a slow economy, will choose to only re-stripe. I still had work. I say; Pavement Marking is about as close as you can get to economy proof.

If you’re interested in starting Pavement Marking business, consider buying my book; How I Stripe a Parking Lot. Don’t buy anything else until you read it. On page (84) is a list of items I mention and use. Buy what you can. Buy what you need. Buy as you go. Buy as you grow. Take a look at our ad. Take a look at our site. If you’d like to talk further, please keep me in mind. I hope I helped. Thank you.

Dan Zurcher
The American Striping Company.
Columbus, Ohio

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