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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Commercial Property Owners and Managers Make When Hiring a Contractor to Sealcoat Their Parking Lot


  1. Taking the Cheapest Price
  2. We are not here to tell you how to spend your money. If service and quality are not overly important to you and your budget is tight, then by all means take several bids and chose the contractor who shoots you the lowest price. But don’t kid yourself. Just like with everything else in life, price and quality go hand in hand. When you choose the lowest price you are choosing the contractor with the least incentive to keep you happy. After all, you’ve already communicated that price is all you really care about. Your decision to shop for the lowest price stands as irrefutable evidence.

    When you bought your last car, did you buy the cheapest one you could find? Do you by generic food? Do you do most of your shopping at the Dollar Store?
    Then what would possess you to hire the lowest priced contractor?
    If it sounds too good to be true…. it is.
    Most good contractors have similar costs. There are marginal differences but if someone is 25% less or more you should ask them why? We all pay around the same price for materials, labor, and insurance. The quickest way to bring our costs down is to cut corners. Sad but true.
    They are possibly not insured.
    They are possibly not local.
    They will possibly sealcoat your driveway too thin with watered down materials and may not treat cracks.
    There are many factors to consider when getting bids to have a commercial property sealcoated. Are all the contractors making apples to apples bids? Is the contractor bidding 1 or 2 coats? Many commercial parking lots receive a lot of traffic and a1 coat application often will not last very long and isn’t consistent with manufacturers specifications. Will the coating be spray, brush or squeegee applied? Is sealing of major cracks included in the bid? Are they using a hot crack sealant or cold pour crack filler? How are they preparing the cracks prior to crack sealing? Recommend that the contractors bidding on your parking lot itemize everything they are doing. How much for 1 coat, how much for 2nd coats, how much for crack filling, how much for patching, etc. Also make sure they’re specifying materials used as well as method of application.

  3. Not Keeping Traffic Off the Freshly Sealcoated Parking Area Long Enough
  4. Sealcoated material needs sufficient time to cure. (Ideally 24 hours, but at least 8-12 hours under ideal weather conditions including several hours of sunlight). If a parking lot is opened to traffic, before the material has fully cured the coating will wear off prematurely. You may consider doing the job in sections. If your business will suffer significantly by keeping traffic off the lot for a sufficient amount of time you may be better off not sealcoating and just perform crack filling, patching and restriping in your pavement maintenance program.

  5. Not Confirming That Your Contractor is Properly Insured
  6. Although you may not feel much can go wrong when having your parking lot sealcoated you definitely don’t want a contractor who’s uninsured. For instance an unexpected rain storm can splash sealcoat material on the building’s garage door’s, siding, and concrete or brick sidewalk. Even though a contractor can’t control the weather if they have the proper insurance you will be protected.

  7. Failing to Check References
  8. Ask for references of people you can call and interview about their experience. Ask for 3-4 references the contractor has worked for in the last 3 to 6 months. 

    Join and check the feedback on Yelp ( and/or Angie’s List ( Membership is around $10 a year and it gives you access to feedback on companies who provide services to home owners. Angie’s List lets you look at detailed feedback written by previous customers. Check with the Better Business Bureau. See whether the contractor has had several complaints lodged. If a contractor is going to take care of you, his past clients will sing his praises. If he isn’t going to, the stench of his past performance will stink to high heaven. All you’ve got to do is a little due diligence.

  9. Not Maintaining Your Lot Frequently Enough
  10. It’s an inconvenience to many commercial property owners to close off sections of their parking lot for maintenance. In addition your parking lot is not an income producer so many property owners don’t want to maintain it every year or 2. However, when asphalt cracks water and ice penetrate into the pavement, which causes more cracking and eventually pavement failure. Cracks should be treated with a hot crack sealant and proper prep work every year or 2 to prevent water infiltration. Parking lots should also be seal coated every 2-3 years (possibly more often on very high traffic areas) to keep the surface smooth for easier cleaning, black to absorb heat and melt snow and ice faster and to maintain a good appearance. Damaged areas and catch basins should be hot patched as soon as significant damage or potholes occur.