Sprayroq Blog

Sprayroq, manufacturer and developer of spray-applied polymers for structural rehabilitation, corrosion protection and asset life extension for wastewater, stormwater and industrial infrastructure.

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Due Diligence: Prepare Thoroughly To Write A Successful RFP

Writing the kind of infrastructure project Request for Proposal is about more than being budget-conscious and aware of the latest technologies available to get the job done. Of course, those things are critical, but sometimes the devil really is in the details.

Take, for instance, the importance of being your own healthily skeptical advocate when considering some of those technologies. If you walk into a situation blind and uninformed, you’re setting yourself up for short-term failure and possibly long-term disaster. You need to take a stance of self-protection in advocating for your company, agency or municipal department. And the most effective way to do that is to be assertively curious.

This means digging deeper than what might at first seem obvious: Is that technology you’ve heard so much about really the right one for your project? Will the claims made by its manufacturer hold up under scrutiny and prove out in its application? How can you actually know? After all, your name is going to be the one on the paperwork. How can you make sure you’re attaching it to as sure an outcome as possible?

Lynn Osborn, owner and lead engineer at LEO Consulting, LLC in the St. Louis area, says there are lots of ways you can protect your reputation and the interests of your employer when writing your RFP. They all have to do with thorough preparation, which means asking all the right questions when doing your due diligence before you ever put fingers to keyboard in writing your bid request.

Products
Usually, the biggest risk you’ll be taking is in specifying products to be used in your infrastructure project. You may have lots of experience with some of them, but as wonderful as new technology can be, the really new stuff brings with it the uncertainty of having no experience with it to rely on. Osborn says civil engineers and project designers need to ask the following questions about any products under consideration:

1. Does this product fit the specific needs of the project? Ask what you really need it to do, and how many of those bases are actually covered by the product you’re considering.

2. Does the product have a history of successful, high-quality installation and service? Of all other measuring sticks, this one is the highest. It either works or it doesn’t.

3. Is the product cost-effective? Sure it may meet all your needs, but can it do so without breaking the bank?

4. Does the product have verifiable third-party testing? Objective third-party is the operable phrase here, and verifiable is the next most important. You want an honest evaluation by someone without a vested interest in the outcome of any product testing.

5. Will the product have a 50-year design and service life? Again, it may perform well when it’s first installed, but how about decades down the line? Longevity can override high initial cost, because you can reliably amortize the investment over a longer service life. And when it comes to infrastructure that is expensive, you don’t want to have to service it more than twice a century. The service life of any asset should extend beyond nearly anyone’s career, so they should only have to make this decision once for any particular structure.

6. Is the product safe to install and use? Safety becomes more of a workplace factor every day, and when you’re talking about a public project – particularly on assets that will touch potable water – this becomes a long-term consideration.

Sources
Who should you ask these pertinent questions of? Generally, says Osborn, if the company representing the product has an engineering department, or consulting engineers, approach them first. Absent an engineering division, other authorized representatives of the company are your next best bet.

The Internet remains an excellent source of reference, but you do need to be careful that your material is coming from a qualified source. It’s best to consult several relevant sources on any given topic, and cross-reference to be sure you’re getting an average point of view.

Last but certainly not least are customers who have experience using the product. Certainly don’t be afraid to reach out and really check provided references. This is another way you can leverage the Internet in service of creating an accurate picture of what you need to know. Do a search on the product’s name with the word “complaints” after it. You may be amazed at what comes up.

You may end up getting a lot of feedback from quite a few people in that last step, and this can get overwhelming. When deciding whose opinions carry the most weight in these decisions, what factors should you take into account?

“Obviously, you put the most stock in opinions from those who are non-biased or do not have a financial interest in the company or the product,” counsels Osborn.

Likely the most candid responses will come from customers who have used the product. They will generally be willing to share both good and bad experiences.

Next, most trustworthy are the opinions of those who have performed independent, third-party testing on the product. Again, you want to stay away from testing agencies who aren’t really performing their research without undue influence of those with vested interests in the outcome of their tests.

And of course, consulting engineers who have specified the product have little reason not to be up front with you about the product’s track record in their projects.

Standards
Nearly every product made is now monitored and regulated in some way by a set of professional trade standards for safety and performance. For instance, any type of building product is governed by benchmarks established by the American Society of Testing and Materials. ASTM standards exist for spray-applied protective and structural coatings, such as Sprayroq products.

Your contacts at Sprayroq can list these ASTMs, which are important because they are “the gold standard” in performance and safety measurement. Each standard is vetted through the rigorous ASTM process, and must pass the scrutiny of engineers, customers and competitors. ASTM standards are highly regarded and internationally recognized due to the quality of the ASTM process for producing standards.

Claims Scrutiny
So, knowing the rigor of the ASTM process, how can those responsible for specifying products in an RFP validate manufacturer claims of performance against these standards?

Osborn says your best bet is to check with customer references, especially those not given to you by the product’s manufacturer. Instead, get a truly impartial picture of realistic expectations by reviewing third-party test reports on the product. And again, check with engineers who have specified the product.

 Their reputations are on the line just as yours is, every time they spec a product, because that translates as a tacit endorsement of the item.

In short, check, check, then check more references. Yes, it’s a time-consuming process. But every time you end up with a successful project because you didn’t skimp on the research is one more reason to keep it up. A successful RFP is all about doing your homework. Consider it reputation insurance.

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To grout or not to grout? There is no doubt.

One of the most common issues we hear about is the confusion among contractors about when and where grout should be used in underground infrastructure rehabilitation surface preparation. From our point of view as a materials supplier, the answer is an unequivocal “always.” Why? Because grout is typically required to address leakage and infiltration, and there is hardly ever a project that doesn’t have some amount of both.

Here are a few of the most common scenarios in which grouting is called for:

When a structure is experiencing water infiltration – This moisture will hinder the application of a coating or other repair materials, so the leaks must be identified and plugged with grout.

When voids have been detected behind the structure, where infiltration or excessive groundwater has washed away the surrounding soils – injected grout can stabilize the soil and protect from further groundwater erosion.

When excavation is not possible to simply remove deteriorated structures, they must be saved – grout can be pumped in to essentially restore structural integrity.

We tend to use chemical, as opposed to cement-based grouts for these purposes. While both are suspended solids formulas, chemical grouts use far smaller particulates, which allows them to flow better and to permeate soils more completely. As Ed Paradis, our Southeastern and Central Regional Manager likes to say: “When in doubt, pump more chemical grout,” so that’s the type we’ll discuss here.

Selecting the right product

There are many issues that can be addressed with grout, which primarily acts as a sealant. As described above, chemical grouts are used widely for shutting down active water leaks, stabilizing soils and filling voids in various types of structures. When choosing the correct resin base for a project’s grouting, it’s best to gather as much information as possible about the specifics of the job.

Considerations include:

  • Type of structure
  • Volume of leak
  • Size of crack
  • Potable or non-potable system
  • Jobsite conditions (man access vs. probe- or packer-applied installation),
  • Structural movement

Several types of grout are available for this purpose:

Acrylic Resins:

All of these formulas are based on the acrylic monomer resin molecule. Set times can be controlled by varying the triethanolamine catalyst-to-resin ratio, and on the water side using salt (sodium or ammonium persulfate). A reinforcing agent can be added to decrease shrinkage and increase the durability of the cured material.

Acrylic –Because the behavior of the materials can be closely controlled under leak flow conditions, acrylic gels are typically used for sealing leaks and crack injection in mainlines, manholes or other below-grade structures.

Acrylate – These have been introduced as sewer sealants over the past quarter-century. They are widely used in mainline and lateral sewer grouting, ground stabilization and leak control in various structures. Because of their ultra-thin viscosities and adjustable set times, these will permeate, saturate and stabilize soils. Installers don’t need to wear protective suits to apply.

Acrylamide – With similar water-to-resin ratios, acrylamide grout will cure to a slightly firmer gel than acrylate.

Methacrylic – This formula has the highest elongation and best bond of any of the acrylic resins. Widely used for crack injection and preventing leaks in above- and below-grade structures.

Polyurethane Resins:

Hydrophobic – For our purposes, these types of grouts tend to repel water, reacting to it by curing rapidly into rigid but flexible foam. They consist of a resin plus accelerant and form a strong bond with the substrate. The foam exhibits low shrinkage and high expansion, and offers adjustable set times.

Hydrophilic – These types of grouts tend to attract or work more in concert with water, and when exposed to it, will cure into soft foam or gel. The result is a more flexible type of foam best for applications where the grout will need to be able to expand and contract, such as in filling cracks on surfaces that move (say, a culvert under a busy road, or a pipe that has constantly changing hydraulic loading from a high groundwater table). This grout consists solely of resin, forms a strong adhesive bond, and typically exhibits moderate levels of shrinkage and expansion. It absorbs and retains water after curing, so if it is mixed with a high ratio of water, may shrink if constantly exposed to wet-dry cycles. However, it must be thinned significantly for low-temperature use or injection into narrow cracks.

Plural-Component – These resin-plus-catalyst formulas form rigid yet flexible foam with a high expansion quality. They have a rapid set time and the cured product typically exhibits high density with high compressive strength.

Epoxy Resins

Epoxy resin-based injection fillers are plural-component adhesives. They are commonly used as a saturant for cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) materials. Other applications include structural crack injection, coatings on manholes, and creating epoxy-based mortars. They have low viscosity and low surface tension, allowing them to be injected into tight cracks. Another good use for them is the filling of really wide cracks and voids, since the cured product lends structural stability. They do not exhibit the flexibility of polyurethane or acrylic resins, but do offer a high degree of chemical corrosion resistance, making them a strong choice even without a CIPP liner. Some epoxy grout formulas can also be used in wet conditions, even underwater.

Substrate Application

Chemical grout installation is commonly performed using air or electric pumps, depending on application. When dealing with higher volume leaks, it’s best to attack the leak with higher volume of material, versus increased pump pressure.

Proper equipment is also key part of a successful application. Cartridge-grade material can be used in small applications, but most of the time, are not as cost-effective on larger projects. With proper training of pump operators, use of injection pumps is much more effective and the results are more professional-looking.

Chemical grouts can be used as a standalone repair when deterioration isn’t highly advanced and structural integrity remains sound. Stopping the infiltration alone will prolong the life of the structure. Application requires highly skilled technicians to implement effectively.

CHEMICAL GROUT APPLICATION COMPARISON

 

Acrylic Resin

Polyurethane Resin

Epoxy

 

Acrylic

Acrylate

Acrylamide

Methacrylic

Hydrophobic

Hydrophilic

Plural-Component

Plural-Component

Crack Sealing, Non-Moving

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

Crack Sealing, Moving

NO

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

Sealing Expansion Joints

YES

NO

NO

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

High-Flow Water Leaks

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Soil Stabilization

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Slab Stabilization

NO

NO

NO

NO

YES

YES

YES

NO

Permeation Grouting

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

Rock Stabilization

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Void Filling

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Anchoring

NO

NO

NO

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

Rail Ballast Stabilization

NO

NO

NO

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

Pipe/Culvert Grouting

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Manhole Sealing

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Curtainwall Grouting

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

Slab Undersealing

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Sheetpile Joint Sealing

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

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Polymeric Coatings Glossary

As with any industry specialty, the polymeric resin coatings field has its own language. We offer this glossary of terms to help you write and understand product and project specifications.

Abrading – The act of roughening a substrate’s surface to provide texture that the final lining material can key into to form a permanent bond

ASTM –The published standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials, located in West Conshohocken, PA. The acknowledged basis of all U.S. claims for performance and safety of industrial materials.

Bond – The ability of a coating or lining to permanently cling onto or key into the substrate; measured in pounds per square inch or PSI

Buckling – Failure of structural integrity under loads

Bugholes – Tiny voids in a concrete substrate that may have been created by the trapping of bugs in the wet mixture and the deterioration of the bodies after they died. Also, holes of similar size.

Compression – The ability of a coating or lining layer to shrink in width under weight or other pressure without losing structural integrity

Creep – A time-dependent deformation of a material while under an applied load that is below its yield strength. It is most often occurs at elevated temperature, but some materials creep at room temperature.

Creep or Stress Rupture – The sudden and complete failure of a material held under a definite constant load for a given period of time at a specific temperature.

Density – The relationship between the mass of a substance and how much space it takes up (volume)

Efflorescence – Powdery substance, usually white, that forms on the surface of concrete and other cementitious products as the result of excessive amounts of moisture in the masonry mixing with soluble compounds within the masonry or in surrounding soil. The powder is on the masonry surface is actually salt deposits that formed when the water dries out.

Flexural – The ability to twist and bend without losing structural integrity

High-Build – A thick application

High Voltage Spark Test – A critical test applied with high-voltage holiday (unacceptable discontinuities such as pinholes and voids) detection equipment to corrosion protection applications —coatings less than 250 mils—after the protective coating has set hard to the touch.

Hydraulic Load – The amount of liquid going into a system

Laitance – A weak layer of cement and aggregate fines on a concrete surface, usually caused by an overwet mixture, overworking the mixture, improper or excessive finishing, or combination thereof. This layer between a topical coating and the underlying substrate prevents a bond forming between the topical coating and substrate, eventually causing delamination and failure of the topical coating.

Material Safety Data Sheet – A document containing information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with a chemical product; an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program.

Modulus of Elasticity (also known as the elastic modulus, the tensile modulus, or Young's modulus) – A number that measures an object’s or substance's resistance to being deformed elastically (i.e., non-permanently) when a force is applied to it. The elastic modulus of an object is defined as the slope of its stress–strain curve in the elastic deformation region:

Monolithic – One continuous surface with no seams, breaks or voids

NACE - The published standards of National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE International), located in Houston, TX. . The acknowledged basis of all U.S. claims for performance and safety of anti-corrosion coatings and products.

Pinholes – Tiny holes or pockets in a substrate or surface

Plural component – A formula that contains the resin body and a curing agent that causes the mixture to harden at a determined rate under certain conditions

Porosity – The level of void space in any given material; i.e., the negative spaces in a lining layer surrounded by actual material

Pull-Off Test – A near-to-surface method to test the adhesive connection between a surface (substrate) and a lining or coating

Recoat Window – The period of time following the initial application of a layer of lining during which subsequent layers may be applied over the top and still adhere properly to the bottom coat without requiring additional surface prep

SSPC - The published standards of the Society of Protective Coatings, located in Pittsburgh, PA. The acknowledged basis of all U.S. claims for performance and safety of protective coating materials.

Soil Cover – The depth of soil over the top of the structure, expressed in inches or feet.

Soil Load – The number of pounds of pressure per cubic foot created by the soil and other overburden on any given structure.

Soil Modulus – Expressed in pounds per square inch or PSI

Substrate – The surface on which a lining is to be applied; the support for a coating

Tensile – The ability to stretch or elongate without breaking, and while maintaining specified strength

Topcoat, Topcoating – The application of a finishing layer over one or more initial layers of a spray- or trowel-applied lining; topcoat may or may not be the same material as sublayers

Traffic Load – Total vehicular traffic carried by a road during a specified time interval

Voids – Larger holes or pockets in a substrate or surface

Volatility – The tendency to ignite or explode under certain conditions

Water Table – The level below which the ground is saturated with water, expressed in inches or feet.

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In this second post in our Surface Technologies series, we’re taking a look at surface preparation for polymeric coatings.

Considerations

When using polymeric coatings, you must consider how surface preparation differs between coating products and surfaces. For example, what differences are there between the surface preparation of concrete versus steel, and will there need to be any difference if you plan to use epoxies versus polyurethanes and polyureas?

Typically, with “high-build” or thick coatings, you need a rougher surface profile, because the heavier coating will need a stronger texture to key into and hold fast.
Coating selection usually helps drive the extent of surface prep needed. While surface condition also plays a part in that process, usually the type and condition of the surface influences to what extent the surface must be prepped.

For example, if you’re rehabilitating a previously painted surface, you will have to do a lot more prep—including complete removal of the paint layer and possible retexturing of the substrate—than you would have to do for a direct application of a protective or structural coating, which requires simple cleaning and debris removal.

Another consideration is what type of environment the coating be exposed to. This has a lot of bearing on specifically what do you want the coating to do.

Many mistakes are made in coating selection as pertains to this question. We have seen countless scenarios where an asset owner selects a coating based solely on price, without considering the limitations of the coating’s performance rating. They inevitably end up having a failure, because they expected the coating to perform at a level it could not achieve, because that performance level was beyond the bounds of its design.

Which leads to a couple other considerations:

  • Do you want a short-term or long-term solution?
  • Do you have a structural or corrosion issue?

If you want your coating to live up to your expectations, the answers to these questions are critical, and should drive your coating choice, which will in turn drive your surface preparation method.

Must-haves

  • Quick turnaround – Almost without exception, a fast return to service is a must for asset owners. After all, the reason an asset is in need of rehab in the first place is because it is heavily used. So you want to choose a product with a short setup or curing time.
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis of coating options – It’s very important when evaluating coating options to perform this function to determine return-on-investment (ROI), as funds for projects continue to dwindle. It’s imperative to choose a solution that, although it may not be the cheapest option, provides the best long-term value per dollar spent.
  • Confidence in contractors – If call-backs are not acceptable (and when are they?), the choice of a manufacturer-certified applicator is a must for asset owners. Nobody enjoys having to do a project twice or spend twice the amount of money to complete a project correctly. Choose trained and approved professionals you know will get it done right the first time.

If you keep these points in mind concerning surface preparation and related coating choice, you’re on your way to a successful rehabilitation project using polymeric coatings.

 

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How New Technologies Get Developed

This post is the first in our new Surface Technologies Series. We thought it might be helpful to explore the hows and whys of the development of new surface rehabilitation technologies.

There will always be new challenges for industry manufacturers to address. As manufacturers of surface lining technologies, we’re of course interested in ways to discover new challenges and to address them with new solutions. The best way for us to understand contractors’ needs is for contractors to provide thorough, detailed information about difficult situations you’ve encountered.

Our Sprayroq Certified Partner contractors (SCPs) are out there in the field every day, and they ask us about certain scenarios in which they might be able to apply Sprayroq products. If we’re not sure, we do an applicable pilot project.

For example, we don’t generally apply our urethane products in environments that get above 140° F, so to accommodate contractors who need a lining material that will perform adequately in such environments, we’re looking into epoxies that can handle 250°-300° F.

We’re always working with our chemists to develop new products. It’s always about knowing your market and being proactive about seeking input from those working in the trenches.

In the 1970s and ’80s, many large municipalities installed reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) to create their pressurized, closed sewer systems (force mains). Now, these pipes are beginning to fail because the dynamics of a pressurized system are stressing them beyond their capacity.

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In this last installment of our six-part Contractor-Supplier series, we look at what kind of participation a contractor should expect to offer in marketing and promotional support of the relationship with their materials supplier.

Types of Support

Every manufacturer/supplier has its own way of contributing to the marketing and promotion of its products through distributors and contractor partners. Some work on a co-op basis, chipping in a certain percentage of each expenditure, provided the contractor has received authorization of the spend.

Others create pre-approved campaigns for which they supply digital branding elements, instructions and guidance in placing their messaging or producing materials, along with financial help in doing so. Still others have a list of individual types of promotion the contractors can apply at their discretion, with a limit set on how much help they’ll receive for each effort. And some don’t have a specific policy about helping contractors represent them in their designated territories.

Sprayroq falls into the latter category. We try to stay flexible to work with individual Certified Partners and the idiosyncrasies of their markets. Keeping our SCP program discriminating allows us to do so because the growth is controlled for what we can handle thoroughly.

Typical marketing budget allowances

Using Sprayroq as an example, there’s no hard number we place on what we consider an ideal marketing and promotional spend. We give our contractor partners ideas about how to approach their individual marketplaces. Ideally, we’d love to see a contractor do at least two “brown bag” informational sessions a month, 2-3 demonstrations a year, and to exhibit at one regional and two local trade shows annually. Out-of pocket costs for this type of program run between $12-15K per year, not including the cost of a person to perform all the related tasks. Travel and salary/benefits could range from $90-120K, depending on where they’re located.

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This entire series is about managing expectations from both side of the supplier/contractor relationship. Perhaps nowhere does that relationship present the opportunity for things to go sideways so much as establishing what a materials or equipment vendor can expect from a contractor customer/partner on an ongoing basis. After all, providing ongoing technical support and training is a not insignificant part of the value a contractor looks for in a longterm supplier relationship. However, what contractors theoretically want and what they’re willing to accommodate in real life often don’t match.

Contractors have every right to expect whatever level of support they’ve been promised by their vendor, but the vendor has the right to expect cooperation from their customer in making it reasonably easy to deliver that support.

Be clear about your needs.

Contractors must clearly communicate their needs and not be shy about asking for that support. Vendors can’t read their minds. Another potential stumbling block is not providing the materials supplier with accurate physical specifications for the project at hand.

Do your homework.

It’s not uncommon for a contractor to pick up a bid packet without looking at the details or going out to inspect the project. This means they may not be looking at base materials of the infrastructure, diameters, etc. And when it comes to these specifications, guessing can be deadly to the outcome of the job.

In the case of surface lining such as we do with Sprayroq products, if they haven’t done thorough due diligence, contractors might go on site to start a job and be surprised at how much prep work there is to do. There may be a lot more infiltration into a project pipe than expected. A startling amount of debris may need to be cleared away before surface prep. Possibly, a great deal of grouting or resurfacing needs to happen before lining can take place.

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Last time, we took a look at what contractors should be able to expect from a supplier partner. In this third installment of our six-part Contractors & Suppliers series, we explore things from a vendor’s standpoint; particularly the importance of suppliers evaluating the financial viability and relationship fit of potential new contractor customers.

After all, smart business people understand that maintaining a continuous relationship with an existing client costs just 20% of what it does to get a first project from a new customer. That means suppliers should be looking at each project not on just a transactional, one-time basis, but also for its potential long-term viability.

Part of vetting that potential relationship includes asking not just what the numbers look like on the immediate project, but also how the process of working together will play out over the long run.

How should suppliers evaluate a potential contractor for a long-term business relationship?

To establish and maintain long-term customer relationships, suppliers ideally want to seek out businesses run by people who
• really understand the market they’re working in
• exhibit a track record of financial stability
• understand the need for investment in adequate technician training
• can prove longevity in the marketplace
• have a good reputation for a solid work ethic, quality work and integrity.

It’s easy to spot contractors who just don’t understand how business is conducted in their market. Often these misguided individuals believe that the product supplier, in hopes of getting its products specified for a job, is going to serve as their entire engineering, marketing and customer service departments. That is simply not going to happen.

Of course, any good supplier with confidence in his product will go the distance to explain and even demonstrate its effectiveness in the application being considered, and will work with the project engineer to make sure all critical specifications are met. Serious vendors will supply their potential customer with enough professionally produced marketing materials to help them make a good decision in getting their product specced, and will often accompany the contractor on a sales call to or a demonstration project for the end user.

But time is money, and the more of it the supplier must put in with these sales and marketing efforts, the less he has to invest in new product research and current product improvement. So contractors who expect the product supplier to handle the heavy lifting in end user communication and influence are over-stepping the bounds of reasonable expectations. Suppliers should make sure up front that they understand what potential contractor customers expect, and that their interests are not going to conflict.

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Last time, we looked at realistic contractor expectations for supplier training and support. This time, we explore the topics that would be relevant to an established, ongoing business relationship: namely, resources committed to marketing, ongoing costs and ensuring a return on the contractor’s initial upfront investment in becoming an installer of the vendor’s product.

What kind of marketing should a contractor expect to need to do, to establish and maintain an ongoing demand for the supplier’s product?

Contractors need to have the ability to sell and promote themselves and the product, whether that be through

  1. door-to-door/telephone cold calling
  2. in-person product demonstrations
  3. trade shows and exhibits

We’re dedicated to providing significant support to our Sprayroq Certified Partners, but they have to show initiative on their part. We ask right up front if the contractor has a website. It’s a red flag if they haven’t made that investment to market themselves. After all, the Internet is now the number one way everyone shops, from individual consumers to commercial customers. Contractors need to understand this and to be willing to make that investment, just as they used to commit to Yellow Pages ads.

They also need to be willing to reach out and ask for help when they need it. We’re a proactive business partner, but we can’t be expected to know when they need something without them telling us. That’s true no matter which product or service vendor they’re working with.

At what point could a contractor reasonably expect to see a return on their upfront investment in a vendor’s product, and what level of ROI should accrue?

It depends upon their activity. We have contractors with projects at hand who have exceeded their ROI. We’ve written our contracts to contain reasonable expectations for a certain level of volume. If our SCPs meet those, they’re looking at a 30-32 month return on investment. We had one contractor who paid for his rig in less than a year.

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In this second installment in our six-part Contractors & Suppliers series, we take a look at supplier training and support. When a contractor makes a commitment to become a distributor and installer/applicator of a given manufacturer’s product, he should be able to have the expectation of a reasonable level of support from that manufacturer. One channel of that support is training for the contractor’s crews who will be using the product.

One question contractors may have is about what kind of training is required for them and their technicians, and how it is delivered.

Because products evolve along with what becomes learned about better application methods, training is an ongoing process. In a truly professional approach, there’s no such thing as “one time and done.”

With our Sprayroq Certified Partner training, we put new technicians through about five days of training to understand the product and equipment, including:

  • the chemistry of the material
  • all steps in the critical surface preparation and application process
  • operation, breakdown and maintenance of the mixing and application equipment

This training is done in a booth, with the fine points of basic horizontal and vertical/overhead spraying covered thoroughly.

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