How to Minimize Business Disruption During Your Paving Project
We are all familiar with the headaches that roadway paving projects cause with related detours and travel delays. These projects are vital for maintaining the safety and integrity of road surfaces that we rely on every day, but they sure can be inconvenient when you’re running late for work or an important appointment. Paving projects in your industrial or commercial property’s parking lots and other paved areas can be just as annoying, as well as disruptive to your daily business activities if they are not well planned and collaboratively managed by both your internal team and your paving contractor.
The good news is, though, that you can spare your business from frustrations and costly downtime due to paving and asphalt surface maintenance projects. Choosing to work with an experienced and reliable paving contractor like us here at Lyons & Hohl is part of the solution, but there are some additional steps you can take to assure that your project is both successful and minimally disruptive.
While it’s true that paving is a somewhat seasonal enterprise since asphalt requires warmer weather temperatures to set properly, you will also need to consider business cycles at your location and be strategic in scheduling to achieve the best project outcomes. Scheduling paving work during less busy times for businesses affected by the project will help keep everyone involved happy.
For example, while commercial shopping centers can be particularly challenging because not all tenants may experience the same downtimes, you don’t want to schedule a major parking lot overhaul project during a huge sale event for a key store tenant! And being sure that a lot of extra traffic will not suddenly demand the use of your parking areas will help keep project costs down, as well, since flagging staff and other traffic direction solutions will be less necessary. No matter whether you have only one business operating on your property or many, gathering input from business management personnel about particularly inconvenient periods for paving projects will help you schedule with minimal issues.
Keep the lines of communication open
If you’ve expertly planned ahead in scheduling your paving project, you have already begun to learn the valuable lesson that great communication between internal project managers/business owners and the paving contractor is essential throughout your project. You’ve also done the considerate thing and consulted affected tenants, as well, to get feedback on their basic business cycles. The excellent communication protocols do not stop there, however.
As you prepare for your project to begin, consider alerting neighbors and other individuals who may need to access your property that paving work may close specific areas for a period of time. Especially if the project is taking place in an area where people live, like a retirement or apartment community, or if your property contains businesses that provide critical healthcare services, for instance, you will need to place notices where people will see them ahead of time so they can adjust their plans around the paving. Simple printed flyers taped to doors or pinned to bulletin boards a week or so in advance will often be enough. Though, also consider putting notices on individual business’s websites and social media pages, or in community newsletters, too.
Pave in phases
Do you have acres of parking areas to pave or miles of roadways within a large business campus that all require asphalt surface maintenance and repair? Project phasing might be your best option for dealing with all of your paving/repaving and maintenance needs, though it does require close collaboration and perhaps an ongoing relationship with your paving contractor.
Phases may be completed within the same paving season, or you may decide to schedule phases over the course of several years for the sake of budgeting or other concerns. For example, if your business has several large parking areas, you may choose to rotate between them for maintenance and repair in different years to prevent major business disruptions all at once. Closing a single parking area for paving and directing users to your unaffected lots may cause some small inconveniences, but you likely have enough excess capacity in the other lots to handle the overflow (especially if you strategically schedule your project during less busy times for your business, as we previously mentioned).
A great paving contractor will work with you on project phasing. Additionally, if budgets are a particular concern, paving contractors worth your time will work hard to balance durability and economy. For example, our paving process always begins with determining the right specifications for your unique job. Typical specifications for different applications can be customized to meet your needs.
It’s true that customers and other individuals who come to your business and discover closed parking areas or driveways may just turn around and leave if it appears they cannot easily get where they need to go. Directional signage and traffic cones can help visitors know that your business is still open and accessible during a paving project. Your paving contractor should be able to help you with the placement of these helpful, yet passive traffic direction measures.
Of course, if your project is particularly complex, or if your business sees high volumes of vehicle traffic each day, paying to employ flagging staff or parking attendants to direct drivers may be wise. Again, your full-service professional paving contractor can help you obtain these workers for your project via subcontractors or their own staff members. Don’t lose business during your paving project by making things unclear to your customers!
Don’t make last minute changes
As your project gets underway, it’s true that changes to the work schedule may occasionally need to take place either from the client’s side or the contractor’s side. The best contractors will do everything in their power to keep these changes to a minimum after the initial contract has been signed, however, as they are well aware of how they can affect overall project cost. These contractors will have dedicated project managers who will be a point of contact throughout the project and will assure that potential change-orders to the original contract are communicated clearly and promptly to you, the client.
If your paving contractor has quoted you in relatively broad terms to start, it’s usually a sign that change orders will begin piling up at a rapid pace during the course of the project, which drives up cost. Don’t let this happen to you. At the time of your initial estimate, be sure to ask if your contractor thinks that there could be a need for change orders or additional work that’s not included in their quote.
Choose the right paving contractor
In the end, minimizing disruption to your business and being satisfied with both the process and the results of a paving or asphalt surface maintenance project comes back to choosing the right contractor. You do not want a contractor that requires “babysitting” by you or your team members – you want a professional and experienced crew that also includes skilled project management personnel and knows how to communicate with their clients.
Obviously, it can be tricky to find that right contractor the first time, which is why you should obtain bids from multiple companies. Reach out to business contacts in your industry and gather referrals, or ask contractors you’ve already located if they can give you a list of satisfied clients you can follow up with. By the time you’ve had estimates from several contractors, you should have a sense of each business’s style, and even if a particular contractor has offered you an incredible price, if they’ve been challenging to work with in the estimating and planning phase, they will almost certainly continue to be a problem.
Here at Lyons & Hohl Paving, our decades of experience and unique business philosophy of steady, but carefully controlled growth, have won us legions of satisfied customers in both small and large businesses here in our home area. If you’re located in the Lancaster, Reading, Downingtown, Coatesville, or West Chester areas of southeastern PA and need to find the right paving contractor, you’re already in the right place – get in touch with us today to discuss your project.