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Contractor-Turned-Dealer Stresses Importance of Winterizing

Tue December 13, 2005 - Northeast Edition
David Fackler



Contractors can expect down time over the next few months especially if the company is in the paving business in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Profitability can sometimes be measured by how far into the winter it can work, or how early in the spring it can begin working.

Winter down time provides contractors the opportunity to attend to those nagging mechanical problems that were put off during the year. It affords the time to assess and anticipate potential problems that could arise next season.

Winter down time also provides an opportunity to properly winterize equipment that will sit idle during the winter months.

Some contractors perform their own repairs and winterization while others depend on the local distributor from which they purchased the equipment. Regardless of the path chosen, it is important to know that the equipment will be serviced properly, in a timely fashion, and at a reasonable cost.

Asphalt Care Equipment & Supplies — contractor owned and operated — is an equipment distributor with an unusual background.

The firm was founded by David Fackler after graduating from high school. While attending Penn State University, Fackler starting sealing driveways in his neighborhood to make some extra money. His reputation grew and so did his driveway sealing business.

In 1985, the growth of the home-based business justified the expansion to a 10,000-sq.-ft. building on a 3-acre site in Bensalem, PA. The company was now milling and paving roads throughout the Delaware Valley.

In 1988, the company, known as Asphalt Care Equipment & Supplies, used its experience as a successful paving contractor and established a new paving equipment and supplies distributorship.

Fackler believed he could bring a new perspective to the equipment supply business as a former contractor.

“I still have many of the employees working with me today from my original paving business. They understand customer service, the parts business, and the importance of servicing equipment,” said Fackler.

Today, the company sells and leases Ingersoll-Rand, Blaw-Knox, Marathon Road Maintenance equipment, and a host of other manufacturers. It has expanded with branches in Doylestown, Bucks County, and Norristown, Montgomery County in Pennsylvania.

“Education and community involvement have been an increasing part of our business,” said Fackler.

“For example, from 1999 to 2003, we conducted an annual trade show in Philadelphia. We collaborated with manufacturers and distributors of asphalt equipment and supplies to put on an event for individuals with an interest in the asphalt paving, seal coating and line striping industries.

“We also conducted seminars on a wide range of paving and striping topics. The success of our own trade shows prompted us to co-sponsor the Philadelphia Construction Expo, a Construction Equipment Guide production.”

Fackler continued, “This year we hosted a construction forecast that featured a United States congressman, Pennsylvania state representative, Bucks County commissioner, mayor of Bensalem Township, and former PennDOT executive.”

Ed Russo, of Croydon, PA-based Russo Construction is one of the customers who takes advantage of the “Value Added Service” offered by Asphalt Care. Russo has attended the trade shows, seminars, and construction forecast and likes the fact that the company is contractor-owned.

“If I want to purchase equipment, or have a service-related question, I know these people speak from experience. They’re not just trying to make a sale,” stated Russo.

Today, Fackler is focused on his service department and is committed to increasing personnel and equipment.

“We’re currently preparing for winter service work. We can offer a host of different service options to our customers,” said Fackler, “and because of our experience in the business, can help to choose the program that is right for them. For example, Ingersoll-Rand offers a Paver and Compaction Winter Overhaul/Audit Program that will ensure maximum equipment productivity in the spring.

A Paver Performance Audit includes:

• hydraulic system inspection;

• hydraulic pumps/motors;

• hydraulic valves;

• engine inspection; screed inspection;

• upper frame inspection;

• lower frame inspection;

• electrical inspection;

• complete walk-around inspection; and

• written report.

A Double-Drum Asphalt Compactor (DD) Performance Audit includes:

• hydraulic system;

• hydraulic pumps/motor;

• hydraulic components;

• hydraulic pressure checks (engine);

• operator’s platform;

• frame and drum;

• water system;

• lubrication; and

• electrical system.

“I believe part of our success is due to our experience as contractors. We learned early on how neglecting to winterize equipment affects profitability. We want to make sure that our customers also understand the positive impact winterizing equipment can have on their bottom line,” concluded Fackler.

(David Fackler is president of Asphalt Care Equipment & Supplies.)