The asphalt suppliers’ conundrum

The asphalt suppliers’ conundrum

Repeat business and asphalt suppliers… It’s an age-old business model—make your first sale to a client and then build a relationship with them based on repeat business. The cost of sales is significantly lower for returning clients and creating customer loyalty is vital to maintaining this easier income stream. This model works brilliantly for consumables, but what if you’re selling a product for which longevity is one of the USPs? For asphalt suppliers—both the manufacturers and contractors of asphalt—this key feature of the product they supply means that repeat business shouldn’t be a factor. Who wants to commission a road, only for it to need resurfacing within a couple of years?

The asphalt suppliers, the dilemma and its solution

The story goes that when the lightbulb was invented it was manufactured to last for 2,000 hours—until a powerful cartel of producers brought the lifespan down to 1,000 hours so they could sell twice as many. This may or may not be true but ever since manufacturers have faced a dilemma: the more reliable the product, the less the likelihood of repeat business. This might suggest that asphalt suppliers would do better to produce and lay down less durable road surfaces. But in fact that’s not the case: most clients of asphalt suppliers are responsible for more than just a single stretch of road. So repeat business doesn’t generally rely upon the repetitive resurfacing of just one stretch of road. In other words, once the asphalt suppliers have proved their worth by laying a durable surface on one stretch of road, the customer will commission work on other roads they are responsible for.

In what might appear to be counterintuitive, asphalt suppliers are more likely to get repeat business if they provide a hard-wearing and longer-lasting surface.

What else should customers look for in asphalt suppliers?

  • A product that saves money—selecting a pavement surface that has been designed to minimise reflective cracking and reduce reactive maintenance will save money in the long run.
  • Improved efficiency—asphalt suppliers that provide quick and easy-to-lay surfaces minimise disruption to road users along with the cost of installation.
  • Delayed intervention—reactive maintenance is costly, so look for maximum quality and durability in a road surfacing product.

It’s a fact that unreinforced asphalt is one of the main causes of surface cracking and instability. However, by employing geosynthetics to act as reinforcement beneath the surface of the asphalt overlay, costly reactive maintenance, road closures and repairs can be avoided. The best asphalt suppliers know perfectly well that the longer their pavement surface lasts, the more repeat business they’ll get. So it’s not really a dilemma or a conundrum at all!