By Marvin Joles III

Shaking hands, exchanging names. Then what? This was the basis of one of the recent Blacktop Banter Podcast episodes and is something to think about when we meet with clients, reps, vendors, other contractors and just people along our contractor journey in general, whether at events or just “one-off” meetings.

As we close in on everybody’s “off” or “slow” season, we also approach the time of year when many asphalt industry conferences and shows come around. At these shows we have a chance to meet vendors of equipment, products and supplies. One thing I have found, is that actually having in-depth conversations with these people can help us, paired with building comradery as contractors and customers, imprint who we are, where we are and what we do into the minds of each other. What I have seen as benefits of this, are many things.

One is, that during the paint shortage we were in, and not completely out of, in the line striping sector, relationships with area representatives saved some companies and I know for sure helped us keep our line striping division open at WisCoat. When we were candid with our needs and what we would do on our end to be able to keep going, our reps also thought outside of the box to help us. That constant back and forth kept us at the forefront of their mind and when opportunities to get paint arose, they offered it to us even if it wasn’t through allocation.

Another is the relationship with our asphalt tools supplier, we text and speak and even golf together when possible. During conversations, it was talked about what could be in short supply in coming months and how we may want to buy now while there is stock, instead of buying later when we are in need and it not be available.

Lastly are relationships with other contractors in the industry. I know, this used to be, and is in the minds of some contractors still, taboo. Times have changed, and they are changing, fast. One of the best tools at my disposal as the leader at WisCoat is my connection with other contractors in the industry, and when COVID hit, we teamed together to weather the storm and develop a plan to not only survive but thrive… and we did. If we were short on anything, our contractor friends, even locally, offered to help out.

In closing, there are many more benefits but we are all looking for ways to improve our businesses and overlooking the importance of building relationships can be a big mistake. A mistake that can be solved easily by taking a little extra time and being a little more open with the people we come in contact within our industry.

If you know of other areas that relationships help out in, feel free to reach out and tell me. You can contact us though any of the Social Media apps out there at @blacktopbanter or email me at

Marvin Joles III, Owner of Wis-Coat Asphalt Maintenance and host of Blacktop Banter podcast. You can listen to and watch
Blacktop Banter podcasts by visiting