Marvin Joles III

This season marks my 20th year owning and operating a primarily sealcoating business. I have learned a lot over the years and have been fortunate enough to gain insight from some of the leaders in the industry that have been more successful than I will likely ever be. I have also been fortunate enough to pass that information along to the generation of sealcoating business owners behind me, that are coming up and doing extremely well.

We have a unique look into what makes these companies click and succeed, because we have a mastermind group at Blacktop Banter called the “Blacktop Banter Success Group,” where we talk about everything it takes and what we encounter. There have been several single owners or partners who have been part of that group, who went from zero dollars in revenue to more than six figures in year one. We are proud of that. Not just at Blacktop Banter, but as the Blacktop Banter Success Group (BBSG) collective, because we know we are a community that is making that happen for each other as we share information.

In this brief article, I have broadly summarized the three things we really talk about most often, and defined what those look like for someone starting a sealcoating business.

Starting a successful asphalt sealcoating business requires careful planning and consideration. Here are the top three things to know:

  1. Understanding the Industry and Market: Before starting the business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research on the asphalt sealcoating industry. Understand the demand for sealcoating services in your target area, know your competitors and identify potential clients such as homeowners, businesses and municipalities. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the latest industry trends, equipment and techniques to stay competitive. It’s important to understand job costing. You may think you know exactly how much it is costing you to do a day’s worth of work, but you may be job costing incorrectly and running your ship onto the rocks before it can sail. There are many classes and courses on job costing at multiple industry conferences throughout the year, so sign up for one.
  2. Investing in Equipment and Training: Acquiring the right equipment is essential for delivering high-quality sealcoating services. Invest in durable sealcoating machines, spray wands, crack fillers and other necessary tools. Moreover, ensure that you and your team receive proper training on equipment operation, safety protocols and asphalt maintenance techniques. There are many resources online, including groups such as BBSG or Facebook groups, to get insight. Also, if you are solo, consider working for or shadowing a company that does sealcoating to learn more. Certified training programs offered by industry associations, material suppliers or equipment manufacturers can be beneficial.
  3. Compliance and Licensing: In some states, to operate legally, you must comply with local, state and federal regulations governing business licensing, environmental protection and safety standards. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses required to conduct asphalt sealcoating activities in your area. Additionally, consider liability insurance to protect your business from potential risks and liabilities associated with property damage or injuries. If you take on employees out of the gate, remember to seek Workers’ Compensation insurance. Often, larger clients will require proof of these types of insurance in order to be hired.

By prioritizing these aspects, you can lay a solid foundation for your asphalt sealcoating business and increase your chances of success.

As always, if you have any insight or criticisms about this article or anything in it, please feel free to email me at and of course, reach out to us at Blacktop Banter on any form of social media. You can listen to the Blacktop Banter Podcast anywhere podcasts are available, and the video versions are always posted to the Blacktop Banter YouTube Channel.

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