This Husband & Wife Started A $739K/Year Parking Lot Striping Business

Luke and Heather Menear
Founder, 1-800-STRIPER
$61.6K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
8
Employees
1-800-STRIPER
from Rochester, New York, USA
started June 1999
$61,583
revenue/mo
2
Founders
8
Employees
5.53M
alexa rank
514
followers
market size
$9.1B
avg revenue (monthly)
$80.8K
starting costs
$23.9K
gross margin
20%
time to build
300 months
average product price
$10
growth channels
Organic social media
best tools
Canva, HotJar, Typeform
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
37 Pros & Cons
tips
3 Tips
Discover what tools Luke reccommends to grow your business!
platform
email
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accounting
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Start A Parking Lot Business

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

We are Luke and Heather Menear from 1-800-STRIPER! We started our parking lot striping business located in Rochester, NY, in 1999.

Our full-service parking lot striping company offers line striping services for both commercial and industrial parking lots of all sizes, as well as interior striping, sports courts, and more.

After two decades of being in business, we’ve increased our gross revenue to almost ¾ of a million dollars in annual sales. Not only this but we are recognized as community leaders who provide an essential service for commercial and local businesses.

Because of our vast experience and deep commitment to our brand, we are now sharing our tools and knowledge with others by offering franchise opportunities across the east coast.

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A freshly painted parking lot by 1-800-STRIPER

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

At the age of 19, Luke started working for a seal coating company where he began learning about parking lot maintenance. However, it wasn’t exactly the seal coating he was interested in, but the final step - striping the lines! He found this technical, niche work a business worth investing in. After all, parking lot stripes are an essential feature every parking lot needs!

So, after just two weeks of working for the seal coating company, Luke bought the striping equipment from his boss and set out to start his own parking lot striping business. Being 19 as well, Heather was in school to become a teacher but decided to put that on hold to help Luke manage the books. Over the next several years, we built 1-800-STRIPER from the ground up - working together as husband and wife.

If you are strictly in the business for the money, it probably won’t work. Instead, pursue something that lines up with your morals and values.

We drummed business the old-fashioned way during the initial stage since computers and company websites were still in the works. We would stop at every paving/seal coating job in the area, passing out our business cards to anyone who needed to make their parking lot pop with a fresh coat of paint.

We received a lot of business from cold calls and door-to-door sales and would take practically any and every job that came our way. As a result, we developed strong relationships with many property managers in the area who would refer us to their colleagues. It wasn’t long before we became known as the local parking lot stripers you could count on.

Ever since we’ve seen growth every year in some capacity with our customer base. We’ve enjoyed supporting our community and are happy to say that we have a handful of customers that date back from the very beginning.

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Luke and Heather Menear of 1-800-STRIPER

Take us through the process of developing your services.

When developing our services, we wanted to offer professional line painting to both commercial businesses that maintain parking lots and homeowners who want to spice up their backyard basketball court.

We took a lot of time understanding our customer’s expectations, which in turn helped us put systems in place - especially when it came to organizing the truck so that we could become more efficient.

Branding was also everything to us. Whether it was sprucing up the truck with our logo, fine-tuning our slogan, creating business cards, or developing our website, we wanted to paint our name everywhere so that people would know who to call if they needed pavement markings.

We decided to offer five services total:

  1. Restripe - This type of line striping simply repaints over the existing lines and pavement on a parking lot.
  2. Relayout - Lines often peak through under newly sealed parking lots, which is why we call this service a “relayout” since it isn’t as simple as a restripe, but doesn’t involve laying out a parking lot from scratch. This service can also be applied to parking lots with significantly faded lines that are difficult to see.
  3. Layout and Paint - When a parking lot has been newly paved, we consider this a “layout and paint” job, which means we make a blueprint of the parking lot in chalk before painting fresh new lines.
  4. Sport's Courts - We layout and paint as well as restripe all kinds of sport's courts from tennis courts, basketball courts, and more both in the community and at residential properties.
  5. Indoor Layouts - All year round, we stripe indoor facilities that need lines to help organize the flow of operations. This could be a large warehouse or storefront.

Coming up with these services didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of practice to understand more technical designs like sport courts. But, through it all, we always had our family there to help - especially our kids!

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this-husband-wife-started-a-739k-year-parking-lot-striping-business

this-husband-wife-started-a-739k-year-parking-lot-striping-business

Describe the process of launching the business.

We started operations the day after Luke bought the machines. Having worked at a seal coating company, Luke already had a decent flow of customers coming in. However, this didn’t stop us from passing out our business cards every chance we could get. We were surprised at how many parking lots in our area needed our service, which would then, in turn, make their business more inviting.

Even though we had a handful of customers, we weren’t set up to conquer our territory just yet. Operations weren’t exactly pretty. We owned an old box truck to store our striping machines - not to mention the garage at home was stocked full of paint buckets! Everything in the “office” (aka our house) was done by hand - including customers receipts, payroll, and more.

In the beginning, the days were long and busy, and we spent a lot of our spare time researching and teaching ourselves how to stripe parking lots and put systems in place to help us divide and conquer.

The majority of our exposure came from our company truck, which had our logo and slogan on it. We received many calls from people around town who saw us driving by and were reminded to restripe their parking lots.

Between our company truck, word of mouth, door-to-door sales, and cold calls, our business hit the ground running! It was amazing to see just how many people needed our services and were thankful that there was a local parking lot striper they could go to year after year to get the job done right.

At the end of the day, we truly only had one another for support, which is why we are now so passionate about franchising! Knowing what we know now makes us want to help others start a business founded on a support system. Because why start a business at year one when you could start it at year twenty with the right systems in place!

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Acquiring more striping machines in our earlier years!

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Word of mouth has always been our most prominent driver of traffic. However, this hasn't stopped us from testing other forms of marketing over the years like radio ads, SEO for our website and blogs posts, email marketing, and more. It is important to find key industry words for your website. You want to understand what words people are searching for versus industry terms that you could be using. We've also found that our trucks are moving billboards that bring in quite a bit of new business!

We've also leveraged social media to show off our work and help educate our customers. With many people looking to social media outlets these days, you can use this as an opportunity to bring your work to life through pictures, videos, blog posts, and more. People are always interested in what goes on behind the scenes in businesses. Just remember to keep it short, simple, and to the point.

In all aspects of our marketing, we try to help serve our customers' needs and make the process painless. For example, we understand how confusing it can be for a property owner to know who to call or what process to follow when striping a parking lot. This has led us to simplify our website and communicate clearly to our users.

We’ve learned a lot about website development, to say the least, since the internet was emerging when we started our business. So naturally, this meant we needed to stay on top of all of the never-ending changes.

Keeping our website up to date and as consumer-friendly and visually pleasing as possible is always top of mind. Over the years, we’ve made our website mobile-friendly, added a blog, and invested in regular posting to social media.

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1-800-STRIPER’s website as of 2021

In terms of retaining customers, we've learned to create a marketing sales funnel. We would recommend a system like Hubspot or Mailchimp. These are great choices to keep all of your data in one place. It really is a return on your investment to have these leads in a drip campaign with targeted information about your product or service. You can create multiple categories so that you can build a targeted relationship with your customers and keep them coming back year after year.

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1-800-STRIPER’s truck (aka our “moving billboard”)

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, we are happy to say that we’ve been in business for twenty-two years! We continue to provide our services to the greater Rochester, NY area and are well-known in our community as professional parking lot stripers. Not only this, but we have developed systems to make our business scalable through franchising.

For reference, here are our monthly gross margins over the last few years.

  • 2019 Monthly Gross Margins: $50,965
  • 2020 Monthly Gross Margins: $33,529
  • 2021 Monthly Gross Margins Jan-Nov: $75,298

As you can see, our operations are strong even though we’ve faced many obstacles like the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 labor shortage. Providing an essential service that the community needs to stay organized and safe has kept our business stable.

From running a business out of our home with one truck and two machines, we can now confidently say that we are changing the parking lot striping industry with our efficient systems in place. We are incredibly blessed to have tripled our assets to a free-standing building with three trucks, eighteen machines, and a small hard-working crew of under ten.

Our long-term goal is to now focus on franchising. We are looking to partner with like-minded, hardworking individuals who are excited to own their own businesses. We want to support them and share all the knowledge that we have learned over the years. We love our community and enjoy serving others, so this is an excellent way to teach and mentor in a field that we are passionate about and know so well.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Over the past twenty years, we have learned plenty about running a business - probably the most crucial being to count on criticism. Although we receive wonderful feedback from our customers, there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you do - for example, a social media post or advertisement. Yet, we have continued to stay dedicated to our brand and attract like-minded people who appreciate our work through it all.

Find your passion, care about what you are doing, and create momentum.

Another thing we’ve learned, especially this year, is not to be indecisive. Like many other businesses during 2021, we were hit with the issue of product shortages. This meant making firm decisions on what steps needed to be taken and vice-versa. Being diligent and finding supply options gave us power over our competitors and led us to make profitable decisions for our business.

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Stocking up on paint during the 2020 pandemic

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

The pen and paper method didn’t last long when it came to managing our business. We knew we needed a better way to track our income and expenses. This is where Quickbooks Online (QBO) came in. Keeping track of all of the numbers for a business can be challenging, but thankfully QBO keeps it all in one place. Want to see a two-year profit and loss comparison or how much you’ve spent on payroll this month? No problem! Just simply run a QBO report, and you’ll have all the numbers you need. To say we love it is an understatement.

Another helpful tool we use regularly is Canva. This online photo editing tool allows you to create social media images, business cards, and more, all in-house. With Canva, we can effortlessly create the content we need without hiring a designer, which has saved us a lot of money in the long run.

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One of our new business cards was created on Canva!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber was instrumental in learning the importance of working on the business rather than in the business. The author talks about the roles of the technician, manager, and entrepreneur and how we have to balance them inside us. Most people run a business from the technician side and get lost in the weeds rather than managing the business and creating the vision. It is so important to unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and stay laser-focused on building the company!

Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey is also a book that has many business principles. One important nugget we learned from this book was the need to tell your day where to go, or you will wonder where it went! Ramsey talks about rating your activities by their importance. For instance, today’s activities would be an “A1, A2, A3, A4” and so on. You might have tasks that need to be completed but are not of utmost importance, which would then be “B1, B2, B3, B4”. It helped teach us that we only have so much time in a day. You can’t buy more time, and you certainly can’t get it back, so prioritizing your time and spending it wisely is crucial.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Set a vision for your company and share it with your employees so they can follow. When a clear vision of where the business is going is shown, employees can feel confident to meet those goals, too. Whatever is happening at the top is affecting the rest of the company!

As the owner of a company, you’ll want to set up a business where you have competent people taking on tasks and working alongside you. It is so important to have people working in areas that they are gifted in. Synergy is attained when people work together and make a greater impact.

Find your passion, care about what you are doing, and create momentum. If you are strictly in the business for the money, it probably won’t work. Instead, pursue something that lines up with your morals and values. Chances are, you won’t even feel like you are working!

You don’t have to go at it alone! Through its proven business model, franchise ownership minimizes many of the risks associated with starting a new business from scratch. We have learned a lot along the way, and I wish we had the network to ask questions and get answers from people who wanted us to succeed.

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Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are currently looking for franchisees to run their own business while finding the support and dedication from our franchise development team. That’s why, after over 20 years of business, we’re offering franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs like you who want to become assisted business owners.

This means we won’t leave you out there alone. It’s also why we’ve opted to award franchises, not sell them, to qualified entrepreneurs. This is a brand new opportunity that has never existed before, which means your region is open for business! If you’re ready to become your own boss and lift your community with a successful business, fill out an inquiry form.

Where can we go to learn more?

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Luke and Heather Menear   Founder of 1-800-STRIPER
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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