Lines at asphalt plants can be extremely long, especially during the peak of paving season.
Asphalt paving contractors know the challenges of getting hot mix from an outside supplier. Long waits for material, high trucking costs, and lack of control over the quality of your mix can make paving projects incredibly frustrating. And, more than that, relying on a competitor’s plant to fulfill your asphalt requirements can reduce the profitability of the job and pose a risk to your business’s reputation for quality and timeliness.
Investing in your own asphalt plant is a big step. It takes a lot of research and number crunching to determine if it makes sense for your operation. But when you consider all the benefits of plant ownership, you can see how making that commitment pays dividends early on.
No more waiting in line
This is probably the easiest benefit to see right away. Plant ownership immediately improves your operation’s efficiency because your trucks won’t be stuck waiting at a supplier’s plant.
In the past your paving crews may have had to wait for hours for a truck to return with a load of hot mix. Investing in your own plant allows you to avoid the lines and keep your projects running without interruptions.
You control the mix quality
When you own the equipment, you have control over the quality and consistency of the asphalt, something you don’t get when you outsource. Plus, you no longer have to reassess supplier material for quality every time you shift sites.
Over time, you’ll develop your own arsenal of custom asphalt blends and specialty mixes, ensuring you’ll have the optimal asphalt for every application. This opens the door for your business to differentiate itself from the competition with custom, high-quality blends.
It eliminates the long haul
For many contractors, investing in a portable asphalt plant is the smartest option, especially if they are in an area with seasonal work or a low population density. In these cases, the ability to take your asphalt production facility where you need it is invaluable.
A portable plant allows you to be strategic with proximity to the jobsite. Convenient plant location cuts down on haul times and can reduce the number of trucks needed to keep the jobsite crew supplied with a sufficient supply of asphalt.
But is it worth it?
Return on investment is the issue everyone justifiably wants to talk about when it comes to asphalt plant ownership. With no shortage of variables, it can be difficult to account for everything. The efficiency of ownership manifests itself in a number of different ways.
For example, shorter material transport times alone can greatly contribute to efficiency and a faster return on investment. Shorter hauls mean fewer trucks are needed, saving fuel, vehicle wear and labor costs. And faster trips make your work crew more productive, never leaving them waiting for materials.
These factors usually result in at least 50 percent better truck utilization for a paving contractor entering the production market. If you figure truck costs at $70 to $75 per hour, that easily adds up to $1,500 per day.
Know your ROI landscape
Every scenario is different, but the majority of operations will realize a return on a new asphalt plant in just a few years, and some will produce enough to cover the cost of the plant in a single year.
In general, contractors who consistently produce 50,000 tons of material per year find the investment well worth it. Depending on the situation, even those who produce less than that discover the benefits of ownership outweigh the costs.
Ultimately, you should work out the math with a product expert to see if ownership makes sense for your operation. You could be foregoing thousands of dollars in annual profit by continuing to outsource.
Contact Asphalt Drum Mixers today to be paired with one of our experienced industry experts and walk through plant ownership scenarios for your business.