by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Good News/Bad News:
Perhaps It Will All End Up Being Good
"Which do you want first?" as the timeless question goes. Well, let's start with the good: The outpouring of support for the fledgling World Sweeping Association has been strong, positive and heart-warming. For me, it has been an opportunity to check in with a large number of contractors from around the U.S. Many of the conversations have provided insights into the current status of sweeping contractors around the country.
A total of 32 new WSA members joined those who were grandfathered in with Founding Member status as a result of their previous participation in WorldSweeper's Contractor Locator system. That gave WSA a total of over 90 members starting into just its third month of operation. That's the good news.
On the other side of the slate, the saga surrounding Oxford Property Services' default, and subsequent bankruptcy, continues to unfold. According to reports coming in, Oxford appears to have had over $35 million in contractor money when it defaulted this past January 23rd. Allegedly, only 3% of that was supposed to go to Oxford as administration fees.
However, a contractor reported to our office that, as a result of starting to work directly for DDR, both he and his DDR representative were startled to discover that Oxford had additionally been 'stepping on' his invoices for another 17+%. That percentage was the difference between the amount the contractor had been invoicing to Oxford and what Oxford had then been invoicing to DDR.
How could this sad tale possibly have a shred of good to it? It does so only in the sense that this behind-the-scenes behavior and default is so egregious that it may well serve to shake up the entire third party system. Hopefully – and with continuing pressure from our industry, other maintenance sectors and the legal system – prospective customers of third party vendors will start putting those organizations under a microscope.
WSA and WorldSweeper are doing so, as well, via this month's survey designed to uncover what kind of reputation the various U.S. third party vendors have with the contractors who work for them. Of course, all third party vendors should not be painted with the same brush. And, by facilitating a way for contractors to communicate with each other about the business practices of each specific third party vendor in the marketplace, I hope we reduce the future likelihood of contractors getting burned like so many have with Oxford and DDR.
March Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Are You Being 'Snookered' by Any Third Party Vendors?"
- WorldSweeper's NPE 2013 Coverage includes 4 Articles, 7 Vendor Videos and a Slideshow
- Third Party Vendor Survey Designed to Establish and Share Company Reputations
- Elgin Sweeper Introduces Pelican Sweeper With
EcoInfusedTM Technology Configuration
- Featured Contractor: Hy-Tech Property Services, Inc.
- Horse-Drawn Studebaker Sweeper is an Old-Timer!
- FleetOwner's 2013 Truck Tire Application Guide
- Not Exactly Sweeping: Latest Info on Toxicity of Coal Tar Sealants
Are You Being 'Snookered' by Any Third Party Vendors?
By now, all of our contractor readers should be aware of the Oxford Property Services default and subsequent bankruptcy. Most readers are also all-too-aware that the Oxford debacle is just one more in a long string of prior and ongoing negative situations that have to do with third party intermediaries. An increasing number of these types of businesses are contracting with large property owners to provide sweeping and other services... even though most of them own no sweepers or other maintenance equipment.
Writing in his alternate position as executive director of the World Sweeping Association, WorldSweeper's editor has written a stinging rebuke of the system as it stands now, along with a detailed outline of some newly surfacing details surrounding the Oxford default.
In the linked story, Ranger Kidwell-Ross calls on the sweeping industry to unite together and with other interested parties to change how the third party vendor system is allowed to operate. He also offers his own 25 years of insight into how a win/win scenario might be crafted to the benefit of all parties.
Read the article.
WorldSweeper's NPE 2013 Coverage
WorldSweeper's coverage of NPE 2013 includes a total of 6 vendor videos, as well as one that shows the layout for next year's NPE in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
In addition, you will find three articles of importance for sweeping contractors, all gleaned from information presented in the Best Practices for Sweeping Contractors Seminar. To get a feel for what it was like being at this year's NPE event, use the link shown below.
Head to your virtual look at NPE 2013!
WSA's Third Party Vendor Survey Designed to Establish and Share Individual Company Reputations
The World Sweeping Association and WorldSweeper.com are inviting any contractors who have experience working with third party vendors to participate in a survey designed to rate their experience with those various companies.
The survey covers a total of 22 different third party vendor companies, asking for a numerical rating from a top score of "plus 5" to the lowest possible rating of "minus 5." Participants are also requested to indicate the average time it takes to get paid from each vendor, as well as to provide comments about each of the companies they have worked for.
Please do not fill out the survey if your sweeping organization does not have first-hand knowledge about the company gained via doing work for them. Just leave blank any questions about companies you've only heard about but not worked for.
Although you are welcome to share the link with other sweeping contractors, please only fill out the survey one time. The numerical rating results will be posted in the April WorldSweeper e-newsletter. Note that although iContact requires an email address for validation of its surveys, all information provided will remain confidential unless you indicate that you prefer to be identified.
Fill out the survey.
Elgin Sweeper Introduces Pelican Sweeper With
EcoInfusedTM Technology Configuration
Elgin Sweeper Company has introduced a Pelican three-wheel mechanical sweeper featuring a Tier 4 Interim EcoInfusedTM Technology configuration. The new Pelican configuration meets the latest emission levels, performance and engine simplicity expectations as current Pelican models – without the cost and complexity associated with current emission-level engines.
"The new Pelican sweeper configuration is part of Elgin Sweeper's initiative to develop and deploy green, energy-efficient and low-emissions technology solutions for our street sweepers," said Brian Giles, sweeper products manager at Elgin Sweeper. "Over the years, Elgin Sweeper has led the charge in advancing the use of cleaner, safer and more efficient technologies for sweeping roads and streets.
Read about Elgin's new Pelican configuration.
Hy-Tech Property Maintenance Grew to Dominance Through Competence and Compassion
In 1985, Virginia's Marc Chimento launched himself into the sweeping business by making an unlikely choice for a first sweeper – a slide-in Tennant sweeper with no gutter broom or dump. "It was all I could afford," said Chimento. "To clean the curb I broke a pushbroom handle in half and taped it to my arm. I'd hold the chassis door open with my foot as I drove along with my arm hanging out cleaning the curb. Then, when it came time to dump, that meant shoveling out the hopper with a coal shovel."
Perseverance paid off, though, and it wasn't long before Chimento purchased what he calls his "first real sweeper," a Schwarze 343-D. From that modest beginning, though with many an up and down in between, Hy-Tech Property Maintenance has grown into a do-it-all contracting powerhouse with over 100 employees and a roster of inhouse expertise that spans over a dozen types of services.
Check out Hy-Tech.
Horse-Drawn Studebaker Sweeper is an Old-Timer!
Springfield, Missouri-based reader, Wayne Warner, sent us a photo of a Studebaker sweeper that he took a photo of in about 1947. Along with the photo was a story to share with the industry about how the sweeper would have been used.
The details about the sweeper, which are related in a brief story in the History section of the WorldSweeper website, discuss how the sweeper was used during the first half of the 20th century in a Western Oregon lumber town where Warner grew up. As you will learn, the machine was used for sweeping up the mill's dock area, as well as on some of the surrounding 'plank' roads surrounding the Booth-Kelly Lumber Company mill.
See larger photo and check out the story.
FleetOwner's 2013 Truck Tire Application Guide
Tires and treads have never been so important to a trucking fleet. With greenhouse gas regulations and new fuel-efficiency standards that must be met beginning with 2014 model-year vehicles, the focus on the role a tire plays in a vehicle's mpg has never been greater.
You cannot just put any tire on your vehicles, though. Tire and tread suppliers are working closely with OEMs and fleets alike to ensure vehicles are fitted with the proper tire to maximize mpg, retread-ability and lifecycle costs. Our link is to FleetOwner's annual Truck Tire Application Chart, where you will find tires and treads from the leading manufacturers, along with manufacturer recommendations for 13 specific wheel-position and service applications. Includes both new and retread information.
Take a look.
Latest Info on Toxicity of Coal Tar Sealants
Coal tar sealcoating mixture is increasingly coming under fire for its potential to allow toxic chemicals to run off into streams and other waterways. Bans have been enacted in the state of Washington, the District of Columbia. and thirty municipalities and three counties in five states (Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin), affecting almost 11.9 million people. Several national and regional hardware and home-improvement retailers have voluntarily ceased selling coal-tar-based driveway-sealer products.
Coal-tar can contain 50 percent or more PAHs by weight and is known to cause cancer in humans. Coal-tar-based sealcoat products typically are 20 to 35 percent coal-tar pitch. Product analyses indicate that coal-tar-based sealcoat products contain about 1,000 times more PAHs than sealcoat products with an asphalt base. Since many public works directors and sweeping contractors are also involved in sealcoat application, we are providing this link to the latest information on the topic of whether coal-tar sealant is legal, or should be used, in any given area of the country.
Follow this link to read the latest at the USGS website.