Sensational Growth of South Florida Milling, Fort Myers FL

Asphalt is 100% recyclable and is the most recycled material in the country. Expert milling services like South Florida Milling (SFM) use state-of-the-art equipment and processes that maximize efficiency in resurfacing and preserving recyclable material. Pavement sweeping is an integral part of this important road and parking lot reconditioning process. Daniel Banks, Owner of South Florida Milling and his right-hand man, Junior Brown, recently shared with NAS how SFM operates and grows its milling, cleanup and sweeping business.

State-of-the-Art Milling Process By South Florida Milling

Today’s best milling operations do not use old equipment and methods from decades ago. Through advancements in technology, only the precise amount of existing roadway is removed during the milling processes performed by teams of specialists like those at South Florida Milling. SFM uses the latest high-tech machinery to “grind” away old pavement and recycle the removed material on the spot to allow for the application of a fresh asphalt layer directly on top of the milled surface.

This is all accomplished without any alteration to the existing elevation of the roadway. The advanced milling process produces a safer and smoother driving surface by ideally matching the height of existing curbs, drains, and other features. It also speeds up the construction timeline, which avoids excessive inconvenience for the public.

Combining highly skilled, experienced professional equipment operators with the most reliable, highest quality of milling and sweeping equipment enables SFM to provide an incomparably meticulous process with optimum quality outcomes and maximum yield of recyclable asphalt material.

Small Start of Something Big in the Construction Industry

Daniel Banks immigrated to the United States in 2005. He was the General Mgr of a milling company for eight years. Banks then bought in to Southern Striping Solutions (SSS), with the sole purpose of starting up a milling service division. In 2014, the company started asphalt milling and cleanup operations. SSS still provides striping services, but the major percentage of the business is milling and cleanup.

South Florida Milling is the Florida’s leading asphalt milling contractor. Dan’s impressive team of professionals each have a minimum of 10 years of experience in processes for milling asphalt pavement, cleanup (sweeping), and full removal. The company invests in the industry’s best equipment for road milling, full removal, profiling, leveling, and the all-important cleanup (pavement sweeping) process.

The company has grown at an extraordinary rate under Dan Banks’ leadership. Today, the organization consists of Southern Striping Solutions, Collier Paving & Concrete, South Georgia Milling & Cleanup Services (SGM), South Georgia Paving (SGP), South Carolina Milling & Cleanup Services (SCM) and of course, South Florida Milling. SFM which is led by Jay Perry serves Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, and other Florida markets, while SGM/SGP, led by William Higgins serves the Metro Atlanta, Savannah and other Georgia markets and SCM, led by Eric Kizziar covers the South Carolina markets. Dan notes, “We have the same equipment and services everywhere.”

Each of the nine locations has its own management, administrative support, drivers, technicians, truck mechanics, etc. “We also have a team that travels between locations to handle heavier mechanical repairs and replacements that the local crew may not be set up to do. We have 130 employees. Any member of our team can walk to a unit anywhere we operate and begin working seamlessly. Our general administrative, sales, and systems support offices are in Fort Myers.”

What Makes the SFM Process So Advanced?

South Florida Milling uses a new technology for pavement milling. It’s an advanced field computer system integrated with the moving parts of a massive milling and recycling machine produced by Wirtgen. This highly sophisticated, enormous equipment does it all, from full-width to fine-edge milling along concrete curbs, gutters, manhole covers, metal structures, and other structural elements of roads and parking lots.

The milling, recycling, and sweeping equipment and processes are designed to match specified depths and widths to tie the freshly applied asphalt layer to the other site elements listed above. The process evens out the differing elevations of all of these structural elements for user safety and to create appropriate drainage patterns.

The rough and fine asphalt debris generated by milling is removed in the pavement sweeping phase of the surface rehabilitation. In this stage, top-quality sweeper trucks ideally suited to this particular task take over the process.

Why Do You Need a Great Pavement Sweeper in Milling?

Dan Banks emphasizes that the importance of sweeping as part of the milling cleanup process cannot be overstated, “Sweeping is everything. That part of the job must be done correctly before the crew can tack it and pave it. It’s one of the most important parts of the process.”

Many, if not most, milling companies hire outside pavement sweeping contractors to bring their own heavy equipment and professionals for each job. Dan explains below why SFM has all their pavement sweeping operations in-house instead:

“Sometimes the contracts stipulate for cleanup. Yes, we can leave it to another company, but it pays off tenfold to have our asphalt sweeping operations in-house, because we get both contracts, milling and sweeping, the whole pie.” Dan estimated that, generally speaking, a typical investment for a complete set of milling and sweeping equipment is about $1.5 million.

We asked Dan what he looks for when purchasing sweeper trucks for use with milling equipment. He advised that he looks for the best on the market, which he defines as the most user-friendly, i.e., the most “technical-friendly”, and of course, effective, well-built, strong, and highly durable. He said ODRA fits that set of criteria best for his company’s needs, “That’s why we have so many of them. We currently have nine of them.”

Milling and Sweeper Truck Advancements

The best milling processes are very high-tech now, and the high-end equipment in the industry is in the form of a beast of a machine like the Wirtgen used throughout the SFM organization. So, we asked Dan how he finds that sweeper truck manufacturing progress has kept up with the advancements in today’s state-of-the-art milling equipment. His answer was simply that brands like ODRA are very reliable and are not as complicated for the operators. Dan says that’s an important advantage for his purposes. It means smoother operating and you also don’t need a computer to work on them.

When asked what he expects in the next generation of sweeper truck advancements to optimize efficiency, Dan said, “Well, everybody is pushing for electric, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Scaling Pavement Sweeping in Milling Services

For new entrepreneurs looking to enter the pavement sweeping industry, SFM’s expansion demonstrates that there are more options for strategic sweeping market targeting than just finding underserved or poorly served segments of your nearest metro area.

South Florida Milling has grown in just 10 years from Fort Myers into new physical market areas throughout Florida, as well as parts of Georgia and South Carolina. The company has complete asphalt milling, cleanup and sweeping systems setups in each service area.

The business has also diversified, as do many of the nation’s most successful pavement milling and sweeping companies. SFM’s revenue channels include its original striping services, asphalt milling, and pavement sweeping (as part of its milling process). Offering this cluster of related services allows the enterprise to keep all of those in-house and get paid for all the work involved in the total process of road and parking lot refurbishment.

The company usually has its 13 milling machines and 9 sweeper trucks working at any given time. That’s mostly on both private and municipal contracts they’ve obtained through bidding processes.

A Word of Advice for New Milling and Sweeping Business Owners from Dan Banks, South Florida Milling

"Invest in the best equipment for the job. For example, if you’re shopping for a sweeper truck, go straight to ODRA! That’s what we’ve done, because of the practicality of the equipment design and the user-friendliness of the controls. We started out with another brand, but it was too bulky, and it had electronic issues too frequently. So, we reluctantly tried the ODRA, and we’ve continued buying those since we got that first one. We just ordered another one to be delivered in a couple of weeks." (That brings the SFM milling machines to 13 and sweeper trucks to a total of 10.)

We look forward to seeing what Dan Banks, a proven powerhouse of independent business growth, achieves over the next decade as a US construction services provider!

For more information about South Florida Milling, you can contact “Down Town” Junior Brown or Daniel Banks at (239) 591-5902, or visit southfloridamilling.com

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