1-800-SWEEPER AT NPE p.20
COMMON ACCOUNTING MISTAKES p.22
SIX THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO SUCCEED IN YOUR SMALL BUSINESS IN 2023 p.26
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Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to North American Sweeper Magazine are those of the individual authors exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of North American Sweeper Magazine, its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. North American Sweeper Magazine assumes no liability or responsibility toward independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.
4 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us FEATURES 8 R&S Sweeping Company, Royersford PABusiness is Brooming! 20 1-800-SWEEPER at NPE 22 The 5 Most Common Accounting Mistakes Made by Small Businesses and How To Avoid Them 26 Six Things You Should Do To Succeed In Your Small Business In 2023 34 Index of Advertisers/Classifieds CONTENTS MARCH 2023 | VOLUME 18 | ISSUE 3 CEO & PUBLISHER
Gideon W. Smith
EDITOR Katherine Nolan
Tracy Rodean CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melissa Kennelly EDITORIAL MANAGER Heidi Karpinich CIRCULATION Noah Aiden
Global Media Inc.
Box 235, Stockton New Jersey 08559
phone 973-532-0319 fax
North American Sweeper Magazine is published by Phoenix Global Media Inc. Copyright 2023 by Phoenix Global Media Inc. All
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BUSINESS IS BROOMING! R&S Sweeping Company, Royersford PA
This is an all-American success story of a local entrepreneur, Scott Bardman, who bought his first commercial sweeper truck in 1999. He kept his day job and took on sweeping jobs at night and on weekends for his first four years in business. After those years of working full-time during the day and sweeping nearly full-time on his off-hours, he then quit his job and went full-time in his pavement sweeping business. His wife at that time also ran that first truck for a while, and as work built up with home builders and contractors in the area, he hired someone to run the second truck, a Tennant sweeper.
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Bardman had not done any sales — and still has not done any sales to this day in March 2023. From the start, he simply handed out business cards on job sites, and, over the years his performance quality has done the rest to build a thriving sweeping business.
HOW TO GROW A GREAT BUSINESS WITHOUT MARKETING OR SALES
When asked how much money he has had to spend on marketing over the years to grow his business from zero to a dozen quarter-of-a-million-dollar-sweeper trucks servicing his local market, his answer is none. Again, he merely says he did a good job on the work sites and drew more work from people who saw that performance. By continuing to build a strong reputation for quality, he was building a large loyal clientele entirely by word of mouth.
R&S has grown entirely organically by professionals telling others on job sites about his service quality: “I had been operating a sweeper for a local construction company. I knew a lot of people through that. I saw an opportunity as many housing developments began going up in my area. So, I got my own sweeper, and that’s how I started the business.
I had gone to tech school for auto mechanics. We maintained the trucks ourselves. We still do most repairs ourselves and send out some engine work. Nick (Nick Bardman, Scott’s nephew) does all of that now. He has another employee, Gabe Chiodo (Scott’s son-in-law), with him in the shop. “We do bushings, bearings, and any continued on page 10
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other necessary maintenance in the winter months, so we’re fresh for the Spring.”
R&S SWEEPING EQUIPMENT
R&S has 12 trucks, all Elgin Broom Bears, except one Tymco 600 used mainly for sawcutting. When asked about other field fleet vehicles, like water trucks, support pickup trucks, etc., Scott said, “I did have a 4,000-gallon water truck, but we never got a lot of work for it. We used it for filling trucks, but then we put up a permanent water tank in the shop for water all year round. We have a pickup truck and a partsrunning car as well. We have been acquiring 1-2 sweepers every year to keep the fleet up to date.”
CONTINUING GROWTH AT R&S, ROYERSFORD PA
“Most of our work is road construction now, milling and paving,” Scott explains. “About 20-25 percent is concrete or blacktop plants, quarries, and housing
developments. Most of that is on a recurring schedule. We currently have 10 drivers, and I like to keep a spare truck.” The company bills anywhere from 350 to over 500 hours a week during the busy season.
R&S MANAGEMENT TEAM
Scott oversees the business, but Nick has taken a larger role in management over the last two years. Nick runs the shop and is second in command of the company. Each year, Nick increases his share of ownership. Scott said he will be retiring soon and Nick is preparing to take over full management of the company.
Fern, Scott’s daughter-in-law, is the Office Manager. She is currently working about two days per week during the winter season and more during the warmweather months. Her duties include billing, receivables, payables, and payroll.
Most of the incoming phone calls go to Scott or
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Nick on their cell phones. But all other admin responsibilities are Fern’s. Nick handles scheduling new jobs and dispatching as well as training for new drivers. Nate Stout, who has been with the company a long time, also trains new employees.
PROCESS IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE AT R&S
The R&S Sweeping Company leadership team, under the direction of Scott Bardman, has developed a new employee handbook, which they are just rolling out to the staff this week. Fern explained, “It’s a big move for us. When Nick and I developed the handbook we made sure to explain the reason behind company safety policies, such as pre- and post-trip inspections (bearings, belts, tires, lights, etc.). We also felt it was important to highlight all of the employee benefits we offer. Now, with the handbook, each person can easily understand the company’s daily expectations and know exactly what they receive in return for their hard work.”
That’s an exemplary achievement by the R&S management group. It’s a critical organizational tool for a growing company and it advances the company’s employer brand in their market. That’s an ideal way to help move the company forward under its next generation of leadership.
R&S MARKETING AND BRANDING IN 2023
The shop is on Scott’s property where his home is located, so there is no signage by the road. All the drivers wear tee shirts, sweatshirts, hats, vests, and other work apparel with the company logo prominently displayed. All the sweeper trucks and other field vehicles display the logo as well. R&S is continuing to add their catchy slogan — “R&S Sweeping: Don’t Stress! We will sweep up your mess!” to outgoing job slips and other company forms.
R&S COMPANY CULTURE
Scott reviews the internal culture of R&S with his characteristic succinctness, “I have a group of highquality people who have been with me for a long time. Last year I was turning down work every day because I didn’t have enough drivers. Some people can be trained in hours, some in two weeks, and, in a few cases, new employees have not been able to perform quality work despite weeks of training. We’re not just drivers; we’re operators. You have to look behind you and make sure it looks good when you leave.” He notes, “I don’t think I’ve ever hired anyone with experience. They’ve all come from truck driving. I don’t think I’ve ever hired anyone who came from the competition either.”
As to the corporate culture of R&S, Scott keeps things simple: “The refrigerator in the shop is full of beverages. That gets visited regularly, especially on Fridays.“ He said drivers tend to linger and socialize a little at the end of the week. “We have an annual Christmas party. We spare no expense on it, and we give Christmas bonuses. We encourage drivers not to go on vacation during peak season. The bonus
14 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us SPOTLIGHT INDEX
R&S is continuing to add their catchy slogan — “R&S Sweeping: Don’t Stress! We will sweep up your mess!” to outgoing job slips and other company forms.
acknowledges our appreciation for their dedication to the company. During the year, we also try to find other times to show our appreciation, like taking them out to dinner while we discuss the new handbook.”
COMPETITIVE MARKET ATMOSPHERICS
When asked how he gets along with the competition, Scott explained, “We get along fine. I have a local friend in the business and we talk regularly on the phone to check in on each other. There are larger forces in the marketplace who we have had discussions with also.”
EXCLUSIVE MISSION VS. DIVERSIFICATION
Scott says he has considered adding diverse revenue channels but has found he prefers to stay in the sweeping lane, “Any time I’ve tried to veer off from street sweeping, I did not like the result. Street sweeping is what we are good at, it’s where we are profitable, so that’s what we will stick to. Our customer base is growing all the time, which shows that what we
are doing is working.”
PASSING THE REINS – GENERATIONAL BUSINESS TRANSITION
Asked what advice he gives Nick for the future, Scott says simply, “He’s learning hands-on, he’s very
continued on page 16
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capable and smart. He learns every day. I tell him to follow his intuition and to do what he thinks is best. He’s learning about trucks. For example, we’re having trouble with a truck’s hydraulics right now. But, we’ll get it figured out.”
He added, “We’re looking for a property because we’re as big as we can get where we are. We need more space. We’ve been looking for two years, but it’s hard to find the right place at the right price. We have the Penn DOT contract for Montgomery County, so we want to stay within the county.”
THE FUTURE OF R&S AND ITS MESSAGE FOR THE INDUSTRY
Scott Bardman said the profit margin of R&S is great year after year. R&S Sweeping makes money and their employees do very well. We’ve heard that kind
of ROI report a lot over recent years from operators throughout the country. However, some sweeping business owners in fiercely competitive markets, and even in over-abundant markets, express concerns about profitability, while others have this sense of ease about their businesses’ and the industry’s potential. Why? What accounts for the contrasting perspectives?
One difference stands out as the apparent cause of the exceptionally positive perspective of highly successful commercial pavement sweeping business owners that the financial sustainability of their enterprises appears virtually assured. Notably, the same operators who feel like their business and the sweeping industry are dually packed with potential
continued on page 18
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are those who also talk about quality as the driver of their robust steady growth year over year.
That’s what we hear from Scott Bardman, consistently attributing his company’s growth without selling to an exceptional record of delivering performance quality, prioritizing quality, and a developed reputation for quality.
REFLECTION ON R&S SWEEPING CO AND SCOTT BARDMAN
As he heads into retirement, Scott Bardman is a highly economical interviewee, sticking firmly to essential facts and seeming uninclined to recount many details of his life-long career in business leadership. And, why should he? His story tells itself in the long, steady success he has built over the decades of R&S operation in Pennsylvania. It’s a business that has consistently acquired new sweepers since its inception. You’ll recall that that included buying a second sweeper truck while he was still working full-time at his former construction job before starting to run his own business full-time — possibly an industry record.
Scott Bardman, Owner, R&S Sweeping Company, Royersford, PA has grown a thriving local commercial service business purely on doing the job with a commitment to quality. His company has provided jobs for many local workers to support their families and the local economy of Royersford, and it is positioned to continue doing so for many years to come. We congratulate Scott on this truly outstanding life achievement with R&S by the U.S. American national standard.
For More Information
CONTACT: Scott Bardman , R&S Sweeping Co. 110 N. Township Line Rd. Royersford, PA 19468 Office: 610-489-5146
18 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us SPOTLIGHT INDEX
www.nasweeper.com MARCH 2023 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER 19
1-800-SWEEPER at NPE
Many thanks to everyone that visited our booth at NPE in Charlotte. Productive conversations were had with future Partners and Vendor Partners, discussing the benefits of joining our organization. Our 1-800-SWEEPER Partners also stopped by to re-connect with us while helping hand out 1-800-SWEEPER t-shirts and promotional items.
Thank you to NAPSA for hosting another successful Sweepers’ Night Out, where 1-800-SWEEPER was once again a co-sponsor. The 80’s Game Night theme was fun as well as the scavenger hunt.
Congratulations to our Partner, Cole Watts, from
More Clean of Texas for being named the 2023 Pavement Maintenance Magazine’s Sweeper of the Year. More Clean of Texas has been providing exterior maintenance in Texas since 2004. We congratulate Cole and his team on this tremendous accomplishment!
20 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us
MOST COMMON ACCOUNTING MISTAKES
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Made by Small Businesses and How To Avoid Them
Running a small business means you’re a jack of all trades. There is no marketing department or financial team; it’s all on you. This is a challenge.
1. Not Taking Accounting and Financial Record Keeping Seriously Enough
You’re trying to attract new customers but also trying to do all the administration for your business. Most small business owners do their own accounting. As a result, many make mistakes that can, in the long run, exact a high cost on their business. It can often be impossible to navigate your way through without missing something if you’re not a qualified accounting professional.
In this article, we set out why paying for a qualified financial professional may be the best thing you can do for your business.
Let’s start with the most common mistakes small businesses make when doing their own accounting.
THE FIVE MOST COMMON ACCOUNTING MISTAKES MADE BY SMALL BUSINESSES
Below are five of the most common accounting mistakes made by small businesses.
Doing your accounts and keeping track of your expenditure should not be an afterthought. Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business. The smaller your operation, the more important it is to keep track of your spending and expenses. Keeping track of your financials gives you a clear picture of your business and helps you plan for the future.
2. Mistaking Profit For Cashflow
Another common (and often fatal!) mistake for a business is assuming that profit and cash flow are the same.
Let’s talk through an example to help illustrate this point.
Imagine you’ve closed a deal with a new client worth $40,000. It will take you six months to fulfill this deal, and you’ll need to spend $10,000 to meet the specifics of the contract.
Great, you think, “I now have $30,000 to spend on that new equipment I need.” But before you rush off to spend the cash, stop and consider the following:
22 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us BUSINESS CORNER INDUSTR Y NEWS
4 What happens if there is a delay and the contract takes longer than six months to complete?
4 What happens if the cost of the materials you need rises or you lose a staff member crucial to the contract?
Suddenly that $30,000 spending spree you were planning is not so attractive.
3. Not Separating Personal Accounts From Business Accounts
Using the same bank accounts for your personal life and business can be tempting when you’re a small operation. Let’s look at another example to illustrate this point.
You stop by your local mall to pick up stationary for your business, and while you’re there, you buy some personal items. Everything you buy ends up on the same receipt.
This makes keeping track of the business’s financial health a challenge. When the time comes to do your tax returns, it can mean you miss deductions or other expenditures that affect your bottom line. Or you end up attributing items to your business that were for your personal use.
continued on page 24
www.nasweeper.com MARCH 2023 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER 23
SWEEPER FINANCING SPECIALISTS Jayme Elise Michael Your CONTACT US: 877-701-2391 | OakmontFinance.com
Using the same bank accounts for your personal life and business can be tempting when you’re a small operation.
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If you fail to track outstanding payments, you’re storing problems for the future.
Cash flow is crucial for small businesses.
Customers who fail to pay up take up precious time and resources.
Blurring your personal finances and that of your company means you never have a clear picture of the financial health of your business.
businesses. Customers who fail to pay up take up precious time and resources.
It’s important that you don’t leave money on the table and keep a close eye on what payments are outstanding. Failure to have a payment billing process in place can mean the death of your business.
5. Human Errors
This mistake covers several areas, including:
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4 Errors in calculating costs or payments.
4 Having no process in place for bookkeeping, leading to items being missed.
4. Failing to Keep Track of Your Billing
If you fail to track outstanding payments, you’re storing problems for the future. Cash flow is crucial for small
4 Bulk data entry, meaning that mistakes are more likely to happen. Many small businesses do all their accounting in one go rather than spread things out. This, in turn, leads to an increased chance that mistakes will happen.
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While accountants are human and can make errors, they are far less likely to do so. They understand what systems you need for accurate accounting. They are also the experts when it comes to compliance with IRS requirements.
HOW TO AVOID MAKING COSTLY FINANCIAL MISTAKES
This is not an exhaustive list of common mistakes small businesses make when doing their accounts. The only way to ensure you’re in the best financial position possible is to hire a professional. They can advise you on how to track your finances and keep accurate records.
https://articles.bplans.com/the-8-most-common-smallbusiness-accounting-mistakes/ https://www.business.com/articles/small-businessaccounting-mistakes/ https://www.hiscox.com/blog/most-common-accountingmistakes-made-small-businesses-and-how-avoid-them https://www.goforma.com/small-business-accounting/ common-small-business-accounting-mistakes
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Tracking your finances doesn’t have to be painful; sometimes, spending the money to hire an accountant is the best thing you can do for the longevity of your business. to the North American Sweeper Magazine for more tips on how to keep your small business healthy and thriving.
Six Things You Should Do to Succeed in Your Small Business in 2023
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Even if you’ve only been operating your small commercial sweeping business for the past couple of years, you’ve seen it all and done it all. The experience of these most recent years has rapidly advanced novice entrepreneurs to seasoned business disaster veterans. From the COVID national health crisis to the devastating economic shutdown that it triggered, to the labor shortage, to the supply chain chaos, to the runaway inflation, it’s been quite a ride. Below are some fresh ideas from modern business experts to help resilient operators make the most of 2023.
6 FRESH BUSINESS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IDEAS FOR 2023
Especially if you’re finding that you’re so far holding your market position but new growth has not been reaching your benchmarks for 2022 Q4 and 2023 Q1 projections, consider these general recommendations. Applying some or all of these methods can realize a collective positive impact on your commercial sweeping business operations, budgeting, and sales this year and beyond.
1. Offset the Losses from Inflation.
With the exorbitant inflation rate and the persisting supply chain problems still weakening commercial consumer buying power, business owners must look for ways to reduce the serious economic impact on their operations. Ideally, a service business can find enough methods to offset enough of the lost purchasing power without raising prices, but not always. If you do need to raise prices to keep up with inflation, of course, that contributes to the inflation problem. So, here are some other ways to help manage against inflation. For example:
continued on page 28
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BUSINESS CORNER INDUSTR Y NEWS
Ideally, a service business can find enough methods to offset enough of the lost purchasing power without raising prices, but not always.
4 Review each expense. Try to find ways to reduce where possible.
4 Examine suppliers. Consider finding savings with new ones.
4 Focus on operational efficiency. Cut waste in payroll, spending, etc.
4 Be wise in your financial decisions. Refinance for reduced interest if possible.
4 Raise prices as a last resort. If you can’t cut enough waste, make a small increase.
2. Roll Out a Loyalty Incentive Program.
Ask your web marketing specialist or read online about the vast array of loyalty program types and designs. With today’s targeted group and individual email marketing programs and easily integrated automated web services technologies, you can set up an efficient system quickly to generate a continuous flow of repeat orders from your satisfied sweeping customers. Talk to your tech
management specialist to integrate a system with billing for crediting accounts as eligible orders are entered into the system.
3. Enter New Service Markets.
We’ve learned from the 2020-2021 economic shutdown that every business, however small or large, needs to be prepared to respond quickly to stay open during unexpected adverse external conditions. Such agility is now recognized as a key to any business’s financial security. It can be an exciting surprise to discover how many new opportunities present themselves when you make a few essential modifications to your operating model.
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Among the most profitable options, if you don’t already have one, get a basic business website up and running. This creates an online business office for your sweeping business. This locates your company where today’s
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BUSINESS CORNER INDUSTR
INDEX BOOTH #834
commercial consumers can do business with you in the domain where it’s most convenient and comfortable for them to shop for products and services. Another big winner is to choose a popular service related to your current offering(s) and target existing and new customers as prospects for your new line.
4. Make Your Website More Productive.
Consider some upgrades to your existing website to draw more prospect traffic from new and existing customers. Some examples of key changes that have the biggest positive impact on revenue generation:
4 Optimize your site for mobile users or launch a mobile app to accommodate the nearly 60 percent of web consumer traffic that functions via mobile devices.
4 Prioritize SEO to drive more prospects to your site. To make the most of your online business, work with an SEO service to improve your site’s Google ranking.
4 Add a simple promotional or explainer video to your site. Video now dominates the online consumer marketing space, and you can add a video for a surprisingly small cost.
continued on page 30
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Consider some upgrades to your existing website to draw more prospect traffic from new and existing customers.
5. Take Advantage of Tax Savings.
If you haven’t already done so, become the type of business owner who is relentless about finding tax credits to keep every penny of your money that you are legally entitled to keep. Hiring a professional tax preparer can often save a small business or individual much more than the cost of the service. Call in advance to ask for an updated list of deductions that you may be eligible to claim, and do the work to bring in supportable numbers that can help minimize your tax bill.
6. Benefit from Self-Education as a Lifestyle.
Choose from the great overabundance of modern resources all around you to increase your knowledge of your field. Learn more and more about growing your business, building your brand, developing your team, boosting your revenues, strengthening your retention rates, slashing your tax burden, and any other business management and leadership topics. There are so many learning options, from college courses to trade magazines, to podcasts, to industry publications, you won’t ever run out of materials to help you improve your business management
and strategies for success. More knowledgeable entrepreneurs are more likely to sustain growth long-term.
continued on page 32
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VERY SPECIFIC SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS IN 2023
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By implementing one or more of the above suggestions, you at least eliminate one of the basic problems that modern management analysts identify as fundamental business needs. The above concepts are some of those understood as most likely to yield a net gain and unlikely to cause a net loss.
In other words, if you’re looking for basic growth methods, you don’t have much to lose by trying these well-proven concepts. They’re grounded on essential business principles, so, ideally, they are already in place in your business.
If these programs are not currently in use in your business, you should set goals, make a plan, and follow through to get these implemented. If they are
already functioning in your business, then use this list of recommendations as cues to assess your current programs and list some things you can tweak in each one to maximize its performance for you.
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34 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER MARCH 2023 Visit Us INDEX PRODUCT WA TCH 1-800-SWEEPER 21 1800sweeper.com Bensink 29 704-658-1333 / buchermunicipal.com Bucher Municipal 11 704-658-1333 / buchermunicipal.com Buffalo Turbine ............................................................................ 28 716-592-2700 / buffaloturbine.com Carolina Enviromental Services .................................................. 28 800-239-7796 / cesrefuse.com Elgin Sweeper Company ............................................................... 7 elginregenx.com FMI Truck Sales & Service ............................................................ 3 800-927-8750 Global Sweeping Solutions ........................................................... 2 909-713-1600 / globalsweeper.com Gregory Highway ......................................................................... 27 866-994-4929 / gregoryhighway.com KeyStone Street Sweeping Brooms ........................................... 10 800-635-5238 / kpbrush.com Nite-Hawk Sweepers 6, 33 800-448-9364 / nitehawksweepers.com Nomad BC 450-530-9873 / balaisnomad.com Oakmont Capital Services LLC 23 320-844-8800 / oakmontfinance.com ODRA Sweeper 19 844-888-6372 / odrasweeper.com Pat’s Pump & Blower 18 800-359-7867 / patspump.com The ODB Co. 35 800-446-9823 / www.odbco.com Safety Vision 25 800-851-4764 / safetyvision.com Schwarze Industries Inc. ......................................................... 5, 33 800-879-7933 / schwarze.com SEALMATE ................................................................................... 32 sealmate.com Sharpco Sweeper Shoes............................................................... 4 313-343-4328/800-372-5007/sharpcosweepershoes.com Skavin’jer Street Sweepers ......................................................... 34 888-652-2137 / skavinjer.com Stewart-Amos Equipment Co. ...................................................... 4 800-482-2302 / stewart-amos.com Street Smart ................................................................................. 31 888-653-6800 / streetsmartrental.com Sweeper Parts Sales ..................................................................... 6 877-695-3060 / sweeperpartssales.com Trinity Highway 24 888-323-6374 / trinityhighway.com Tymco 30 800-258-9626 / tymco.com United Rotary Brush Corporation 3 800-851-5108 / united-rotary.com Victory Sweeper .................................................................... 12-13 844-479-3373 / victorysweepers.com World Insurance 17 866-793-9999 Xpress Sweeping Inc 29 401-523-6116 / xpresssweeping.com
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