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Johnson Asphalt, Wisconsin Dells, WI, has always been a customer-focused company. The family-operated business was started in 1986 by Wally Johnson and continues today to focus on customer satisfaction and a clean image.

Johnson started his business as a sealcoating contractor because he saw it as a service that people needed. He says he used to go door to door, using his station wagon to transport materials, looking for anyone who would like their driveway sealed. While on the job, he learned of other services people needed, and that sparked Johnson to expand his business.

Customers often asked Johnson if he could patch holes as well as seal their driveways. Eventually, Johnson replaced his station wagon with a flatbed truck, bought hole patching material, and began to seal and patch. Customers continued to ask Johnson if he could perform other pavement maintenance services. Realizing the benefit each service would have on his business, he continued to add more services. Johnson Asphalt now offers sealing, paving, crack filling, grading, and excavating services and holds a state contractor's license in Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

In the early days of the business, Johnson had to save money and sometimes even barter for equipment. He says he sometimes negotiated trades with customers saying, "I'll pave your driveway for that paver." He still saves money in order to buy equipment, and tries to buy a new piece of equipment each year, if possible.

Currently, Johnson Asphalt runs a fleet of mixed manufacturers. That equipment includes an 813 RT Bomag paver, a 1½-ton Bomag roller, a 650 LeeBoy road grader, a L180 New Holland skid steer, and a Gehl paver among others. Johnson says he uses this equipment because he likes the job it does as well as the customer service the manufacturers offer.

"I make sure whenever I buy it's the best I can buy," Johnson says. "If I can add anything better to it I do." This was the case with his dump truck. Johnson says he bought a semi's cab for the truck and took the sleeper off it. He then added another axel and a dump bed. Putting together his own truck saved a good deal of money, Johnson says.

One thing Johnson says he stresses when it comes to his equipment, as well as his employees, is a clean, neat image.

Making a good first impression as well as continuing that impression is key to business for Johnson Asphalt. A clean image is important because it reflects on the job, Johnson says. This impression starts from the moment Johnson and his employees drive up to the jobsite. "The first thing a lot of people say is we made a great impression," he says.

In order to keep his equipment and trucks looking neat and clean, Johnson designates every Friday as cleaning day. If that isn't possible, the equipment gets washed the next day or before it leaves the asphalt plant and heads to a jobsite.

Customer satisfaction and a good impression guide Johnson's business because they carry over from job to job. "I don't depend on the job I am working on to make a living. I depend on the next 10 jobs."