Dancing with the stars


There's no Arthur Murray dance pattern to follow that will lead you to market dominance or profit, but there are certain steps to take that, if not essential to growth, certainly lay a solid base from which to build. We're talking about things like job costing, equipment management, employee management, and planning (both short and long-term).

But there's another element that's essential to a successful contracting business: personal vision. The top-performing contractors profiled in this issue have an idea of what they want their company to be, and they impart some of themselves and their view of the world into their operations.

Renee Randolph and Michele Phillips combine their view of what employees need, Randolph's technical "how to" knowledge, and Phillips' understanding of processes to lay the groundwork for a growing sealcoating business. Pete Phillips breaks the rules of the sweeping industry by turning his information-gathering efforts into justification for a complete transformation of how he compensates and works with his sweeper operators. Daren Young and his management team examine the concerns they had for themselves when they started, then factor those concerns into their company where profit is one goal and making sure families thrive is another. And Tom Frederickson and Jeff Gustafson, believers in employees and equipment, rely on both to revamp the traditional crew structure and improve productivity and job quality.

Each of these contractors is successful at least partly because they bring something of themselves and what they believe a business should be to their company. Because in the pavement maintenance industry, as in most industries, the work is the work. How you approach that work, how you approach your customers, how you work with your employees, the expectations you have - in short how you run your business - is what makes the difference between a company that trips over its own feet and a business that can cha-cha with the best of them.