Piloting a Successful Pavement Maintenance Business

Jason Perry gave up his career as a pilot to grow Brite Line Asphalt Maintenance.

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What do an airline pilot and a striping business have in common? Everything if you’re Jason Perry.

Perry grew up assisting his father who founded Brite Line Asphalt Maintenance in 1984. After high school, Perry pursued an education in aeronautical science, which resulted in a successful career as a commercial airline pilot.

When Perry sought a return to his roots, he re-joined Brite Line in 2005 and assumed the role of CEO upon his father’s retirement. Since that time, Perry has been using his educational background, as well as the discipline and attention to detail he learned as a pilot to significantly grow the business into a full service asphalt maintenance company.

"Becoming an airline pilot required a high level of persistence and determination," Perry says. "Pilots are continually trained to excel in critical thinking, complex problem solving and good teamwork skills. These skills have been invaluable during my time as CEO of Brite Line Asphalt Maintenance."

Brite Line began serving the competitive metro Atlanta market and now covers an area approximately 250 miles around Atlanta, which includes most of the Southeast United States. Brite Line serves only private commercial clients with paving being 40% of their services, 35% sealcoating, and cracksealing, striping and concrete work filling up the rest of their time.

While their business is mainly based on referrals, Perry and his team have had to overcome the negative image of the industry in order to ensure their success.

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is the overall negative perception of our industry,” Perry says. “Many contractors choose to compromise the product and/or installation, and that harms the reputation of the entire asphalt maintenance industry."

Perry says that Brite Line has systems in place that ensure quality employees are hired and that the mix design and installation of their products are completed properly. All of which result in a quality, long-lasting product and if you ask Perry, an improved image of the industry.

"I believe quality begins with the interview process," Perry says. "Our systems would be ineffective without an exceptional team behind them. Everyone who installs our products and services undergoes a thorough training program which begins in a classroom and continues in the field. We teach that quality and safety are paramount, and anyone can stop a job if they feel either are being compromised."

What Recession?

While many companies felt the sting of the 2008 recession, Brite Line continued to serve all of their clients, who consist mainly of private commercial properties, and even managed to grow their business each year.

“Since 2005 our business has grown every year,” Perry says. “During the economic downturn, it never occurred to us that the market was slowing. We simply stayed focus on serving our clients with a quality product at a fair price.”

Perry says their clients rely on them to make their lives easier with each pavement maintenance job.

“I think our clients choose to continue using Brite Line because we make their life easier,” he says. “We routinely work off peak hours to minimize the inconvenience to their customers, communicate well during the project coordination phase, and install our work exactly as we promised.”

Brite Line also does not carry much, if any, debt. This strong cash flow position allows them to invest in other areas of their business to ensure revenue growth.

"We limit our debt by paying cash for asset purchases and carefully watching our cash flow," Perry says. "We have always invested the vast majority of our profits back into the company, and that has served us well. I understand we could expand rapidly with a cash infusion of some sort, but I feel that deliberate, consistent, debt-free growth is more important." 

This approach has served Perry and his team well. They are even in the process of gaining more business with a new acquisition. 

"This year we are acquiring one of the largest parking lot striping companies in Georgia," Perry says. "This acquisition will add 10 striping machines, seven Graco line drivers, and several well trained, experienced striping crews to our company. From a revenue standpoint, this acquisition will positively impact our top and bottom lines as we begin to service their customers.  

“Our success would not have been possible without exceptional people,” Perry says. “From top to bottom we are honest, professional, and have a tremendous amount of integrity. With focused effort on what we do best, a strong cash flow position, and a team of extraordinary people, I anticipate our increase in market share will continue for some time.”