Whoa, Back 'er Up, Nick!

Contractor owner offers on-the-job insights

Being a pavement maintenance contractor, we are always backing up, right? Back up the truck, back up the trailer, back up the paver...  The one thing I didn't back up last month was my QuickBooks.

Yeah...welcome to the nightmare.  

I was an early adopter of backing up company files, after watching a close friend and another asphalt contractor lose it all because they didn’t have a backup when a file failed. I was never going to let that happen to me! 

I used Zip drives, which for those of you under 30, were high-capacity disk drives. Later I evolved to the common Flash drive, and my backing-up would be a regular process about every couple weeks...I thought.

That was until I happened to ruin my company data and realized my last back up was two months ago. After countless days and hours having Intuit Data Services try to rebuild my file, I was forced to face the reality that I had to find a way to rebuild lost data. 

Fortunately Intuit was able to get me a read-only version of my recent file, so while I had to reenter data, I at least had most of my information available on another screen.  

I never realized how losing simple things like who owes you money, whom you owe money too, sales reports, payroll etc. can cause the biggest nightmare ever. No, it wasn't even the stuff we always talk about, either, like someone slipping in sealer or an overlay causing flooding. It was the never-mentioned simple mistake that caused the biggest headache. I'm afraid to admit that this may even be worse than losing my beloved iPhone! 

The oddity of the situation is that backing up is easier than ever, so there’s no reason not to do it. For those of you who are QuickBooks users, you have option of auto-backups to the cloud.  For the less inclined, a simple flash drive will do the trick. Just take the time and make it happen -- and make it happen often.  Experts suggest to backup weekly if not more often. 

After asking around, I have found nearly none of my asphalt friends backup their files as often as they should. Lesson learned for me....Back'er up Nick!

Nick Howell, president of T & N Asphalt Services, Salt Lake City, UT, has been a regular presenter at National Pavement Expo since 2008 and a member of the Pavement Advisory Board since 2007. This is his first column for Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction. Let him know your thoughts on “From the Owner’s Desk," and if you have a question or topic you’d like covered -- let him know that too! You can reach Nick at nick@tnasphaltservices.com.