Effective in January, Chris Maul, Maul Paving/Concrete/Sealcoating, Plainfield, IL, becomes the newest member of the Pavement Advisory Board. He succeeds Michael Nawa, Custom Maintenance Services, who has been a board member since 1993.
Maul is co-owner with brother Eric of a 50-plus person operation that provides a full range of paving and pavement maintenance services primarily to the commercial market throughout the Chicagoland area. The brothers divide responsibilities, with Chris overseeing the paving operation, sales and marketing, while Eric oversees sealcoating and handles all financial matters as the CFO.
Maul Sealcoating runs four sealcoating crews, with cracksealing and striping embedded in the sealcoating operation. Maul Paving / Concrete runs three paving crews and one concrete crew.
Started at their kitchen table in 1986 when the brothers sealcoated their own driveway, they used a 4-door Cutlass to seal 56 driveways the first year, growing steadily as a residential sealcoating contractor until 2000, when they decided to expand into the commercial market.
“We made a significant investment in equipment and the people to run it, and by 2005-2006 we finally reached $1 million in sales,” Maul says. “We made the investment to transition from residential to commercial, and made a conscious decision that we were going to support the customer properly from a staffing standpoint.”
In 2006 the company hired its first outside salesperson – Chris Maul had handled almost all sales until then – and then hired an on-site project manager, and they decided to bring in-house much of the work they had been subcontracting out.
“Milling is a good example of that. We wanted greater control over scheduling and quality. Bringing the milling in-house enabled us to control the process and improve the customer experience,” he says.
Maul explained they observed a change in the marketplace and customer’s expectations, and they decided to be at the forefront of those changes. They hired a full-time project manager for the jobsite, a safety director, and additional office staff to appropriately support their client’s needs. Specifically, pre-planning of the job, permitting, and scheduling.
“Clients want to know there is a team supporting their project. They do not want the same person answering the phone, meeting with them to develop the proposal and acting as the on-site project manager while the work is being performed. We recognized we needed support staff to provide a pleasant customer experience.”
“Our business took off once we made those changes and hires,” he says. “You’ve got to be able to support the customer, and if one person is doing everything the customer experience will suffer. You have to have people who can support the project from start to finish.
“As you grow you have to insert management and support, and as you grow you have to empower people and let them take on a leadership role in the company,” he says. “Allowing them to have the power to make decisions on a daily basis has helped free Eric and I up from the day-to-day work. So, we can work on the business not in the business.”
To that end the brothers meet with a business coach every other week to help them further develop their business.
“Initially, it was challenging for us to let go but we’ve realized it’s easy to do if you identify and empower talented and intelligent individuals.” he says. “We’ve seen significant growth and improvement in our company. This has led to a very happy work environment and satisfied customers.”