Eosso Brothers Paving begins its 18th year in business this year, and the three brothers that run the operation have a unique outlook on providing construction work.
"We have built a reputation over the years for our honesty and dedication to the industry and work hard to educate our customers," says Tom Eosso, vice president. "And we hear all the time from managers about the bad experiences they have had with other paving contractors and how easy it is to deal with Eosso Brothers.
"Our goal is to give our customers a great experience."
And that "experience" involves more than doing a quality job in a timely manner - especially considering the customer market Eosso Brothers pursues: homeowners associations.
"Working in condo, retirement, and town home communities is difficult," Tom says. "We are working with a lot of people, there are people watching us through their windows. And it's an inconvenience to people who have to be out of their court for a 24 hour period."
But over the years Eosso Brothers Paving has learned how to handle that.
An Unbeatable Team
Eosso Brothers Paving has been in business officially since 1992, but it actually started 30 years before that when Anthony Eosso, father of the current three principles in the company, specialized in excavating and preparing communities for a single builder. The three Eosso brothers - Tom, Gary, and Anthony - began working with their dad before they were teenagers, and along the way he taught them the business. By the time they turned 17 they were all, by their own admission, "excellent" operators.
But then came the late 1980s and recession hit.
"He had all his eggs in one basket, working with the same builder," Tom Eosso says. "Work came to a halt, and his business was devastated. His company went out of business, and Gary and I went to work for other companies."
But one of the things about families is they often like to spend time together, and by 1992 the three brothers began talking about getting into the paving sealcoating business. "We wanted to work together," Tom says. "The three of us are a team, and together no one can stop us."
Then they had to decide what kind of paving and sealcoating business they wanted. "We were so scared to get involved with builders," Tom says. At the time Tom lived in a condo community, and one day he was talking with the property manager. "I told her we were going into business and asked if she had any upcoming work," Tom says. "She needed a retaining wall built. The project was $25,000, and it was our first job."
Other than the retaining wall Eosso Brothers worked 100% in residential driveways that first year. "We started targeting homeowner associations and never looked back," Tom says.
A Paving and Sealcoating Focus
Today the contractor specializes in paving and pavement maintenance for "communities" throughout New Jersey. Eosso Brothers runs three crews a day, and all crews are cross-trained to be able to handle all phases of pavement work. In addition to paving driveways and parking lots, the contractor owns a Wirtgen 120 milling machine, which it rents out with an operator.
Eosso Brothers also owns two infrared repair machines and was one of the first contractors to introduce the repair method in New Jersey. (Tom Eosso is presenting "Improving Your Infrared Pavement Repair Operation" at National Pavement Expo, Jan. 20-23 in Nashville). "Infrared has helped our company in many ways," he says. "Infrared is like having an asphalt eraser; if you make a mistake, it can be fixed." The line striping crew follows up the sealcoating and paving operations, and a drainage crew installs pipe and repairs sinkholes.
Eosso Brothers now has 30 employees, including five office staff, an operators manager to prepare projects, and a full-time mechanic. And much of the staff is family: Kim Mazzoni, their sister, is "the backbone in the office," setting up all work and handling payables. Linda Eosso, Tom's wife, handles human resources. Nick Eosso, a cousin who is a marine veteran with two tours of duty in Iraq, is the contractor's drainage specialist and handles line striping. Rob Tampone, operations manager, is Gary Eosso's brother-in-law, and Ralph Mazzoni, a nephew, recently started with the company.
Specializing in "Communities"
Eosso Brothers does everything it can to make the work more palatable to two sets of customers - the people in the community who are most likely to be inconvenienced by the work getting done and the property owners and managers who let the bid.
Tom says communication makes everything easier, so Eosso Brothers does everything it can to make sure residents and the property manager know what's going to happen.
It starts with Robert Tampone, Eosso Brothers operations manager, who develops a work order for all materials and details on each project. Based on that work order he orders the proper materials for each job. Based on that order and the bid Eosso Brothers creates a payment schedule two weeks prior to the start date. Tampone calls to have utilities marked throughout the jobsite, and one week before the project starts Eosso Brothers holds a preconstruction meeting with the manager and engineer.
"At that time we ask if there are any special needs such as any disabled people, special parking provisions, special time limits, or anything like that," Tom says. "We also send the property manager a pre-project checklist which asks for all the important phone numbers: the landscape company, the garbage service, the post office, and any other essential places we might need to contact."
Other information obtained through the pre-project checklist includes scheduling information, such as when the trash is being picked up, and specifics such as how many units there are in community (so Eosso Brothers knows how many notices to print) and the best way to communicate - e-mail, phone or cell phone - with the manager.
Once Eosso Brothers has a handle on what goes on in the community and when it goes on, it's time to plan the work and let the residents know.
"We feel giving the homeowners proper notice and respect is important, so we start with the work plan. We use Google Earth and Microsoft Bing maps to take an aerial view of the community. We put that into Microsoft Power Point and create a detailed color-coded map with specific instructions."
The instructions let the residents know what type of work will be happening in which area on each day there is scheduled work. "Three or four days before work starts we hand out our color-coded notice and install our custom-made signs at the entrance to the community saying when paving will start. We also paint the dates of the work on the ground in marking paint."
And once the project starts, Eosso Brothers and its crew is more than just a paving operation. They start by knocking on doors to remind residents what will be happening that day, then the crew actually helps people move from designated areas.
"That's where our Eosso Courtesy Cart comes in, and you would be surprised how important something as simple as that can be," Tom says. "When we get on the jobsite we're ready to help assist homeowners to their cars and from their parked cars to their home."
The contractor's courtesy cart is really a golf cart decked out in Eosso Brothers' colors and logos. It came about after a little brainstorming at a preconstruction meeting in 2007 for a job in a retirement community.
"We were discussing how we would set up the project, and we realized the people who lived there would have to walk real far due to how long the roads are," Tom says.
And he came up with the idea to purchase a golf cart to drive residents to and from their homes.
"I told them I would dedicate one person to drive the people back and forth," Tom says. "I told them I would need to charge a little more for adding another laborer each day, and they said they would pay for the service."
So Eosso Brothers gave the manager a Nextel, and anytime the job was running and residents needed to get from their house or to their house she called and Eosso brothers would pick them up in the courtesy cart.
"It was a hit," Tom says.
The cart seats two people, and last year Eosso Brothers added a four-person courtesy cart to its fleet.
"We take great pride in watching the faces when they are riding on the cart. They really enjoy it. Our property managers really love the concept, too. One manager said it takes the edge off the project. It is fun. At the end of all our projects we ask the manager for a testimonial. They all rave about the service and the cart."
Read more about Eosso Brothers' courtesy cart.
The cart is only part of the service, but Tom Eosso says it's the service that has made the difference in their success. "Good work is a given. You have to start with a good job," Tom says. "But the paving industry has a bad reputation because of fly-by-night operators, and I feel what people want is a good experience.
"We are told a lot from managers, 'We did not choose you because you were the cheapest, we know that you will do a good job and take a lot of pressure off the manager and community,'" Tom says. "With great service and a great experience there is no reason why customers won't use our company again in the future."