How Sealtite Asphalt Increased the Value of Their Business

There are lots of ways the make your business valuation grow over time. Austin Watt of Sealtite Asphalt Maintenance saw the incredible potential in the industry, and decided to go all-in.

(Left) Austin Watts, owner Sealtite Asphalt, (Right) Jim Dochterman, founder.
(Left) Austin Watts, owner Sealtite Asphalt, (Right) Jim Dochterman, founder.
Austin Watts

Austin Watt, CEO of Sealtite Asphalt Maintenance saw the incredible potential in this industry, and decided to go all-in. However, it wasn't where he started out in business or where he thought he would be, even just a few years ago. Despite that, when he walked up to me at PAVE/X in San Antonio, between educational sessions, he made it abundantly clear that this is where he wants to be for the foreseeable future.

"I had a dealership automotive dealership, but that wasn't really where my passion was at. I've just always been an entrepreneur, and that's how I ended up there," said Watt. "That's where I met Jim Dochterman." 

Jim was the owner and founder of Sealtite, and would come in, drink coffee, and shoot-the-breeze with Watt a couple of times a week. He built Sealtite into what it was, and, over the years, he'd serviced his clients well and made a fair living.

Overtime Dochterman's visits developed their friendship and that would eventually lead Watt to where he is today. 

"We would talk about everything," Watt remembered. "Politics, the economy, and it just felt like we really understood each other."

Then things took a serious turn during 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and, as was the case for so many businesses during that time, things took a downturn. Watt's dealership was on hard times, and some even harder decisions were still ahead of him.

"Jim reached out to me, and told me that he was already thinking of retiring, and that he didn't have anyone in line to take it over from him," Watt said. "I decided to close the lot, liquidate all my inventory, and buy Sealtite from him in 2021."

In just three short years since Watt took the baton from Dochterman, Sealtite has seen the value of its business grow by whole new leaps and bounds. On average, they've seen growth of around 150% annually, and it shows no signs of stopping. With no background in the asphalt industry, to what does Watt attribute the robustness of the company's growth?

"I think for me, having a sales experience from the car world and integrating parts of that into selling asphalt and commercial maintenance, it gives me a big edge," he explained. "I'm an older millennial, I grew up with computers, technology, and the internet -- smart everything, right? Jim already laid a solid foundation, I just added those things to the process."

While those factors are important, Watt confessed that they aren't everything. This was exactly why we ran into each other at PAVE/X, because he was there to expand his knowledge and learn from other successful owners in the industry who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. 

"That's exactly why I attended events like PAVE/X and the IGNITE Construction Summit. The networking, meeting of industry peers, and getting feedback advice from those who've done it was just awesome. It's so important to keep control of your growth, bring on the right people, and implement the right policies and procedures. Last year we ended at like just over one million in business, and that was the first year that's happened in Sealtite's history."

If things stay on this kind of pace, and conditions prove to be favorable, Watt has even bigger plans.

"I'm a numbers guy," said Watt. "Over the next decade, South Carolina Department of Transportation is repaving 85% of all roads in the state. They don't have the infrastructure to support it. So, over the next five years, if I can get close to the number I've got mapped out, then I want to go in on an asphalt plant."

An ambitious plan, but, to Watt, with the asphalt industry, the sky's the limit.