By Bryce Davis

In today’s world, why would anyone want to start a paving business? For one it’s extremely messy, hot, dirty, and very hard work. And that’s just the paving side of the business. Then on top of that you have the stress of sales, accounting bookkeeping, job timing, weather and employees just to name a few. Why not start a business as a carpenter, garage door repair service, lawn mowing, landscaper or even a painter to name a few. They all would take less equipment investment, less employees and less stress than being in the asphalt paving business. Or as most of us have heard at least once in our life, you should go to college and become a doctor, lawyer, accountant, architect or a teacher. Or this one, you should join the military. To those of you that have or are still serving this great country, thank you.

Why the asphalt paving business? Mainly because it’s your passion, it’s in our blood and you love the smell of asphalt. Or my dad was in paving, or my brother did this type of work, or my grandfather started in this line of work over 45 years ago, and you grew up with it, and this type of family business is a very good way to make a living. Most companies in this business have a story to tell, and I encourage you all to tell yours. Your customers would love to hear more about your history and background. There are different size asphalt companies from the smallest seal coating company just starting in paving up to the very large national firms that do the highway type of work.

Finding your niche in this vast asphalt paving world will differ from market to market. Are you the sealcoating or sweeping guy that’s just starting out in asphalt by doing small patching work? Are you the small family business that only does driveways, or the bigger commercial class paving contractor that handles parking lots and municipal road work. Does your operation also own its own asphalt plant and material or part of the highway paving firms? It doesn’t matter what size your company is, it matters more what you’re good at, and known for and finding your niche in your market to make a very good living by doing what you love. Hats off to all of you working in and during this Covid-19 Virus 2020 year as an essential business. We hope that all of you and your crews are staying safe during this virus timeframe.

Where do you get the knowledge to be in the asphalt paving business these days? College? Maybe. Trade and tech schools? More likely. Growing up in the asphalt business? Yes. Working with an asphalt paving crew and learning it from the lute rake up? Yes. But in the end, learning to lay a beautiful asphalt mat with a paver is an art. For most highway work these days, you’ll have systems that can work with a paver to lay exactly what you need, like a grade control system for one. On down to the patching crew that has to do it all by eye, feel, and your gut. The pressure is on to make sure it all works for drainage and it looks good when completed. Ours is an industry that can take a young, hardworking employee fresh out of high school and put him to work making a respectable wage. In a few years, that worker who has shown some passion for what he does, has now been promoted into a position of responsibility with higher pay and higher benefits and, in some cases, higher than his friend that just graduated college with debt that won’t be paid off for many years.

In today’s world the asphalt paving crew is viewed similar to the farmer. No understanding of what you really do. And certainly no respect for your talent and the hard work or the conditions you all have to work in most of the time to get the job done. But those of us in asphalt paving love what we do, and respect everyone in this industry, because it’s one of the hardest working and rewarding business to be in. I encourage all of you to share your job successes and your love for this industry. And we thank all of you for being in this asphalt paving business, this country needs all of you. Our driveways, parking lots and roadways depend on you!

Bryce Davis, Director of Sales, STE LeeBoy.