Sam Patterson is the owner of New England Paving Company. They are based in Seabrook, New Hampshire. The company was started in 1994 by Sam’s parents and offers more than twenty-five years of experience.
Sam joined the company full time when he was just sixteen and it has been his goal to expand as much as possible. They offer services such as paving, seal coating, and snow removal. They’re also well-known for their specialty paving.
Sam has always been a hands-on learner. He’s not one to sit in the office and direct, he gets out into the field and oversees each project personally. His attitude about growth and attention to client satisfaction has helped New England Paving grow to the magnitude it is at today.
Sam doesn’t like working the typical 9 to 5 and in his free time, he enjoys doing as many outside activities with his wife and children as possible.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It’s a family company. My grandfather did paving and he taught my father. My Mom and Dad opened New England Paving in 1994. Dad came up with the name and everyone liked it. Obviously, we are based in New England, so that’s a part of how the name came to be. We service a large area, we work in three states, and we needed a name that would be easily identifiable. It just fit well for the business overall.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is productive. My whole crew is here and ready to leave the yard by 6:30 in the morning. I run dispatch and I handle all the equipment. It’s part of my job to keep everyone moving throughout the day. We may have three or four jobs per day, and it is important for us to stay on schedule as much as possible.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Really, the best way to bring ideas to life is to try them out for yourself. You’ve got to be willing to try different things and finding new ways of getting things done. If I think of something that may be useful, we give it a shot and try it out. If it works, that’s great but if not, we just move on. It’s all about being efficient without losing the quality of our work, so if that means sometimes, we try different methods in order to succeed, then that is what we will do.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Any time new equipment is created, I’ve got to try it out. At New England Paving, we like to have the newest and best on our trucks. Newer machinery does the job faster and we want to be able to stay busy, so to be able to do that having the best is important.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a nonstop type of individual. This habit is both good and bad. My crews work more than twelve hours every day. We’re out early in the morning and arrive back later in the evening. It’s great for business as we are able to can more jobs completed but can be tough on the crew. I want to be in a position where I can get more crews running, so they don’t feel as though they are getting too burned out working long days like we are right now.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to save money and never give up. The overhead to running a company includes several aspects; advertising, equipment maintenance and things you don’t realize that you need until you come across it. You can’t spend money just because you have it. You have to keep some held back for the unexpected things that may come up.
I think some people don’t realize the effort and time consumption taken up in order to run a business. They may run into some issue and quit. We’ve had some rough moments, like any small business, and if I’d had that mentality, we wouldn’t still be here. You have to keep going and trust that things will work themselves out and from learned experience, they eventually will.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I used to be the kind of person who thought if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. I think a lot of people think that way. I had to retrain myself to accept that’s impossible. You have to hire the right people and know you can depend on them to do their part. You have to be willing to offer a decent compensation as well, in order to find quality employees who are dedicated and knowledgeable about the job.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I show up every day. That’s really the bottom line to running any small business, especially New England Paving. You have to show up and you have to be willing to put in the work. You can’t let small setbacks hold up your progress. We are working all the time and that’s how we like it. I get excited thinking about how much we’ve grown since I got here, and I know we’re just going to continue growing. If I wasn’t here, putting in the time, the company wouldn’t be thriving as it is.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Again, it comes down to quality work and the equipment to do it. We originally had just two trucks running jobs and we’ve grown so much we’re up to six. We grow by getting out there, doing a good job, which has generated us with more business. We have recognizable trucks and we use signs at every work site to get our name out there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I used to hire people just to have a full crew. Since taking over New England Paving, I’ve learned through experience that it’s not just about having enough people, it’s about having the right people. You need dedicated, hard-working employees who will make your company look good. If they’re just going to stand around or if you have to constantly supervise them to make sure a job is done right, then it’s not worth having them on the crew. It not only adds more to my busy schedule but also hinders the work moral around the rest of the employees showing up and doing their job every day.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you’re trying to figure out what kind of business to run, pick something recession-proof. A lot of people don’t understand the need for manual labor. If you start a business in oil, in farming, or in the food supply, you’re never going to be out of business. These are things that are needed, no matter what the economy looks like. People don’t want to freeze in the winter. People need to eat. Choose a business that will consistently bring you profit regardless of the economy or the time of the year.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 would probably be getting a gym membership; maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be very important.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
At New England Paving, we just recently bought a proposal software program that helps us streamline our estimates. It’s more efficient than how we used to write them up and it looks more professional. It’s also easy to use, which we appreciate.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A good recommendation I would make, would be for everyone to read “The Power of Habit” By: Charles Duhigg. This book gives a completely different perspective on how people are and should be living their everyday lives.
What is your favorite quote?
“Dreams only work if you do”. You have to be willing to do the work needed to be successful. You can’t be half in.
• Work hard and be willing to try new things.
• Hire the right people
• Learn from experience
• Stay on top of new technology that can make you more efficient
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.