I've been in the construction business all of my working life. I started working for my father's homebuilding business while in high school, and after college I ran a custom home business through the boom of the eighties. In 1998 I started Brothers Paving and Concrete Corporation. In our first year, we did a little over $1 million in volume. This year we are on track to do $18 million.
My goal from the beginning was to evolve into a one-stop shop for contractors, developers, and property managers. We can develop a site from stone to parking lot stripes. Once they've got the grading and stone down, we'll come in and set the string line, pour the new curb, and base pave the roads.
Rehab work is a big market for us. In northern Virginia there is a state mandate that townhouse developments and condominiums have to be maintained by a homeowners' association, and they have to have reserves set aside for concrete and asphalt repairs and replacement. I don't want to say this market is “recession-proof,” but during the last recession that market was strong because they had the money set aside before they contracted the work.
We've developed a very sophisticated database that can track marketing opportunities and track any progress with that opportunity. We have gathered information on all of the commercial property owners in our market. We have measured the parking lots, evaluated the site concrete, and entered the information into our database. We can prepare proposals and submit them and never have to go back and measure the area of asphalt, length of curbs, and so on—we have a history on that property. So if they call and say they want a proposal on a property, we can tell them that we paved the property 6 years ago and sealed it 2 years ago and put in concrete dumpster pads—all of our history is there. It makes us much more efficient on the front end. It took us a long time to develop this database, but now we do most of our proposals through this system. It's really streamlined the front end. When the proposal becomes an awarded contract, the database can generate a work order with all the information our accounting department and production team will need to complete the job.
Brothers' operation can be franchised. There's been an interest, because we work with a lot of companies that have grown to be national companies so we've had major homebuilders and REITs ask us to do their projects in New Jersey or Chicago or North Carolina. But we can only provide service to the D.C. metro area. Everything is set up to establish franchises. I've got a couple of companies interested, but we haven't yet taken it to the next level. If someone has the interest to get into the concrete or asphalt business, we can help them put the systems in place, and all they need is people. We can provide the accounting system, the marketing system, and we can train them.
Why franchise? When you travel around the country you find the same stores in each mall. Consumers demand consistency and quality in product. It's the same in our business—developers and property managers know what to expect from Brothers and they want us to go with them as they move into new markets.
We also have detailed processes in the field. We are very efficient with our equipment—how we get work done and what we are able to do in a day. There are many times that we can do much more in a day than our competition. That's what our customers like. It's how we approach the work. Minimize labor, maximize output.
We don't have many change orders. I credit that to the detail we include in our bids. We list potential situations upfront. We have clauses in the proposals that are very detailed and include language for additional material or work. It's not a change at that point.
On a personal note, my wife and I have been married 20 years and are extremely involved in the lives of our five children. My hobby is music, and the small recording studio in my house satisfies my urge to make it in the music industry. However, I will be on stage with the Rolling Stones at the Meadowlands as a spectator.