Sam Patterson - Owner, New England Paving

Sam Patterson is the owner and operator of New England Paving Company based in Seabrook, New Hampshire. The company was started by Sam’s mother and father when he was still very young. During summer break and days off from school, Sam would help out and learn the trade.

At sixteen, Sam began working full-time. He prides himself on his knowledge of the industry and the company’s ability to provide quality work at a reasonable price. He personally travels to every work site to ensure things are running smoothly.

New England Paving offers several services year-round to a sizeable tri-state area. They are known for their specialty paving options. They offer asphalt milling and pulverizing, as well as snow removal.

Aside from owning the family business, Sam has always found himself to be quite the outdoorsman, he enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three kids, while doing activities such as; four-wheeling or jet skiing.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

Well, I took over New England Paving from my parents. They started, what is now the family business, in 1994.  It was my grandfather who passed all his knowledge and skills down to my father, who then continued the tradition by teaching me all the things he learned from the experience he gained himself. When I was old enough, I began working here on a full-time basis. It’s always been a part of my life since I was very young, and it is something that has continuously been important to me.

How do you make money?

New England Paving serves a large area, and we will take on various types of jobs, regardless if they are small or large. We can do two to three driveways in a day. Of course, as part of our services, we also pave parking lots and roads. We make money by offering quality work at a reasonable price. People know when they hire us, they’re going to be satisfied with our results and the quality we are able to provide.

We not only offer paving under our job description but seal coating as well. It is an important service to provide, as it helps to preserve the pavement looking newer for longer, which in the end keeps it better protected. Being based in the Northeast, we also offer snow removal services. New England Paving is available whenever we are needed, and we work on a year-round basis.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I am proud to be a part of my family business. There really was never a time that I thought I’d be doing anything else because I had found a career within New England Paving that is a fulfilling one. Throughout life, balance is an important factor, so that was important to have incorporated into my work life, as I don’t like being stuck in an office all day. I love to be able to work outdoors, and this gives me the opportunity to travel to all of our working sites. I never had any doubts in my mind about being successful because we already were when I took over, I just had to maintain that consistency. I was fortunate to step into an already established company. It was a natural transition for me. My brother works for the company also, so we still have that family feel, and I think that has helped us grow to the scale we are at today.  As a small business, we have to keep bringing in new customers, or we’re not in business anymore. Just providing a necessary service isn’t enough, it has to be done well.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works well to generate new business?

At New England Paving, there are several things we have considered to generate a greater presence around our community; always looking for ways to expand myself and our business. The first larger step we probably took, would be wanting to make our trucks noticeable, so they are all painted lime green with our logo and contact information on the side.

We put signage at all the work sites we complete jobs at. We’ve have realized the growing importance of having an online presence, so we have been doing things to increase that over these last years. Of course, in this industry, word of mouth is still the best form of marketing that we have found for New England Paving. That’s why we pride ourselves on doing the best work possible. We know that when we complete a job, that client will be our advertiser.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

We’ve been working on expanding into other areas recently. That has brought up several issues that we’ve had to handle. Nothing too impactful, thankfully, but just going through the process can be stressful at times. You have to keep an open mind and try new things when owning a small business or just in general. It’s important to find the most efficient ways to get the job done, while still focusing on the customer and giving the quality work they expect.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

Ever since I took over New England Paving, I have developed a very can-do attitude. I have a hard time saying no, and I’m always willing to take on more work. From both my grandfather and father passing down their knowledge, they made sure I had a good head on my shoulders; which when running a business, allows me to make good decisions. Problem-solving is a simple but necessary skill, I’m able to work things out well so that our customers are satisfied, and our company can grow.

Our work speaks for itself. We offer several services that are essential to our customers, and we can do it within a set timeframe. Our customers know they will be happy when they sign on to work with us. This is what I’ve done all my life.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Just recently we bought an old 34-acre recycling yard, and we are working on getting that cleaned up and running. That’s part of our expansion, an offshoot for what we already do. I’m very excited about this opportunity. It’s great to be able to grow to the size we have gotten to, but it’s even greater to know we are able to expand New England Paving even further.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

As New England Paving is my family business, the future of it is something that runs through my head on a regular basis. I still get a rush thinking about the amount of growth we have experienced since I first started working full-time here. When I began, we had two dump trucks. We now have six plus three tractor-trailer trucks. Running a business has its own learning process constantly but that’s what keeps it exciting every day. We stay busy, and that also helps bring in new customers regularly.

What business books have inspired you?

I don’t read many business books. I was fortunate enough to have my Dad teach me the business so I wouldn’t make mistakes he may have. Of course, he’d learned from his Dad. Everyone learns differently but for myself, I learn best from doing, and I’ve been hands-on since before I was sixteen years old. Maybe in the future I might find myself reading more, as ideas on business are always changing and it’s good to find new ways to progress.

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

Another part of our expansion has been to build a mechanic shop here. This means if any of our equipment needs service, it can be done right here as opposed to being sent off and gone for a couple weeks. I’ve got two full-time mechanics who do that.

We’ve also been in the process of streamlining and reorganizing our records. We’ve been mainly pen and paper since we opened. We’re moving that into an online process that will make it easier for us to use and more efficient.

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