In 1993, Roy Jeter faced a tough reality: the paving company he worked for as a top salesperson had closed its doors. Another salesperson in the same company came to him with an intriguing offer: why not try their own hand at running a paving business?
Although the partnership didn’t last, that company, Allied Paving, is now approaching its 30th year. Roy and his wife Barbara formed the nucleus of the company, and their son Brandon quickly came on board.
“We started in our house with Roy handwriting the proposals and me typing them,” recalls Barbara. “Our first truck was a bread truck we painted blue. We hired our first estimators and off we went.”
After battling chronic health issues, Roy passed in 2010. Brandon and Barbara stepped to the forefront, dividing duties between office and field.
“You’re building something from the ground up,” Brandon says. “You look back at what you did for the day or the week and it’s a feeling of accomplishment.”
The company’s work has evolved over the years, moving from fine grading and Caltrans jobs to now providing milling and paving work, typically working behind utility company installations. “We’ll come in and do the final grind and cap after they dig their trenches,” Brandon says.
Allied Paving, which has $10 million to $11 million in annual revenues, also performs asphalt maintenance, seal coating and striping and concrete work for a variety of commercial clients, including Costco, along with the occasional Caltrans job. Most of the projects are in southern California.
All about manpower
“It’s all about manpower,” Brandon says. “Even in moments when things get slow, we make it a priority to keep our crews busy and maintain the manpower so when production surges and things ramp up, we’re always ready for it.”
Another benefit of this approach: “We can perform emergency calls, make something happen the next day,” he says “We have the train on the tracks and the momentum.”
Safety is baked into Allied Paving, reflected by its .70 experience modification rate. Part of this safety culture is an every-morning tailgate talk.
“We do a lot of street work and traffic is my biggest worry,” Brandon says. “Sometimes you get used to working in a zone and then suddenly you’ve switched to the other side of the street and the traffic’s on the other side, so you’ve got to readjust.”
“They take safety seriously,” says Daniel Guentert with Arizona Pipeline. “I’ve witnessed them providing the best traffic control either through in-house crews or, on larger projects, by the use of professional traffic control subs.”
But that’s not the only thing that impresses Guentert about Allied Paving.
“They could teach other contractors about quality control,” he says. “Out of the many projects we’ve done with them, there was a quality issue on just two projects. Brandon personally drove the job, noticed the issue and corrected it without being asked.”
Office, field crews
Along with Brandon, two long-time Allied Paving salesmen, Oscar Espinoza and Aaron Mote, divide up Allied’s client base. Both are childhood friends.
Espinoza handles several long-term clients. “Pretty much everything that I've learned over the years has been from Brandon and his father,” Espinoza says.
Recently the company paved a street with a lot of memories, relates Espinoza: “It was where we grew up as kids, and I told Brandon, ‘How cool is this?’ That was something to remember.”
Mote bids all the plan work and focuses on commercial work. “There’s a sense of family, of loyalty here,” he says. “We’re kind of a younger group and everyone works well together. Everything's always different when it comes to projects. It’s exciting to be able to maneuver through different kind of landscapes.”
Casaundra Davey handles production scheduling, setting up the jobs, scheduling fleet PMs and repairs. “I love construction,” Davey says. “It's easy to work for Brandon and we have great crews. We all know what we’re doing. We all do our job.”
The company typically runs four to five crews, one for concrete and two to three concentrating on milling and paving and another for striping. Most crews have around seven people.
“They are extremely responsive,” says Naveed Kharrat, with asphalt provider R. J. Noble. “If you have an urgent matter, or if you're requiring info or need to speak to someone, they are a company that is always open and never shies away.”
Not buying someone else’s problem
Allied Paving has two 4-foot milling machines, along with four pavers, six skid steers, four rollers, pavers, a variety of trucks and ancillary paving equipment. About 80% of the company’s jobs involve milling.
“I always buy new,” Brandon says. “I like the warranty and you’re not buying someone else’s problem.”
Allied Paving entered milling when it did several Caltrans exit ramps. The work is fast-paced, Brandon says. “You only get a short timeframe to get a certain amount of work done and there are no excuses.”
Allied Paving also offers paver-with-operator rentals. “Anyone who doesn’t have all of the equipment can just call us,” Brandon says. “It’s especially great for anyone just starting out in the business.”
Other companies can also rent Allied Paving’s two milling machines, also with an operator. “These rentals usually involve small jobs that can be done in around four hours,” Brandon says.
Two mechanics primarily work in the company’s shop and take occasional field calls. PMs and repairs are usually done in-house, especially after machines get out of warranty.
Looking to the future
Allied Paving is currently at a good size, and Brandon believes in maintaining a happy medium when it comes to growth. “Right now, we can do everything we need to start and finish a job,” he says. “We don’t need a lot of subs. If it’s not raining, we’ve got work. I don’t want to get to the point where you grow too much.”
Another thing he doesn’t want to see change is the company atmosphere. “We’ve been doing this for a number of years and our employees are like family,” Brandon says.
Allied Paving was a finalist in Equipment World's 2022 Contractor of the Year program. The program recognizes contractors who display the highest standards of business acumen, equipment management expertise, attention to safety and community involvement. Each year, 12 finalists receive an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to participate in roundtable discussions and an awards ceremony.
The 2023 program will coincide with ConExpo-Con/Agg, North America’s largest construction trade show.