Perseverance Pays Off
Teamwork culture sparks exponential growth at Snipes Concrete & Hauling LLC
At 30 years old, husband and father of two Jordan Snipes was restless. He’d been a sales manager since he graduated from college but hadn’t really found his place in the world professionally.
“I didn’t always want to work for someone else,” he says. “My dream was to build a legacy for my family and I really wanted to work outdoors building something.”
However, Jordan wasn’t raised in the construction business and he didn’t have any work experience in the market—but he had an entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to build and a rock-solid work ethic.
After overcoming a few hurdles, he found his way into the world of concrete, establishing Snipes Concrete & Hauling LLC (Snipes) in 2015. As a commercial contractor, he and his team are focused on concrete placement, asphalt patching and grading. While the company is strong now, with a growing list of repeat clients throughout the Southeast, and a tight team, the early days could have easily knocked Jordan and his crew off course.
Jordan confirms, “There were days I hardly had enough money to buy lunch or make payroll. With the support of my wife and a terrific group of guys, I just kept believing this was the path we were supposed to be on.”
That focus has helped Jordan not just grow his company, but also develop a unique project management style that has shaped the company’s collaborative work ethic that, in turn, delivers top-quality projects.
Jordan’s first foray into construction was as a horizontal directional drilling contractor working for telecommunications companies building out fiber optic cable lines throughout the Mid-Atlantic. He pulled a crew together, got a drilling machine and won a few contracts. While there was work, it wasn’t enough to pay the bills. After a few months, Jordan told his then client that he was going to try something else.
Jordan says, “He was really understanding but liked our work ethic, so he asked if we could pour concrete. Turns out one of my guys (Shannon Murrell, current Construction Manager) knew concrete, so I said yes, we can do that. The next day we started removing and replacing concrete sidewalks in the same neighborhood where we had been drilling.”
“We learned a lot, mostly about the benefits of good equipment,” he quips.
After a few days of removing old concrete with sledgehammers, Jordan bought the company’s first electric jackhammer. “That was the best money I ever spent on a piece of equipment because that same client hired us for many more jobs following the first,” he recalls.
As the jobs got bigger and more regular, Jordan invested in more equipment, including a skid steerer.
“When I purchased an electric jackhammer, I thought I knew what I was doing,” says Jordan, “but I was sadly mistaken. It wasn’t until I purchased my first skid steer that we started developing into a profitable business.”
By the end of the first year of business, Jordan was running five crews (five guys per crew) and replacing sidewalks for a large telecommunications company all over North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
Yet, he felt the operation was still not financially viable enough to ensure long-term success. He confirms, “We were only winning jobs because we were the lowest bidder and therefore not making any money. We needed to bid on better jobs and get our name out there. And we needed to expand into the commercial market.”
Shannon agreed and recommended bringing in Danny Carroll, now Head of Project Development at Snipes. With their help, Jordan shifted the company direction once again to the benefit of all as 2017 proved to be a milestone year for the business.
Jordan and his team won their first apartment complex job in 2017 to pour footings and slab-on-grade for a 100,000-square-foot project. “This first project got us moving in the right direction, in terms of making the best use of our people and processes. After that job, we picked up more apartment complexes and eventually worked our way into commercial retail/industrial space as well as constructing retaining walls,” he says.
From flat work, footings and foundations to curbs, asphalt patching and concrete resurfacing, Snipes has developed a full suite of services to support concrete and site construction on jobs that range from $40,000 to $1 million.
“Our business foundation is built on relationships—not just low bids. We try to go above and beyond for every customer.” Jordan Snipes, Owner, Snipes Concrete & Hauling LLC
While a majority of the company’s work is in North Carolina, in the last year, Jordan’s crews have traveled throughout the Southeast and all the way to Texas to support their growing portfolio of repeat customers. Approximately 90% of clients are repeat business.
“I don’t like to bid on a job until I’ve met the client,” Jordan explains. “Our business foundation is built on relationships—not just low bids. We try to go above and beyond for every customer. We know what to expect and they know our quality and production on projects. It’s one of the reasons that we got involved with The Blue Book Building & Construction Network in 2018. That organization’s entire philosophy is about building relationships.”
While 2017 proved to be a milestone year, 2018 was even better, doubling revenue once again. The company is on track to double revenues again in 2019.
Rewards and Responsibilities
Snipes has grown to 32 employees, which includes four project managers, a full-time estimator and a full-time administrator along with five crews. While loving the company’s growing reputation in the commercial space, Jordan is most proud of the teamwork culture that his crews have developed.
“Our project managers wear many hats,” he explains. “On any given day, they might act as the site superintendent or operate equipment or smooth concrete—but they always work with the same group of guys; they’re very tightknit, which I believe fosters better results and happier employees.”
As one of his first employees who weathered the various challenges, Danny agrees, adding, “I’m a believer that our success is not final; failure is not fatal. We keep grinding—and it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Project Manager Donte Miles adds, “It’s been tremendous watching Snipes grow and helping great companies and trade partners be the best in their business because of our work. It feels like family even when we’re on the road working.”
And Shannon, one of the instigators of the move to concrete, says, “Excellence is our goal. We strive every day and on every job to improve our quality and build great relationships with our general contractors. I have been here since the start and we are growing into something very special in the way we operate and think outside the box.”
When asked how it feels to be the owner of an up-and-coming multimillion-dollar business, Jordan says, “It’s exhilarating and fun. I love working in the field with the guys and seeing the results of our work. But there’s also a lot of pressure. I’m essentially feeding 32 families—and I take that responsibility very seriously as I look for ways to expand our client base and our services.”
He further credits much of his success to his wife, Jackie, who currently runs the accounts payable and financials for the company. “She’s had a full-time job the entire time that we’ve been building the company. Her income kept us afloat with family bills. Even when the directional drilling business failed, she stayed positive. Because of her, I had the space to work through the early business challenges and bring my vision to life,” he says.