Reader Profile: Parking Lots, Inc.

Nov. 3, 2016

Doing one part of the construction process and doing it well is the mission of Parking Lots, Inc., a New Port Richey, FL, company providing services such as seal coating and thermoplastic striping for parking lots. It’s a family business in which Steve Hulgin, vice-president, runs the day-to-day operations with his son Justin, who heads up asphalt sealcoating operations. Steve’s wife Lisa, president, runs the office; his mother Angie is involved to a lesser extent.

Many of the eight employees have been part of the tight-knit operation for years, notes Steve Hulgin. The work breakdown is 40% for subcontractors, 40% for paving contractors, and 20% for retail plazas, mobile home parks and shopping centers. Providing a niche service takes the load off bigger companies, he points out.

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“It’s difficult for larger companies to find a company that can follow through as if they are part of their own company,” he says. “When they tell us to be there on Friday, they know we’ll be there. They are confident with my pricing structure.”

The company’s focus on striping offers efficiencies, enabling them to finish jobs faster, he adds. Backup equipment enables deadlines to be met if one piece of equipment goes down.

“We never say no and we never fail to meet the deadline,” he says.

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What They Do Day to Day
Steve Hulgin handles finances and payroll. He’s confident he’s got a proficient crew, yet says that he doesn’t get out on the job as often as he’d like. He does show up to handle difficult situations requiring attention.

Justin Hulgin starts the day by readying the trucks. At the job site, he sees to it that everyone is working on their correct tasks and takes measurements after a job’s completion to ensure the numbers are in line.

What Led Them Into This Line of Work
Steve Hulgin previously worked in construction in sales. He loved the work, but wanted to be his own boss.

“I didn’t have much money,” he says of going out on his own more than 12 years ago. “The suppliers helped me out with equipment. They believed in me. We took off and there’s been no looking back.”

For Justin Hulgin, working for the family business as a young teen was his first job. He enjoyed working for his father.

“But really, it was at the end of my first day—a long, hard day—that a $100 bill in my hand really got me going,” he notes. He also enjoys working with the other employees, several of whom he calls friends.

What They Like About Their Job
Steve Hulgin says he likes the industry, being outside, and the challenge of seeing how large his company can grow. Most enjoyable, though, is working with family members toward the same goal.

“Working with my son has been a lifelong dream,” he says. “Growing up, we all worked for our fathers. It seemed to be the natural order of things.”

Justin Hulgin says he likes the feeling he gets sitting in his truck at day’s end, contemplating how the company worked hard to do a good job, generating a satisfied customer. “I like knowing it’s going to be a great future working towards the goal of making this company grow and succeed,” he notes.

Their Greatest Challenge
Steve Hulgin says his company’s rapid growth rate actually is a challenge, in that it is difficult to train people for to be managers. They know what their job is as a worker, but being a manager takes a whole different training for them to learn how to watch other guys while they work,” he says.

He must then do field training, something for which he has little time. “There’s training to learn the equipment, to lay it out, and sometimes work 18 hours a day,” he says, adding that the company likes to promote from within.

Says Justin Hulgin: “We are definitely growing, and it’s hard for me and my Dad to be on every single job. You can never tell what time they’re going to be done—stuff always happens, and we’re trying to make everything work right toward the end point.”