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Spotlight - Josh Fritze, BBX Excavation

image BBX Excavation owner Josh Fritze has been digging the career change he made nine years ago.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - It took Josh Fritze 14 years working in the computer field before he realized that he would rather work in dirt than data systems. Trading software for a skid steer in 2010, Fritze established BBX Excavation and is digging the career change.

 

 

 


Share about your background and how you were introduced to the construction industry.
    I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO and was pretty much raised in Fort Collins, CO. My dad actually had a construction company back in the day called Colorado Quality Homes.

Did you help out your dad when you were young?
    I sure did! I remember digging a lot of holes and doing framing work and construction cleanup and digging out septic tanks. However, my main focus was on the machine side as opposed to doing concrete and doing labor and intensive tasks. I was always interested in the tractors. I started driving a tractor when I was about 9 years old on my grandfather’s farm.

Did you think construction was a career you might pursue when you were older?
    I had a love/hate relationship with it, like people have with a lot of things in life. There is never something that you are going to find that will be 100% bliss. You have to take the lesser of the two evils, so to speak, and just run with that.
    Construction work can be very enjoyable at times and then it can be very unenjoyable at times. It can be enjoyable for several reasons. For one, you get to see something that is created from nothing. More than anything else you can do on the planet, you can do something where you can actually see something that was built and created and that will be standing for a long time. When it’s nice out and the weather is cooperating, it’s fun to be outside. The bad thing is when the weather isn’t cooperating and it’s too hot or too cold, it’s not. Working in it as I grew up, it wasn’t something where I thought that it was the end all be all, but now it’s nice to be able to get up in the morning and know that you are somewhat in control of your life, so to speak.

What path did your life take after high school?

    By the time I was 19, my dad had wrapped things up with his business and after high school, I went to college Regis University and got a degree in computer networks. I started working with computers, systems, databases and networks and I did that for 14 years. I didn’t actually do full-time construction until 10 years ago, although on the side, I occasionally did painting, welding and mechanic work, which has always been kind of a hobby of mine.

What motivated you to pursue a career in excavation?
    I realized I wasn’t designed to be in an office. It took me 14 years to figure it out. I just don’t have that personality. I’m more of a free-spirited individual and – I hate to say it – I say what is on my mind a lot! When you are inside an office, people and bosses don’t like that and it causes problems. I didn’t have many problems when I was in IT, but it seemed like I was holding myself back all of the time.
    In 2010, I bought a skid steer I saw in a newspaper for $7500 and a broken-down dump truck, and that’s how I started BBX Excavation. I started with no contacts, no money, no nothing. I actually went $10,000 in the hole on credit cards and then I started a family all at the same time! Those first three years were brutal, and I wasn’t even doing excavation; I was doing anything known to man – landscaping, replacing bushes, lawnmowing – anything I could just to bring a dollar in that day because I couldn’t wait until I was down the road. Now, I can take jobs that don’t pay for 30 to 90 days, but man, it was a rough, rough, rough start. I would not recommend it to anyone. I should have had save up another six months’ to a year’s salary before I started my business, but that didn’t happen.

How has BBX Excavation evolved in the past nine years?
    At first, I used Craigslist a lot to find jobs, and then got jobs through people at church or anywhere I could. I now have a shop and about 12 pieces of equipment now: a track loader, two skid steers, three trucks, a soil mixer, an excavator, a dozer, a compactor, a crane, and a scraper. I do get help with I need help, but my work is such that I can do most of the work myself. I love my tractors, running the machines and moving dirt.

Have you ever found anything interest-ing on a site you have excavated?

    Sometimes when I am digging, I’ll see an old water table. When I’m digging in limestone, I can see evidence of the Crustacean period, like shells and crayfish.
    When I demolished a house recently, I found letters from the World War II period. The letters showed a girl and a guy writing back and forth. I have a box of them, and they are very interesting. I don’t know why they were left behind; I asked everyone I could to try to give them back.

What are your plans for the future of BBX Excavation?
    Right now, we’re holding steady. We’re not trying to grow right now. We have a lot of things paid off and to the point where we want to start saving so that we can run off of cash instead of credit.
    I have some other business opportunities I’m working on; you have to have more than one. I can keep growing BBX Excavation, but I should have started when I was 19 or in my 20s, not in my 30s.I’m almost 41 now and to grow this business, I don’t want to take out a loan. The only way to grow is to hire more people, get a bigger building, get more equipment, do more jobs, and then I have more headaches, and I’m just not into headaches! Right now, we have what we need. That’s the direction we’re headed right now.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
    I don’t really do anything for fun right now! I pretty much just work around the clock – weekends, evening, days – and then I work on my other businesses, too. My wife and kids are awesome; I wouldn’t trade them for anything!
    In between my family and my work maintaining and fixing the machines, buying parts for them and my side hustles, there is no fun except for going to Colorado once or twice a year; I go up there for a week or so and go skiing; I absolutely love skiing; I recommend Keystone. Once I cross that state line, it’s mentally night and day. I’m on vacation and I’m not even thinking about work, just complete fun.
    I have some land in Colorado, and I plan on building a house up there in the mountains. I want to go up there and start taking it easy down the road. My hope is that I make it to at least 75 years old, get up to Colorado and enjoy the rest of my days. I would like five or ten years up there of peace and quiet

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to break into your industry?
    My recommendation is that success can be had if you work really hard for it. I’ve made good money doing this and there are a lot of benefits from doing this work. I have some time where I don’t have to show up to a job every single day from 9 to 5, and there are times when I don’t have work because of the weather. If you put the time and work in, you will be surprised what you can accomplish, but that’s the key: you have to put in the time in.
    Subcontractor BBX Excavation in Euless provides tractor work for commercial, and residential projects. –mjm


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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net