The Bettis Group is paving its way to success
Terry Bettis founded Bettis Asphalt & Construction in 1979 with hopes of building a family-owned hot mix asphalt paving and maintenance operation that focused on quality and service.
When his three children — Eric, Ashley and Mark Bettis — later assumed the Topeka-based company’s leadership, they took that goal and raised it.
The Bettis Group of Companies today consists of eight construction-related companies, including a quarry operation, ten asphalt plants, a crane business and a trucking company with an 80-vehicle fleet. Over the past decade, the company’s revenues have nearly quadrupled, and its reach now extends into five Midwestern states.
To help finance this growth, the Bettis Group has also expanded its banking relationships, including the one it has developed with Commerce Bank.
Originally contracted in 2019 to automate Bettis Asphalt’s accounts payable system, Commerce Bank has since provided everything from acquisition, equipment and working capital financing to credit card acceptance and purchasing card services for that company and others under the Bettis Group umbrella.
That includes Koss Construction, a 100-plus year old highway construction company whose 2020 acquisition enabled the Bettis Group to enter the concrete business. With projects in Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and Kansas, Koss Construction is today one of the largest of the Bettis Group companies.
“Koss works primarily with state Departments of Transportation (DOTs),” explains the Bettis Group’s Chief Financial Officer, Suzanne Johnston, who has been with the companies since 2014. “With the start of each new construction season, it may take 30 days or more before Koss Construction starts receiving cash flow from a DOT. An operating line of credit from Commerce helps cover Koss’ early expenses until we are paid.”
Expanding business, expanding payment methods.
Multiple Bettis Group companies now rely on virtual credit cards to pay suppliers who participate in the company’s automated AP program. That transition, recalls Johnston, went smoother than expected. “That was one of the easiest implementations I’ve ever had,” she says. “It created no extra work for our AP department. We provided a list of vendors to our team at Commerce, and they handled the enrollment.”
“Now, we just upload and send a pay file to Commerce, and our suppliers receive a virtual credit card that pays our invoice online through a secure ControlPay® site,” she adds. “The revenue share we receive for these transactions makes it a complete win.”
Three Bettis companies also recently added Visa Spend Clarity, a technology that helps companies manage spending on purchasing cards which are provided by Commerce.
“That has been a huge time-saver,” says Johnston. “Our employees can make 400 or more credit card purchases a month. Our staff used to spend a lot of time chasing down paper receipts for each one of them. Visa® Spend Clarity gives employees the ability to take a picture of each receipt and use a phone app to turn it in to our system electronically. It’s so easy.”
While the credit card bills for each business are paid through the same accounting software, some companies need job and phase codes, while others require different cost categories,” Johnston explains. “Our technical team from Commerce helped us set up and map the options. They have been amazing at helping us make changes on the fly.”
Finding solutions to special needs.
While sharing IT, financial management and other core services, every company under the Bettis Group umbrella operates independently and is expected to stand on their own. Johnston works with Commerce to tailor solutions to their individual needs.
For example, when the company’s quarry business was looking for another solution for accepting credit card payments from customer, Commerce installed a Clover point-of-sale payment system at the site.
“Commerce is very interested in who we are as a business and who I am as a person,” says Johnston. “They are in tune with the construction industry, and they know our struggles. They want to walk alongside us and help us as much as they can.”
Chief Financial Officer
Bettis Group of Companies
“We never feel like we’re just another customer,” she adds. “Commerce is always right here, helping us get it done.”