Pat’s Offroad Inc. is the perfect example of how a small startup company can grow to compete alongside the big boys. Affiliated with the more than 35-year-old Pat’s Off-Road Transport in Canada, the company began U.S. operations in Colorado six years ago with two trucks. Pat’s Offroad has since branched out to several U.S. locations with more than 35 trucks.
“Most of our trucks are in North Dakota, which has been a successful market for us,” CEO Cale Kaupp says. “Today, we have locations in North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Pennsylvania. We’re looking to increase our presence in North Dakota.
The company supplies the oil and gas industry with frac fluid heating. Pat’s Offroad strives to provide first-class services by investing in new equipment and developing quality solutions.
“We meet with our customers on a regular basis, and the quality and condition of our equipment really sells itself,” Kaupp says. “We like to say that we have the cleanest fleet in all of the oil patch, and customers are drawn to the reliability we provide.”
Pat’s Offroad understands the role it plays working alongside frac crews. Kaupp says the company knows that errors could shut customers down, which is why the company has worked so hard to develop a level of reliability that is almost infallible.
“We are there for our customers with almost 100 percent reliability,” Kaupp says. “That way, we don’t cause delays. Reliability is a huge selling point, as is the emphasis we put on safety and the fact that we have large, state-of-the-art trucks. All of that draws repeat business for us.”
Investments in fleet upgrades are among Pat’s Offroad’s chief priorities. Kaupp says the company continuously looks to improve its trucks and build its fleet, while the competition tends to run the same heaters that have been around since they were originally designed.
“Investing in new technology and constantly trying to improve is how we keep upping the ante,” Kaupp says.
“We get our trucks reworked and redesigned, and we bring out new technology every year,” he adds.
Kaupp says that the company has expanded its capabilities from 14 million-Btu frac heater trucks all the way to 45 million-Btu trucks. “We’ve seen the efficiency of equipment improve, too,” Kaupp says. “We’re building 12 more 45 million-Btu trucks this year, and we’ll retrofit our older trucks to bring them up to that level.”
Like all oil and gas industry service providers in North Dakota, employee retention is a constant concern. Pat’s Offroad provides a man camp for its people to live in, which Kaupp says has helped with retention. But he also contends that the company’s reputation for first-class equipment and reliability has helped draw many quality prospective employees to the company.
“We don’t really have to advertise ourselves, and a lot of that has to do with the cleanliness and efficiency of our operations,” Kaupp says. “People are drawn to our company because we have a reputation for being such a tight ship. We have great employees working here now, and word-of-mouth and the quality of our equipment will continue to draw people to us.”
Its reputation for safety is another plus. Pat’s Offroad has people and programs in place that govern its safety protocols, and all employees go through extensive safety training.
“We believe in strenuous training because all of our people need to understand our heating equipment and the way it works,” Kaupp says.
As the markets it serves continue their evolution, Pat’s Offroad stands ready to adapt to any situations that arise. People on the ground in each location help the company stay on top of where the market is going. Thanks to its widespread geographic presence it can move equipment and employees around fairly easily to be sure it has enough resources in place to meet market activity.
“Plus, every year we are constantly updating our trucks to be sure we have larger frac fluid heating trucks,” Kaupp explains. “We think our equipment is at the right level in terms of where the market is, and we think the fleet we have put together will suit the market for some time.”
Beyond its current locations, Pat’s Offroad does explore possible expansion into other markets. However, it is very selective when it comes to heading into new regions. Generally, the company says it prefers to run operations where it is needed.
“Our tendency is to go where we’re asked to go by customers,” Kaupp says. “That is how we’ve gotten most of our business and expansion opportunities throughout our history, because customers have asked us to go where they need us.”
For now, the company will continue to work on ensuring that its frac fluid heating services are leading the market. Pat’s Offroad also will try to help its personnel – especially in North Dakota – to become more permanently situated and comfortable.
“We want to be sure that all of our people are well taken care of,” Kaupp says. “At this point, we are pretty happy with where the company is at and trying to build stronger relationships with all of our customers.” EMI