In his own words: Alex Sampson of Arch Payroll
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Alex Sampson: At Arch Payroll the goal is to match the best payroll software available and the highest customer service to create an entirely different way of offering payroll to clients. My job is to make sure our clients are receiving the best customer service.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Sampson: This is a small step from my last job of calculating the employee-company splits for payments of health insurance. After talking with dozens of business owners, HR managers and payroll companies, my brother and I noticed there was a gap in communication when calculating employee deductions. We created this company in order to fill in this gap and improve the accuracy of payroll.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?
Sampson: My father taught me that our current clients are the most important thing for Arch, not new business, not the technology we’ve created, no other factor. The Reno business community is too personal to go around burning bridges, and everything means more when relationships begin with someone you trust.
NNBW: How did the recession change the way you do business?
Sampson: The recession has its ups and downs. Some major ups for us have been the amount of highly talented people there are available for new jobs! For example our newest Arch Payroll administrator was a former CFO and CPA. The recession has made managers think they need to look internally to cut their costs instead of going out and getting new business. We don’t think so. The best companies in Reno have used Arch to buckle down their payroll tasks so they can be freed up to get new clients of their own.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Sampson: Oh wow … My first job was at Wolf Run Golf Course as a caddy. I still think it’s the best course in Reno … well, the fastest golf carts anyhow.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Sampson: I don’t believe many payroll companies have started since the recession. My advice: If you don’t have a product and service that’s 50 times better than anything you’ve seen, don’t bother. We wouldn’t have founded Arch Payroll if we thought we could do one or two things just a little bit better than our competition.
NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job?
Sampson: Some of the best experiences I have had are when we come out with our new products. Recently, it has been three months of free LifeLock, and bundling that with our payroll services. It’s fun when the client is more excited than I am about telling his employees the news.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Sampson: “While it’s virtually impossible to be 100 percent better than your competition, it’s very possible to be 1 percent better in hundreds of things for your clients.” Full disclosure The first time I heard this quote was over 10 years ago and now it is the theme of a book “The 1 Percent Solution” published in 2011. Just further proof that it’s true!
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?
Sampson: I’m an outdoors person. Usually it’s running with my Dalmatians in the hills behind our home in D’Andrea, but I try to make it out with the family. Lately we’ve been tubing down the river or going to the pool, then seeing a late afternoon movie.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Sampson: I can remember a few times when I have said some stuff that I wish I could un-say, but overall every experience has given me something to learn from. If I could learn more quickly form a few of my mistakes that would have helped me quite a bit.
NNBW: What has been your biggest professional disappointment? How about your best professional accomplishment?
Sampson: One of the best business coaches I’ve ever seen has a great attitude about this. He said that failures are simply results that didn’t meet expectations and we should view them exactly as that, results. Now for me, have I had marketing plans, ideas and strategies that have produced less than expected results? Absolutely. Additionally, I would list my biggest professional accomplishment as taking these less-than-expected results and turning them in to great opportunities.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Sampson: For a long time I wanted to be a fireman or on the ski patrol.
What’s funny is I’ve been both those things, and it’s never as good as it seems. I think when I was young I put too much emphasis on the work itself and not enough on the people I would be working with. A good fireman has to be good before he’s a fireman.
NNBW: What can you do that someone else can’t?
Sampson: I can program an Excel workbook and turn a 40-hour task in to 10 minutes. If this sounds dorky and technical, it’s because it is. To me, the point of me having a computer is to automate everything I can and get back to what I want to do help our clients.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Sampson: I don’t think I’m old enough to be thinking about retirement, and I’ll say that till I’m 70.
NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Sampson: I think the last game I attended was Little League day with the Reno Aces.
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Sampson: I’m more of an adventure vacationer. Vacations need to be fun, an escape from the normal. I think my next big trip will be to Alaska. My wife told me she would never go, so this might be a guys trip and the girls can go someplace tropical.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Sampson: Apart from the obvious living perks, (wake boarding, camping, snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, dirt biking, trail running … I could go on) the business environment here has more to offer than any place on the West Coast. Large businesses are gaining California customers and paying Nevada taxes, and small businesses are able to build off of our “Keeping it Local” theme. I might have been born and raised here, but I made a separate and research based decision to choose to live here and start Arch Payroll here.
Name: Alex Sampson, co-founder of Arch Payroll
Number of years in this job? We co-founded Arch Payroll about a half a year ago, and I’ve been in the industry for almost 2 years.
Education: Bishop Manogue Catholic High School; bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno
Last book read? “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand I’m a sucker for the classics
Favorite flick? “Back to the Future!” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
What’s on your iPod? A hard case … For the “Run” playlist: Awolnation, Alex Clare, Rise Against and as always, Irish rock music … easiest way to keep my heart rate up. On the “By the Pool” playlist: Jack Johnson, Of Monsters and Men, Adele
Spouse, kids or pets? I have two children, 10 and 9 years old, with my wife Stephanie.
Know someone whose perspective you want to share with NNBW readers? Send contact information to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 775-850-2146.
Initial claims for unemployment in Nevada have remained relatively flat for more than two months and totaled 8,158 in the week ending Oct. 31.