When I bought my 2nd home in 2006 (yes, paid too much), I began a journey that I would have never imagined would put me in the construction business. Up until early 2010, I was in the mortgage business, but after remodeling 90% of my home (in and out) myself, I found that I discovered something that I loved. I loved learning how to make improvements to my home, finish them, and have them turn out perfect. (yes, I’m a bit of a perfectionist).
“Do something you love and figure out how to make a living at it”
In 2010, I reached out to a very reputable remodeling / handyman company in Barrington that I knew of that actually helped me with a couple of things at my home. I quit the mortgage business and took at job with them on a part time basis for cheap to learn even more. They had me work a lot with a guy named Steve who was more of a perfectionist than me, but I learned a ton more from. From there, the rest just played out. In addition to working with Steve at this company, I began doing a lot of handyman work which then transitioned into doing a lot of corporate work for companies that were buying 100’s of houses that my company ended up remodeling. (talk about seeing it all – try remodeling nearly 60 houses in a year – you will learn more and see more than you want).
Along the way, I found that I loved remodeling bathrooms the most so in 2014, we began to focus exclusively on bathrooms where we have completed projects from $4,000 to $75,000
What did I learn?
- Focus on one thing and do it well (bathrooms)
- Don’t hire subcontractors (they don’t show up, they show up late, they cut corners, they don’t take responsibility, and they NEVER finish on time) – I had more than my share of headaches
- Make the guys and girls doing the work exclusive to you – this way they are exclusive to me doing the same thing every day – bathrooms – and I can then control the customer satisfaction by designing their compensation program around the success of the project they are working on. By doing great work, being responsible, and finishing on time……they receive a bonus. With that format, it’s a win for the customer, the company, and the employee.
- Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it – the world of handshake deals is dead, but what I learned from my father (who passed away at 52 – I’m 47 now) is just that. As a prudent business person, I have more contracts and agreements than I would like, but people who know me know, that if I say it’s going to be done, it will be done.
- There are may unscrupulous people in the construction world – I knew I could set myself apart as I brought a business background to the construction world, but I’m amazed a how homeowners almost expect to be screwed by a contractor. I think it’s because there are so many stories out there of projects never being finished, contractors always asking for money, and so forth.
- Know who you are doing business with – I learned to check people out and now as a company, we run background checks on all team members.
There you have it, the quick run down of how I started and what I learned along the way.