How did you get started in your remodeling career?

I started at age 13 on jobsites with my father. He had retired early from owning retail stores and started a remodeling business with a truck and circular saw. I’m a 3rd generation master carpenter and shipwright. The skills | have learned in wooden boat building have provided me with an in-depth knowledge of carpentry. | also used to build models, which really gives you an eye for the details, and that’s especially useful in this industry.

Do you have any formal training?

Not really. I started my first business, a painting company, at age 17 and then branched off into construction. It’s basically been ‘earn as you learn,’ although I have continually sought out classes on ‘best practice’ business skills. Building things was easy, learning how to runa company and understanding that I’m a business owner, not a carpenter any- more, was a huge milestone.

What are the top 3 skills every remodeler should have?

  • Sales
  • Estimating
  • An eye for detail. As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details.

What is your biggest success, or a defining moment in your career?

I brought Shawn McCadden in as a consultant and have seen great growth. He has validated some of our business practices and has suggested systems that have enabled us to be more profitable. It was the best money I ever spent! (Short of my wife’s engagement ring).

What is your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

Not having proper contracts and working with less than ideal customers. We now have contracts that protect our company and carefully select customers to work with that fit our business model.

Looking back, what advice would you give your future self about a career in remodeling?

My advice would be to take business and sales courses as soon as possible when you’re starting your own business. Understanding the difference from being a carpenter with a business and being a business owner that does carpentry or contracting. If you’re really great at being on the site working, then you better hire the right people to run your company; or if you’re like me, you may see running your company and having great employees that run projects more beneficial. As Shawn MaCadden says ” mentor your employees, don’t just teach them”.

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