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This fourth generation builder has done things the right way for a long time. That’s not to say they haven't made mistakes. Through trial and error and by building and nurturing lifelong relationships they have become one of the most sought after and respected builders in their market

 Show Highlights:

  • How being on-the-job earns the respect and admiration of your co-workers (14:00)
  • Why building relationships helps aspiring builders jump right in and lead a thriving business (even if you don’t have an in) (19:50)
  • The single most important thing a legacy builder hesitates to give up as they contemplate passing the torch (24:20)
  • How to avoid sacrificing quality when you move from a hands-on, craftsman approach to a long-term management operation. (27:26)
  • Why the “touch everything” model hampers growth and prevents you from increasing volume. (28:30)
  • How to avoid being a commodity with a simple common-sense idea (you are already doing anyway.)  (31:30)
  • The biggest fear your founder secretly has when business grows too fast (and how you can effectively deal with it) (32:03)
  • How to convince your team you can run the show (even when you have far less experience) (33:30)
  • How to give your trades people more responsibilities and why they might enjoy the extra work (33:30)
  • How a simple tactical change can save you from taking redundant phone calls all day long (38:06)

To connect with Duane, Dave, or one of our show guests head over to https://buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

My responsibility involved, sweeping up, moving material, Trash, clean the job sites, all the Glory. This place sucks. So I'm never coming back here, like get me out of this place as quickly as possible.

Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Dwayne Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple. Build freedom Where a couple of entrepreneurs turned business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodel. Our clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. Mike cohost, Dwayne has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows from the beginning though. Dwayne has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business in 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business. And the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you built better businesses and better lives. And now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.

(01:16): Our guest today helps lead a fourth generation family building business that has become one of the most sought after and respected builders in their market. He has dedicated himself to learning and absorbing every aspect of the construction industry. And like his father is involved in every phase of the home building process. When not building dream homes for his clients, he enjoys being out on the boat. This I wanna hear more about because I love being on the boat too, staying active and being outside with his wife, Megan, their son, Tate, and their daughter lane From the shores of North Carolina. It's my pleasure to welcome Tanner Conradi to today's show. Welcome Tanner. Hey guys. Thanks for having me. So yeah, I'm the same as Dave. I, I enjoy boats as well. I mean, you, you told me when we originally talked to you like to spend some time on the boat, I mean, for you, what does that look like? Is that fishing? Is it leisure skiing? Is it a little bit of Everything, but mostly leisure, uh, you know, two young kids, you can't spend too much time getting from point a to point B before everybody wants to jump in and get wet. So it's typically a, a quick ride to a little barrier island off of our offright school beach. And some friends will meet up with their little kids and then they just run a muck all over the place.

(02:23): Did you grow up, uh, boating with your, with your parents and got, got introduced to it at a young age and felt an affinity for, for getting out on the water and, and that freedom that comes with it? Yeah, I was born and raised on Wright school beach, and so water has always been, you know, something close to us and easy access, boating and surfing and swimming and whatever else it was. And then you get into high school and, you know, you and your buddies can take off on the boat for an afternoon and feel like king of the world, and then, you know, get into college. And it's a, it's a opportunity to go out with some friends and, and crush a couple beers and then, you know, start to introduce your family to it. It's fun. It's a fun little progression. It's such a freeing thing to be out there. And anytime, uh, anytime I'm out the boat with my, my wife or my daughters, you just feel the stress dripping off you as you're, you're there going through the waves and what the, the sun on your face and the wind in, well, if you have hair, the wind in your hair, but, uh, , it's an amazing feeling. And, uh, to be able to have those moments of, uh, freedom, but it, with the line of work that we're in there's, there's not always that feeling of freedom. You got, you really have to pick your spots

(03:34): Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. It's not uncommon to run into to vendors and subcontractors and even clients, you know, out on the water often just as . And so your, your leisure day quickly turns into a work conversation. Yeah. They're all seeking the same therapy. Yeah. Right, exactly. But it's what a great way to do business though. Come on. That's uh, yeah. That's Oh, I'll take it. No doubt. Yeah. It is better beats the boardroom every time And it feels good every time too. I've been on, I've been on big boats, small boats, fishing boats, you know, leisure boats, uh, salt water, backwater lakes. It's all the same. When you get on the water today's point. It's just, it's kind of freeing. So that's, that's cool. So you are a fourth generation builder. I mean, that's impressive in itself. Uh, tell us the history a little bit about the business, you know, and, and you know, where it came from. Yeah. Where it is, where it is.

(04:25): My dad has been building houses in Wilmington specifically since early eighties houses Colorados, his brother two, his two brothers were, were, and one still is in the construction industry. His dad was in his dad. It's, it's just generationally run through their family. Surprisingly, I'm the only one of my end of the generation to be in construction at this point. And my dad's one of six, so there's a lot of us grandkids and nieces and nephews on that side. And I'm the only one building houses. So hopefully, hopefully my son or, or daughter will, will wanna follow in my footsteps and keep the chain going. But yeah, my dad's experiences started, um, in construction, early working with his dad, you know, weekends and nights and whatever else, mostly did hardwood flooring and, and carpentry contracting stuff. He always had an affinity for, you know, the hands on construction, part of it. He was a framer, mostly in his early career migrated into, you know, interior, exterior trim off of the framing. And then just sort of naturally took over contracting and in full as his career sort of progressed. So where Do you come into that? You know, you talked about going off to college at, at what point did you realize, Hey, this is something that I want to get into. Was it really young? And you knew you were going to college in a related field or walk us through how, how you became engaged and, and what, uh, what drew you to working with your dad and, and being part of this, uh, mission that you guys are on.

(06:00): Yeah. So our company is called Conrey and sun construction. When I was in high school, it was the last thing I wanted to do as a career. mainly because the only times I ever were on the job site, it was a, a weekend or after school or early Saturday morning after a football game. And my responsibility involved, sweeping up moving material, Stack lumber, trash, clean the job sites, all the Glory. This place sucks. Yeah. I'm never coming back here, like get me outta this place as quickly as possible. I went away to NC state, my freshman year at college, Go back, Uh, with the original major of turf, grass management, played football and baseball all my life and thought, you know, being on a grounds crew or a greenskeeper or something would NA be a natural fit for me. And NC state has a great agriculture school for it. Have you played the course up there? Haven't oh, No. Yeah. I've played it several. Yeah. It's you're a golfer. You'd love it. So anyway, didn't mean side. Okay. got into like botany class and was like, I can care less about plants like this doesn't interest me whatsoever came home for Christmas break and just was like, Hey dad, can I just work for you for the month? Make some money to go back to school next semester kind of thing. And it was, that was the first time where I got to like work side by side with some of the carpenters and like learn stuff, you know, learn siding, learn, flashing, learn, framing, learn different interior trim, and like actually got to like see some results and watch some skills kind of quickly progress. Uh, I took to it pretty naturally. And I basically like went back to school and started looking into what majors were available to, to change at NC state thinking I'm gonna do construction. Um, this is what I, this is cool.

(07:51): This is what I wanna do for the first time. That's kind of how I felt. So it was my freshman year of college, 18 years old when I decided like that was the, that was my career trajectory. While I was looking at other majors at state, they had, you know, business management, they had obviously engineering school, which felt like overkill for residential custom home building. And so I, I made them, I made the decision that after my freshman year I was gonna transfer home. I did a semester of part-time school at Cape fair community college and just jumped straight into work. The, the week I got back from school, I was full-time employee all summer long, all, all semester. Um, and really just, just dove right in head first and was like, I'm gonna, you know, just, you know, internalize everything and anything I can, I'm gonna learn from these guys. And my dad put me on the crew as a helper, you know, lined me up with one of his old carpenters and said, you know, do whatever Louis tells you to do. And, uh, , you know, that's, that's basically where it started. And as I learned and learned skills, you know, my responsibilities morphed and increased ended up getting my contractors' license when I was 21, 20, 21 years old, I think decided I wasn't in school. I might as well study for the exam. Green building was like really kind of taking off at that time, like lead build lead certified stuff and energy star. Um, so we built a lead certified home in town. We were the first, uh, new handover county to do that and entered and a North Carolina healthy built home. We were the first in new handover county to do that. So we were kinda trying to find sort of a, a niche if you will.

(09:27): Um, and so I was taking some sort of continuing education type classes to learn, learn about green building and, and learn about sustainability and construction and things like that. And then my mom pushed me real hard to just go back to school and finish my degree. So I ended up going back at UNC w UNC Wilmington got a business degree, uh, while still working. So I kind of tried to consolidate my classes to as few a days a week as possible, pushed hard back against why do I need to go get a degree? I've got a, you know, a job and a business that I feel like I wanna take over one day. Like, there's no point in me going back, but now that it's over and I'm done I'm I did it. Um, I did learn a lot, uh, from the business side of things that I wasn't learning on the job. Like I was the, the construction, the man construction management and, and skill side of Things. There's a, a, a few interesting things there to unpack. And we definitely wanna dig into how the business learning shifted, you know, your approach and what you ended up doing with the family company. We wanna hear the rest of that journey for sure, because it's so relevant right now with the young workforce. That's not really interested or hasn't, it has lost interest in getting into this. And you are one of those people, but you went through this transformation or you, your interest was peaked, not in because in of intention, but because you got put on the job site, you must have had a good experience what investments. So, so you talk about, you talked about how you got to build something instead of just sweep or clean something, and that was satisfying. But when you think about your time when your, your first stint there, and actually being part of the crew, and then your time with Lou and, and just do what Lou tells you to do to do what investments were made in you, or what things did those guys teach you or share with you that created this, uh, desire to keep learning and doing more?

(11:21): Because a lot of, a lot of young people would not be interested in continuing if they got thrust into that, but you were, so it's really relevant to dig into that for a second to see what environment they created, that sure. Elevated you to want to continue down that path. Yeah, it's interesting because I see it happen all the time, right. Kids come to you and they're like, Hey, I wanna be in construction. Well, what do I do? And the first Santa was like, Hey man, I got a crew that needs a helper. And it, it was a little bit tough at first, you know, you come in here as an 18, 19 year old kid, the, the boss's son, right? Like, but at the same time, I think I was humble enough to just sort of show up and do what was asked and, and never put myself in a place of, you know, oh, well I am the boss's son. So like, I'm better than you. Right. It was never that I think really strong work ethic. Um, the, the desire to sort of continue with, uh, a team sort of feeling I think was a, was a big part of that. Growing up, playing sports, always being a member of a team. You know, I was still a year out of high school and had for the first time, my life wasn't on a team. And so to sort of, kind of take that and, and own it as this is my team. I wanna make us all as, as strong as we can, as good as we can, you know, I'm gonna work really hard next to this guy, cuz he is counting on me and we're trying to get stuff done and he's got a job to do. He's, you know, training me and teaching me how to do it as well. And it, it's also nice when that stuff does come somewhat naturally because if you're having to work really, really hard and not seeing results, it can be discouraging.

(13:06): Did the rest of the, the, the people that you were working with, did they share that same team mindset? Did you feel it more from others? Like was it, was it a welcoming environment? Like you touched on the boss' son that might get your foot in the door a little bit can create resentment, but right. It sounds like you showed up with the, with the right attitude and the right approach. How did they respond to you? I think for the most part, it seemed fine. I mean, I don't know if they talk about behind my back or anything, but for, to my face, everybody was great. Um, and, and the truth is at the time we weren't from a, from a volume of work standpoint, we were only doing one or two jobs at a time. And so there really was a, a really tight knit group of guys that were just rolling from job to job, to job together. And Was that still the, you know, when we talk like a hands on approach, you guys are doing a lot of labor inhouse, a lot of the carpentry

(13:58): Mm-hmm yeah. Yep. Very hands on. And, and it, sometimes my, you know, there was a lot of time where my dad was still in the job site wearing his nail bags, um, next to us all. And that was, that was the way that the business was started in the way that the business was set up and the way that my dad built his reputation. And so his approach to business was, was super high quality, super low volume, and that's what he wanted to do. And that's the way he wanted to keep it. And once you sort of started to develop a relationship with those guys on whatever stage of the project you were on, you knew you were about into the next project and do the same thing, whether that's a renovation or, or a new construction, you know, everybody's gonna kind of have their role and their sort of niche part of that project to, to take on everybody really leaned on each other hard to, to get the job done. And there was a, a necessity and a need for people that were just willing to work hard and, and learn and, and not get disturbed by the grumpy old man when he shows up. And his saws in the wrong place, uh, you know, to be able to just sort of roll with the punches and, and be humble enough to understand that that was, that's probably where I gained the most of immediate respect, I

(15:10): Guess. So fast forward, back to where you were in the story before you, you go off to finish college, you get your degree, you learn a few things about business. You're probably starting to think about the business in a little bit different way. What happened? How does the story go when you come back from that? And your, you know, are you starting to have conversations with your, with your dad and the other people in the business, uh, and your mom, uh, about, Hey, I learned this, I learned that. Or was, did you go back in with like, Hey, I better learn some more first and then slowly, uh, start to share what was, what was the mindset and what happened next as you, as you got back in there with, with this education under your belt. So by, by the time I went back to college, you know, I already had my contractor's license and, and I had already sort of very well established the idea that this is what I wanna do. Like this is, this is my, my career, you know, goal and trajectory, like what? And so even before I went back to school, there was already this conversation. And in fact, that's when we changed the name to Conrad and sun construction. Prior to that, my dad had always been called custom cuts construction. And so when I got my licenses, when we changed the name and, and that was sort of our way of committing to each other, if you will. And so there was already an, an, an effort there to sort of start to do more than just the carpentry stuff, you know, start to go on some of these, um, interview meetings and preconstruction meetings and working on estimates, working on, you know, material takeoffs and material orderings and all those kind, you know, coordinating trades and all the, all the, all the parts and pieces that are involved in contracting the job over just the carpentry side.

(16:49): I think For time perspective. When was this roughly time wise? Um, let's see. This would've been like 2009, 2010. OK, Fine. Yeah. So also a tough time in our industry. Right. You know, I jumped into this thing when we were doing some jobs that nobody wants to do just to keep everybody busy, you know, some, some RO wrangling and, and window replacements and things like that, that nobody wanted to get their hands on and we wouldn't have normally done, but, you know, desperate times call for desperate measures. So we were fortunate to be able to do that stuff and keep everybody busy throughout, you know, a little bit of a curve. But yeah, so the, the kind of the, the plan and the, the process of me getting involved on the back end and the other parts of the, of the business had already sort of started to sort of take flight as I was going back to college to, to get my degree. And then, you know, as I learned things in business school and, and different classes, what I think I appreciated most about being in college at that time was that there was like, I would learn something and be like, oh, I can, I can directly apply that to my business. Like I know exactly where that would come into play and how that could improve our current system. So it was a cool perspective. And then there was other times I'd be like, this has nothing to do with anything I'm gonna ever do.

(18:06): Tanner. What happened when you, um, when you shared some of those nuggets that you were learning, how did it, how did it go over because your, your dad had been running the business a certain way. You've, you've clearly been having more and more influence and, and he knows that you're coming in. How were your, how were your ideas received? He's never been anything but supportive. That's great. Um, he's he's, I mean, yeah, of course he, he would have questions or thoughts or ideas. We would do a lot of collaboration, but , but for the most part, my dad's business was always run off of a legal pad, even to transition things, to, to email and computers was like, you're doing what? Um, He was a true craftman that, that the, the passion was really in the building of stuff. Right. The business, the business for the most part was secondary. Yeah.

Yeah. He just happened to be really good at it. Yeah. And, and so the business grew because of his reputation for being really good at it. Yeah. Um, it didn't matter his processes and there, there wasn't flashy, you know, trucks driving all over the road and, and things like that. It was just him and a pickup truck and a legal pad. Yeah. And, and nail bags. So there, you know, that's what the reputation was built on around the area. Wanna level up, connect with us to share your stories, ideas, challenges, and successes. The builder nuggets community is built on your experiences. It takes less than a minute to connect with us@buildingnuggets.com, Facebook or Instagram, Want access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything.

(19:39): So now, as a father and son, you're going through a reimagining of your, of the business. You've started to learn some things from business school. You come back from that, you're getting more embedded into the operations of the business. It, it sounds like more on the production side and having some say in there at what point. Yeah. Do you start leading more of the business and talking about, well, you mentioned about starting put, put software and, and then make some steps there. When do you get to start to go out and actually lead the business? How we're really interested in hearing the transition because so many project managers or next generation builders are going to be interested in your story of how it happens, because they're hoping for an opportunity like this, not everybody has a da, a dad who's doing it, but these are things that are gonna be really important to a project manager who wants to become part of a business. And even though their last name may not be the same as the name on the side of the truck, there there's potential that they could be a business partner down the road. So these are real, these are really good things, uh, for us to dig into for, for the audience out there. So

(20:44): Like that. Yeah. Well, as I, as I started to sort of, of prove my abilities, um, I guess, and, and in doing that, you know, was, was able to start to build somewhat of my own reputation. You know, it, it started with subs and vendors and people seeing me understanding what I was capable of, understanding what sort of responsibilities I was taking on. And, and some of those tradesmen would start to reach out to me first over my dad for questions on things. You know, I, I started to build relationships with designers and architects and people that were involved in the project, cuz they were seeing me now more on the job site. It, it started as, you know, Hey, this there's, here's one house. You're gonna go build this. You're you're in charge of this house. Right. I'm gonna, my dad's gonna handle the other projects that we have going on. Like you're gonna, so, so I'm the point of con I've become the point of contact for, for all of the subs and all of the trades, knowing that my dad's right there at any moment to, and, and still checking in and coming by often. But he, he started to, you know, sort of lengthen the leash if you will, on, on the opportunity for me to sort of take the lead in that role. And so it, you know, it really was, was me proving that I'm capable, uh, putting in, you know, I had, I had been putting in the time, sweating it out with the guys, with my nail bags on to, to know and understand that like, Hey, okay, he's, you know, one, he is taking this serious. He's, he's doing a good job of learning everybody around him is, is understanding and seeing his development, um, on the job site.

(22:23): And so, you know, okay now why don't you start thinking about, you know, making sure that all the materials are gonna be there on time and, and the right quantities of DEC, you know, have you checked in with the plumber about these sort of things and is, is he coming? When is he coming? Is he, is he ready? Does he have all the fix he needs? And, and just sort of started to sort of, kind of quiz me and, and push me to be thinking, you know, five steps ahead of the project at all times, so that there wasn't ever a hangout. There was, there was there wasn't scheduling issues. There wasn't conflicts of, Hey, I'm the pro the site's not ready for me. You, you know, you called me over here kinda thing. And so I sort of, I, I kind of started to develop my own reputation amongst the crew and amongst the subs and amongst some of the, the designers and architects to where, you know, then, then they're starting to call on me and, and, you know, Hey, I've got a, I've got a new lead on a, on a client, on a new construction project are y'all interested in interviewing, you know, and, and taking me with him on some of those interviews and being available to let me sort of even initiate the majority of conversation.

(23:30): And then he fall in and fill in the, the detail cracks that may be missed. Uh, and so it, It's really interesting repetition. Yeah. Sorry to, sorry to jump in on you there. It's really interesting because just as we spoke about, you know, this is a valuable lesson for the young person coming up, or a project manager wanting to get more, more autonomy or more say, or to develop within the organization. It's also a fantastic example for a leader of an organization. Who's at the stage where they're ready to transition some of that, some of the leadership of the company, uh, over, and it sounds like your dad was doing a, a good job of recognizing where you were strong and giving you, like you said, you know, lengthening the leash. Yeah. So to speak. But it, one of the things that struck me was that, and it was a word that you used early, and this is one, this is one of the things that we see often the legacy builder is reluctant to relinquish, which is the relationships that is a really, uh, important piece to dig into because you, you share the story of, they're starting to reach out to you directly.

(24:34): The trades people are starting to reach out to you directly. Suppliers are starting to reach out to directly. That takes a lot of trust, uh, from the, from the founder in order to be able to do that. And granted you are his son, but it's also a good lesson that it's very, very difficult to elevate somebody in this, into this position and give them more authority without having the trust and the confidence in them to develop their relationships. Because when they're gone, we're no longer, you know, cultivating those relationships. Somebody has to have them, and that's a massive risk to the business, or they keep the relationships and then they don't have anything else. That's saleable. It's no longer an asset because they're, they're done. So that relationship transition is huge. It must have felt great at the time to feel all this support, uh, coming in or the opportunity being given to you. What, what was your, uh, what was the team providing you in terms of support? Were you out learning all this stuff on your own and coming back and saying, I want to do this, or was your dad spending more time with you teaching you about specific things that, that you needed to be successful at this? Because everybody needs an investment in them in order to be elevated. And whether you're doing that in your, on your own or through your team, how, how was it for you?

(25:50): Um, it was a little bit of both, you know, it was, it was my, my desire to want to learn and advance my career. You know, I, I was, I was very sort of clear with my dad from the beginning as I was getting into the industry that like, Hey, I I'm going to learn the trade because I see the value. And I see the respect that people on the job site that have been doing this their whole life are, are going to show me by knowing that, Hey, I can get in the trenches with you and, and we can do this together. Like I'm not, I didn't just pass a test and get in a pickup truck and, and the boss's son, right. Like I earned my stripes if you will. Um, and, but I, but I told my dad, you know, early on like my desire isn't to wear my nail bags when I'm 50 years old, you know, I, I, I had more of a business mindset and a business desire and, and I'd be lying. And that's, if I said we didn't butt heads on that often in those early stages, because it's easy for a young kid to start to see some sort of quick, short, immediate success and wanna just like take the business and run. Right. And, and, but there's a progression that kind of really needs to be followed. Otherwise you can watch a business crash and burn just as fast. You and I talked about that was, that was really that, that movement from a, a craftman hands on model to more of a management approach. Yeah. You know, you realize that you're gonna have to be other parties brought into this. We can't physically touch everything that we wanna build to grow this business. Yeah. Um, yeah, that must have been challenging.

(27:29): And so that, that's where we had our biggest challenges was like how, how, and how fast to grow the business. And, you know, I, I use this example with him all the time when, when we talk about carpentry things and is specifically carpentry things, cuz that's where our background is. We, we were carpenters, uh, uh, before we were builders and if we'd have been plumbers or electricians or heating and air guys, how would our, how would our vision and expectation of the project and those roles change, right? Like we are very still, we are still very hands on with the carpenters, with talking about structural details during framing and exterior interior trim details and how we wanna see finishes, uh, installed. We're still very hands on with that, but we're not very hands on with the plumber in how he runs his water lines and drain line, you know, we're, we, that's not our area of expertise.

(28:25): And so, you know, to me, I took it as, you know, I want to know a little bit about all of it and I wanna be, you know, know enough to be able to really be there if somebody has a question and, and I can help, um, advise based off of experience. But you know, my goal is to build these relationships and build this business so that we're doing, you know, I, I, I had a desire to do more volume than my dad did, um, and, and do more work than he did. And that was all, you know, his, his reputation was built on ultra hands on, you know, I'm gonna be the lead carpenter and general contractor on every job. And mine became, you know, I'm gonna be your point, man. And I'm gonna, I'm the one that you're gonna build this relationship with. And that's what my reputation's gonna be built on is my availability and my knowledge and my communication in an effort to set myself apart from other competitors. So What did the business in terms of volume or jobs look like at the time that you guys are going through this changing of the guard, so to speak or go going through this, uh, preparing for the, the reimagination of the, of the business.

(29:50) So it, it started where my dad would do two to three, maybe, maybe four projects a year, you know, and, and that would be custom homes and renovations of it seems like it kind of ebbs and flows. Like you're, you're sure doing a lot of custom homes and then you're doing a lot of renovations and the next year it flips. And so however that worked out between renovations and, and custom homes, it was all sort of the same. They were all treated the same. We'll call it a couple million bucks a year probably. And now, you know, we're, we're building twice as many custom homes as that a year and, and two or three times as many renovations at the same time. You know? So we, the volume of work has, has expanded exponentially. And the work coming in has just continued to, to be consistent.

(30:37): You know, there's there, we haven't seen any, any dips in phone calls and, and people reaching out to us wanting our services. And in most cases, their, their friends or references from people we've already worked for. And, you know, they're coming to us because their friend had a good experience or their neighbor, or they saw our sign in the neighborhood. And then they saw our sign at the other house in the neighborhood and then another house in the neighborhood. Oh, well, I should call those guys. um, so you know, it, it that's, that's where we've been able to build a, a strong reputation for the types of relationships that we've built. You know, there, there are a lot of builders in, in every market that can build a super high quality custom home or, or renovation, you know, there there's plenty of them here. I'm sure there's plenty of them in Charlotte where y'all are. And so in my mind, it was, how do I set? How can I set myself apart in some way from those guys? The first thing that I, that came to mind was everybody would always complain about their contractor. And well, I can't get 'em on the phone or I, you know, I don't really know what's going on in my project or, you know, I don't know what stage we're at, or I don't know where the budget is or something like that. And so, you know, I immediately saw communication being an opportunity to, to really set myself apart.

(31:57): And it's clear that it's working for you because you're, you're growing so quickly. It'd be interesting. Like the fear of the craftsman is that quality will suffer. And that's probably, I mean, that holds a lot of the, the craftsman type builder back because they don't know how to scale. And you take some business classes, you develop relationships, you start to learn, uh, some safe ways to scale you and your dad must had tons of conversations about let's not grow too fast because we don't want the reputation to suffer. Yeah. You come and you add in, well, Hey, we we're gonna grow our reputation because I'm gonna communicate better than everyone else. And I've identified, that's what people want. How were you able to grow your team? What systems or structure were you able to put into? What was an old school? Yeah. Nail bags business to, Hey, listen, dad team. We can, we can do this. These are the systems we're gonna put in. You mentioned, you know, just getting computers and going from a legal pad to a computers is a start. The rest of the team has to be able to embrace these things as well. It's not just convincing your dad, it's getting adoption and buy-in from the rest of the team. What things did the team embrace? What were you able to, to put in that resulted in maintaining the quality, giving you the opportunity to have time to go out and work on those relationships have so much quality in your work that you could be transparent in your communication. What were the shifts that happened there?

(33:27): So in a lot of situations, we still have, you know, carpenters that, that work for us. And we've, you know, we've even there, there are people that have worked. In some cases, we have carpenters that have worked for my dad since I was in high school. And so they've seen the business grow and they've, you know, they're very loyal to us because we're very loyal to them. You know, we provide them enough work to where they don't have to worry about whether or not they're gonna have work next week or the week after or after this job. Right. We just line it up so they can go from job to job, to job. And in some cases, you know, sort of initiated them, hiring their own guys and helped them understand how to build their business. We've incorporated, um, site managers. So I have, you know, four guys now that are designated to one or two sites each, and they're sort of my direct line to the job site. If I'm not there all day long, they are, you know, not necessarily full blown project managers, as far as scheduling subcontractors and trades and, and communications with homeowners or architects or designers, but they're included in all of those communications. And they're included in all of that. And I try to, you know, collaborate with them a lot, one so that they can start to learn more and more and more about the process and eventually become a project manager, but kind of taking a very similar approach that my dad took with me in getting them experience across the board, you know, solid carpentry experience on top of, you know, knowledge of, of every trade and sub and, and a little bit of everything. You know, they go through the walkthroughs with me with the heating and air guys and the plumbers and electricians and designers and homeowners, just to understand the details that we're talking through.

(35:21): So they can transition that from job to job. Cause they are all custom homes. So every single one's different, but the, the basics are the same, you know, the, the standards are the same. Yeah. Um, you know, that's kind of how we've sort of designed the, the setup of the business now in an effort to sort of grow those guys in their role. My dad, his day to day role right now is to go meet with those guys and walk 'em through the job site, you know, show 'em the things that he sees the quiz on, on details of the plans or selections or whatever. And they all, they all sort of accept those conversations differently. Some think like, oh man, your dad thinks I'm doing a really bad job. And others are like, man, your dad was so hopeful the other day he came through here and he showed me all this stuff. And you know, I've told him, I'm like, I can't replicate your experience. Like I can't inject 50 plus years of experience into somebody, myself included, you know? So you, you are super valuable asset to just teach these guys, you know, show him what you learned. Cause I mean, he's at the end of his career, he doesn't wanna be the point of contact. In most cases, you know, he doesn't wanna be the one out, you know, trying to get, trying to lock down jobs. And with, you know, Johnny down the street, you know, seven times before he hires you,

(36:42): What's your role now as the leader of the business? So my role is is everything right? My sister is our office manager. Now she's been in the office for like last three or Four years. Oh, do you have to change it to son and daughter now , she's, she's paid well to, to work in the office. She, uh, she handles, you know, invoice, compiling and, and schedules inspections. And you know, some of the site managers are more involved in getting her to help them with things than others. If, if deliveries come into the office, she, she checks 'em and, and things like that. She, she handles, you know, the bookkeeping stuff. Essentially my role is essentially operations. You know, I'm, I'm making sure that jobs are running as scheduled. Um, people are there that are need to be there. They have the information that they need. Couple years ago, we implemented builder trend into our jobs. So people have, uh, you know, access point for plans and specs and things. And, you know, I'm very diligent about making sure that what's on there is the most up to date version and translating that to a hard copy on site. Uh, so that everybody has a reference. Um, how Smoothly did that adoption go with your team? Did you have any challenges with that or was it dead simple?

(38:06): It was the, the biggest challenge was just people being consistent with using it and, and thinking about going there first to look for an answer to their question before calling, um, that that was the biggest transition was just, Hey, I've always been, you know, if you've ever had a question, it's always just been call Tanner or call her out and you know, now we've got this place, this in place. So try this first and then call me right. That was, yeah, that's a mind. That's the hardest thing. Yeah. It's some shift in mindset, you know, And now it's getting to the point where, you know, our vendors and our subs on site and in a lot of cases have built relationships with these site managers. So, which is, which was my goal from the beginning is, you know, look and builder trend, look on site. If you can't find a hard copy, call this guy. And if he can't get you the answer, then call me, you know, and I'll get you the answer or come down there and we'll go over it or whatever

(39:03): You're at that, you know, kind of another crossroads, which we always are. We always hit ceilings in our businesses and have to figure out how to break through 'em and go to the next phase. But, you know, you've realized that maybe the project manager approach starting to get those folks maybe incorporated into your business, because you're realizing that you're not gonna be able to touch the jobs, all the jobs the way you do. Now, if you continue to scale and the relationships we talked about are so hugely important to you, it's, it's proof just in the way you have a relationship with your dad, with all the teammates, with your, with your trades. And the thing that was, uh, you know, really impressed me was, you know, I'd asked you if you, if you had gotten involved in any industry groups or any peer groups or build the 20 type groups and, and really that's, it's, the answer was no, you know, you guys had, had really just done a lot of this trial by fire as I think you, and I said, you know, um, a lot of it internally in a certain degree, you were collaborating, you were collaborating together, you had a wealth of knowledge around you, between your dad and trades and everyone else. Um, and then, you know, bring your, the aspect that you had, some business knowledge, you know, and education brought into the mix. And, you know, you guys have just done a great job of, of pulling all that together and, and scaling something, um, you know, really special. And now you're up against, you know, a new challenge or how do you continue to scale? So, you know, being that you haven't had any of that, I would say peer group type stuff, industry wise, peer group is, is any of that on your horizon? Is that anything you've thought about? Or, you know, Hey, how do I get access to even more information for helping us get this business to the next level?

(40:34): I, I think about it a lot because if I consider the idea that, you know, most of my construction business knowledge has come from internally within the same business forever. And in a lot of cases, the guys that are site managers have grown up in this business and, and never really strayed far to other builders, you know, there, there hasn't been really, I, I there's no real checks and balances as far as what I'm doing as, as in how they compare to other people in, in our, in our market. Right. I don't, I, I can only compare it by how well is our business doing and, and how am I doing it. Right. And, and do you really Know? Yeah. Cause you, you see the, you see what's going up and you, maybe you see who's leaving a company or what trades, or, or suppliers are talking about, but yeah, there's so much value in, in seeing how the, the other businesses run and what's what's happening there.

(41:32): Yeah. And so I, I am interested in, in how other businesses, you know, what other businesses do well, how they, how they figure those things out, because yes, I've tried to implement many different ideas that I've had, and it's mostly ideas that I've had that, you know, or, or I heard a, a piece of an idea from a homeowner at a different contractor that they use. And I'm like, oh, maybe I'll try that, you know, kind of tweaked it to my own version. Um, and maybe it worked and maybe it didn't. Yeah. And so that there has been, you know, that sort of, yeah, let's, let's give this a shot and see if it works. And the only way anything works is if you try to do it very well and you try to do it very consistently. And so sometimes if you don't get immediate results, it's hard to wanna stick to that, that system and be like, you know, that was one of the hard things about builder trend was like, people were sort of like using it really, really well for a week and then they'd stop. Yeah. It's like, you know, I had to get on and be like, Hey man, you gotta keep up with your daily logs. Like, you know, we gotta know, we gotta have more detail about what's happening. Cause I, this is what's supposed to happen and I need to be able to check to make

(42:42): Sure that it, one of my mentors, Rob Cecil, uh, he refers to that is being interested versus committed. You know, it's, I, I'm interested in learning about it until you fall flat on your face and suddenly your co your commitment WANs quickly, but you gotta power through that and you gotta support your team through that. And as the leader, you, you need to make sure they understand the mission that you're going on and why this is gonna be valuable for them and support them when pick them back up or, uh, you know, get them there. But it's amazing what you guys have done in your own isolated way of doing. And when I say isolated, I don't mean, you know, you're not isolated, you've got a whole community around you, but you've done an amazing thing with your craftsman roots, getting it this far. And, and now you're emerging from just the craftsman piece of it and want to grow and, and thrive. And it sounds like you're at the point where, you know, you're ready to take that next step and learn some things. And it's, it's interesting that we're talking about this because Dwayne and I, when we have, have built a question into our business assessments now, and that question is who's in your mastermind. And we recognize that there are a lot of builders that are in your scenario that you guys you've just had your heads down and working away and hard work was the way you did it. And you, every once in a while, you would look up and you would pick something out that you could see. But some of the most successful ones are the ones that are going out and seeking this stuff out. And it feels like you're ready to go to that next level. Now,

(44:09): The cool thing is when you do that, it's, it's not only you going to access or maybe, or ha get access to others and information, you are going to bring a ton of knowledge and experience, right. Um, to the group. So kudos to what you guys are doing, keep doing it. I know, I promise you, we get you outta here by five, because you've got the hard stop, but I've gotta ask you as we ask everybody, you know, what, what excites you over the next six months to a year what's coming up that you're looking forward to? Oh man, my wife and I are building our, our house. Um, so that's exciting. This is the second time we've built our house and I prefer to be the builder than the customer, but it's exciting because you know, it's new and it's fun. And, you know, we have growing kids, they're four and four and one and a half. And so it'll be exciting to have a fun, new neighborhood for them to grow up in close to a lot of fun things that we do. But, you know, being the customer is, is a different role. Um, I'm excited to embrace it maybe better than I did last time. Um, There's way too many decisions.

(45:13): I I've been a horrible customer yeah. Um, you know, I, I'm used to just deferring all those decisions to, to a designer or a homeowner or an architect, and now , and now it's me. Um, so, you know, we've gotta make some decisions on selections and things. Ah, I'm excited about, but you know, ready to get 'em Over and your contractor keeps telling you the price is going up. Right, Right. Yeah. Prices are changing daily And nobody's available. Yeah, exactly. It, it got put on the back burner for like three months before even broke. Finally, I told the foot and we gotta, we gotta move forward in this thing this week. Cause I'm losing a time here and I gotta get this thing done.
Yeah. So for the listeners out there that, you know, wanna maybe learn a little bit more about you, your team, or even reach out to you, how can they find you? Yeah. We've got a website, obviously you can, you can Google us or go to our website Conrey and sun construction Conrey is spelled with a K, not a C always have to people that Conrad is such a common name. Instagram we're very active on Instagram. We try to keep, you know, multiple posts a week and, and keep the story up to date on, on things that we're seeing on site, finished photos and things like that. So Instagram and our website are the best place to find us.

(46:26): Well. Sounds good. Thanks again, for taking your time. We'll put the links in the show notes and stuff like that, and, uh, appreciate you contributing to the show. I think a listener's gonna love yeah, Yeah. These, I appreciate It. These stories are powerful because you know, sometimes we have somebody coming on talking about, you know, some big breakthrough or a thinking thing, but it's really important to just hear the real stories of other builders and the path and that's, what's relatable for them and they can take away things and that you've shared with them or they can reach out and connect and, and, and talk about their business. And hopefully we find you some more collaborators and, uh, can find some resources to help you take your business to the next level, because you've been striving to do that on your own and, and doing a great job with your family should be proud. So thanks for spend this time with us. Appreciate that. Yeah. Thanks guys. It awesome opportunity. Thank you.

Hey, thanks for listening, Dwayne and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome. Got a cool tip idea for a show problem that you haven't been able to solve, or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help hit us up@buildernuggets.com and start building freedom.

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