Airoom Architects and Builders expects to pull $70 million in revenue this year, an extraordinary volume for a design/build firm. Particularly because it’s high-end. And particularly because it’s remodeling.
Since its inception in 1958, Airoom has used design/build for the same reasons many firms employ it: control of the process, cost-effectiveness, quality control, etc. But because of its size, Airoom is not easily compared to other firms. This growth-oriented remodeler is guided by customer-focused systems and procedures nearly every step of the way.
"Where I wouldn’t want to grow is to where we couldn’t provide the service you need to give to the client," says Mike Klein, second-generation president of Airoom. "We’ve grown our business from the service side, not the product side." Under his vision, the company hopes to eclipse the $100 million mark by the end of 2005, specializing in remodeling jobs between $500,000 and $1.5 million in the Greater Chicago area.
The company’s day-to-day operations are governed by a system Klein calls START. "START is an acronym for the process that makes it possible to deliver so many projects at once." Systems to Assure Resources and Timing is designed to oversee all project details, such as securing permits, settling zone issues and ordering materials. "We’re a production house of custom work," he says.
Airoom uses another system, called TLC (Total Living Care) to oversee service to its clients. Significant remodels have a way of straining the daily lives of a home’s occupants. The TLC program provides services to protect the house and make the client as comfortable as possible and may include storing valuables and furniture off-site during construction, building a temporary kitchen or even providing a temporary place to live. Because of its size, systems and commitment to service, Airoom has the ability to provide these comforts.
Dedication to community involvement also is a mark of Airoom’s success. The firm pioneered the not-for-profit Airoom Foundation as an organization overseen by a board of directors outside the company to positively influence Airoom’s communities.
"As you get to a certain level, you want to be in a position to give back to the community. So we put the foundation together to reinvest in the communities in which we work. We raise funds to give to good causes that our clients are interested in." One such cause is the Children’s Memorial Hospital, to which the foundation has donated $150,000.
The Airoom Foundation also allows Airoom clients to get involved in community service. The organization offers to cater an open house reception for its clients to allow them to simultaneously show off their newly renovated home and raise funds for a charity of their selection. Airoom caters the event and donates the funds in the name of the client and guests.