Photo credit: Photo: Meryl Schenker Photography
Joseph Irons, CGR, GMS Caps, CGP
Irons Brothers Construction, Shoreline, Wash.
Type of Company: Full-service remodeler
Q: Who started your company, and why?
A: My oldest brother, Bruce, and I started the company in 1999. Working in construction since I was a child, I have always enjoyed building and constructing things, as well as problem solving and finding solutions. Being in business for ourselves allows us to enjoy our passion of designing and implementing construction solutions for homeowners and also provides an income. It was a win-win.
Q: When and how did you choose this career?
A: About five years after starting the company, I realized it was my career. At the young age of 22 starting a company, I had no idea what I was in for or how much work it would be. At first it was a job and not a career, until I began my education and designation process with NAHB and took the CGR prep. Although I was exceptional at designing ideal solutions for our clients, I did not enjoy the administrative side of the business. I was always craving more education and knowledge to better myself and my company. My local builders association had a great program, and I took advantage of it and earned my CGR and CAPS in 2004. With the course work involved with these designations, it allowed me to see all the weaknesses and strengths in my company. I was also able to meet and network with other remodelers.
Q: When and why did you join NAHBR?
A: Shortly after joining my local home builder’s association, I found our local remodelers council. In the early 2000s I joined. I realized that the remodeler’s council would benefit my company through its education and networking opportunities with other industry professionals.
Q: If you could change one thing about the remodeling industry, what would it be?
A: The three bids. I believe homeowners got this from the insurance industry and BBB. I would like to change this to “interview” three companies and not solicit for three bids. As any professional remodeler knows, it’s not the number that counts — it’s what’s included or excluded from the proposal that matters. This includes warranty, customer service, expertise, liability coverage and much more. Also, we are not in business to bid on projects, but to build them.
Q: What does your gut tell you about our current economic situation and when it will improve?
A: My company is succeeding despite the economic downturn and has persevered. I believe that we are on the upturn in our area, and although the recovery may not be as quick as we want, it feels as though it is on the rise as our backlog grows day to day. There are more buyers and fewer window shoppers.
Q: What have you done to grow your business during the slowdown?
A: We improved our systems, managed more trade partners than staff, increased and diversified our marketing, and harvested our current client and referral base.