Empeco Custom Builders

by WOHe

In Grayslake, Ill., Empeco Custom Builders believes one of the purposes of business is to give back to the community. For years, Mark Perlman wondered how to give back to the hospital that performed surgery on his son more than 25 years ago.

Backed by the Lake County Builders Association, financed by a local bank and designed through an architectural competition, Perlman built and sold a beautiful golf course home, the proceeds of which were donated to the Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and three Lake County charities.

“I felt that I wanted to give something back for all the good things that have happened to me,” Perlman says.

The process was difficult and time consuming. From working with subs to ordering materials, Perlman found it difficult to coordinate the building process when labor and products were either discounted or donated. In the end, the home was sold in the latter part of the ’90s in the neighborhood of $700,000, raising $75,000 for those charities.

While Perlman received local press and numerous letters of appreciation, his intent was not to use the charity house to generate leads or to get free publicity. He simply wanted to use his abilities to give back to society in a way he knew how.

t’s that same belief by which he also downplays the importance of the time he spends on Monday nights volunteering in the local emergency room.

“The strain of everyday life is put on hold,” Perlman says. “It puts life into perspective.”

Another Empeco practice is the use of a model home. Prospects like to see finished work, but most past clients don’t relish the idea of having strangers tour their homes. To ease the burden on these past customers and to better market the company’s abilities, Empeco uses the model to offer open houses on Sundays.

It is not a spec home or a field model up for sale, but if a prospect expresses interest, Perlman may opt to sell it with language in the contract expressing his right to use it no less than six months and no longer than one year.

In one instance, Perlman built a home on the last lot in one of his developments to serve as a model to help promote a new development.

Grayslake, Ill.

Full-time employees: 4
Industry memberships: NAHB
Annual design/build
projects: 100 percent
Residential new
construction: 90 percent
Residential remodeling:
10 percent
Average annual revenue (including sales,
overhead): $4 million

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