NAHB Remodeler of the Month: Growth Experience

by Kacey Larsen
NAHB Remodeler of Month

Kevin Vick, CGR, CAPS, CGP
Vick Construction and Remodeling, Inc.
Sugar Land, Texas

Title: President and CEO

Year founded: 2010

Number of employees: 3

Additional certification: EPA Lead-Safe Certified

QR: Who started your company?

KV: I did with my dad, David Vick.

QR: What did you do before becoming a remodeler?

KV: I managed a catering company, fine-dining restaurants, and was part owner/operator of a contract valet parking company. One of the restaurants I managed had the now-famous musician and singer Nora Jones playing piano and singing there almost every weekend (before she became so famous, of course).

QR: How did you choose this career?

KV: I had resigned from my business in the hospitality industry in Dallas after a bad car accident and, subsequently, started my career in Florida after I met my wife there. My career started with me being the caretaker of my wife’s employer’s homes. He owned four beach homes—three in Florida and one in Malibu, California. This led to bigger work in Florida and me getting my contractor’s license as a State Certified Building Contractor. I worked there until the mortgage crisis hit Florida and decimated my remodeling business. I moved back to [my] hometown of Houston ahead of my family to pioneer a new start.

QR: What does being part of NAHB Remodelers mean to you?

KV: It means I am a part of an organization of professionals who believe that improving our skills and growing professionally means we can serve our clients better and build superior projects for them. My company slogan is “Improve your world,” which I believe we do every day through superior construction practices and a level of service our clients appreciate. The NAHB is what I rely on for the continual development of the skills I need to [provide such services] for our clients.

QR: What are some benefits you’ve seen from holding a leadership position with the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) Remodelers Council?

KV: What a growth experience serving as a leader in the GHBA has been. For example, public speaking was something that was difficult for me as recently as a year ago, and now it is something I quite enjoy. Communicating to our group to solve a problem or inspire others to serve is important. The bigger cause of serving others for the good of our organization and community causes one to rise to a new level. I love being stretched, and the GHBA has allowed me to become a better person.

QR: Where do you look for solutions and ideas for your business?

KV: Full of seasoned, successful remodelers and business owners, one of the things that prompted me to join the GHBA is the presence of a true spirit of helpfulness among  members. We are competitors, but we are willing to share ideas and “trade secrets.” It is a beautiful thing to see, and our local industry is elevated to a higher standard because of it.

QR: What are the greatest opportunities in the remodeling market?

KV: For those of us working in the Houston area, our main focus right now is serving our regular clientele and those who have had their homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. We have folks here who, as of right now, are still waiting for water to recede so they can re-enter their homes. It is not so much about opportunity, but necessity.

QR: Are you hiring this year, and how are you going about finding the right people for your company? 

KV: When the time is right, I will hire a project manager. This may not be a new hire per se, because there is someone I am currently considering who has been with me as a 1099 contractor for many years now. He understands what we are about as a company and shares many of my same ideas about service and quality. My clients love him and his work, so he is already in a position to take on the role.

QR: Is your focus as a remodeler on more growth or steady revenue at greater profitability?

KV: We are a small company that has not [yet] reached the place I would like to be, so growth is my focus. We are continually striving to improve, and I look for every opportunity possible to make our business better for our clients and, ultimately, our bottom line. Focusing on growth requires me to analyze my company and proceduralize everything. After a process is figured out and written, then it is analyzed and improved.

QR: Have you seen an increase in your average job size? 

KV: Yes, I believe that is indicative of the mindset in the marketplace. It seems more people  want to remodel in order to stay in their homes, rather than build a new home.

QR: What is the most unusual project your company has completed? 

KV: We are beginning the design process of a new project; it is a spa and daycare facility for dogs.

QR: What is your No. 1 source of leads right now, and why is it working? 

KV: Our website—whether it is from someone going to it directly or through a review site, such as Houzz. It is the place people go to research us and start to develop initial trust with our brand.

QR: What have you done to grow your business during the current economy?

KV: Increased online marketing. We do an email piece every four weeks or so. It goes to our past clients, prospects and designers. I have accumulated a massive email list over the years with this purpose in mind.

QR: How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved?

KV: Technology has advanced and because of that, I am better equipped to run a more streamlined and organized business. It has also given us instantaneous access to the technical information we need. What I used to consult a large library of technical books for is now available in a few seconds through the marvels of Google and the internet.

QR: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?

KV: Work as if everything is dependent upon me, and pray as if everything is dependent upon God.

QR: If you could have a 30-minute conversation with any business leader, who would it be? 

KV: If he were still alive, S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. His leadership, business philosophies and attitude of service and empowering others has created a rock-solid service culture that has led his business to bourgeoning success. A quote from him on his company’s website reads, “We change the world and ourselves by our response to unexpected opportunities.” This says so much about his thoughtfulness, and I want to emulate that in my life. Not to mention, his sandwiches are pretty tasty.

QR: What motivates you every day?

KV: Love for my family—I absolutely love my wife and two children.

QR: Favorite item in your office?

KV: Aside from Post-It notes, my favorite item has to be Dropbox. We have multiple computers and smartphones between our projects and our office. It is pretty wonderful that we can access our data from anywhere at any time.

QR: Anything else you’d like to mention about career accomplishments?

KV: It’s a journey. Hopefully I have many years of accomplishments ahead of me. |QR

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