NAHB Remodeler of the Month: High Engagement

by Kacey Larsen

Lou Peluso
H2 Builders Renovations
Bluffton, S.C.

Title: Vice President of Renovations

Year company founded: 1993

Number of employees: 44, with 13 of them dedicated to renovations

When and how did you choose this career? And what brought you to H2 Builders Renovations?

I always wanted to be involved with a career where I could work with my hands and create something. I started working as a carpenter in 1992. Throughout my childhood and early on when I started working full-time, I would observe and follow residential construction projects in my neighborhood. I was interested and intrigued by the many moving parts and enjoyed being able to see the progress as the projects moved along.

I was attracted to H2 Builders when my family and I were considering a move to the Bluffton, South Carolina, area. The longstanding success, website, portfolio and level of professionalism are very impressive and were something of which I wanted to be a part. The challenge of growing our Renovation Division along with the amazing team at H2 Builders and the family atmosphere are all what keeps me here.

What first drew you to become involved in your local NAHB chapter?

A local builder and friend of mine was moving into the role of president of our local NAHB chapter and asked me to be on the board of directors. It sounded interesting and seemed like a good opportunity to learn, meet more of my peers and be involved in an organization that helps our local community.

What does being part of NAHB Remodelers mean to you?

Being a part of the NAHB Remodelers Council has been a great way to meet my peers, get new ideas and help advocate for professionalism in our community. It has also provided opportunity to serve others and partner with other members in doing so.

It sounds like you are very involved in your community through your job, leadership position with the Remodelers Council and HBA, as well as your family. Are there any tips you can share about maintaining work-life balance?

I am very involved with all that you mention! Finding a work-life balance is a matter of choices and being good with time management. I try to plan ahead as much as possible and be in touch with all parties involved to try and plan my best and be everywhere that I have to be and put in the extra time to make it all happen.

Where do you go to look for solutions and ideas for your business?

I go to our owner, Todd Hawk. He is a wealth of knowledge for everything in the building business, very good at organization and great at creating systems.

You seem like a “doer” within your role at H2 Builders and your role in RMC. How do you put that “approach” to work?

It is an accurate description; I enjoy the “hands on” aspect of my job the best. I still like to be on the job and involved with the day-to-day operation on all our projects. Now that we have a larger team—including two project managers and six carpenters—working on the projects I have less of a role in that capacity, but am still in touch daily with what is happening out in the field.

I am involved with the design, developing the scope of work and estimating, as well as responsible for the sales of all our renovation projects. This approach allows me to know the project inside and out by the time we start construction and requires the knowledge of how all the aspects of a project go together. The knowledge I have gained over the years of working on the projects as a carpenter comes into play and keeps me “hands on.”

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

Technology—thinking mobile phones, email and the internet—have been the biggest changes I have seen. They have all allowed much more and quicker access to information and people than there was before they came into play.

Have you seen a change in the average job size or even the types of projects clients are seeking?

H2 Renovations gets involved with projects of all types and scope. We do handle a lot of kitchen and bath remodels, as we have our own custom cabinet department staffed with award-winning designers. In the last two years, the project size and scope of each project has increased rather significantly. Many of our clients are having us do large-scale renovation projects on homes they just purchased—many of them prior to moving. Given the age of the houses on Hilton Head Island and now even Bluffton, clients are realizing that purchasing a resale and having a reputable company renovate it is becoming a smart investment in desired locations.

Where and what are the greatest opportunities in the remodeling market?

The greatest opportunities are in the communities with older homes and few available lots for new construction in them.

On the flip side, what is the biggest challenge right now?

The biggest challenge right now is typically being able to actively pursue all the leads that come our way based on H2 being a reputable company for 25 years in our market.

Are you hiring this year, and how are you going about finding the right people?

We have hired two new employees so far this year. We were able to find them through word of mouth and job search websites. Being a very well-established and highly reputable builder has put us in a good position for finding well-qualified employees.

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

Set customer expectations early in the process and manage them throughout. QR

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