NAHB Remodeler of the Month: ‘Think Tank’ Helps Remodeler

by Kacey Larsen

Kenneth Combs

CQC Home

Durham, N.C. –

Title: CEO

Year Founded: 2007

Number of Employees: 23


Who started your company?

I started my company with my wife by my side.

When and how did you choose this career?

It was actually my family and friends who encouraged this career choice as they were not able to find a reliable, responsible and qualified remodeler. I saw a need and wanted to help them, as well as provide for my wife and our own growing family.

What did you do before becoming a remodeler?

I was part of several different types of companies during high school and my early years in college. From all of them, I took away a great amount of knowledge of what people are looking for when working with a company. Most importantly, I learned I want to be a good customer-service oriented company that happens to do excellent remodeling work.

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

Gosh, how hasn’t the industry changed? Due to the “big crash” in 2008-2009, remodeling has only increased for me, but there is a much higher demand now for a quality remodeler who stands by their work.

Many remodelers are reporting increases in their average job size in 2015, are you seeing this as well?

We are; we have increased 30 to 40 percent.

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

I have a great support system within the company. We have a “think tank” if you will; my partner and I are able to come together and bounce ideas off of each other. We seek other’s advice and test out our ideas with our team, as well as asking clients for feedback and using marketing research. My motto: “Hire people smarter than myself and let them tell me what to do!”

What does being part of NAHB mean to you?

I have an awesome group of supporting, successful, committed professional to lean on.

Right now, what is your focus as a remodeler — more growth or steady revenue at greater profitability? Please explain.

We are looking to refine our systems, increase production and profitability without adding more employees.

Finding qualified labor is a challenge — are you hiring this year and how are you going about finding the right people for your company?

We are having issues for sure, but we have decided we would hire “all star” people who may not have experience in this industry and train them. If someone is an “all star” ( sincere, motivated, hard-working, honest and determined), they will do great at whatever they do!

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

Empower my employees to spread the word about our company. Treat them well and make them part of the decision making so they believe what they preach.

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

Referrals, doing great work with great service provided by a dynamic staff, mean never ending work.

What is the most unusual project your company has completed?

Installing a tornado room in North Carolina.

What motivates you every day?

I have been blessed by God with an amazing wife, beautiful kids, outstanding employees, dedicated partner and a dynamic city so I feel the desire to give back!

What is your favorite item in your office?

My wooden hand-carved bull given to me by my wife from Jamaica representing the city I grew up and live in “Bull City” Durham, N.C.

If you could have a 30-minute conversation with any business leader in the country — to pick their brain for business ideas — who would it be?

Michael Stone followed closely by Shawn McCadden. I have studied them both for years.

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

You cannot make people be successful; you can give them opportunities. It’s up to them if they take them and run.

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

I owe all my personal successes within my company to my partner and employees; I’m a small part of a team. They make it special, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!


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