18 May Colby Hubble – Partner Spotlight – Greenville, South Carolina
From Delegation to Elevation in a Construction Business
How one contractor scaled up his business and scaled down his workload by leading people instead of projects.
Colby Hubble shares a similar story to many others who started a career in construction. As a young boy, he helped his dad and uncles by sweeping floors or helping to clean up the project messes. As he grew older, he was taught various construction skills and he fondly recalls learning to use tools at a young age.
“Some people are destined to do certain things in life—for me, I was destined to work in construction,” says Hubble. “My dad taught me young, and as I grew up, I just learned every trade I could because I was fascinated by everything to do with construction. I loved it, and it brought me a great sense of joy and accomplishment.”
Things got serious for Hubble in 2011 after establishing his reputation while doing side jobs, residents in his local community sought him out to build a new custom home and restore one destroyed by a fire. That’s when he decided to officially start The Hubble Group. The residents in his local community sought him out to have him complete home improvement projects, and as the demand increased, he saw a huge opportunity.
“I enjoyed helping people out so much—working with clients, helping them improve their homes and their quality of life, and I made the decision to start my own construction company,” he says.
The enjoyment that he felt helping his neighbors quickly turned to stress when he realized doing it all in his business meant he had to make many personal sacrifices.
“I was so focused on just getting done everything I needed to, while striving to deliver an expectational experience to our customers, that I really lost a part of myself and wasn’t necessarily living the life I imagined. I was the business development guy, the accounting guy, the marketing guy, the operations guy, the project manager and the guy who had to get the work done too. It was a lot for one person to juggle.”
Hubble attempted to scale up the business, but kept getting bogged down by trying to endlessly keep all the balls he was juggling up in the air just to keep the business running at current capacity.
“I couldn’t take on one more ball, and I definitely couldn’t grow because I was completely maxed out,” he recalls. “As an owner, I was hungry to do more; achieve more. But, I just couldn’t. I knew I needed to make a change.”
Hubble says he was introduced to Alair when approached to learn more about a growth opportunity in his market.
“They said “hey, we checked you out, and we love your quality of work, and we’d like to have a conversation with you about what you’ve got going on,’” Hubble remembers the first call he received from Alair. “Those early conversations with the Alair team made me realized I was stuck in a rut not only in my business, but in construction. Something I was so passionate about growing up was now causing me so much stress.”
But it was what Hubble learned from his dad and uncles while he was growing up that really give him his “ah ha” moment.
“It became so clear to me,” he says. “I was trained from a little kid that construction was done a certain way, and I never even thought to look outside of the box and see what other better ways I could approach it. How I could approach building better relationships while improving pricing and planning for our customers.”
Hubble says transitioning to Alair had immediate benefits.
“In the early stages, Alair gave me the confidence in the processes to handle more people and projects, and it was really anchored to their proprietary processes that freed me up and allowed me to scale,” he notes.
Hubble says he felt better organized and could quickly see a scalable model in front of him; something he struggled to see possible for years.
“We got new projects immediately, and we increased our project management team to confidently handle the project growth,” he says. “In addition, our team is no longer burning the candle at both ends; everyone has their function and follows the processes, which creates so much more efficiency on our individual time. We can spend more time with our families, or even take that vacation we dreaded taking back in the day for fear of what we’d miss while away.”
Today, Hubble is enthusiastic about the numbers he is seeing.
While his project margins have soared from 4 or 5 percent to between 10 and 12 percent, his time spent at work per week has dramatically declined. Instead of working approximately 70 hours a week, he is comfortably working at 45 hours a week. What’s more, he has been able to enjoy getting to see his daughters play sports again.
“Living better started for me as soon as I joined Alair, and it was passed down to my brother and other employees, and all our families. It’s been a drastic change for us, and it’s helped us all out tremendously,” he sums up.
“It’s been a really wonderful change.”