05 Mar Kevin Collins – Partner Spotlight – Alair Homes Clemson
How One Successful Custom Home & Renovation Business Owner’s Quest Led to a Better Business
“A system that allowed us to have multiple offices, make more money, and work less? Not possible!” – or so this owner of a 9M revenue Custome Home & Reno business thought.
“In my heart, I wanted a better business. I just didn’t know how.”
Growing up, Kevin always knew he wanted to be his own boss. He had seen his dad start companies for other people, and work his tail off to make them successful, only to then get laid off. After graduating from Clemson University with a degree in Horticultural and Turf Grass, Kevin worked on golf courses with developers and architects and eventually migrated into construction. Kevin has now been building homes for 17 years and is the owner of Alair Homes Clemson in South Carolina. Let’s see why Kevin knew his company needed to change even though his revenue before the Alair transformation was $9 million and how he is now working less hours yet making more profit. Also, we’ll learn how Kevin will be adding two new offices this year, and how he defines his new life with the Living Better Starts Here™ Alair company logo.
“We saw the writing on the wall. From the outside looking in, we looked like a great company, but I had known for some time that we needed a change and it needed to be drastic. We just didn’t know what that change was.”
About 3 ½ years before Kevin transformed to an Alair office, he and his wife tried to come up with a plan to make things better. He even had outside industry consultants come in to look at his company to tell him what he needed help with. “They said that we looked great, and that was with 4% net profit! I was tired of working so hard to make such little profit and tired of not having the company I really wanted, but no one had the answers, at least not until I was approached by Alair,” says Kevin. He was struggling to keep up with client communications, managing professional and personal relationships and was running all the projects himself, which was a huge bottleneck, also as his subcontractors grew so did the oversite of jobs because of new help. Staff culture and morale was low, and clients just weren’t enjoying the process. Kevin states, “Basically, it was no longer fun, for anybody, but you just get into the habit of doing what you’re doing for so long, that you just don’t know how to get out.”
“A system that allowed us to have multiple offices, make more money and work less? Not possible, or so I thought.”
Today, Kevin says that his life is completely different. “I work less now than I ever have. I’ve had one of the most amazing years I’ve ever had!” Now that Kevin has completely transformed to an Alair office he can also say that his clients are happier than ever. All his projects are run by highly trained project managers, which he has not had to post one “help wanted” ad due to the amazing culture and work situation that has been created. “We have a pile of resumes and we’re ready to grow. I don’t know how they are finding out about us, but they are!” says Kevin. “We don’t overload our project managers. They have great job satisfaction as a result and the oversite on jobs is amazing,” Kevin says. You can hear the smile in Kevin’s voice when he says, “We made work fun again!” When asked how it’s possible that it’s not difficult like before, Kevin adamantly says, “It’s just not.” he also adds, “It’s all about the great people you have on your team and Alair has provided so many processes and platforms for a guy like me, plus accountability. But let me be clear, Alair does not make you successful! You still need to go out there and get it done.”
“In 30 days, I could have two new offices. I never anticipated this at the beginning of the year, but here we are.”
Kevin owns his own Alair office and has had a great year. He has a plan, is doing well and continues to grow and scale, but now he is looking at opening multiple offices. One of the companies that Kevin is hoping to transform to an Alair office is a successful contractor in another market. Kevin says the owner is an older custom home builder with an unbelievable track record who has been in business for a long time; he’s done amazing projects. So why would he be interested in a transformation at this point in his career, one might ask? He’s a lot like the old me,” Kevin says, “I mean he’s working 70 hours a week, he’s overloaded, he’s frustrated, he doesn’t have the right people in place in his business, and he feels like he is always in the weeds with no way to get out. Plus, his company isn’t worth anything without him.” Kevin is a confessed relationship person and sincerely enjoys helping other people be successful. He is looking forward to helping this contractor and partnering with him. “We are going to convert his office to an Alair homes office, and we are going to help him run it, and help him transition and put people in place. He’s got all the relationships up there and he’s going to do great.”
“The Alair company logo, Living Better Starts Here™ really resonated with me, but it’s not just me or our clients that are living better.”
When asked how Kevin would define his Living Better Starts Here™, Kevin without hesitation states that his wife would say that life is so much better. He is now able to spend more time with his family where before he was always going non-stop. Kevin says that when he took vacations he was still working, which is not the case anymore. “I probably work half of what I worked before and we’re making more money and I’m adding 2 new offices and I still won’t work anymore than I work today. People don’t understand this until they are in it.” But Kevin insists that his Living Better isn’t just for himself. “It’s for everybody that works with me, it’s for our clients, it’s for our subcontractors, it’s for my wife and my five children, it’s for my friends. It’s honestly for everybody that is a part of my life in every aspect.”