Who is Master Building?
Chris: Well, we’re a Charlotte area based remodeling contractor specializing in residential renovations. Although we’ve been known to do commercial work too.
What does that mean?
Chris: Basically, it means if you’re sitting in your house or your backyard and thinking, “You know, we really need to update (blank).” Or, “I’d love to have a new kitchen or sunroom.” Well…we do that. Just about any idea you can come up with from a remodeling standpoint, we can make it happen. We focus more on residential because there is much more attention to detail required and that’s pretty much what we are about…the details. The ones you see, and the ones you don’t see.
How did you get started in this business?
Chris: I started out as a trim carpenter. Let me back up, I started as a grunt first about 15 years ago then became a trim carpenter. This was before the market imploded and work all but dried up for contractors. But once that happened I knew I had to do something so I began to learn everything from whoever would teach me. I knew if I was going to survive that I would have to retain an enormous amount of knowledge in a very short period of time. So I did.
What type of knowledge?
Chris: To answer that would take way too long. Let me just say that I spent countless hours and many sleepless nights learning as much as I could. I wanted to know how to do everything because I knew if I was going to make it, I wouldn’t be able to use as many sub-contractors. I would have to rely on myself and my own knowledge to do the majority of it to keep costs down and my prices better than the next guy.
But do you use sub-contractors?
Chris: Of course. There are things that I am not licensed to do (i.e. electrical, HVAC, plumbing). So I have some subs that I know and trust, are licensed and insured….and masters of their craft. I’ve spent years developing relationships and negotiating terms with vendors and subs in order to maintain a competitive price. I don’t like bouncing around from sub to sub trying to find the cheapest. It’s unproductive and could potentially destroy my reputation. That’s not worth it to me. I want to make sure when I tell a client that I trust these guys with my own house that I genuinely mean it. I’m not a very good salesman so I allow my reputation and my quality of work sell itself.
What is your most common complaint?
Chris: “Why does it take so long?” It’s the misunderstanding of anything being a “quick and easy” process. Most of the projects we do will take several weeks even months to finish, depending on the size. The most common concern, or complaint, is that it is taking too long. There are various reasons for the long process, the most important being that every job has a step by step process that we must carefully follow. Most of the time, the majority of this process and all of its quality will never be seen by the client or anyone else for that matter. All of it takes place inside the walls, or the floor or ceiling. We take our time making sure all of that is 100% correct and safe first and foremost so that when we finally do get to the finished, or cosmetic, product that the client is always eagerly waiting to see, there won’t be any problems that could potentially damage someone’s newly remodeled area in the future.
What sets you apart from any other contractor?
Chris: Honestly, I think it’s the little things that set us apart. For starters, when you call in to inquire about work to be done, I will be the one coming to meet with you. I don’t have salesmen and don’t want them. I want to meet with the client myself so I have a full understanding of their vision, which is a job in itself because everyone’s vision is different. That also means there is no set price for this or that. Every estimate I send is done by my own hand and customized specifically for that client and their project. Secondly, as I mentioned above, it’s the attention to detail that sets us apart. Not just with the quality of work we are doing but the care and consideration for someone else’s home. Taking every effort not to interrupt someone’s day to day while we are there, because a lot of the times the client is living in the house while we are renovating it. Another very important factor that sets us apart is our team. It goes back to the saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” My guys are excellent at what they do and work very hard for me, and as everyone knows, excellent work does not come cheap. Carpenters are a dime a dozen, but great ones are worth their weight in gold. I don’t hire cheap labor because I wouldn’t want them in my house so I won’t put them in someone else’s. Ultimately, I think we are as successful as we are because we genuinely care and that doesn’t really have to be said, it’s obvious to those who hire us, and it’s why they return for other projects.