“Off the Cuff: How have you positioned your company to survive market downturns?”

By Catie Farrell, December 11, 2008 | In Home Builders,housing market |

I subscribe to the Birmingham Business Journal and get occasional updates and industry specific articles. As I work in the housing field, I am not immune to the struggles and difficulty that my clients experience. I found this article interesting because of the different avenues that each company took. Not one thing will work for everybody. Right now is about making it work and having work to do.

QUESTION: How have you positioned your company to survive market downturns?

Stan Hardaway

President | Hardaway Construction Corp. | 615-254-5461
TYPE OF BUSINESS: General contracting, construction management and design/build firm

We believe that every construction company will feel the effects of the current market downturn, but the challenge is trying to limit the effect as much as possible.

We have always been a very diversified company that can handle any type of building project and at any size, large or small. Therefore, when certain segments of the market slow down, we can focus on other market segments that are more active at the time.

Also, over the past few years, we have become a much leaner company and that helps in times like these too because we can stay real competitive.

Robin York

Chief manager | RJ York Homes LLC | 615-300-7679
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Residential townhome builder

My company only builds townhomes, so residential real estate market changes have really impacted my business.

I’ve gone back to basics. First, I reviewed every policy, procedure and price. I found solutions that are going to benefit me for years to come.

I’m committed to building quality homes, but now they will be smaller and less costly. Property appearance, maintenance and landscaping are priorities.

Perhaps the most important thing that I’ve done is to increase marketing efforts. For example, I’m switching to Village Real Estate representation for my Spence Enclave townhomes because of the agency’s aggressive marketing and success in the downtown and downtown fringe market.

Brenda Shankle

Treasurer | Shankle-Lind LLC | 615-874-0070

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Commercial general contractor

Our company has taken a number of measures in response to the serious challenges that the construction industry faces in the current economy.

Plans are on hold for capital investments in new trucks and other equipment. We are now buying office supplies and printed materials to meet short-term needs, rather than making large bulk purchases.

We have eliminated unnecessary optional expenses. Our resources and priorities are focused on personnel items that we believe are important.

For example, we are looking for ways to reduce our health insurance premiums without sacrificing coverage for our employees.

Pat Riley

President | RCR Building Corp. | 615-242-6868

TYPE OF BUSINESS: General contractor

In the summer of 2005, we started hearing about a slow down out West. In 2006, we saw it slowly moving eastward until it hit us in August 2007.

In the fourth quarter of 2006 we started reviewing our clients’ building programs and by the end of the first quarter of 2007 we started getting confirmations on projected decreases and projected status quo.

With this information we started an 18-month program of adjusting both our employee needs and acquiring new clients with continuing building programs.

Because of our continued evaluation of current market conditions, we are maintaining a nice backlog of work.

Nashville Business Journal

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