Nichiha had a great opportunity to sit down and speak with our newest Builder of the Quarter, ARK Builders. President and Owner Ron Cuny gave us insight into his business and the building industry as a whole. We are happy to share this information with you as we highlight an established Alabama builder. If you have any additional questions for Ron, please type them into the comment section below. We would love to hear any comments or thoughts you may have.
Q: Why did you get into the building industry?
A: About 20 years ago, I was selling security and all low voltage components to builders in Mobile and Baldwin Counties (Alabama). I saw some really good builders go out of business because of their lack of business skills and some builders that were business-oriented go out of business because of their lack of building skills. I felt I could do better to combine both avenues and improve the home building experience.
Q: How has your experience been as a builder for the last 20 years?
A: Building was a total learning process at first, but things started coming together after a few years. I learned that using quality subcontractors can make your life and your customers happy. I had steady business until around 2007. After about four years of a bad market, I learned how much I love what I do. I didn't realize how much I would miss it until it was threatened. The downturn also taught me better management practices with money, products, people ' it's made me a better person. I was so busy before that I never had a chance to think about how much I love what I do.
Q: What is the best part of your career?
A: My favorite part is meeting people for the first time and hearing about their wants, dreams, and hopes. I then enjoy putting that on paper and actually building the house of their dreams.
Q: Tell us about the style of homes you build.
A: I build Craftsman homes. I like to duplicate things from the 1930s and 40s. I love the exteriors and elevations, as well as the interior trim.
Q: How is the building market in your area?
A: The market is steady. I don't see it becoming like the market from 2003 to 2006 again. I'm finding that people are gaining their confidence back from the downturn and are willing to build new homes. The interest rates are low and it's a great time to build.
Q: What challenges do you encounter in the building industry?
A: The biggest challenge is to ensure you don't get overwhelmed and to stay on top of your labor. It is important to get out of bed, step out of your car when you get to a jobsite, and work all day. All your effort will pay off in the long run.
Q: How do you maintain a successful business in the building industry?
A: As long as you're building a good product, the opportunities for additional jobs will come.
Q: What types of requests are you receiving from clients?
A: Our clients come to me because of the style of homes I build. My company tries to keep up with all building trends and incorporate them into our homes. The more recent trends have been using gray and white throughout the house and incorporating painted cabinets.
Q: How long have you been using fiber cement siding and why do you choose to use it?
A:I have been using fiber cement siding since 2004. Everyone was using stucco for a period of time, but that got a bad rap so most builders moved to the better alternative of fiber cement siding. In the last three years I have used it even more because of the look of the houses I build. It works great for creating Craftsman designs.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for the homes you build?
A: My wife gives me a lot of inspiration. She is big into home shows, internet ideas, and magazines. I also gain inspiration from my customers. They have become very educated and always bring good ideas to our building projects.
We are so thankful to Ron for taking the time to share his experiences as a custom homebuilder with us. To learn more about Ron and ARK Builders, check out our recent blog post that highlights the company as Nichiha's Builder of the Quarter.