How a local construction company has grown revenue by more than 300 percent
Moducomm Construction owner Chris Taylor started his construction company in 2007 — not the best economy in which to launch a business, he noted recently.
But he was able to build his company through the global recession of the late 2000s starting with contracts worth a few thousand dollars. This year, the general contractor has landed multimillion-dollar contracts and has seen growth of more than 300 percent over the past two years.
Taylor sat down with the Jacksonville Business Journal to discuss how he has managed the growth and how he expects to grow in the future.
What’s happening in the construction industry?
The construction industry is booming. We have seen amazing growth over the last three years. I think Jacksonville is poised because people want to move to Florida for both the weather and the income tax benefits, but then Jacksonville has economical land costs. I think developers and builders are seeing this area as a great place to come. We see 2017 and 2018 continuing that activity. Jacksonville is a strong market to be in at this time.
When did Moducomm see activity pick up?
We launched the company in 2007, which was a slow time for our industry. We really got things rolling in 2014. From 2014 to 2015 we saw 300 percent increase in revenue. From 2015 to 2016 we saw 400 percent increase in revenue. We expect that to continue in 2017. We have 11 employees and 12 active projects all in the Northeast Florida area. It’s been great.
How do you manage growth?
For us, we hire great people and the rest falls afterward. We are selective with the projects that we choose and make sure they are a good fit for us as a company. It’s important that our experience meets the owners expectations. The outcomes have to be certain. We pretty much take it project by project. You have to treat each customer with the same level of professionalism. It’s also important to treat every subcontractor properly.
What’s the best strategy for growth?
For our industry, it’s not about placing a bunch of ads. It’s really a lot harder than that. You have to get into the market, get to know people, have people know you personally and to know your company personally. When we build a project for someone, they are investing millions of dollars. They need to know us personally and they need to know our past experiences. For us, what has helped us with our growth is doing projects that we have been successful with. Really it’s word of mouth. Our previous customers are our best sales people.
What do you see as being the greatest challenges for growth in the construction industry?
The greatest hurdle that we have in the construction industry is the labor force and the available subcontractor market. As the growth continues, it’s harder and harder to find good subcontractors that have enough manpower to keep up with the quantity of projects. These guys do a great job, but unfortunately fewer and fewer people want to make a living with their hands. But I think, there’s more and more people to this area, I am hopeful that the labor force will grow.
How do you overcome that problem?
I think it goes back to relationships. We treat our subcontractors well. We pay them quickly. We are honest with them about any change orders or issues on the job site. What that does is even though there is a limited supply of subcontractors, they enjoy working with us and what that means is they continue to work with us. If we were ever to change that, it would be a challenge. Since we do the opposite, I think we will continue to have success.