Many remodelers and craftspeople are working in the construction and building industries because of the satisfaction they receive from their work. While the internal sense of accomplishment at the end of a hard day’s work is not unique to our industry, the feeling of satisfaction is undeniably strong in construction. The difficulty of a hard day’s work quickly fades away in the warm glow of accomplishment. “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Marc Anthony. There are countless people who are living by this apparent, self-evident truth.

The growth of the construction and building industries through the past 8-10 years, in Columbus Ohio alone, has seen the birth of many new companies. In reality, many of the people who own these companies own jobs in the construction industry but do not own a construction or remodeling business. Many of these businesses are not fully developed and will probably not weather an economic downturn when it arises. For more on this subject read “Do You Own Your Business or Do You Own a Job” by Aaron Enfinger, CR, COO of The Cleary Company Remodel-Design-Build in Qualified Remodeler magazine.

Pros vs Cons of Owning a Remodeling Business

Currently, seven former remodeling and design business owners now work for The Cleary Company and the number keeps growing! Our Team is blessed to have their passion and expertise and they too feel the same about having the support of a team of people with which to collaborate. We recently interviewed 5 of them to get a better understanding of why so many former remodeling business owners choose our Team.

  • Laura Watson, ASID, UDCP – Design Manager (2009)
  • Justin Juenger, CRPM – Project Manager (2017)
  • Dan Irwin, CLC – Project Manager (2018)
  • Cricket Kirk, NCARB – Designer (2021)
  • Eric Coleman – Lead Carpenter (2021)

What was the most exciting part of owning your own business?

  • Laura – Scheduling my own time.
  • Justin – Being the sole provider of the clients happiness at the end of the job.
  • Dan – Accomplishment of doing something on my own.
  • Cricket – The relationships and collaboration with clients.
  • Eric – Building something that was entirely my own.

What was the biggest struggle with owning your own business?

  • Laura – Learning the financial aspects like accounting, billing, etc.
  • Justin – Keeping up with the office work like invoicing, taxes, insurance, etc. while balancing my time in the field performing the work during the day.
  • Dan – Finding skilled help at the level I needed.
  • Cricket – Managing every detail of every project alone.
  • Eric – Wearing all the hats! I was an estimator, project manager, salesman, accountant, etc. and it was always difficult to balance those things.

Truthfully, how much did you work in an average week?

  • Laura – 40-50 hours per week
  • Justin – 50-60 hours per week
  • Dan – My physical time on the job ranged 40 or so hours a week but I thought about my projects 24/7.
  • Cricket – 20 hours per week
  • Eric – Too many to count

What was the biggest factor in your decision to close your business and join TCC?

  • Laura – I closed my business way before I joined TCC but my main reason was I was going through a divorce and knew I wouldn’t be able to support myself and my kids.
  • Justin – I found that I could do the part of the job I loved while letting someone else take care of the parts I did not. Also helpful was the pay and benefits offered by TCC allowed me to make a comparable salary.
  • Dan – I wanted to be part of a team.
  • Cricket – I wanted to focus on my designs and be able to collaborate with other designers.
  • Eric – I wanted to be part of a team that had my back. Additionally, I was able to do what I really enjoy in my role at TCC and I didn’t have to do the other stuff I wasn’t as good at.

In retrospect did you see yourself as someone who was self-employed, or did you own a business? Why?

  • Laura – I guess I was more self-employed. I never really had the chance to create a business as I only did it for 3 years. Building a successful business takes a long time.
  • Justin – I would say it was a combination of both because I had both pieces of the puzzle on my back.
  • Dan – Self-employed because most of the work I completed was by myself.
  • Cricket – Self employed…the running of the “business” and/or sales was not my primary focus or strength.
  • Eric – I saw myself as someone who owned a business. I employed people and was growing in all the avenues I wanted. In retrospect- my community did not want the professionalism, and quality that my company was building. So my efforts to build said company were futile.

What would you tell a self-employed craftsperson or designer who is pondering the idea of returning back to a team?

  • Laura – Understand your responsibilities and learn to be accountable. It’s not just you anymore. There are other people depending on you.
  • Justin – The struggles of trying to find good help that will stay by your side will be alleviated.
  • Dan – If you are looking for a company that treats their employees and homeowners with the same respect, you should join the TCC team!
  • Cricket – I’d tell them that certain aspects of your work will become easier, but you are responsible to the whole team!
  • Eric – With a solid team at your back you actually have less stress in your life, the same amount of creative freedom, more time to be with your families, hobbies and doing what you love outside of work.

What are your top three reasons for choosing TCC?

  • Laura – I knew I could build something/grow here. It was a small company and very family oriented. I liked the challenge of doing all aspects of the design.
  • Justin – Quality of life, the team we have, and the company’s commitment to quality and satisfaction.
  • Dan – Quality of homes worked on. TCC goes beyond expectation in sitting their Team up for success. And everyone within the company, owners and employees, strive to help one another.
  • Cricket – Great culture, good work and solid reputation.
  • Eric – Culture, quality of product, opportunity for growth.

If you are in the construction business, what are you searching for? Do you want to be on your own, running a remodeling business and all that comes with it? Do you want to work with a well-known respected company and hone your craft and build your skills? Many of our Team have chosen to be part of The Cleary Company and reap the benefits of working hard, being part of our family, developing skills and being recognized for great work. We truly appreciate every single Team member that makes The Cleary Company a great place to work!

To learn more about our current openings, please visit our careers page.