Design

Ep.102: Developing a Sustainable Niche to Support Your Passion with Wright Marshall

One of the strongest ways to differentiate your business in your market is to have a niche. 

Wright Marshall’s company, Revival Construction, has always focused on one highly specific niche and is constantly refining its team and systems to be the leader in that segment.

In this episode, Wright will share his approach with Victoria and Mark, and why following his passion for historic architecture helped him create a successful remodeling business.

In May 2000, Wright Marshall formed Revival Construction Inc. in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to renovating and restoring Atlanta’s older homes. The company focuses on classically designed whole-house renovations, and additions to houses built before WWII in the intown areas of Atlanta. Revival’s mission is to build beautiful homes and lasting relationships. Wright’s also a longtime Roundtables member.

Wright minored in architectural history in college, and planned to build for a while before going to architecture school. He didn’t go. Instead he concentrated on remodeling and building additions on older homes, allowing him to follow his passion for classical architecture and run a successful business. While there were other companies doing it in his market, they weren’t doing as well as he thought he could. Wright concentrated on providing a better customer experience in that niche, as well as: 

  • Determining if your passion can be a sustainable business
  • Working with architects
  • Why design-build doesn’t have to be in one company
  • Building your reputation in the niche
  • Defining success in hiring
  • Investing in estimating
  • The importance of discipline
  • Setting smaller, realistic goals
  • The advantages of finding your niche
  • And more …

You can also learn why Wright chose the name Revival for his company, and also get to hear a little bit of an Allman Bros. song. Also, give yourself a little time to look through Revival’s Project Portfolio — there are some beautiful examples of Wright’s work.

Become a Master

Our MasterClass courses are two-day sessions of rich, interactive information with plenty of hands-on instruction. We limit our classes to 12-18 people, giving you ample opportunity to work one-on-one with the instructors. All our instructors are well-known respected industry experts and some of the best in their fields of expertise. Learn more about our MasterClasses in marketing, the design process, bookkeeping, and project management.

Ep.98: How to Structure and Run a Profitable Design Department with Chris Landis

Jobs are won or lost during the design process. With so much on the line, it’s clear that your design department should be running at peak performance. But there are so many ways the process can get derailed.

It all depends on how you structure your design department, and what metrics you use to hold them accountable.

In this episode, Chris Landis discusses about how to build and run an efficient design department with Victoria and Mark.

Chris is a partner (with his brother Ethan) in Landis Architects/Builders in Washington, DC, and is a longtime Roundtables member. He’s a registered architect in four states (MD, DC, VA, NY). Chris graduated from Vassar College, and earned his M.A. in architecture from Columbia Architecture School. Chris is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and has 28 years of experience in residential architecture. He is a current member of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board and past president of the DC Metro area chapter of NARI.

Chris has a design department of nine people after 30 years in the business. When the company got to the point of having three designers, Chris hired a manager for that department to ensure that the work was standardized and high quality. He talks about how to set up your own design department for success and create a quicker process, including:

  • The metrics to gauge success
  • The designer’s role in his company
  • Recruiting and hiring for the department
  • Working back from net profit
  • When to hire a design manager
  • His three-phase process
  • How he charges for them
  • Figuring out a healthy close ratio
  • Taking on a design-only project
  • Why to conduct a feasibility study — sometimes
  • Working with design sub-contractors
  • And more …

Design can be a profit center, not a loss-leader, and you have to know how much you should be charging for it — even if you don’t.

MasterClass: Design Process

You can learn how other successful companies manage their design business, and you’ll go home with new ideas to exceed your clients’ expectations and boosting profits on every job. We’ll be holding our next class here in Baltimore, May 18-19. You can find more details and register here: Building An Effective Design Process.

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