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State Line

Builders – Jeff
Bunnewith
Hogan Davidson
Company
Background
 Local construction
company.
 Located in Thompson, CT.
 Started in 1991
 2 employees first couple
of years, 4-6 the next 10
years, now just Jeff
mainly.
 Mainly does house framing,
roofing, siding (“weather
tight”).
 Sole Proprietorship for 3 years and now a Limited
Liability Corporation (LLC).
 This was done to protect himself financially (liability)
Organization and for some tax advantages.

of the  Jeff runs the whole thing.


 He is the bookkeeper, does estimates, majority of the
Company physical work.

and  Brings in help as needed usually hourly employees


and occasionally subcontractors.
Management  Likes to be there for everything that’s done if he
Structure can.
 Wants things done right.
 Homeowners are more comfortable with this than
having a large corporation do the work.
 Works mostly residentially doing new construction and
home improvements.
 Jobs include framing, roofing, siding, exterior deck
construction, additions, kitchen and bath remodeling,
finishing basements.
 3 years ago a friend needed help building a tiny house.
Products/Services  It sold right away and he has been helping make them
and Methods of ever since.

Monetization
 Sometimes requires deposits for big jobs but mostly does
small business and only collects at the completion of the
job.
 He has found this helps keep the homeowners
comfortable.
 Doesn’t use advertising, solely relies on word of mouth.
 Advice – Keep the overhead costs low.
 Don’t go on a credit limb.
Advice and  Don’t get too big too quick.
What Jeff  Write your own checks, know about all your money
and where it goes.
Wish he  Keep things manageable and in control.
Knew when  Know when to quit and don’t pigeon hole yourself.

he was First  Wish he Knew – Jeff wishes that he wouldn’t have


Starting worried as much as he did. Now he knows that with
great effort you will have success. It would hive
saved him a lot of anxious nights at the start.
Internship Responsibilities

 Duties and tasks varied from daily and were determined by Jeff.
 They all revolved around physical labor and hands on construction help.
 Examples:
 1. Staging on trucks.
 2. Setting everything up in the morning.
 3. Ensure tools run and everything is in place.
 4. Help out with whatever is needed that day for that specific job.
Challenges I Experienced

 I had to be careful as I was not experienced and oftentimes we were working


high off the ground and with power tools that could cause injury.
 One day I dropped a ladder and was lucky there wasn’t a window on the
building.
 During the roofing job I stepped on three nails that resulted in a bloody sock.
 The scariest situation was when I jumped down from a roof onto some staging.
 I almost caused Jeff to fall off from about 20 ft. in the air.

 One of the big takeaways I had was the importance of safety and to always be
aware of your surroundings.
Successes of
Internship
 I think the biggest success from this internship
was the knowledge I received about
construction.
 It was something I was always interested in but
had little prior experience.
 I now have a larger sense of independence for
future construction problems or needs.
 Another big success was the networking that I
did.
 Along with Jeff, I met and got to build
relationships with a sawmill owner, and went
to a construction trade school benefit.
 These connections could prove invaluable in
the future.
 Three main jobs I worked on.

Special  I worked at creating a “mini” foundation at the


speedway in Thompson.

Project  Sided a “tiny home.”


 Cleared old shingles and re-roofed a home.
Framework at
the Speedway
 Took existing flag stand at the race
track 8’ by 8’ and added four posts.
 Framed a hip-style roof with fascias
and perlins to accept standing
seam metal roofing.
Siding “Tiny
Home”
 Installed pine trim on the
facias, the rakes, the
windows, and the corner
boards.
 We sided the building with
#1 primed cedar
clapboards 4” to the
weather.
Roofing A
Residential House

 Stripped off existing two


layers of asphalt roofing.
 Inspected the roof sheathing
for water damage and it
appeared alright so
replacement wasn’t
necessary.
 Installed all new drip edge,
ice and water shield (bottom
6’), 15 lbs. underlayment for
the remainder of the roof,
and then shingled over the
entire roof with limited lifetime
warrantied asphalt shingles.
 Learned general construction tips and techniques.
 The perfect part was the small projects I completed
What Was gave me the general tactics and resources needed for
larger scale projects.

Learned  I also learned about the hard work and sweat that is
needed when working in construction.
 I often woke up very sore from the work the day prior.
My Future Plans

 Take the knowledge I learned from the internship and try


and create a small cabin.
 I will utilize the blueprint Jeff and I created as a guide for my
building.
 I will plan to get a start on this this summer at family land.

 If all goes well I am planning on then building new cabins


up in remote Ontario where I plan on starting a fishing
resort/guide service.
 Hopefully starting this process in the spring of 2020.
 Being able to do it myself will save me significant building
costs.
QUESTIONS?
Story of Creation

 Jeff graduated at Quinebaug Valley Community College with a


Management degree.
 As a summer job he did house framing for his neighbor.
 Was unsure of his future.
 There was a full time job opening after graduation.
 He worked for a couple years and then his employer closed down.
 Figured that he’d give it a shot on his own and thought that he
would at least be able to make $11 an hour that he was making
beforehand.
 Started slow and grew with demand.
Impact of  Threats- Lots of lower skill parts of trade companies
Competition (example roofing companies) have started in the
local area in the last 10 years.
(Threats) and  Methods- Staying informed in the industry.

Methods to  Jeff has subscriptions to construction magazines to


continuously learn about new tricks and tools to the

Gain trade.
 Researches for his own benefit.
Competitive  Also feels that having a small, local, trustworthy business
gives him a great competitive advantage.
Advantage
He had a guy he worked for in Northborough not ive
up to his word.
• He asked to get money back after a completion of some jobs.
• He agreed because he was reliant on the work at the time.

The first couple years he would sometimes underprice


his bids and in turn would lose money on jobs.

Failures Only one occasion he didn’t get paid for his work.
and Most • $1200 wasn’t worth the legal trouble.
Difficult Most Difficult Experience- Finding reliable work
Experience consistently.
• Employees would often not show up to work.
• Caused some issues and forced him to reschedule a lot.
Successes and the Best Decision

 He has found success with being frugal to an extent and living within his
means.
 He has never had to borrow money or had debt.
 His best decision was to try to do the construction on his own and
create his own business.
 He found starting small and growing slowly and with demand really
helped place him in the position he is today.
 Had a lot of success with his other company Birch Island Reality.
 Bought two properties for dirt cheap that were within walking
distance from his house.
 This allowed him to be able to work on them whenever he had
spare time to the point today where he has a steady cash flow
from the rentals.
Future Business Plans (Opportunities)

 He obtained his Real Estate License 6 years ago.


 Mostly this was to learn the laws regarding his rental houses.
 He is planning on possibly purchasing one house per year and then remodeling
the house to resell.

 Doesn’t plan on retiring ever, Jeff plans on working until he physically can’t do it
anymore.
 He considers construction as one of his hobbies and truly enjoys what he does
for a living.

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