6 Tips for Success from an Award-Winning Multifamily Builder

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This post has been updated. What does it take to become an award-winning builder? We asked Chris House — group vice president at Fortune-Johnson, the 2018 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Builder of the Year firm — for advice for this year's entrants.
  • Avoid growing too fast. Our company never takes on work we know we can't staff. We aim at solid, stable growth, which results in satisfied clients, who return again and again.
  • Pay attention to the people you hire. We prefer to bring new hires in at entry level, so they can learn everything from the ground up. When they're promoted, they can support and mentor the employees they supervise, because they've been there and done that. Because of the current labor market, we have had to hire some people from the marketplace. But we are careful to hire those who reflect our company's core values and our corporate culture.
  • Create a presence in your local community. Our main Atlanta office and our regional offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Vienna, Va., are critical to our customers and employees, and symbolize our commitment to those markets and that we are there to stay.
  • Avoid doing jobs you can't do well. For instance, when clients have had to deal with disasters such as fire or floods, we try to do what we can to help, but we're not remediation contractors, so we have to be clear about what we can and can't do.
  • Create repeat clients by doing things right the first time. Lenders and equity sources who see our track record of satisfied and repeat clients are a steady source of new business.
  • Enter your best work into awards competitions like NAHB’s Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards. Such awards are a huge asset to our business, and allow other clients and potential clients know that we're meeting or exceeding our own standards. NAHB is a reliable platform for our sector's concerns and is respected by our clients.
You have an opportunity to let your work and your people shine, too. Enter the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry awards at awards.nahb.org before the extended deadline of Sept. 6. To learn more about this awards program, visit nahb.org/pillars.

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