As a kid working weekends and summers for his parents' remodeling company, Greg Harris learned at a very young age just how challenging residential construction can be. By the time he was 18 years old, he'd already decided to pursue a career in something other than remodeling.
But building is in his blood. After several years of working in other fields, he rediscovered his passion for carpentry, and the rest is history.
Harris is now the proud owner of G.P. Harris Construction in Jonestown, Penn., where he built his company up from a one-man operation into a full-scale team of professional designers, project managers and a well-connected network of trade partners. A determination to keep his business growing through high-quality craftsmanship and a keen focus on customer service has led Harris to be recognized as NAHB’s June Remodeler of the Month.
"I think the industry is continually gaining more respect," Harris said. "There are always going to be cheap[er], fly-by-night operators, but it seems people understand now more than ever the value of the service [certified, professional remodelers] provide."
He also attributes much of his business' success to his involvement with his state local HBAs, in which he's dedicated many years of service and consistently found value.
"The more I give to the association, the more I get out of it," he said. "I’ve served on two local boards, doing two years as president at one and, currently, vice president at another. Being on the state board for the past 10 years has also been a great influence to our business.”
But growth has rarely come easily. And like many other remodelers, Harris continues to grapple with the challenges of a diminishing labor market, especially as more tradespeople enter retirement. To find qualified younger workers, he says they've had the most success when using headhunters, and networking through area universities.
As for the best advice he’s ever received, Harris said, "Revenue kills, profit thrills. When it’s going well, don’t get complacent. Someone or something will soon throw a wrench into your plans soon enough. When, not if, the recession comes, cash is king."
Read Harris’s full Q&A in Qualified Remodeler.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming NAHB’s Remodeler of the Month, visit nahb.org to learn more.