Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Ladder

Mike is taking the wheel for this blog.  He's taking us back in time to the early years of Tiger Construction.  This is such a cool story!  I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did.

Early in our career together, Heath said to me, “There are two types of people in this world:  those that reach down and pull you up when you’re climbing the ladder, and those above you that step on your fingers.”  I can’t quite remember what the situation was at the time, but I’m sure we were encountering a bump in the road and felt a little deflated.

Starting a business isn’t easy.  Just when you think you have it figured out, you’ve got new regulations, new city ordinances, new fees, and new problems.  Taxes, insurance, and overhead seem to grow at a faster rate than your company does.  You have to keep plugging away to make ends meet and “eat what you kill” as our accountant once told us.

Maybe you need luck to be successful, but I don’t believe in luck.  Let me take that back.  I believe in luck, but I don’t believe in being lucky.  I think you make your own luck by being at the right place at the right time.  You have to make the conscious decision to be at that “lucky” place, right?  That’s how Tiger Construction Services got its start -- by being at the right place at the right time.

Heath and I walked in to a supply house and started talking to Donnie after filling up our cups of coffee like we frequently did.  I’m not sure how we got on the topic.  After all, we were there to buy some parts for a job, but we started talking about how Donnie wanted to build a house in Twelve Oaks and he knew exactly what lot he wanted to build on.  We just so happened to have a great set of plans in the truck we had recently picked up from a draftsman.  Ten minutes later, Donnie was sold on the plans and desperately wanted us to procure his lot.  By the end of the night, the company that owned the lot agreed to sell it to us to build Donnie his home.  They reached down and pulled us up the ladder.

Little did we know at the time, but purchasing that lot put us on Twelve Oaks’ “Preferred Builder List”.  We were now able to buy lots in what was to become one of Shreveport’s fastest growing communities.  The next chance we had, we purchased a lot to build a speculation home and it sold just as it finished.  At the next property sale, we purchased three lots.  We built a spec home that year and installed an awesome outdoor kitchen.  The first of its kind in Twelve Oaks, in fact.  It was our Parade of Homes house and we had a contract the morning the parade started.  The end result of the parade:  two custom homes on the other two lots.  Was it all luck?  Maybe.  I know this much we were in the right place at the right time in Donnie’s shop, and the company that sold us his lot pulled us up the ladder and paved the way for our success.

So did Shreveport Development Corporation, the developers of Twelve Oaks.  They did everything possible to help us succeed.  So did our bankers and investors that had faith in us when we had little experience and wanted to purchase three or four lots at a time.

It hasn’t always been rosy.  Our fingers have been bruised.  I’m not talking about competition, that’s expected.  I’m talking about the contractors that won’t call you back because they know you have a problem that’s on them.  The banker that didn’t have faith in you and tried to shut your project down.  The guy that just shakes his head and says, “That can’t be done,” even though you’re able to get it done without him.

We are so grateful for our customers, the real estate agents that sell our homes and send customers our way, our bankers and our insurance agents.  We praise the builders that do not hesitate to give us recommendations and advice.  Finally, where would we be without all the hard working men and women that work for us supplying the materials and providing the labor needed to construct and remodel our homes?  This network of people truly help us climb the ladder.

We are also grateful for Randal and Molly.  Randal put his faith in us to build two homes for him and partner up with him on the Greyhound Estate.  He’s stated more than once that one of his top priorities is to see Heath and I be successful -- he’s pulled us up more than a few rungs.  And thank you to Molly who is putting so much time and energy into this project and blog to make it a success.  I am proud to call you the voice of our company.

Climbing the ladder isn’t easy, but as long as you keep looking up past those trying to keep you down, you’ll find the helping hand you need to elevate you.

1 comment:

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