Qualified Remodeler Magazine

JUL 2019

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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CLARENCE AND STELLA GUERRERO founded CG&S in 1957 as a family con- struction business and spent the next few decades raising their eight children within the company, teaching them the trades of ĘĖħĥĚģĩħĮĖģęėĤĤĠĠĚĚĥĞģĜüƁĚħĖġġĩĝĚĮ chose the name CG&S as an acronym for their family business mentality: Clarence Guerrero and Sons. In the early 1990s, they sold the company to their kids. Billy Guerrero became president and head of sales and estimating while Dolores took on duties as general manager. Her hus- band, Stewart Davis, joined the company as an architect in 1994 and established a design studio for the business. As projects began to require more thoughtful design work, the company incorporated a design/build pro- cess and rebranded as CG&S Design-Build. In 2018, Billy stepped down from the ėĪĨĞģĚĨĨĖƁĚħĢĤħĚĩĝĖģ%!ĮĚĖħĨĤěĨĚħīĞĘĚ and received a formal buyout. He passed ma- jority ownership to Dolores, who now serves as president and co-owner with Stewart, vice president of the company. They started con- versations about the buyout in 2017, but the process turned out to be longer and more intense than anticipated, Dolores notes. "We both had attorneys, and we got an evaluation of the company," she says. "I have to say, for a family business, it's so much more complicated than it sounds. There's a lot of emotion tied to it, for obvious reasons. I knew this was my brother's intent and desire, so it was clear we had to build a management team that didn't rely just on Stewart and me—that relied on other people to hold ęĞŻĚħĚģĩ ęĚĥĖħĩĢĚģĩĨ ĩĤĜĚĩĝĚħ ĬĝĞġĚ ĩĝĞĨ transition was being made." Dolores solicited advice from her remod- eling peer group and other mentors and hired a mediator who specializes in family busi- nesses. "My advice would be to talk about it early and get some assistance from other people," she explains. "Even more, work on having open, honest, crucial conversations with each other. Because the better you com- municate and trust each other—and believe in each other—the better you can go through ĩĝĤĨĚīĚħĮęĞƄĘĪġĩĘĤģīĚħĨĖĩĞĤģĨġĖĩĚħĤģŤ CG&S already has begun planning for the next 10 years, when both Dolores and Stewart prepare to exit the business, she adds. "Our biggest challenge, aside from the day-to-day things, of course, is how do we take a 60-year- old company into the next generation and still keep it strong and relevant and competitive in this market? That's what takes my energy." The business strives to maintain the same reputation for quality and reliability that Clarence and Stella instituted in the late 1950s. Projects have expanded and become more comprehensive renovations with out- door living as a key component, Dolores says. "They live in their homes, they live in their kitchens, in their dining and living [rooms], and they want these integrated spaces," she ĘĤģĩĞģĪĚĨţċĚĤĥġĚğĪĨĩĝĖīĚĢĤħĚĘĤģŽęĚģĘĚ in their buying potential (purchasing power), and so they're willing to do more than they used to. It's not that they spend willy-nilly. They're still price conscious—they're just price conscious in a bigger way." An accessibility to loans at reasonable interest rates, furthermore, has given home- ĤĬģĚħĨĖģĤĩĝĚħĤĥĩĞĤģĩĤŽģĖģĘĚġĖħĜĚħĥħĤğ- ects, Dolores notes. "We're doing a lot more work with lenders, a lot more than we used to. Lending organizations can provide that ser- vice so much better than we can. We don't have the bandwidth to manage it, and I don't want to take it on. Doing design/build is enough." āĞģęĞģĜ Ėģę ĝĞħĞģĜ ĦĪĖġĞŽĚę ĬĤħĠĚħĨ however, will remain a challenge for CG&S as contractors stay busy throughout the year. ċĖħĩģĚħĞģĜ ĬĞĩĝ ĨĚīĚħĖġ ęĞŻĚħĚģĩ īĚģęĤħĨ and building trust with subcontractors can produce a reliable labor pool, Dolores says. "It's all about relationships," she explains. "They know you're going to pay them on time, that you're going to be ready for them when you say. All those kinds of things re- ĖġġĮĢĖĠĚĖęĞŻĚħĚģĘĚĄėĚġĞĚīĚĩĝĖĩĬĝĚģ contractors can maintain those levels of trust with the vendors and suppliers, then they're going to perform better for you." ĒĞĩĝĖģĞģƀĪĭĤěĥĚĤĥġĚģĤĬĢĤīĞģĜĩĤ Austin, CG&S must keep its brand fresh and relevant among those who might have never heard of the company, Dolores notes. More ĘĤģĩħĖĘĩĤħĨĖġĨĤĘġĖĞĢĩĤĤŻĚħęĚĨĞĜģÌėĪĞġę services and can undercut pricing because they do not have a true overhead, so CG&S needs to sustain an online presence and a connection with its client base. "Our focus has to be doing a little bit in every single area—selling at higher margins, ėĪĞġęĞģĜĞģĖĩĞĜĝĩĚħĢĤħĚĚƄĘĞĚģĩĬĖĮĖģę making sure that the overhead doesn't get bloated. I think every little bit counts," she adds. Due Diligence DOLORES GUERRERO DAVIS, President and General Manager COMPANY: CG&S Design-Build DESCRIPTION: Design/build remodeler LOCATION: Austin, Texas TOP RANK: No. REMODELING SALES: . million No. 117 CG&S Design-Build completes an ownership transition while the remodeler builds its legacy in a competitive market. by Kyle Clapham "OUR FOCUS HAS TO BE DOING A LITTLE BIT IN EVERY SINGLE AREA." Dolores Guerrero Davis, president/general manager 70 July 2019 QualifiedRemodeler.com TOP PROFILE

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