Steve Cunningham has never done anything other than construction. But for a long time that involved working for other contractors—and a certain degree of dissatisfaction came with it. “If you work for another contractor, you do what he wants done,” Cunningham says. “I like the freedom of doing it the right way, versus what another person’s opinion of what the right way may be.”
Side jobs multiplied and Cunningham, at 21 years old, told himself, “I am going to create something from nothing, and it’s going to be a business that lasts.”
Initially the business specialized in all aspects of flooring. But Cunningham, who installed floors for builders and remodelers, often felt that he could do a better job designing and building the jobs he was working on. The idea was to be the one-stop shop for home renovation.
Bathrooms became a bridge to full-on remodeling, and in 2005 Cunningham obtained a Class A builders license. “In 2008 we did an addition for a family member,” he says. “We quickly became hooked.”
Cunningham Contracting is “not just a name on a truck,” Melissa says. “We are personally involved.” And that applies to both in the field, with Steve and their son Michael, and back at the office.
- If you call Cunningham Contracting, “nine times out of 10” it’s a Cunningham who will answer. Whether that’s Steve, Melissa, or one of their children, “You’re going to get your questions and concerns answered right then and there,” Melissa says.
- Though Cunningham Contracting typically has five large jobs running at any one time, the company’s policy is to respond quickly to any call for service.
- Steve and Melissa have steadily expanded their certifications through ongoing education and training—Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, green building, and Certified Graduate Remodeler—and through involvement in industry organizations. Steve is second vice president of the Peninsula Housing & Builders Association, and Melissa was instrumental in getting the Professional Women in Building Council chartered, with herself as the first member. The Cunninghams enjoy learning—at 50, Steve says, “I don’t know nearly what I thought I knew.”