Third-generation construction guy Lucas C. Papageorge Jr. started his first company in 2000, while still doing side jobs. By 2005 its main focus was participating in the Connecticut-version of Flip This House, a TV program that featured investors buying, remodeling, and reselling houses at big profits in four regions of the country. The 2008 recession, along with executive disputes, killed the program. Papageorge and his business partner also parted ways.
Today LCP General Contractors, which does everything from siding jobs to whole-house remodels, has a niche and the niche is a town: Fairfield, Conn., once a quiet bedroom community for commuters to Manhattan but now “booming,” with two universities. Re-thinking his approach to remodeling had Papageorge making some strategic decisions. His conclusion: Transform himself and his company into Fairfield’s remodeler.
- LCP General Contractors sponsors summer concerts on the village green, a movie night, family fun nights, and gives away Frisbees on the beach. The ad placed in the town calendar is also notably successful, which Papageorge says is in “70% of the houses” he goes into.
- Papageorge did an analysis of the profit and loss on all his prior jobs. The analysis showed that the most profitable jobs he had finished were for families consisting of parents in their early 30s to mid-40s with young children. “My generation pulls the trigger faster on the estimate side,” he says.
- He teaches an adult education course in Fairfield and in Westport on how to hire a contractor. There are typically 15 to 20 people in a class. “Not only am I getting knowledge out, but I’m marketing my company through the class,” Papageorge says.
- People who accuse him of being a checkbook contractor, Papageorge says, shouldn’t forget that he studied engineering and worked in the field for years. Today he estimates, sells, and provides project management and quality control on the roughly 15 jobs he has going at any one time. The key is “a lot of coordination” and spending some time on each job each day.