Bryan Miller and John Gwaltney are Atlanta-area contractors who, before combining their businesses, repeatedly ran into each other at home shows, meetings of a local contractor networking group, and finally in the Certified Contractors Network.
Miller had a deck operation called Outback Deck and a remodeling business called Renovation Associates, while Gwaltney operated Nehemiah Reconstruction, specializing in windows, siding, and roofing. When Gwaltney needed new office space, Miller invited him to relocate to the building housing his businesses.
Subsequently, Miller and Gwaltney got along so well that they decided to combine their operations under the umbrella of Virtus Services, both as co-owners, later creating a holding company with that name at the end of 2012.
Both owners are committed to the notion that in brand-conscious Atlanta, homeowners want to deal with a trademarked company specializing in one particular aspect of home improvement. That is, they want a specialist, not a generalist.
"Though people might know how to buy a home, a lot of them don't know how to buy remodeling services,” Miller says. But they do recognize that they want a company that specializes in, for instance, decks—if they want a deck.
Since forming Virtus, the three companies under its umbrella have added 30% to their volume and 29% to profitability, primarily by reducing personnel and cross-selling jobs. Last year the No.1 source of jobs at all companies was cross-selling to one another’s previous customers.
- Each year Virtus seeks out a homeowner to whom it can give away a project.
- Both Miller and Gwaltney are committed to a culture of constant improvement.
- Once a home project is complete, Outback Deck hosts a party at the finished site, inviting neighbors to view the company's work.