College friends Chris Risher and Jeremy Martin parted ways after graduating, with Martin working in tech sales and Risher in production building. But when Martin took over his parents’ business building homes on spec, he invited Risher to join him as a partner. They soon saw a huge gap among firms offering high-end renovation and felt that the timing was right to launch a business focused on that particular niche. They started RisherMartin in January of 2010.
Two years in, the company found its identity in whole-house remodeling and additions. Now that they've identified their role, the pair is working to perfect what they’ve selected as their expertise.
The financial range for RisherMartin is anywhere from $350,000 to the $1 million mark. Clients find their own architects, or RisherMartin helps them find one, but they don't subcontract design work.
The company offers general contractor and project management services, drawing on its network of handpicked trade contractors to build. Risher and Martin say that it’s impossible to be good at everything—except finding the people who are good at what you’re lacking. The pair jokes that every company says that its distinguishing characteristic is its quality of work and customer service, which are a given for RisherMartin. Instead, Risher says, his company's pre-construction services and fixed pricing structure are what set it apart. RisherMartin pre-plans projects to such a microscopic level that “we're almost borderline neurotic," Risher says. Every single detail is addressed from exact grout and sealer to thinset and backer board.
"All these questions have to be asked at some point," Risher points out. "We'd rather do it before we break ground, than after."
- RisherMartin uses Web-based purchasing systems for estimating. That eliminates the ambiguity for the client, Risher says, and keeps them from counting pennies while the work is being done.
- The company is involved in the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the National Association of Home Builders, and Remodeler's Advantage. Risher and Martin attribute much of their success to learning from those who have come before them: "Everything we've done, we've borrowed," Risher says.
- RisherMartin is also paperless. Everything is in the cloud, and project managers all carry iPads with them to communicate in real-time.
- The company also gets involved with charity, contributing the time and expertise of its principals to the Boys Club, Girls Club, and Habitat for Humanity.