Matt Reale started working in construction at 16, when he discovered that a regular paycheck and “being around the guys” provided a lot of satisfaction.
After a two-year stint at Roger Williams University studying historic preservation, Reale went into new home development, where, he says, just before the market bottomed out, they were “building with their eyes closed.”
Founding his own remodeling company gave Reale the chance to put into practice all that he’d learned. What he didn’t anticipate was that the learning was far from over. From the beginning, he says, he “never did anything by the hour. I always priced the jobs out.” Starting out with a helper, then adding field employees and an office manager, he built his company piece by piece at a time—in the aftermath of the 2008 recession—when other companies were failing.
- 2.5 years ago, Reale removed himself from site work (“a hard transition to make”) so as to focus on estimating, project managing and bringing in more business, at which he has been highly successful.
- Proved adept at managing a variety of jobs, from six-figure whole house remodels to commercial work such as the new brewery going up in Branford, Conn., where his crews are building decks and stairs.
- Worked out an arrangement with a long-time supplier to install Marvin windows, after sending three field employees to an installation master class in nearby Enfield. Reale then re-markets to those window replacement homeowners for full-service remodeling projects.
- Joined the Remodelers Peer Group, company owners from all over the country who are veterans of other peer groups and wanted to form their own and where (at 33), he is “the youngest by far” and where advice about “building backlog, holding people accountable and cutting dead weight, when you need to” has been invaluable.