Remodelers and architects don’t always get along. But Matt Risinger thrives on that relationship. Each year, he does millions of dollars’ worth of business through architect referrals. To win over architects as well as their clients, Risinger says he’s worked on establishing a reputation as a “building science nerd.” The more challenging a job is, the faster Risinger says yes.
“We do a lot of houses with no overhangs and fringe details,” he says. “Concrete walls inside the house. Crazy glass that goes up to the roofline. Those are the kinds of projects that architects come to us about.”
Risinger also produces a blog and YouTube videos, again so he can be spotted by architects. He charges a general fee, not an hourly rate, ranging from $7,500 to $15,000 a month. Smaller projects get a higher fee, and very large projects get a much smaller fee. He isn’t afraid to charge a high premium.
- Started a blog and began producing Youtube videos. “The focus is, how can this be seen by architects?” says Risinger. “I’ve got a lot of architects that are watching those. When they’re Googling, I’m the top result.”
- Charges a general monthly fee,
not an hourly rate. “We have a very transparent company to our employees
and our clients,” he says. To justify the cost, Risinger reveals to his
clients how much materials and labor cost. “We say, here’s how we get
paid. We charge them monthly general condition fee for our projects. It
ranges from $7500 to about $15000 a month for general condition. And then
we charge a builders fee for their construction costs. Smaller projects
get a higher fee, and very large projects get a much smaller fee. That
allows us to build consistently.”
- Isn’t afraid to charge a high
premium for his work. “Occasionally we lose jobs because people feel like
it’s too much,” says Risinger. “They know they could get it done cheaper.
But our clients have learned to trust us. Our process has really been
quite narrowed on how to get to that profitability.”
- Takes an active role in his
local American Institute of Architects chapter. . My business partner and
I take active roles in the leadership of the AIA. Each month, Risinger
meets with local architects to talk about building science topics. “That
group and the AIA group have been really good with networking and growing
our business’s reputation,” he says. “There is a really wise part of being
part of those associations. It’s led to some really good jobs.”
- Treats his employees as a team
of experts. In turn, that means treating them as equals, not minions. For
instance, when an employee needs a vacation, Risinger grants it, no
questions asks. “I’m not a micromanager,” Risinger says. “Ultimately I
want my company to be employee-owned.”
Listen: Matt Risinger discusses working with architects on Big50 Bites, our podcast on remodeling leadership and best practices.