Begun as HCS Construction, Uniplex is now the name of the corporate umbrella under which HCS and two other companies do flooring, commercial renovation, handyman work, and full-service remodeling.
The company experimented with in-house vs. subcontracted labor and slowly made the transition to trades, providing onsite supervision to manage and “make sure the little gaps between trades are covered,” owner Joe Schwab says. “Although we thought in-house was less expensive per hour in hours, we just weren’t as efficient.”
Schwab says that it’s vital to put the time and effort in so that plans are fully laid out, selections made, and change orders minimized. “Say we have a $1,000 change order on a $1 million job,” Schwab explains. “It interrupts everyone in the office and it’s not a profit center. We would rather just produce.”
- Uniplex/HCS relies on superintendents in the field to engage in “daily dialogue with the client.” Manner and frequency of communication on any job, “project to project,” is a matter of client preference, but figuring out that preference happens early. “If you lose their confidence you can expect four or five emails a day,” Schwab says.
- In the last 10 years, HCS has grown by acquiring other businesses, including a flooring company, and fitting them into the space under its corporate umbrella. Each company has its own general manager and project managers. “We could’ve built these companies from scratch,” Schwab explains, “but we found a guy who had a great system, a great machine and a great reputation, bought it, and started growing it.”