Ask Stacy Eakman his business strategy, and he’ll tell you about the long game. Like most remodelers, Eakman well remembers the massive downturn in 2008. And when another one comes, he plans to be ready.
“I’m building a company for 10 years from now, not so I can be rich today. Obviously, we want to be profitable, but that’s not our No. 1 goal,” says Eakman, the company president. “Now it’s all about market share and establishing ourselves as the contractor in the area so when things slow down, we make it through and hit the ground running on the next upswing.”
It’s also all about investing in the company with new trucks, new equipment, and a new project management system that will help provide the “high touch” service Eakman envisions for his company. And, since 90% of Eakman’s business comes from architect referrals, he spends time cultivating those relationships with perks like tickets to the Seattle Mariners baseball games.
Doing business in Seattle means competing for labor against the likes of Amazon. But here again, Eakman is playing the long game. While he offers competitive pay, he makes an effort to get to know his employees outside of work. “For a lot of guys, it’s not necessarily the money, it’s the quality of life,” he says. “So I listen to what they want and need, instead of assuming I can pay them a bunch of money and they’ll stick around. Because the guy down the street is paying a bunch of money, too.”
Now, Eakman is looking to invest in the future with a new building that will replace his rented office space and further cement his place in the market. “What hurts a lot of companies is that when they start doing better and growing a bit, they do a cash grab, or they spend it all on themselves. And then things start falling apart,” he says. “Our whole model is that what we’re doing today is going to get us where we want to be in 10 years.”