Lester Griffin’s company may be just a couple of years old, but he has gained a wealth of experience from his previous jobs and has wise words of advice for fellow small business owners.
Before starting Griffin’s Construction in January 2018, he worked in construction cleanup, did small projects and was a laborer for a concrete company. He began working for the concrete company in 2005 and said he has always been interested in watching projects come together, whether it’s something as basic as a sidewalk or a large building.
Griffin earned his general contractor’s license and does primarily residential, interior remodeling projects with a focus on finished carpentry and tile. Licensed to practice in Oregon and Washington, he said he appreciates the diversity of the projects he does.
“I like being able to do something different every day and the new look of something. Everything is the same but it’s not. You’ve got a house, but it’s shaped differently,” Giffin said. “I like to stay in my comfort zone and this takes me out of it a little bit. I’m always learning and I like to learn new things.”
The most challenging aspect, he said, is the administrative part of running the business. His membership in NAMC-Oregon already has provided him with resources, a workshop and conversations with the workshop presenters about how to improve his operations.
The company focuses on finished carpentry and tile work. (Photo courtesy of Griffin’s Construction.)
This workshop was part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Bonding Education Program (BEP) sponsored by the Small Business Resource Center to help small businesses become bond ready. The BEP consists of classes designed to address what businesses need to do to become bond ready and a session with local surety bonding professionals to help assemble the materials necessary for a complete bond application.
Topics included in the workshop were business planning; bonding and insurance essentials; claims, dispute resolution and contract law for contractors; banking and contractors; bidding and estimating; getting paid, cash flow and financial statements; credit repair; and managing growth.
“Being at the workshop is one of the main things that made me understand I need to zero in on a specific craft. Even though I have a general contractor’s license, if I come in as a sub on a larger project and I say, ‘I do this one thing,’ they will feel more comfortable about the quality of my work,” Griffin said.
He recommended that other small business owners understand the administrative functions involved and invest in professionals who can manage those functions so the business owner can focus on their craft.
“Keep the right people around you and let them do their job so you can make it easier on yourself,” he said.