18: Interview with David Richards (Summit Contractors)

August 3, 2020
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Today, Ete sits down with David Richards, general contractor, and owner of Summit Contractors.

Dave Richards grew up in Island Park Idaho. His father, who was a builder, was involved in a terrible construction accident. After being thrown 50 feet, a truss landed on his arm, crushing it, and leaving him with permanent, life-changing damage. Dave knew one thing: he did not want to be a builder. He went to college and got a degree in corporate training.

But of course, life has its own agenda. By the time he came to Heber in 1996 to work at a job in Park City, he was a licensed contractor with experience in both the construction/building side of the business as well as an understanding of all the technical details, the plans and specifications, that go into building a house.

Flash forward to today. Dave has a very successful and well-regarded construction business, Summit Contractors. In an industry where getting paid is so highly tied to the economy at large, he's been able to weather the extreme fluctuations that have been the downfall of many other companies. He credits his faith with guiding him through those difficult times. And he's cultivated a more "old school" approach to business that has served him well through the ups and downs. He's intentionally stayed relatively small so that he can scale up and down as needed to ride out those fluctuations. He does not leverage lots of debt. In fact he pays off debt as quickly as he can.

When it comes to finding customers, Dave admits that he's "not great at marketing." But he more than makes up for that by giving his clients an exceptional experience and letting word-of-mouth do the work for him. Dave focuses on making each of his clients feel like they're his number one priority. And he genuinely enjoys this. In fact, he now finds that the part of the business he truly cares about these days, where his true interest, passion, and motivation lies, is in people.

In this episode, Dave gives some great tips for people who are interested in building their own homes, as well as some excellent counsel for those who want to go into business for themselves.

The most amazing quote I've ever heard. You can't get better than this. Keep going with it.

- Enzo Whipple

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