Aaron Tobias is passionate about the work he’s put into the community for 15 years with Century Construction of Lansing. As a general contractor, the business performs some of the work itself and aligns with subcontractors, such as plumbers and electricians, when appropriate.
And as the journey through spring begins, the work is certainly there. Clients call Century Construction for a variety of needs, from remodeling and additions to renovations and repairs. Tobias said bathroom and kitchen remodels are the most sought-after services of the season.
“Especially since COVID began and due to our housing shortage, most people are looking to update their living spaces and functionality,” he said.
Supply chain issues cause some delays, but Tobias explained that planning and managing expectations make timing tolerable. It’s the high demand for labor that Tobias feels passionate about as an issue.
“Since the housing bubble of the mid-2000s, we have lost and not replaced a large amount of skilled construction workers,” Tobias said. “In addition to that, there was no training of new workers to take their place.”
Tobias said youth have been pushed away from construction jobs due to the belief that a four-year degree guaranteed a better future. As a former president of the local Home Builders Association, Tobias wants to drive the point home that this isn’t always the case. Not even close.
“I am not aware of any other profession that would allow you to start your own business as quickly and with as little money invested as the construction industry,” Tobias said. “I would still recommend further education in business management, accounting, etc. and skill-specific training to avoid costly mistakes.”
Speaking of costly, construction and remodeling can be just that. Many builders are now charging for estimates because often a potential client will ask for an estimate, getting surprised by costs and opting out — wasting valuable time. Tobias recommended that before the phone call is even placed for an estimate, homeowners do some research and know their budget going in.
“Ask for budget pricing to make sure you are being realistic,” Tobias said. “I typically recommend that people start looking on Pinterest or Houzz and start getting pictures of what they want.”
Communication is also key.
“Be clear about your expectations and ask questions,” he said. “Most problems I’ve run into can either be fixed or improved when both parties communicate better.”
Tobias is humble about his community involvement. He’s been active with projects for Habitat for Humanity, coaching and more.
“I do promote volunteering in the hopes that others will join. I think it really helps build a community,” he said.