This is a follow up story for MPC Builders. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Michael Parnell, and I’m the founder and owner of MPC Builders. We build custom homes along the NJ coast (the Jersey Shore), and commercial projects across NJ and the Philadelphia metro area.
Our custom home building division is quickly becoming the go-to contractor in our area. People want to work with a builder they can trust, and our “open book” management style allows them to understand their project, what areas of the project they’re spending their money, the sequence of construction activities, and the overall schedule of the project. With MPC, they have a builder who communicates well and is reliable. We check all the boxes when it comes to the attributes clients are looking for in their home builder.
Our commercial division is also a trusted leader in the marketplace. We have the same level of detail, accountability, and communication on our commercial projects, and that’s the main reason why we have repeat client, after repeat client. We don’t advertise, all of our projects come by word of mouth referrals. Those are our ideal clients, and they keep us busy!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
2020 started with several ongoing projects, which helped us through the first months of Covid. But the typical bidding season of late Spring / early Summer did not take place last year. The typical home building cycle in our area has drawings being issued for estimates around June/July, contracts finalized by August, and construction starting September / October of each year. In 2020, we didn’t see that cycle happen because of several factors, including overall uncertainty in the world and financial markets, people just hit the breaks for a while.
There are continual ups and downs, lefts and rights, and it’s those bumps and bruises which provide the lessons you must learn to maintain success when you begin to reach it.
What we did see, though, in record numbers starting in June and continuing for the next 8+ months, are inquiries about new projects. People looking for lots to build on, wanting to know what their costs to build would be. People who purchased lots, asking for assistance in finding an architect to design their home. Our potential client list started expanding rapidly, as we tracked each project from being a lead, to design, to estimating, and just recently several of these leads are turning into contracts with permits under review at the local building departments. The new home market, and even the major renovation market, is absolutely on fire. It started in June 2020 and continues to this day. Just this week, I picked up two more leads for new projects. It’s the hottest I’ve seen the market in our 9 years in business.
As organic as our leads have come in (which we always consider is the best way to generate a lead), we’ve also made an effort to increase our visibility with new clients. We hired a videography team and filmed a 2-minute video in one of our newly completed homes, and I discuss on camera our home building philosophy and what makes our process different than our competitors. We’ve launched a continuously running ad on Facebook and Instagram, are generating a lot of traffic from it, and recently picked up our first official lead directly from that video advertisement!
Our goal is to really capitalize on these market conditions and grow MPC Builders into the premier home building company on the NJ coast.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
In 2019, we took a hard look at our business operations and got really lean with our staff. We were bloated, and not operating at an efficient level at all. That process, although completely unrelated to Covid, prepared us for the challenges of 2020 and beyond. We were in a good position to weather the initial storm that the shutdowns and delays in new projects had us in, and financially we were ok to wait it out while building up a record-breaking list of new leads. We were in a position to be patient, working with these new clients and focusing on their needs, to guide them through the process of building their new homes. And now, each of those seeds we planted over the last 9 months is starting to germinate into new project starts. So the primary lesson of the last 12 months, to have Patience!
In January 2020, we established a philanthropy partnership with our company and the Cure JM Foundation. They are the only organization that raises money to fund research into safer treatments for Juvenile Myositis, a rare autoimmune disease that only 3 out of every 1 million children each year are diagnosed with. My 6-year-old daughter Ryan is one of those rare children. MPC Builders is pledging to donate 10% of the profit from each of our projects to the Cure JM Foundation. These donations will be made in honor of our clients when they choose to award MPC a new project as a way of saying “thank you for your business.” We want to tie the success of our business to a higher cause because we believe that all great companies not only manage their core business well but also contribute to the greater good of humanity. By tying our success to the success of The Cure JM Foundation, every day we will show up to work, motivated to succeed and ready to give it our all every day because we’re not just building a project for our clients… we’re building a better future for my daughter and other rare children like her around the world. “Since making this decision, we’ve raised over $36,000! Please join us in this fight for safer treatments, and one day, a cure for Juvenile Myositis. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please go to this link!
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We are projecting to have a record year over the next 12 months, with new housing starts and total revenue, and we will likely repeat that over the following year based on the number of leads we’re currently chasing.
Our goal is to be considered the premier custom home building company along the NJ Shore in the next 5 years, and we’ll achieve that goal by continuing to provide high-level service to our clients while delivering a premium home within our stated schedule durations.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I’m constantly reading new books (and listening to Audible). Some of the most impactful books I’ve recently read are:
Big Enough, by Lee LeFever. We’re often tricked into thinking that as a business owner, the primary goal is always growth, growth, growth, but there’s a point you should reach where your business is healthy and stable, and you also reach the sweet spot in your personal life, relationships, and health, where you’re “Big Enough” without negatively impacting any of those other buckets of your life.
Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey. Very entertaining (when you listen to Audible with Matthew doing the reading). The lessons are profound, and the primary takeaway is that when we are in a stretch of the road where we’re hitting “greenlights” (when things are going our way), don’t do anything to mess it up. Make sure your decisions allow you to keep hitting greenlights, stay away from self-generated drama and difficulties because inevitably, the road of life is going to hit some rough patches and you’ll end up hitting yellow and red lights again… so enjoy the greenlights when they’re coming!
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin Sharma. As the title implies, when you learn what the true gifts and pleasures in life really are, the ones you can purchase don’t hold as much value any longer… and don’t wait until life passes you by to make that realization.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Don’t expect the road to success to be at a 45-degree angle, constantly upward and instantaneous. There are continual ups and downs, lefts and rights, and it’s those bumps and bruises which provide the lessons you must learn to maintain success when you begin to reach it.
Success for me isn’t a certain number in the revenue or profit column, it’s having and maintaining work-life rhythm so that each of the primary buckets in my life (Relationships/Family, Health, Business, and Wellness) are never lacking.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
At some point within the next 6-10 months, we’ll be in a position to hire. I’m working out the details of that position now, by being aware of the different tasks and activities that take up the majority of my time and then seeing which of those tasks I could be handing off to an assistant. The result of that analysis over the coming months will determine the position that I’ll decide to recruit for.
At this moment, I’m not sure if it will be a project management position or an executive assistant position. That’s why I decided to follow this process so that the hire makes the most impact possible.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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