I always had an interest in building and in outdoor living. My father was handy while I was growing up, building and repairing anything around the house. When I became a homeowner, I took on many of the same types of projects: tile, flagstone, decks, pergolas, kitchen and bath remodels, etc. I never considered doing this for a career until I moved back to Houston in 2001 and saw thousands of new homes in Fort Bend County and no company focused specifically on outdoor living.
Do you recall your first project?
The first project I built was for a friend…a small wood deck and pergola, and a slate patio. Before we built the project, I tried out the framing crew on a project at my house and worked with them. The business started with smaller projects that didn’t require many trades. But with each new job, the projects became more complicated… roof structures, screened porches, lots of masonry work, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, entertainment packages. Because we are usually designing and building to look original to the home, we’ve had to constantly evolve and find new trades. But the first few projects were very simple
What was your vision for the company in the beginning?
We have a great opportunity in our business to create a space that will potentially be our client’s favorite “room” in the house. We get to take a blank slate and turn the backyard into a much more usable space. The vision was to offer a turnkey experience that included creative design, managing approvals (HOA and permitting), and then building a high-quality, all-inclusive project. Our vision was to serve the entire Greater Houston Area by having Project Developers who lived and worked in different service areas. Finally, we hoped to develop a trade base of craftsmen who are experts in their particular area; who can grow with us; and who can meet the challenges of increasingly complex jobs. Ultimately, we wanted to complete a final project that exceeds the clients expectations, helps them enjoy their backyard, and adds value to their home.
What is your vision for the company now?
First, we see our design work as something that really sets us apart. We are constantly providing continuing education to our Project Developers so that every client is getting the best project to meet their practical needs and their aesthetic wants. We want to be on top of the latest trends and products, and we even want to pioneer some new ideas based on our vast experience in outdoor living.
Second, we want to give our clients a positive experience on the project management side of the business. That’s what turns into good reviews and referrals. That means creating best practices for scheduling and supervising trades and making consistent progress on jobs through to project completion. It’s not easy… many factors impact that, including weather and bottlenecks with some of our trades. In the areas where we have bottlenecks, we are constantly trying to broaden and improve our trade base.
Finally, in 2015, we opened a new office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We realize we have a business model that is replicable and we hope to explore opportunities to continue expanding into other markets. But for now, we have our hands full just serving the entire Houston and DFW areas. Katherine (owner and wife) and I grew up in Conroe and we recognize that we have only a minor presence north of The Woodlands… Montgomery County is an area of growth that we will pursue in the next couple of years.
What has been the most rewarding?
By far the most rewarding aspect of creating a new business has been the understanding that we are providing a livelihood for over one hundred people. Not just the full-time employees in two offices, but dozens of sub-contractor crews who primarily work for TCP going from job to job. Each of those subs have numerous employees creating long-term relationships that have been rewarding.