Dollman Construction Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Dave Gushee
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Dollman Construction Inc. (Dollman) has been in business since 1991, when Jimmy Dollman began performing infrastructure work for commercial and residential projects in southwestern Virginia. Dollman started with foundation and framing work and gradually expanded to custom home building in the new home market.
“We found a large void in the custom home market,” Jimmy explains. “Our niche now is in remodeling, both homes and businesses.” The company has a long history of quality work, building a reputation in the industry for performance and efficiency. Jimmy’s simple business philosophy has always been to exceed expectations and continue to build lasting relationships with clients.
Dollman operates strictly on a design-build or other negotiated work basis, which provides clients with flexibility throughout each project. In turn, the company is able to focus more on client needs, timeliness and quality of the finished product rather than developing tunnel vision based solely on costs.
The company’s portfolio includes numerous new constructions projects, but largely consists of remodeling and expansion of occupied homes and commercial facilities. “We do tenant build-outs and restaurant work, but a lot of our commercial revenue comes from a solid group of four or five clients,” Jimmy explains. “We do a lot of work for large companies, such as Wells Fargo, United Health Group and Delta Dental, as well as other local businesses and worship facilities. We contribute this repeat business to the predictability that we provide our clients.”
The company maintains a production schedule that typically include between 10 and 12 projects under construction and as many more in the design phase. “A lot of what we are doing right now is whole-house remodels in the residential sector,” Jimmy says. “We have eight ongoing residential remodels and seven in the design and permitting stages.”
On the commercial side of the business, Jimmy says his team is currently developing designs for several large commercial projects to be introduced in 2015, which include the construction of a 60,000 square feet office facility and a 40,000 square feet worship space.
Dollman strives to emphasize sustainability in each project. Jimmy’s team works with clients to provide options and alternatives to help reduce the environmental impact of a project, lower energy costs and ultimately reduce the footprint caused by the more than 70 sites annually.
“Many sustainable features are being incorporated into our projects, such as alternative framing methods that include light gage steel or engineered products which helps reduce timber harvesting,” he clarifies. “While some homeowners are still surprised by the upfront costs associated with sustainable building, many people are receptive to efficiency measures involving insulation or windows and appreciate the long term cost benefits versus the up-front investment that is required. These lighting options and other energy reduction methods are familiar to the consumer, but other alternative materials and building practices require us to educate our clients about the cost and associated impact of each selection.”
He provides clients with information about the efficiency of systems within the home, such as HVAC and plumbing fixtures, which offer a long-term return on investment. The company also promotes products and materials for cabinetry and moldings that are grown and harvested in a sustainable manner.
Since 2003, Dollman has offered design-build solutions for a variety of projects. Jimmy, whose initial college undergraduate degree is in political science, has continued his academic and professional training to include civil engineering during his more than two decades in the industry.
Prior to 2013, all professional building design had been supervised by Jimmy himself, however, since recently hiring a registered architect to assist in the development of design work, the company has been able expand its offerings to commercial clients looking for the same seamless approach expected with a residential project.
By working consistently with clients throughout a design-build project, Dollman team can manage the design, budget, timeline and delivery of a project from concept to completion, rather than involving separately contracted architects, engineers and trade professionals. This allows the company to better communicate with clients with real time updates on the implications of design changes and the progress of each project.
“Our customers are people who want us take care of the entire process,” Jimmy summarizes. Through this comprehensive method, Dollman is able to reduce risks and surprises for clients that are typically synonymous with separating the architectural and construction teams prior to a completed design. Often, a project designed independently can result in leaving a client with sticker shock when the plans finally reach the builder, who is most in touch with cost implications of a design.
“Independent design and construction teams are a recipe for a client to lose a great deal of time and money for design related fees only to find out that the design that they love exceeds their investment threshold,” Jimm details. “Our process greatly reduces the likelihood of big surprises because we are estimating the costs as we develop the design.”
The Dollman team constantly strives to offer the best value and unparalleled customer service to customers. The in-house staff works at all times to improve efficiencies with better integration of projects through facility and technology upgrades. Jimmy and his team are renovating the company’s offices to accommodate the expansion to in-house architectural services. The added space will also be home to a recently hired custom homes project manager.
Jimmy credits much of the business’ success to relationships, both with clients and strategic partners. While large companies support Dollman with repeat business, the company also benefits from a network of capable and reliable subcontractors.
“Our subs and material providers are people we have worked with on a great number of projects,” Jimmy explains. “Their strong performance allows us to focus on providing personal attention to our clients while ensuring superior products and services are always utilized on Dollman projects.”
While the company is undergoing some growth oriented changes and is adding new team members, Jimmy stressed that the single most important asset that Dollman has is its employees.
“Over half of our staff has been with me for over a decade and a few for 15 years,” he elaborates. “That type of history and trust allows me to delegate things that I see other contractors holding on to. I constantly reinforce the message to my long term employees that if we don’t offer superior product, outstanding service and total predictability, then our clients may as well go elsewhere. They in turn use that simple approach to business as the building block for all training efforts when we hire someone new.”
Looking ahead to 2015, Jimmy envisions Dollman Construction Inc. carrying on the tradition of custom-tailored projects, exceptional quality, and lasting client relationships.
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