Northern Contracting Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Maggie McPherson
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 2003, Northern Contracting Inc. has been a premiere provider of painting, remodeling and pressure cleaning to the Fort Myers, Florida area, including Naples, Cape Coral, Marco Island and Bonita Springs. Founded by Jeff Freitas, Northern Contracting relies on its team of quality craftsmen to serve the residential and commercial sectors.
As a union electrician in Syracuse, New York, Freitas decided to move to Florida in 1999, where he took a job with a national homebuilding company. After becoming unsatisfied with his position, Freitas began to explore options. “One day my wife looked at me and mentioned the fact that I was making more money on the weekends doing side jobs than I was all week for somebody else,” recalls Freitas. “I decided to get my contracting license and in March 2003, I incorporated Northern Contracting. Freitas says the name of the company derives from his desire to suggest the work ethic he grew up with in the Northeast. “I wanted to give it some of that ‘up north’ flavor,” he notes.
A niche market
While Northern Contracting works in both the residential and commercial sectors, the company focuses primarily on the residential side, with kitchen and bathroom remodeling being its specialty. Northern Contracting has developed the ability to completely remodel a kitchen while the living space remains occupied. The company is also able to complete a job within a tight schedule while a family is away from the residence for a period of time.
For the select commercial work that Northern Contracting completes, Freitas relies on a solid network of established relationships within the local industry. “Our commercial work usually comes from someone I know within in the industry or a referral,” says Freitas. Northern Contracting has completed a fair amount of work for Norman Love Confections, a chocolatier based in Fort Meyers.
The reputation that Northern Contracting has established for producing quality work within schedule and budget proved to be a major factor in the company surviving the recession. Throughout the entire economic downturn, — despite its impact on the construction industry — Northern Contracting was not forced to layoff a single employee. “By tightening our belts and relying on word of mouth, we got through it and kept every employee,” says Freitas. “There were times when I went without a paycheck in order to make sure my crew got paid, but sometimes that’s what you have to do.”
By maintaining a solid two- to three-month backlog of work, Northern Contracting has been able to provide job security for its employees. With fewer young people entering the construction industry these days, Freitas has proven that working for his company can generate a rewarding and lucrative career. “The skilled labor force is down right now,” says Freitas. “We are fortunate to have a solid crew of people that take pride in what they do and are willing to work hard in order to reap the benefits.”
A company with a purpose
With customer satisfaction as his top priority, Freitas has multiple methods for measuring the success of his company. From the company’s backlog of work to profit and loss statements at the end of each month, Freitas says that he is constantly learning about what it takes to run a successful business. “As a construction guy, I am fortunate to have a great pool of resources and experienced professionals who I can turn to in order to find what I can become better at,” he explains. “A big thing to look at is how busy we are versus profitability. You can work all day long, but are you being efficient and profitable?”
Through starting his own company and finding success with it, Freitas has discovered that there is a bigger reason behind entrepreneurship than making money. Creating a place where people are able to find job security to provide for their families while providing a quality product and service has become one of the primary motivating factors for Freitas. “You don’t necessarily start a business to have a job,” he says. “There’s much more to it than that.”
Surviving the recession while many other companies went out of business has been a triumphant endeavor for Northern Contracting. That, coupled with the strong reputation the company has established, is what Freitas is happy to hang his hat on. “To see somebody’s face light up when they see their new kitchen or bathroom is one of my favorite parts of what we do,” says Freitas.
Now in its 12th year, Northern Contracting Inc. continues to build upon the values the have made the company a leading contractor in residential and commercial remodeling.
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