Petretti & Associates LLC
Larry Petretti, founder and president of Petretti & Associates LLC (Petretti), is a firm believer in the notion that a company is only as good as its last job, which is why he tied his name to the newly established firm. “We’re in the construction business, but really we’re in the relationship business and are a service business,” Larry explains. “I decided to name the company after myself first, for the instant name recognition, but two, because it makes a statement when you put your name on the door, not only to the people you’re doing business with but also to yourself. It makes it personal and reminds you every day that you really have to stand behind everything you do.”
Petretti founded his namesake interior contracting company in December 2010, on the heel end of the recession. “Timing is everything and I got a lot of criticism for starting the company practically mid recession, but it comes back to relationships,” he recounts.
Building on relationships
After a 40 yearlong career serving some of N.Y.C’s biggest clients, including IBM, Texaco, CBS, Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, Avon, as well as several projects in the Empire State Building, Larry had a previous client base to turn to. “I’ve been in the interiors industry for 40 years in the city, working on many large projects,” he shares. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that this is a service business and it takes accountability to develop a solid reputation. The relationship is the product of delivering exemplary service and being fully accountable to your client. I went to past clients and said, ‘I’ve started my own company,’ and slowly we started to book some business.”
Larry goes on to explain the truth behind the scenes of success. “You’ve got to be humble and prove yourself in the beginning, even if it’s a $5,000 job,” he continues. “If you have a good reputation and good relationships people will give you a chance and that’s how we got to where we are today.”
Slowly, but surely, over the last three-and-a-half years this approach has paid off for Petretti and today, 80 to 90 percent of the firm’s work is with repeat clients. “If you do the job right, you’re going to end up with repeat business,” assures Larry. “We started with just six people, now we have 40 employees and are on target to do a $100 million in business by our fifth year.”
Corporate interiors at the core
Larry says the Petretti team was able to get the company off the ground quickly by focusing on a specific niche market. “We started out by targeting corporate interiors with Fortune 500 tier companies in Class-A midtown to downtown buildings,” he describes. “Pretty much all we do is within the corporate interior envelope and we’ve spent the last three to four years developing that core business. We’re not looking to be all things to all people, we know our sweet spot and that’s what we stick to.”
Petretti offers general contracting, construction management, building evaluation, design-build, integrated project delivery, time and material and more from conceptual and schematic design through construction across the financial, legal, broadcast, retail and telepresence sectors. “What we do is very dynamic,” shares Larry. “One day we’re in a studio space or an edit suite; the next in a wide-open corporate office with a bunch of work stations and then we’re in a law firm’s high end space with numerous finishes, wood doors and lots of detailed mill work; it’s a big mix.”
The company has worked with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) for the last four years, going the extra mile to delivery studio support any day, any hour and any time. “WWE runs a 24/7 operation, broadcasting to 40 countries all over the world,” shares Larry. “There have been times when we’ve gone in on the night before Thanksgiving and worked until the following Sunday night to get the job done.”
Another standout project for Petretti was the 200-year-old Gracie Manson. “Petretti’s crew went in on Memorial Day weekend to build a temporary kitchen while gutting the entire existing one,” Larry details. “We installed all new equipment, got everything checked out by the fire department and board of health and had it all up and running by Labor Day weekend.”
Petretti has also completed numerous interior projects for Avon, Canon, Boston Properties, Aon, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and the N.Y.C. Department of Transportation.
Larry says his measure of success is simple: repeat business. “The only metric to measure success in this industry is repeat business,” he emphasizes. “I use it to sell new clients and for almost all of our clients and building owners we have completed multiple projects. You can say you’ve won awards, but in the end it’s about providing the best time and cost efficiencies while making it a good experience. That is what brings clients back.
Petretti has seen that firsthand in the case of the firm’s relationship with Bank of America. “We were asked to work on 160 locations throughout eight northeast states – everything from carpet to HVAC and roofs – you name it,” shares Larry. “All in all, the contract totaled $26 million. Then they threw in security upgrades at 80 Merrill Lynch locations and we landed a three-year master service agreement in March 2014. That’s a testament to the fact that we consistently deliver.”
Petretti’s consistent, superior service is helping the company expand outside of the New York City landscape. “We’re gearing up to work with Tudor Investments in Greenwich, Conn.,” reveals Larry. “Connecticut is a market we’re looking to move into but we believe in a well-managed growth pattern; that’s lead us to be very successful over the last four years.”
Larry assures that first and foremost, the interior industry is a service business, built on people and putting people first has propelled Petretti & Associates LLC into a spot at the top.
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