Case Studies

Platinum Renovations & Consulting

Commercial renovations in the Southwest United States

In 2011, three partners came together to establish Platinum Renovations & Consulting. Scott Alexander, company president, Laura Svejcar, vice president of finance, and Ralph Guglielmi, vice president of operations, founded the company with the goal of providing turnkey renovation solutions for a range of commercial customers throughout the Southwest United States. Headquartered in Denver, Platinum Renovations also has a satellite office in Phoenix.

Between the two locations, Platinum Renovations employs around 65 people. The business is supported by a strong staff and a talented management team, including Mark Hohlen, the company’s executive director of operations. He has been with the business for two years and has been working in the construction industry since he was a teenager.

Serving a broad market

While Platinum Renovations offers a wide range of services, the company was founded on a business model that caters to the multifamily renovation market. One of the owners had worked previously in property management, another in subcontracting, and the third had built a career after growing up in a family with a general contracting business.

“Our foundation was built on turnkey interior renovations for the multifamily industry, which sets us apart from other contractors in our market,” says Hohlen. “We go under a contract with a property owner or management group to rehabilitate all units in an apartment or condominium complex. As a turnkey operation, we manage all the material ordering, handling, logistics and labor assets for the project.”

Hohlen adds that each unit is typically completed with a 14-day rehab schedule. Time constraints add the most pressure for the business. Every day that a unit is without a tenant means lost revenue for clients, so Platinum Renovations places priority on efficient turnaround.

“Our value added proposition in the unit renovation side of the business is that it is completely turnkey,” he goes on. “A lot of management groups try to facilitate the process in-house. Those renovations can run 30 to 45 days or more. When you figure that every 30 days a unit is down is 8.33 percent of lost revenue on that unit and multiply that across an entire complex that adds up to a big hit to the client’s bottom line.  By allowing us to take the reins from the get-go, we can provide them with less downtime so they keep bringing in revenue.

“These companies save a lot of time and money not having to utilize in-house staff that could be involved in more beneficial ventures,” continues Hohlen. “To help keep our clients at ease, we also offer an interactive scheduling system that allows communication between ourselves and the client. This benefits not only property management on-site, but also ownership groups that are out of state, so they can track how a project is going from anywhere.”

Sustainable expansion

The company’s structure and value-oriented staff kept the business growing throughout the recession. While the housing market softened, the multifamily market grew by leaps and bounds.

“The main challenge was figuring out the processes that were necessary to make our efforts efficient,” Hohlen recounts. “Nobody on our management team had experience in building a multimillion-dollar company – they were all small business owners. Building a strong corporate culture is an ongoing effort. Every day is a learning experience. We are now at a place where we can be proactive instead of reactive, because we’ve learned from our mistakes as the business has grown.”

Platinum Renovations also has a general construction division that offers commercial tenant finish, and a restaurant division doing renovation work for restaurant chains. While multifamily residential work remains the company’s bread and butter, the commercial retail and restaurant division is growing.

With both divisions, a majority of work is performed in-house. Platinum Renovations provides dedicated project managers for each job. The primary function of these project managers is to promote smooth, efficient operations that take headaches away from project owners.

A growing portfolio

Recent work includes several projects funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “These projects typically have an 11-month time frame for completion,” says Hohlen. “That can be a challenge so we depend on our efficiencies. We have one H.U.D.-funded project in progress, another starting later this spring.”

Aside from the time constraints, Hohlen notes that these projects are not significantly different from private work in delivery. “Our business model aims to simplify the process for our clients by offering them turnkey solutions,” he explains.

“On the apartment side, we rarely get into framing,” he continues. “These renovations are usually cosmetic instead of structural. At the most, we might take a wall down between a kitchen and living or dining area to open up the kitchen.”

The team usually starts with an allotted square footage of drywall repair or texture matching. Then, the crew continues on through finish, with paint, flooring, millwork, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures and appliances. Platinum Renovations has an in-house cabinetry shop, bringing materials in directly from trusted manufacturers, such as J&K Cabinetry.

Within the residential sector, Platinum Renovations is leveraging its relationships and in-house capabilities to provide turnkey solutions for other commercial clients.  Those business development efforts are directed toward the hospitality, student housing and assisted living interests; areas where the turnkey model is very replicable.

Over the coming years, to encourage diversity Platinum Renovations will continue to build relationships with clients throughout the broad commercial market with additional emphasis in the tenant finish arena. Hohlen reports that the business is considering the addition of an office in Las Vegas. With a strong delivery system, an excellent staff and diverse in-house capabilities, Platinum Renovations & Consulting shows promising growth for 2015 and the coming years.

Published on: August 18, 2015

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