Renfroe Construction Company LLC
Renfroe Construction Company LLC (RCC) is the perfect example of adaptation to a given business climate. The Georgia-based company was founded in 1999 to build development properties to turn and sell for profit. RCC is now a design-build general contractor serving commercial and industrial entities within a few hours from the company’s Macon headquarters.
Charles Renfroe and his two sons founded, and still own, RCC. Enhancing the Renfroe family roots, Jimmy Melton, vice president of RCC, has also been with the company since its founding and still handles the day-to-day operations. Melton earned a degree in building construction from Georgia Tech in 1994 and has been in the industry since.
“I was riding with my son in the truck one day this week,” says Melton. “I just started pointing out buildings that I had built. This particular area of town we were in, there are quite a few. That’s a source of pride for me to show him that.”
Both pride and success has come to Melton and RCC because of the company’s three main principles: quality, service and innovation. “If you can look at them five or 10 years down the road and everything still looks good on them… that’s success in my mind,” he says. RCC has earned many contracts because of the quality of work it provides. The company is unwilling to cut back on quality just to stay competitively priced.
The small office staff is also dedicated to serving clients’ needs and matching each building owner’s requirements with the perfect construction solution. In addition to having a superintendent assigned to each job, Melton personally visits each worksite weekly to measure progress and catch up with project owners.
RCC has also stayed in business thanks to its creative approach and innovation. The company’s management team is always looking for the latest trends and best construction options to improve the business model.
A One-on-one Approach
“In my mind, we have a more hands-on approach than most construction companies,” says Melton. “The office staff is very closely tied to what’s going on in the field.” Melton and the team at RCC are proud to set the company apart by proving a true devotion to the trade.
“Often times during a design-build process, some owners sign off on a drawing, but don’t really understand the design until walls are going up,” mentions Melton. “That’s when they realize changes may need to be made. We’re communicating with the owner and making sure they’re satisfied with how things are laid out throughout the process.”
This business model doesn’t change based on the type of job RCC is working on, either. In the past year and a half, a number of government entities have contracted with the company for renovation and new building projects. Melton believes the company continues to be awarded this government work because of the attention it gives to each project.
In Putnam and Monroe counties, RCC has recently completed work on county administrative buildings. While a number of construction companies could have treated each job the same, RCC didn’t.
In Monroe County, Melton reports the project was an addition to and renovation of an existing building. The completed project houses offices for all government entities, including commissioners, tax collectors and assessors, registrars and more.
RCC did renovation work for Putnam County’s office building. The county had purchased an old 70,000-square-foot underwear factory. RCC went in and gutted out the entire space and rebuilt various sized offices. The factory’s original production space was then converted to hold pods for different departments.
RCC’s diversified ability to build new, work with pre-engineered and renovate existing structures is what has helped the company survive and thrive. Melton points out that as the demand for new development died down, the company transitioned into pre-engineered metal buildings. Today Melton sees more wood-frame work.
“Whatever the job calls for and whatever the economy is dictating, we build,” he says. “To me, there’s not a niche anymore. Six to seven years ago, I would have said we’re a metal building company, but now metal buildings are rare for us.”
Sustaining a Business
In order to maintain stability, the team has continued to adapt. “We were in a strong position when everything turned down in 2008,” says Melton. “We had ownership that didn’t immediately pull the plug on us. We did a lot of belt tightening and scrutinized any spending.”
Though the management team was weary of wasting expenses, RCC never compromises on quality. “We have a core of at least three suppliers for each trade,” says Melton. “We try and use subcontractors and suppliers that we have a history with.”
However, according to Melton, there have been times the company has worked with a subcontractor with which there was no prior relationship. Melton reports that if the project goes well, often times the subcontractor is added to the list. However, he claims RCC is always taking a risk working with an unknown subcontractor.
It helps to have a network of reliable subcontractors as RCC is taking on projects within an hour radius from the company office. Melton sees a lot of work on the horizon, but says, “It’s slow coming to fruition.”
“We’ve been in survival mode for about four or five years,” says Melton. “It’s hard to look too far out into the future, but our goals have always been to grow the business.” Melton is confident that the company will continue slow growth to rebound high figures. Renfroe Construction Company LLC will continue to stay competitive in the industry.
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