Case Studies

S.D. Crane Builders Inc.

Arizona and California's full-service general contractor

Steve Crane established S.D. Crane Builders Inc. (SDC) in 2002 after working for two decades in the construction industry. He set out to build a growing construction firm based on the principles of honesty, integrity, teamwork and safety. For more than 12 years, the business has grown steadily, reaching out to diverse municipal, institutional and faith-based clients throughout the company’s service area in Western Arizona and Southern California.

Steve now works alongside a strong management team to ensure high-quality projects. “Our target market is working in the K-12 and higher education sectors of commercial construction,” explains Liz Gaona, director of marketing for SDC. “We have also been doing a lot of work for the state of Arizona through our Gordian Group contract.”

SDC employs approximately 25 people with headquarters located in Mesa, Ariz. The team performs a wide range of contract types, including job order contracting (JOC), construction manager at risk (CMAR) and select hard-bid work. SDC manages ground-up construction and renovation projects; diversity in capabilities has given the team an advantage throughout the recession and gradual recovery.

A growing portfolio

“We do whatever it takes to ensure that our clients are always 100 percent satisfied,” says Kevin Guest, director of preconstruction. “We know the value of a job well done the first time and take a whatever it takes approach to quality and customer satisfaction on all of our projects. This is more than our motto; it is our enduring guarantee that the job is not complete until the owner is 100 percent satisfied.”

It is evident that client relationships are of the utmost importance to SDC. According to Kevin, more than 85 percent of the company’s projects come from repeat clientele and referrals.

SDC is currently working on a K-12 project in San Carlos on the Indian Reservations for the local school district. The state-funded project is a $7.8 million job, including a new classroom building with two stories for the district’s elementary school, as well as an administration building. The project will total 45,000 square feet and is set to be complete in August 2014.

Other recent projects include work on the Operation and Maintenance Facility in Buckeye, Ariz., Maricopa County. The $4 million job was completed in June 2014. The team currently has an ongoing JOC project at Mesa Community College, renovating the campus’ Portal. Mesa Public Schools keeps SDC busy year-round with renovations, additions and small tenant improvement projects through its JOC contract.

Strong relationships

While the recession offered fewer opportunities to SDC and the company’s competitors, Steve and the team have managed to maintain a strong backlog of work. Revenue is on the rise, with new opportunities opening up in Arizona and California. “In the recession a lot of larger contractors had been forced to come down and do smaller work, particularly renovation work,” Kevin recounts. “We are one of the top renovation contractors in the state.”

The main reason SDC has done so well, even throughout the downturn, is the team’s dedication to clients. “We are willing to do anything for a client no matter how big or small,” explains Steve. “We look at each project as an interview for the next project. We look at the big picture and we have a great team. Our people believe in our policy and ways of doing business.”

As primarily a construction management firm, SDC subcontracts approximately 99 percent of each project. The company calls on expert contractors in the trades required for each project. Steve and John Farley, senior project manager for SDC, know that every project is different and that different subcontractors are better suited for certain types of projects. Therefore, the business has built a database of more than 2,000 subcontractors that have been prequalified to work on SDC’s diverse projects. The company strategically invites these contractors, based on each individual project and owner.

Looking ahead, Steve and the SDC team have some steady growth planned for the coming years. The team hopes to expand the business by 20 to 25 percent in the coming two years. In order to build this kind of growth, SDC is sticking to the basics. “Repeat clients really factor into our success,” says Steve. “If we do well with them, often they will refer us, which is great because we are always looking for new clients. We want our customers to be happy, which is why we do the right thing.” Dedicated to hard work, safety and integrity, S.D. Crane Builders Inc. has made many happy customers and will continue to build new client relationships into the future.

Published on: January 8, 2015


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