Frank Good Builders
Tradition, Innovation, Trust
Business View Magazine interviews Seth Good, Vice President & Sales Director of Frank Good Builders, for our focus on the Custom Home Building Industry
Making your dream home a reality is no easy task. Whether you are the person doing the dreaming, or the builder tasked with taking those dreams and making them concrete, the process can often be fraught with stress and difficulty. But that doesn’t have to be true if you live in Lynchburg Virginia, where Frank Good Builders are quickly cementing their reputation as the contractor of choice for new house builds.
This reputation was built on the back of hard work and slow growth, making them the powerhouse builders they are today. As General Manager, Seth Good, recalls “My dad, Frank Good, started the business in 1991. He worked for another contractor for about seven months and then he went out on his own. There were a lot of opportunities, it was booming back then. Essentially, he was just taking all sorts of different jobs. He was framing for contractors, and doing odds and ends, like tile jobs, for homeowners.”
As the business became established, Frank began doing larger framing jobs for bigger contractors, being a carpenter and framer by trade. After three years, he took on his first custom home build. After that, he and a couple of other workers would complete two or three houses a year, while doing some renovations on the side. “I came into the business seven years ago,” Seth explains, “and when I first started, we did most everything in a house. For every custom house or renovation, we did the footings, we would frame the whole house, sometimes we would put the siding on. We always did all the flooring and all the trim work. We began to build our reputation and I set out to scale the business. Because the work was there, the clients were there. We just had to get after it.”
Three years ago, Seth became half owner of Frank Good Builders with his father, and they went from building three homes a year to a dozen. So far in 2020, they built 13 homes and are so busy with the demand for new construction that they can no longer take on any renovation work. The company currently employs seven people, with a full-time accountant, a project manager, a design coordinator, and of course, Frank and Seth still at the helm. And they now bring in other contractors to do the work.
What makes them so good?
There are over 130,000 contractors in Virginia, and Frank Good Builders consistently ranks in the top 10 percent. A look at their customer reviews shows no ratings below five stars. “I think that what we have going for us is integrity and customer service,” says Seth. “Those are the things that really set us apart. When you hear stories about contractors that are so difficult to get a hold of and have a reputation of being bad at communicating, we are trying to change that image. We communicate well; we always get back to our clients very quickly and treat them like they are our only client.”
Frank Good Builders is also set apart by having a well-rounded staff that handles every aspect of the business. Another key element to their success is their social media branding. Great effort has been put into online presence, in terms of both the company website and social channels. The brand itself is integral to who they are and the Frank Good Promise is something the whole team truly believes in: “We promise to offer creativity, efficiency, quality, and transparency throughout the entire building process. We will brainstorm and collaborate with you while keeping you on time and within budget every step of the way. Our client’s satisfaction is extremely important to us and we promise to put your best interest in mind with every facet of the build. When you purchase or build a Frank Good Builders’ home, you know that every detail has been considered. From the initial concept to the last light bulb, we work to ensure that every home we build is constructed using the best methods and materials available.”
By focusing on upscale luxury custom home builds, the firm has been able to integrate every aspect of construction, planning, and customer service in a way few would have thought to do. Seth admits that he is always thinking about how to make it better. That creativity can be seen in a new rental initiative. Seth noticed that because they lived in a university town with most rental property geared to student clientele, there was often no easy way for a family to wait out the construction period. This was especially true of those who were moving to the area from out of town. So, he decided to try something. The company is now building a single-family luxury home to rent to their clients while they wait. Once they see if this is a logical extension of the market, they plan on building up to 20 homes for rent.
“It won’t just be available for our clients,” he explains. “We are treating it almost like a different division for Frank Good Builders. A luxury home rental division. It is very easy just to sell it, but I think this will create long term profit and passive income for the business. The luxury home rental ties in well to the core business because it is still construction and they are also homes that people can go see without me having to find past clients and set up showings that way. It just fits in really well. If it does work, we are going to double down and so in five years, we should have at least five of them. At least one a year is doable.”
The company is focused on building its reputation of integrity, honesty, and transparency, while at the same time making sure every single aspect of their work meets the high standard they have set for themselves. For example, Frank Good Builders does not go out for lowest bid contractors and instead created a stable of companies and individuals they trust, whom they work with over and over again. They also keep people on staff who are craftspeople themselves and can step in when needed. Seth emphasizes, “We will do whatever it takes to keep the job moving. That’s another thing that separates us from other builders. We are not just the general contractor; for years, we have actually done the majority of the work in a home ourselves. So, we know what to focus on and we are not completely dependent on our subcontractors to say, “Yes, it is right.” We know if it is or if it isn’t.”
“Like right now,” he continues, “I have one of our guys laying tile in a home because the flooring installer was backed up three weeks. So, we can jump in there and do whatever is needed to keep the job moving. And that is not to say anything bad about the subcontractor. They may have already picked up four jobs. It’s just that I don’t want to use a new subcontractor on a million-dollar house because we want to make sure everything is right. So, I have to make a choice; we can wait for the contractor, or we can do it ourselves and then I also know it is done right.”
The reality is that the market just keeps growing and Seth figures they are also turning away millions of dollars of renovation work right now because they can’t keep up. In the back of his mind, he has been laying the groundwork to create a whole renovation division. By 2025, he hopes to have brought on a new Class A Contractor who specifically heads this up. “The truth is that we are always looking at self-improvement,” says Seth, “That is us in a nutshell. We want to create a culture of excellence, not only as a company but with each employee where we are always trying to get better.” In the end, this attitude goes a long way in making Frank Good Builders one of the best companies to work with in all of Virginia.
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AT A GLANCE
Frank Good Builders
What: Upscale custom home builders
Where: Lynchburg, Virginia