North Twin Builders – Phelps, Wisconsin

March 4, 2024

North Twin Builders

Standing the Test of Time with Proven Expertise


Leading home builder prioritizes client relationships ensuring its top spot in the local market

“I build it right, and when the job is done, I want to remain friends.”

This statement helps best describe the client-centered, core philosophy held by John Volkmann, Owner of North Twin Builders, LLC, that is at the heart of every project the leading custom home and renovation experts undertake. It has guided the foundation of its work for over 50+ years and has positioned North Twin Builders as the go-to builder of choice that serves a beautiful region known as the Northwoods.

Established in 1971, North Twin Builders, LLC is, in every sense of the word, a family-run and client-centric business built on trusted relationships that extend to local suppliers and trades professionals, as well as the many families that have worked with the leading builder. At the heart of the business is a deeper-rooted connection to the local area and a knowledge of the construction field that far outweighs its competitors.

North Twin Builders’ inception can be traced back to John Volkmann Sr. who started the company as an independent building contractor with a very tight-knit and small staff. Over the 50+ subsequent years, North Twin Builders has grown to encompass over 20 highly skilled and dedicated employees.

Never losing sight of the family-run philosophy, Volkmann points out that his children are now part of the ever-expanding business, and his wife is directly involved in the operations side, as well.

“I took over the company in 2003, but I had been in the business ever since I was a kid,” Volkmann points out. “We have pictures of me helping out on roofs when I was 10 years old.”

“This is sort of cool- it is family,” he adds.

Walking in the family footsteps, Volkmann asserts that his son, daughter, and wife are all valuable additions to a building company that more than knows the construction ropes and ensures its client base is also treated like a ‘friend’ long after a project has come to an end.



Constructing a winning business model

“There are very few builders in our area within a 50-mile radius that might live up to our standards, but we develop relationships with people.”

“We have a broad statement that says our quality makes a difference and that is what we adhere to,” Volkmann highlights.

“The vast majority of [our clients] we end up being friends with, and in any given year we go out to dinner or have a picnic or they come over to our house with other people that we have built homes for over the years.”

“We have been building above codes and what would be considered acceptable standards for over 50 years. We are going to keep on doing it. We also want to continuously improve and research new products, new methods, and all those things that can bring a home together.”

“There are a lot of steps that go into building a home. If you skip some steps to save a few dollars because you are trying to make a bigger profit, you are going to end up with a lot of issues. I am not going to do that because I don’t want callbacks or negative reviews. It’s my name on it.”

“A home should be there for at least 150 years if it is taken care of and there is no reason it shouldn’t be. We have a broad statement that says our quality makes a difference and that is what we adhere to,” Volkmann describes.


Constructing sustainable designs

All aspects of the business adhere to this no-nonsense approach to building that extends to newer areas such as addressing the topic of sustainability. Volkmann states that, unlike his competitors, he does not give credence to mechanics added to houses after they are built to reduce the carbon footprint, rather he ensures that greener options are built into the house design at the outset.

“With the builders that are trying to sell green products, there is a carbon footprint with the devices you are trying to create to go green. Some of the products are so mechanical and so involved that there is a big carbon footprint right there.”

“In 30 years you may get your money back, but by then the product is worn out and you have to buy it all over again,” he continues.

Volkmann looks for ways to make a house as green as possible and sustainable and yet avoid the process having to be repeated.

“I focus on energy-efficient materials such as better insulation being built right into the house, and yes there are some upfront costs to start with, but you could get your money back in 10 years and you will not have to buy those materials again.”

“It is always important to have that upfront conversation with the client about costs and then discuss the long-term cost of those energy efficiency methods we are using in our designs.”



Building sought-after designs

When it comes to the scope of the projects that North Twin Builders take on, there is an impressive degree of variance in the construction of homes under its tool belt.

“I have never built the same house twice. Every one is unique from log homes, to timber frame homes to ranch-style homes, although I try to steer away from vinyl windows and vinyl siding because those cause nothing but problems.”

For any of these projects, whether it represents a renovation or the design of a house from the ground up, Volkmann enjoys sitting down with his clients and getting to the core of what their vision may be.

“I can get as deep as they want to get as far as building science or what products work best with a heating system, for example, and some of these meetings will go on for as long as two to three hours.”

“I let them ask as many questions as they want and I want them to be educated,” Volkmann elaborates.

If there is one point that Volkmann stresses beyond the importance of the relationship side of the business, it is the need to have a streamlined and reliable design and construction process. He is confident that North Twin’s approach is foolproof.

“We have an in-house draftsman and that saves the homeowner a lot of money because the draftsman builds the concept that I have on my spec sheet.”

The spec sheet that Volkmann draws attention to is the crux of the design and construction process that has proven to be so successful for North Twin Builders. As Volkmann describes, it avoids questions being raised at the end of a project, or disagreements ensuing when everyone may not be on the same page.

“We have developed a spec sheet that is color-coded. If there are any changes to the document that change will be reflected [in a corresponding color] on the spec sheet.”

“The cool part about it is that from the homeowner through to the office to my guys on the job, everyone is literally on the ‘same page’ and this cuts down on a lot of mistakes,” he adds.

“The client can take that spec sheet and discuss it with their relatives and family on what they want to change to the next [color coded] version. Then the client lets us know of their changes and we update the spec sheet after which they sign a one-page document that says that we all agree to go from one version to another which eliminates a lot of questions if it is not shown in color on the spec sheet.”

Streamlined processes like these allow for open communication and a seamless journey through the construction process while actively involving clients in the building process.

Building a successful road ahead

With several high-profile projects in the pipeline for 2024, North Twin Builders show no signs of slowing down. They are turning away jobs to accommodate large-scale, higher-cost projects to be completed over the coming months. Three of these homes represent high-end building commitments hovering around the 2.5 million dollar mark.

“We are booked through 2026 with projects within a 20-mile radius and are turning down three to four jobs a day to accommodate them,” Volkmann notes.

In the construction realm, there is no better barometer of success than keeping busy. North Twin Builders can speak to such success and will continue doing what they have always done; meeting the demand with a tried and true approach that always puts its clients first.


North Twin Builders

What: Leading construction and renovation company with a client-centered approach

Where: Phelps, Wisconsin



February 2024 Business View Magazine cover

February 2024

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