Family owned businesses are indeed different

Family owned businesses are often a proxy for quality and commitment

Is a family owned business different? Yes!

Family owned businesses bring a special sense of partnership and community. The owners live in the community where they work, so their excellence and craftsmanship is on display every day. They also depend upon personal relationships in the community for future business activity.

In our local market area, a good reputation for delivering solid value seeps throughout the community. Meanwhile, a bad reputation spreads rapidly throughout the community.

Second Generation Businesses

RSV Building Solutions is a family owned business. It was formed in 1974 by my parents Gene and Jocelyn Frederiksen, about 13 years after they relocated from Michigan.

Like most second-generation family members, I thought my parents’ successful construction business could be operated even better. I proposed that RSV give up its reliance upon government contract business and instead pursue a new model where RSV would work with private companies and nonprofits.

My vision for our company was to help clients by taking control of the entire construction process, delivering exactly what they want through construction projects – speed, quality, affordability, long-term value and the least amount of business disruption. The business essentially became an “owner’s representative,” actively liaising with the owner and managing all the contractors and suppliers.

Over a decade, business flourished. In 1989, my parents sold the business to our vice president of field operations, my sister Vickie and me. Vickie returned in 2018 to help prepare RSV for the digital age after a highly successful career in accounting business software.

Today, RSV’s staff and subs drive streets and roads throughout our metropolitan area reflecting on the many great clients we’ve been privileged to serve, many with multiple projects. From retail stores and banks to manufacturing facilities and nonprofits, we enjoy seeing how quality and attention to detail paid off for our clients.

Committed to Doing the Right Thing

Because we are a local, family owned business, we know that future business opportunities depend upon delighting our current clients. Being fully committed to doing the right thing involves short-term sacrifice that is outside the realm of possibility for many construction and design firms. However, we’ve found that it serves as a magnet for attracting more business, so we work hard to uphold that trust and track record on every single project no matter how large or small.

Many family owned businesses generally define “family” more broadly. This extends to long-standing staff, and to a network of trusted partnerships, especially with other family centered businesses. We have a network of go-to partners for everything from architecture, engineering, electrical, underground, even drywall, framing and other disciplines.

We make it a point to engage these firms early in the construction planning process. They always have ideas and suggestions that get clients what they need quickly and efficiently, saving money by avoiding false starts or impractical designs. When it comes time to do the work, they already are invested in delivering what they helped recommend and will deliver just as promised.

What’s more, firms that are part of a business’ “family” give that business priority in scheduling because of their longstanding working relationships. This is more valuable than one might expect when we increasingly see construction projects stalled for lack of suppliers and tradesmen to get the work completed.

Those who are part of a business’ “family” also tend to give each other the business whenever possible. Our subs and suppliers routinely deliver reasonable estimates that are at or below their competitors’ estimates. They recognize that we have a good sense of what things cost and know how we work. They also avoid significant selling, marketing and administrative costs when we bring them into a project.

Each business is unique. But the odds are stacked in your favor if you can engage a family-owned business that cares about your business and community as much as you do.

If you value family, relationships, commitment and caring, consider the benefits of a family owned design-build firm.

Ron Frederiksen is CEO of RSV Building Solutions, which was selected by readers of the Vancouver Business Journal as the top Design-Build Contractor and the top General Contractor in 2018.

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