Recently, I caught up with Shan Jenkins, the owner and CEO of Jenkins Custom Homes, and asked him a few questions. This is Part One of his interview.
What made you want to become a builder?
Primarily my uncle got me into the business. He owned a roofing company. When I was in 6th grade, my parents decided I couldn’t stay at home during the summers anymore and that I needed to get a job. So I went to work for my uncle and basically worked with him through High School. That’s when I wanted to get into the building business, as an architect, primarily. I went to Texas A&M and became interested in the construction side, and graduated with a degree in Construction Science. I was in commercial construction until when, in 1998, I left Brown & Root to come work with my dad in this company, which he started in 1992. But the bottom line is that I love architecture and construction.
What do you believe sets you and your company apart from other custom home builders?
Well, we have a great team, and in some regards, it might be unique in this industry, for a couple of reasons. We put a big emphasis on the science of construction, the science of building. We have an estimator – purchasing manager. We’ve got three superintendents, and then we’ve got two on-staff residential designers. Beyond that, we are a design-build company. 90% of the projects we do are custom so they are all very unique. We have a copyrighted system that we use. We call it the Lifestyle Analysis.
What is the Lifestyle Analysis?
Really, the client designs the house – they just don’t know that they are designing the house. While they are communicating to us through our Lifestyle Analysis, they think they are just answering ordinary questions. The initial visit is basically a synopsis of our program – what we do, how we do it, and who the team is. Then, we do a conceptual design and give them a detailed cost estimate with that. So it’s kind of like a feasibility study. They know, with a very small investment up front, what they can have for their budget. So we take what they tell us, and we put it on paper. Of course, we add our 15 years of experience on to it (or whatever) and then from there we move into design and construction. So it’s a pretty well-thought-out process, and we think clients like knowing in advance these are the steps that I have to take, this is the blueprint to get me to the end result that I’m after.
In Part Two of our interview with Shan Jenkins, we will discuss his design philosophy!