Most any successful business owner will tell you that opening up on your own is no picnic. In fact, it’s a rather tedious process that requires a large amount of hard work, patience, knowledge and perseverance. And it’s not for everyone. However, the reward of owning your own business and being your own boss is a goal that many only dream of achieving. Not Brian Spicer, who decided to cash in his chips and make his dream a reality by opening Spicer Bros. Construction in 1998.
With two locations in Salisbury, Md. and Lewes, Del., Spicer Bros. Construction is owned by husband and wife Brian and Heather Spicer. The couple has two daughters, Brooke, 20, and Lauren, 19, whom Spicer hopes will eventually take over the business. The entirely re-roofing operation specializes in many aspects of home remodeling, including roofing, siding, windows and doors. Complete with 25 non-union employees, Spicer Bros. serves all of the Delmarva Peninsula, which encompasses all of Delaware, and the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia.
“It was started by the desire to work for myself and be self-sufficient in all aspects of my income … I came to the point where it was going to be for me and my family,” Spicer said. He credits his construction roots for allowing him to take the leap and start his own business. “Construction has been a source of income for many of my family members for decades. It has been in my blood.”
While working as a department manager at a yacht manufacturing plant, Spicer began to question the stress of his workload, and whether or not it was worth the constant struggle. Having come from a broken home besieged by poverty, Spicer knew that he wanted something better for both himself and his family. His three 24-hour shifts per week were taking a toll, and his desire to turn his family’s difficult past into a promising future was constantly on his mind. So he did.
“I was blessed with the desire to change the norm of my family’s past and that was to be successful and contribute to the betterment of our community,” Spicer said. And that vision has guided him along the road to success in the competitive roofing market.
Spicer’s family mindset and modest upbringing have aided in both his business practices and his management style. He strongly avoids micro-managing, with the hopes that employees will feel a sense of ownership in the business. With no pay structure in place, employees are paid solely based on their abilities, and each month a $50 gift card is presented to the employee of the month. “We try to have fun while doing our jobs, with respect that our customers are first. We are fortunate to not have turnover, we add to our team and really don’t hire and fire,” Spicer said.
The Power of Educating
Spicer’s approach to success places a strong emphasis on the importance of educating. Employees participate in various seminars, expos and demos to ensure everyone is up to date on products, installation techniques and any major changes happening throughout the industry. Project managers oversee field supervisors, who direct the installation crews, and customer relations managers closely monitor open lines of communication to guarantee successful outcomes on all jobsites.
In order for Spicer Bros. to properly service three separate states — all with different regulatory environments — a large amount of work must be done. Crossing state lines means obtaining different licenses from each state is essential, and helping customers recognize the importance of said licenses is an ongoing challenge for the company. “The biggest challenge is always price sensitive customers that will keep the improperly licensed ‘in the game’ with no regard to laws, codes and their own protection of hard earned money,” Spicer explained. “They take the risk with the low baller, then we come behind to do it right and they pay twice.”
Spicer says his team is the best in the business, and their combined knowledge is a powerful tool that sets them apart from the competition. A strong commitment to customer service paired with uncompromising craftsmanship solidifies Spicer Bros. Construction’s mission statement. “We have built a foundation on trust, respect, dedication and integrity and we seek to build long lasting relationships from total customer satisfaction on every single project we perform,” he said.
Spicer labels his company as a “ring leader,” and one that shows no signs of slowing down. His desire to educate and inform aids greatly in upholding his belief of providing customers with the highest quality service. “If you are in this for the money, you are in it for the wrong reason. Be in it to be a leader of your trade in your service area. Be the coattails that others want to ride.”