Constructing a reputation for customer care
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Owning or renting a property comes with more challenges than cost — it’s also key to make the space comfortable for you. Whether that means putting in new cabinets or doing a full remodel, you need to find a contractor that can take care of your needs. Big Dog Construction Company is one contracting organization in Macoupin County that offers services ranging from new contruction and remodeling to additions and concrete work.
Owner of Big Dog Construction Company Chris Hartsook explained how he built his client base, products he has available and challenges he has faced in the industry.
Hartsook founded the company in 2013. However, he previously spent 14 years in construction management. Prior to that, he was a mechanical engineer for 10 years, which he believed gave him the ability to pay attention to details. He added, “I am currently a member of the Springfield Area Home Builders Association as well as the National Association of Home Builders. This helps me stay aware of changes and standards within the industry.” Hartsook noted that his organization follows the Illinois Quality Assurance Builder Standards to give their clients a “peace of mind.”
In order to reach his customers, Hartsook uses “95 percent” word of mouth advertising. “It’s my reputation that gets me in the door. We have stood the test of time with repeated quality and customer care,” he said. “I reach a two hour circumference outside of Carlinville. This includes areas both within and outside of Macoupin County.”
Big Dog Construction Company particularly stands out with their showroom that displays products ranging from epoxy coat flooring to countertops. “We are the only general contractor in Carlinville with a showroom. This way we can show the customer what we have to offer,” he said.
Hartsook mentioned that his products were chosen based on quality such as Dekton, a quartz surface without polymers, which can be used outside. He added, “A couple more products we offer are Lifesaver Storm Shelters, an Illinois-based product, and I am a preferred builder and distributor of Rigid Steel Building Systems. It was another unique line and service I thought our area needed.” Hartsook did say it was a process of trial and error to find what would suit his clients’ needs.
Hartsook’s biggest challenge has been finding quality labor. “It’s difficult to acquire people who want to learn, know the industry and want to work,” he said. “It is a hard job, but I find it has the most reward.”
Chris Hartsook (pictured above) displays Schmidt’s Cabinet Creations, one of the products that Big Dog Construction offers.