Zachary Dettmore has never wavered from his childhood goal of running his own construction business.
At age 13, he started his education at the Shelter Institute, learning the basics of timber framing and home construction.
From there, Zack landed a job and worked his way up from laborer to supervisor for a general contractor who taught him the fundamentals of all phases of residential and commercial remodels.
When he turned 17, he purchased his first house and learned about all of the challenges of historic renovation. Looking back now, owning a house was not ideal at that time; however, he gained insights and learned so much from that experience. Through all those hardships, he learned important lessons throughout for life and business.
For instance, he learned the traits and challenges of being a landlord. He also learned how to take responsibility for his finances and the need for clarity in contracts.
In 2011 he started Dettmore Home Improvements, which now focuses on high-end home renovation.
One of his worst moments came when he needed to let go of one of his employees.
Through this experience, he learned when hiring new people:
- To be upfront in the first place.
- Set very clear expectations.
- Be very clear on what you are offering.
- Be totally transparent of what the job entails.
His best moment was taking a break from his business and going on a trip to France with his wife. He put his employees in charge of everything and left a list of responsibilities: from leaving the house keys to running the business while being away. When he and his wife returned, he was happy that his employees had exceeded his expectations.
From this experience he learned:
- Trust your employees.
- Let them learn.
- Give them responsibility and let them thrive.
Zach knows what sets him apart from his competitors. He’s a “hands-on” person, making sure that he deals with each client personally. He understands that the majority of homeowners love the personality and culture he and his team brings to the table. He’s very passionate about the interaction between the homeowners and his employees. This is what brings him a lot joy in work.
Success is an “inside job”. It requires a lot of inside work, lessons, and failures. He understands that success doesn’t come overnight.
One of His Favorite Pieces of Contractor Software is:
Some of His Favorite Constructions Apps:
A Few Of Zack’s Favorite Books:
By Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling:
Zack’s Favorite Contractor Magazines:
If he was starting from scratch he would:
Make more of an effort to specialize his business. It’s hard to scale and stay profitable when offering all phases of construction.
Parting words of wisdom:
Don’t be afraid to voice your fears and open up about what’s troubling you.