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Success Built on Solid Relationships

By Christy L. Cain, via Pacific Business News. All rights reserved.
John Gregory IV is building high-end custom homes, a $2 million business and solid relationships. He credits the success of the first two to the last.

After six years in business, Gregory is working on $3 million and $4 million projects back-to-back, with no advertising, and still only himself working for his company, Gregory Design Build. And whether his relationships are with former clients or friends on his ice hockey team, Gregory says those relationships are what continue to bring him business.

He subcontracts all the work that goes into making a quality custom home. The choice to contract rather than have a team is because Gregory wants specialists for each part of the production, from the custom-designed kitchen cabinets to the solid-wood pocket doors.

His current project, a $3.5 million home reconstruction, is two months away from completion. The beachfront property has evolved into an 18,000-square-foot masterpiece with four separate buildings, including one main two-story house, a second smaller house, an exercise room and a garage. Rock formations fill the yard, enclosing a Jacuzzi that will soon cascade into a pool. The home is filled with specialty items from breakfast nooks to pocket windows and doors and high-vaulted ceilings in each of the rooms.

"A couple of big projects like this a year and I'm busy," Gregory says, "I want to take my time with what I do and make sure it's quality work."

Gregory is on the site each day throughout the project, from the initial gutting of the house to handing the key to the owner. And he finds both ends of the job equally satisfying.

"The cycle keeps repeating itself. It's exciting to envision what a home will look like in the beginning, then to go to work and watch it get built and then finally walking away from the project satisfied."

Although he strives to leave each owner completely satisfied, Gregory says there is always room for improvement in the end result. This drive to take on work and continue to search for improvement is one of the things that has led Gregory to success. "I'm not stopping at the end of the road. It's about being diligent at whatever you do. If you are going to flip burgers then be the manager of flipping burgers."

But more important than forming relationships and continually seeking excellence is his family, he says. After a 10-hour day, and ice hockey practice for aggression relief, Gregory still manages to find time to spend with his wife, Clare, and their two children, Jack and Shannon Bay.

"She is truly what makes me as successful as I am," he says of his wife. "She supports me and is raising our two beautiful children."

Gregory says there is never a perfect home that will satisfy everyone because each owner has a particular preference. But in each home, he says he can see bits and pieces that represent the owner's personality.

And as for himself, he has yet to build his own home. But when he does, he may just have each room represent a different style.