Day in The Life: Home Builder
Building houses is not the only thing that Jon Loudermilk, owner of Homes By Design, works to create on a daily basis.
“Being able to look at a home and realize there’s going to be a lot of really cool memories created there and that for years to come they’ll come back to that house… to me, that’s a really neat aspect of what we get to do,” said Loudermilk.
While the physical homes he builds are extremely important, Loudermilk says the people and the relationships he and his company build with their clients are the reason behind his passion for constructing new homes in the community.
“My favorite part is just getting to know the people through the process – especially ones that are first-time home buyers – and finally getting to realize their dream and move into a home.”
Loudermilk attributes much of the company’s success to creating and maintaining daily goals, the primary of which is, “to take care of our people and make sure our clients are well taken care of, their needs are taken care of and that when they walk away, that’s not the end of it.”
Family is a big part of the Homes By Design business model. Jon learned the business from his father, Jim, who has been a home builder in the area for over 40 years, and he works with his brother as well as his wife, Miller, who is heavily-involved on the design side. The Loudermilks have three children (ages 10, 8, and 5) whom they have been teaching from an early age the importance of hard-work and responsibility.
“My kids will do clean-up from time to time – picking up nails, picking up boards, just being around the job sites. They will come help clean and do different jobs. It’s fun; they enjoy it. My son will always bring home some random two by four he found,” said Loudermilk.
There are multiple challenges in the home building sphere, and Loudermilk and his company are not immune to them.
“The challenges are maintaining the standard that we like to maintain and conveying that to our sub-contractors and everybody that’s involved,” he said. “And then, just labor in general. You hear it all over the country that there is a shortage of labor and it’s true. And it even rings true here in Abilene, but it’s not something that can’t be fixed over time, it’s just going to take a group effort for everybody to understand that construction labor and labor in general is a worthy and rewarding job and career.”
Though the hours are somewhat predictable for a home builder, what constitutes a “typical” day is anything but predictable.
“My wife asks me every morning, ‘What do you have on your docket?’ and I’m like, ‘Whatever the day brings me,’” Loudermilk says with a laugh.
Monday mornings the staff meets to go over all their current and upcoming projects and assess what customers are needing and where the financials are.
“My day typically starts at 6 a.m.,” said Loudermilk, “Checking e-mails, text messages, voicemails, and kind of preparing who I need to talk to, what I need to do, and anything that’s going to be pressing for that day.”
Then it’s the family shuffle of getting kids ready and dropping them off for school. After that, Loudermilk will take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half checking on jobs.
“I stop at those jobs, walk-through, look for anything that needs to be fixed or rectified, and then the hard-part about what we do is staying ahead of the curve.”
Loudermilk says as a home builder, he can’t just be thinking day-to-day. “We have to be thinking multiple weeks out, to make sure that these guys get scheduled and the jobs do continue to move forward. And so, as I’m on those jobs, I’m texting sub-contractors, letting them know where we’re at, what we’re doing, those kinds of things.”
At some point in a day, Loudermilk may find himself at a board meeting or luncheon. He serves on the Chamber of Commerce board and was the president of the local chapter of the Home Builders Association (HBA) for two years and is still very actively involved with them. The state and national HBAs protect and promote the industry and keep up with legislation that affects home and housing in our area, the state and the nation.
“Every $2,000 that the cost of a home goes up takes out at least 20,000 home buyers [from being able to purchase a new construction home]. So, anytime that the government – local, state, national – is adding regulations or cost increases to anything that goes on in our homes, all they’re doing is taking away the chance for those people to be able to get into a home. And, it’s our goal as home builders to have more families and more people with the option of purchasing a new construction home,” Loudermilk said.
Office work and community commitments aside, ultimately, Loudermilk is on job sites for the better part of the day.
“I try to spend at least a couple of hours a day in the office, but sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t,” Loudermilk joked. “For the most part, in the afternoons we’re on job sites physically working and making sure everything is 100 percent the way it’s supposed to go.”
By Vikki Head
Photography by Beth Dukes