I just love how the internet brings people together. I met today's Success Story through an introduction from Sue Blumenfeld, another Success Story subject. I first met Sue on Twitter. Since then, Steve and I have become quite the Twitter peeps! What is amazing is that both of these wonderful folks live right here in my neighborhood and yet I would probably never have met either of them if not for being an active Tweeter! Now I get to share him with you. Meet Steve Abshier!.
1. Steve, tell us about yourself.
I am a native of NWA, born in Springdale and went to high school in Rogers. After working in security for a while I worked at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer then I moved to Gentry, AR and became a police officer. Then, in 1985 I went to work for my father building custom homes in the Rocky Branch area of Benton County.
2. Tell us about Abshier Construction
Abshier Construction is a third generation business. We have been in business for over 50 years and are very proud that we are still able to serve Northwest Arkansas. We only do custom work, building custom homes, custom remodeling and additions. We also build decks and do renovations as requested by homeowners.
3. Why did you start your own business?
I took over the business when my dad retired and was given the task of continuing the same quality, honesty and professional standards that my grandfather and father had established since the early 60s.
4. Why did you decide to go into construction? Isn’t that somewhat seasonal?
When I first got out of school, construction was not in my plans. But as it turned out, I think that is where I was meant to be. I enjoy the people I meet, the projects we work on and the outcome of a project we can all be proud of. There are times when the work is slow due to weather, but normally we are not slowed down too much.
5. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?
I read somewhere that being you own boss meant you only had to work a half day, you just have to decide what part of the day you want to put in your 12 hours. I do like some of the flexibility of scheduling and the opportunity’s that arise. Being the one to work with the customers and help them realize their dream on a new project or the changes made on a remodel is very rewarding.
6. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?
In this business it is important to be able to listen to your customer and make sure you both have the same understanding of what is to be done. I also think being able to react to a situation in a calm and thoughtful way can make all the difference in the relationship between you, your customer, employees, and sub-contractors. Things will go wrong at times and as business owner it is up to you to get things worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.
7. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
When I first took over the business, my father and grandfather had never done any type of advertisement. Word of mouth and our referrals from our customers had always been enough. When the economy crashed there was a lot less work to go around and I had to learn a lot real fast about getting our name and message out to the public. Since that time, things have improved greatly, with the help of the advertising and the continued referrals work has steadily increased.
8. Do you have any resources that you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
Some of my greatest resources are my employees and sub-contractors. We all work together to make sure our projects are completed properly. Most contractors are not licensed in all the fields and it is not feasible to keep up with all the changes. Everyone working together using their knowledge and experience to complete a project is what it takes to build your business and reputation.
I have found a lot of help through the Home Builders Association, local chambers, and from my peers.9. Do you have any tips to share on promoting yourself?
When I was scrambling to get our name out I joined the Rogers and Bentonville Chambers and attended as many functions as I could. I also got more involved with the Northwest Arkansas Home Builders Association. We have always built custom homes and did custom remodels and additions. With the slowdown in the industry more people were doing remodels and addition. During this time I was a founding member and president for 3 years of the NWA Homebuilders remodeling council.10. What other advice would like to share with someone starting their own business?
Join and be involved with groups that represent your industry. Always seek more education opportunities in your profession. In my case I have received certifications from the National Association of Home builders for: Certified Graduate Builder, Certified Graduate Remodeler, Certified Aging in Place Specialist (ADA) and Certified Green Professional. Do not forget the internet and social media platforms, they are cheap and a good way to get information about yourself and your company to people who are looking for your service.
11. How can we contact you to learn more about your products and services?