By Andrea Garduno
With Gentrification on the rise in the Bay Area, an interview with a small business/corporation CEO seems to be appropriate. With the concept of supply and demand, resources are getting scarce therefore more expensive. We will see if the surge of construction in the Bay Area is really benefiting those with small contracting businesses or not.I am here today with the founder of Garduno Builders, Itza Franco. She created this small business in 2007 with her husband Efrain Garduno a general contractor in hopes of making it in the contracting world. I (Andrea Garduno) will be asking Itza Franco a series of questions relating to her business experience and how it’s going so far.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Andrea Garduno: In just the past year lumber prices have raised substantially, would you say this has set you back in some projects due to the pricing of everything?
Itza Franco: Yes, definitely. Not only in lumber prices but many other material prices has gone up by more than 40% percent. Because of them rising so much, there have been clients who decide to hold off on continuing.
AG: Would you say the rise of gentrification played a big part to the raising prices of supplies such as lumber? How so?
IF: No, I strongly believe that the reason why prices went up was because of the pandemic, and not with gentrification since the bay area is not new to this.
AG: How much work would you say you have to do? Is it a good thing or bad thing?
IF: Since the pandemic, our business has actually increased by 30% so I would yeah we have a lot of work to do as of the moment. It definitely is a good thing, since we have so much work now.
AG: Being still in the pandemic, would you say that your work is better now or before?
IF: I would say our work is better now, since we were lucky enough to have still kept going through most of the pandemic. We always had work, and with people being home most of the time making them want to fix a few things at home made us busier.
AG: Have you lost any jobs because of the resources getting so scarce?
IF: There have been some jobs where we have lost jobs because since the resources are getting expensive some clients have decided to postpone the work, or even cancel.
AG: Do you think smaller businesses like yours have more or less to lose than big corporations?
IF: Actually, I think we have less to lose. Since we do general construction we are able to do many different things. So if we don’t have much work in one department we still have many other departments to tend to.
AG: How does having a smaller number of employees impact your work?
IF: We do a lot of sub-contracting, so we don’t have the whole load on us. The amount of employees we have is not too overwhelming and just right to manage.
AG: Are city regulations making it more difficult for you to get new opportunities for projects? How so?
IF: No, they aren’t as of the moment. Our corporation is up to date with all the codes, so we know what to expect starting a job.
AG: Is sub-contracting others for something you could do (for example: contracting an electrician or plumber for simple jobs you are qualified for) better or worse than you doing it yourself? And why?
IF: Sometimes when we do certain jobs that require a professional in a certain profession we then sub-contract. It is better to leave it to someone who specializes in that department when we can.
AG: Would you say the rise in house renovations and the construction of buildings benefitting you or only hurting your business in the long run?
IF: Considering that we have raised about 30% in business I would say it really is a good thing. I mean yes the resources are getting more expensive but one cannot solely stop because of that.
AG: If you had one piece of advice for those who are just entering the contracting business in the bay area what would it be?
IF: My advice would be that you should alway put your 100% in every job, big or small, and always start it off with honesty. It is never alright to lie to a client, when they deserve the truth of the situation. I think this is the best way to be on the road to success.
AG: Well this ends the interview with the CEO of Garduno Builders Corp. Itza Franco. Thank you Itza for letting me ask you these questions.
IF: No thank you, it was a pleasure.