BURRTON — Smith Home Improvements is marking 30 years in the remodeling industry this spring.
Aaron Smith founded the company in 1988, turning the carpentry skills he used on a part-time basis while also working as a missionary and pastor into a full-time profession.
Aaron Smith built and remodeled churches and the houses his family lived in.
“Carpentry seemed like a logical choice, having already been doing it on a part-time basis for many years,” Aaron Smith said.
Aaron Smith's son, Allen, worked alongside his father from a young age.
"I'd be his little helper; follow him around and give him tools," Allen Smith said.
Shadowing his father gave Allen Smith experience in work and play.
“As I was growing up, I liked helping dad on projects after school," Allen Smith recalled. "There was one customer I always liked working for because they had a swimming pool and would let me swim when we worked there.”
In 1993, Allen Smith began working full time for Smith Home Improvements.
"I started working for dad and really enjoyed it," Allen Smith said. "I started taking on more responsibility and getting more experience. I slowly started taking over estimating and project management."
In 2010, Allen Smith took over Smith Home Improvements from his father.
“I have turned it all over to my son, Allen; he runs it all now,” Aaron Smith said.
At 82, Aaron Smith still helps out on small jobs as well as keeping the company shop organized.
“He likes telling people I’m his boss now,” Allen Smith said with a smile.
Smith Home Improvements has grown to include six employees, and Allen Smith said the company is looking to hire a few more.
"It's so hard to find good help, because we do a variety of things, and find people that are skilled in a lot of things," Allen Smith said.
While the majority of Smith Home Improvements' jobs focus on residential remodeling jobs, the company also build pole barns, new custom homes, church additions and commercial buildings.
"When the weather starts warming up is when the phone starts ringing," Allen Smith said.
One of the biggest projects they tackled was a 6,000 square foot custom home with six bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and a four-car garage.
"I did all the design work and plans for it and we built it, start to finish," Allen Smith said.
The house was completed in nine months, something Allen Smith credits to the company's prioritizing efficient time management through planning and communication.
"Our proposals and contracts are very detailed," Allen Smith said. "I always tell people that I look at them as a communication tool."
Smith Home Improvements works to schedule its jobs so that customers see steady progress.
"Once we start a job, we take pride in and really work hard at staying on it until we're done," Allen Smith said.
Part of being in the remodeling business means expecting the unexpected.
"You never know what you're going to find when you're tearing through a wall," Allen Smith said.
Decades of experience have given the Smiths a good sense of what they will encounter when taking on a remodeling project.
"Houses have been built differently over the years, so experience tells you this age of house is going to be built this way, this is what you can expect to find," Allen Smith said.
Having repeat business also makes some projects easier to tackle.
"Every house has its own quirks — where the water shutoff is, where the breaker box is, where are the squeaks in the floor — and you kind of get to know those things when you're in somebody's house all the time," Allen Smith said.
Technology has changed over the past 30 years, and while Allen Smith still sketches out plans, he also draws them up on a computer.
“I really enjoy being able to take a project from the concept and design stage all the way through to completion,” Allen Smith said.
Having digital plans allows him to show customers a 3-D rendering of their project and make changes in materials in seconds.
"It makes the process much more relaxed and less stressful for them and for me," Smith said.
Being located in Burrton gives Smith Home Improvements access to many communities nearby.
"It gives us more flexibility so that we can work in Hutchinson or Newton," Smith said. "...We're not stuck in the same place doing the same thing all the time."
Smith Home Improvements will be marking its anniversary throughout the year with various activities.
“God has always provided for us and has blessed us with a successful business,” both Smiths agreed.
“You can’t work in as many small towns and communities as we do for as many years as we have without doing something right," Allen Smith said. "Doing what you said you would do, doing things the right way, standing behind your work and making sure the customer is satisfied is what we strive for on every job we complete.”
For more information about Smith Home Improvements, visit www.SmithQuality.com or call 620-463-6591.