Natural Beginnings – Accidentally
It wasn’t my intention to start a business of drawing house building plans. But that’s what happened – and it all began simply enough as you’ll soon discover.
You see, construction runs in the family bloodline. My part took shape in the area of designing homes which was a natural fit in two ways: it really was (and is) my passion, plus it beats the tarpaper out of dragging my wheelchair up on a roof to put shingles on! So I worked several years for a registered architect, and then spent some time working for a residential builder as their main draftsman. But personal circumstances came into play and I moved out to Ohio for a number of years. Then, after a few family members started a construction business and had no one to design their projects – the rest as they say – is history. To keep billing simplified, I gave my invoice to the client. Word soon spread around that I was a residential designer and before long I was drawing house building plans for more people than just my family’s construction business clients.
The Often-Quoted Mother of Invention
“Larry’s Home Designs” was born out of sheer necessity. I really enjoyed my previous two jobs and I likely would have stayed there if those personal circumstances had not interfered. When I look back now, I am rather grateful that they did. I have more freedom in working for people like you who truly appreciate the end result, instead of having a boss who just hands me a paycheck every week. Nothing wrong with that at all – I just enjoy mine more!
A Different, but Rewarding Twist
Designing house building plans in Ohio was very easy. Building permits were almost unheard of. If one owned the land, there was the freedom to build whatever you chose. The only permits required were well and septic permits. Only occasionally would someone asked me to draw outside views, or elevations, of their new home. I still did structural calculations and estimated a lot of lumber lists.
I think that was the main challenge that I’ve faced: estimating lumber as accurately as possible. Builders hate being caught short on the job site and inversely they hate having so much lumber left they need to take it back to the supplier. Most of the time, the builders would literally be on edge when they looked at the lumber pile and they were certain it would not be enough. At the end of the job they had very little waste.
I am not saying that to blow my own horn at being an accurate materials estimator. I just found that aspect of the job very challenging, and extremely rewarding. There is a certain sense of satisfaction in building a house on paper and inside my head before the first shovel of dirt is ever dug out of the ground. The satisfaction of the homeowner is usually worth more to me than the cost of the house building plans.
New Beginnings… Again!
Then my circumstances changed again. I was able to relocate back to Pennsylvania where I held my two previous jobs. The residential design business took a little bit of a hit because of the relocation. By contacting various contractors in the area the business started to grow again. I took on one of my brothers as a business partner and we made every effort to keep the growth in the business a positive thing.
We faced a new challenge of now having to design all the plans with the idea of passing township inspection in order to obtain building permits. Thankfully those years of training paid off. To make a long story short, an average of 99% of our plans still pass on the first try.
Building a History
Some companies would be jealous at the percentage of growth we have experienced since we started out in Ohio in 1995. I designed only a few projects the first year in business. The following year the number climbed up to 8. In 1997, I drew 13 house plans. The best year we had in Ohio saw 24 projects go across our drafting boards.
We were not content to let it rest. Helping even more people fulfill their dreams of building the home they’ve been dreaming about – affordably and efficiently – was (and continues to be!) our desire. After moving back to Pennsylvania and contacting contractor after contractor, we recently saw our number of jobs top out at 120. Some of those included decks, additions and renovations. I will humbly say it is only by God’s grace that we have either come close to 100 projects or bypassed it every year since then.
A Variety of Design Experience
Our house building plans skill-set has grown to encompass much more than standard frame construction. Log homes, timber frame homes, and structural insulated panel homes which qualify for the ever popular “green” classification are all part of what our clients demand from us. And we happily oblige them! For the same reason, we even do commercial projects.
The Important Role You Play
It has been an exciting 15 years. I look forward to the next 15 years and I hope that your new building project will be part of that. It has been the individual homeowner (or soon-to-be!), working closely with the contractors that we design for, who are the heartbeat of our business. Let us know if we can do anything for you. We invite you to share in becoming a vital part of this story – for the specific purpose of fulfilling your dreams…
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