Successful firm looks to the future
The proud Cantabrian team at John Garlick Builders is now under new directorship with longstanding employee and former apprentice Kade Atkinson now joint director with John.
Kade says he wants to continue to operate the business as John has, with everything done in a “trustworthy and up-front way”.
“I want to do what John has always done and treat people the way I want to be treated, with mutual respect, and always be honest and upfront,” he says.
“Why change a good thing?” John Garlick Builders has been in business for more than 35 years, doing work mostly for repeat or referred clients.
The company runs a team of eight builders on the tools as well as John and Kade who spend their time co-ordinating the jobs and ensuring the clients are kept well informed and up to date with the progress of the jobs, as well as providing the boys with their expert knowledge.
The team is supported by two part-time administration staff.
Kade is excited about the prospect of growing the business in the future, while maintaining the high standards that John Garlick Builders is known for.
“I want us to do what we do well, and make sure everything is mint and perfect every time.”
As a smaller firm, John Garlick Builders has a point of difference for its clients, who know they are dealing personally with the owners and managers.
“This means we can make immediate decisions, and our process is comparatively shorter because there are fewer decision makers, no departments to check in with, or hoops to jump through.”
The team rarely changes with staff retention at John Garlick Builders high.
Many members of the team have been with the company in excess of 10 years.
Kade started at John Garlick Builders some 14 years ago as an apprentice, and apart from a two-year stint in the UK for his OE, has worked there ever since.
His UK experience was a valuable insight to a new level of high-end construction, and allowed him to learn new methods and techniques.
Before Kade left for the UK, John had mentioned to him about taking over the business, and it was always something he was looking forward to coming home to.
Two years ago, he became joint director of John Garlick Builders, with a five-year plan towards sole ownership.
“John will still be involved once I take over, which I think is important,” Kade says.
“We bounce ideas off each other, and if I’m unsure about anything he’s got 40 years of experience to help me out.”
John Garlick Builders prides itself on being an architectural hill building specialist, but is happy to take on any projects, big or small.
“We’ve built things like hair salons, barn conversions, new homes, and shop fit outs,” Kade says.
“We’re currently doing a show room for a granite factory. We do mostly residential but also light commercial.”
A generation apart, John and Kade have learned their trade differently. Health and safety is a fairly new concept which the team has had to get their heads around. “It used to be unheard of, but now it’s part and parcel of what we do,” he says.
“It does make you realise how important the health and safety aspect of the job is.”
Even the idea of professionalism has changed since the way John was taught, when deals were done on a handshake, and secured by trust and honesty.
“Now everything has to be well documented,” Kade says.
“If you don’t embrace new standards, you don’t get the work.”