When a customer is happy, Chris Conrad is happy
“I truly enjoy building customer relationships and hearing that they’re extremely happy at the end of the project,” said Conrad owner of Conrad Consulting & Remodeling, a general contracting business. “A remodeling job is more than just a home improvement project. It’s an investment whether you plan to stay or sell.”
Conrad opened his general contracting business in April 2015 on 28th Street and moved to his current location, 4582 West River Dr. in Comstock Park, in March of this year. The company specializes in exterior remodeling projects including siding and windows, but especially roofs. They also do interior jobs. They do mostly residential work but also do commercial and industrial jobs. They cover approximately a 60-mile radius from their location on West River Drive.
The 1400 square foot space Conrad is leasing includes an office, conference room, and small display area. There are seven full-time employees including Conrad - an office manager, a project coordinator, two project managers, and a service technician. His wife Jessica is the bookkeeper and accountant.
Conrad likes the Comstock Park location. He said the nearby expressway is convenient for his installers and suppliers. Additionally the traffic volume on West River Drive has resulted in an increase in calls since they moved in. He noted that he’s also “centrally located for people who work with us,” and it will be more convenient for him as he and his family are moving to Comstock Park from Belding.
Conrad learned by doing. He was roofing in the 90’s when he was 17 years old, and continued in construction working for other firms. He also worked for a mortgage firm where he says he learned customer service skills. Those skills have paid off earning the company ratings of 4.8 to 5 stars out of five on Home Advisor, Thumbtack, and Angie’s List where he advertises. The company’s Better Business Bureau accreditation is A+ with a 4.9 stars out of 5 rating. This year the company was named one of the top 100 businesses and one of the top three home contractors in Michigan by Top Rated Local, an online site that combines ratings and reviews from other review sites online and then ranks businesses based in their overall rating score.
There is a housing shortage, said Conrad, and there’s not enough young people going into the building trades to keep up with demand. “The whole industry is short staffed,” he said, “and there’s not enough houses being built.” According to a July 31, 2019 Forbes Magazine article, “When the recession hit in 2008, 600,000 workers left construction jobs never to return. Today workers avoid construction jobs, perceiving them as dangerous, difficult, and dirty. Millennials of all income backgrounds entering the workforce would prefer to go to a four-year college or take on jobs in retail or transportation. In the US alone, there are 434,000 vacant construction jobs as of April 2019, according to the US Labor Bureau.”
Conrad says he likes having his business close to the Fifth Third Ballpark, although he’s really more of a football fan having played for the Grand Valley Lakers when Brian Kelly, now head football coach at Notre Dame, was head coach.
“If it’s MSU versus U of M, the Spartan all the way,” he said. “However my favorite team would have to be Notre Dame. Being I had played for GVSU, and Brian Kelly was my coach and had been the head there, I simply feel it’s important.”
Conrad is originally from Rockford. His family moved to Belding, and he graduated from Belding High School. He and his wife Jessica have two children – Owen 5 and Kinsley 2.