November 24

Creative Construction with Dan Gaudy

Creative Construction with Dan Gaudy

By Deborah Johnson

November 24, 2020

business principles, construction, creative construction, hiring a contractor, remodel, working at home

Creative Construction

If you look up the term creative construction, you will find it used in multiple ways, from language development, new landscapes, innovation and other uses. I have used creative construction to describe the way Dan Gaudy, a building contractor, uniquely sets himself apart in his business of landscape design and construction. Using his knack for design, along with 3D software has helped him paint a picture for his clients in visualizing their dreams and to serve them more completely.

The basics of a drawing a design on graph paper has been good enough and is still good enough for him to make sales. But taking the extra step to create an enhanced 3D picture for his clients with his unique design elements has taken creative construction to a higher level in Dan’s business. It has also helped to secure even more business. In the same way, using your uniqueness, along with creativity, will help to set you apart in a crowded marketplace. (See: Where Do You Find Inspiration?) In addition to basic business principles which apply to most any field, Dan gives us six steps to hiring a contractor that everyone should be aware of.
Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson Creative Construction with Dan Gaudy 12-1-20
00:00:00 00:00:00

The Grape Arbor

At 80 years young, my father came to help my husband build a grape arbor. Since my dad did nothing halfway, he had brought along some galvanized pipe he had just laying around. What conspired was a 9’ tall 20 x 10 area held up by pipe he hand-soldered together.

This past year, after losing both parents, I wanted to celebrate, finishing the grape arbor area and beautifying it. What Dan did was illustrate my dream with the 3D drawing he provided. The concord grapes we had growing were originally taken from the property where my mom grew up, then my parents transplanted them to grow in their yard. I wanted to keep them and expand the area. As you can see from before and after photos, that dream was fulfilled, even surpassing what I had imagined.

Grape Arbor-Before

Basic Business Principles

These basic business principles are directly applicable to those in construction. But they also readily apply to most any area of business. If you are prone to taking on the job of self-contracting, which I have done in the past, these principles will prove to be especially valuable. Take the time to apply them to your situation!

Creative Construction-Deborah Johnson
  • Don’t skip steps. Skipping a step can prove to be an extremely costly fix.
  • Be willing to fail. Sometimes we learn more from failures than successes. Learn your lesson, then move on.
  • Listen. Then listen again. This is extremely important to distinguish exactly what a client wants and needs. It’s also important as you communicate with any workers. Enough said!

    • Adjust and make changes if necessary. This has the power of building trust when doing this then communicating with a client. Adjusting can also make a huge difference in project that turns out great vs. just O.K.
    • Don’t ignore the hidden steps. There may be areas that are uncovered as you get further into a project. For us, we had uneven ground and needed additional road grade filler to solidify the foundation for cement. Identifying the hidden steps and rectifying them will build confidence in clients as well as you.
    • Delegate with a trusted team. You’ve got to have workers who are capable and can follow instructions.
    • Try something new. You may not be up to learning 3D software or other technology to add an element of creative construction, but there are so many tools that are readily available to help you communicate your vision and your client’s dream. Use them!

    How to Hire a Contractor

    During the COVID shutdowns, many started working remotely from home offices. There are those who now are looking to continue working remotely, at least part of the time. The trend of remodeling and retrofitting spaces that are usable for both work and home will continue as the way we do business will forever be changed. (See: Working Side by Side) If you are thinking remodeling or expanding your space, consider these six steps in hiring a contractor.

    Step One: Hire a licensed contractor. There are those who go into construction because they didn’t have anything else to do. Check them out. They should be licensed and bonded to guarantee their work and the safety of their workers and have a good track record.

    Grape Arbor-Deborah Johnson

    Step Two: Do your Research. Get three to four bids that will compare similar work then compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges. The lowest price is not always the best deal, especially if you have to redo any part of the project, which can be costly and time consuming.

    Step Three: Get everything written down in a contract. Listen to your gut and don’t take anything for granted!

    Step Four: Get referrals. A good contractor will have viable recommendations and those you can contact personally to get a recommendation. Most should also have photos of their work.

    Step Five: Be clear on the payment plan. In California, the only money exchanged at the start of a job is a limited deposit and money for materials. You should retain 10% for completion of the job. Be aware of material liens with sub-contractors, keeping good records of all payments with bank statements.

    Step Six: Be on your guard to not be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, there are those who hang out a shingle as a contractor, but do shoddy work, not fully completing jobs. Some also under-big a job just to get the work, drawing out projects much past the date of completion which can be extremely frustrating.

    Creative Construction-before-after-Deborah Johnson

    Be Wary, Be Smart and Celebrate!

    As in most fields, there are charlatans and posers who want your business. So be wary, be smart and do your research! Then dream a little and celebrate where you can. I’ll be sitting under my grape arbor remembering how my 80-year old father with my husband, lifted up the welded pipe that then took four men and a tractor to raise when remodeling. It brings a smile to my face with thankfulness, gratefulness and joy of celebration.

    If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

    1,033 words

    Deborah Johnson

    About the author

    DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

    Never miss a good story! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest news, articles, music & trends!