Art the Builder: his advantageous approach, career success and support of community
By: Jessica Dusek
Photos by: Dark Lab
“Eight years ago, I decided to start flipping houses,” explains Art Ramirez, aka Art the Builder. His marketing strategy and savvy technology background have elevated his social media and advertising presence. He explains, “75 percent of our leads, in some shape or form, come through Facebook marketing.”
In addition, Art’s success stems from using energy-efficient products and a higher quality of craftsmanship. “We use great products that will save clients money in the long run,” he says. “It may cost more upfront, but clients ultimately save money.” Building exquisite homes, his specialties include remodels and new construction – and he recently added industrial jobs to his portfolio.
Art’s promise: quality construction hits home
Growing up in Agua Dulce, Art’s journey has been a humbling one. His Facebook page reads: “The House That Built Me,” with a backdrop photo of his childhood home. “My father was a carpenter throughout my childhood,” he describes.
Growing up, his family scrapped by. “We lived in a house that was less than 800 square feet with five people living in it,” he says. “We didn’t have air conditioning until my later years. As kids, we knew what candles were, not because a storm had come through, but because (at times) we couldn’t pay the light bill.” Although times were tough, he describes boldly, “I wouldn’t allow myself to become a victim of circumstance.”
Receiving his bachelor’s degree in business management and an associate’s degree in information systems, Art worked his way up the ranks in the field of IT. Yet something still felt out of place. “I knew I wasn’t 100 percent passionate about it,” he confides. “I felt there was more in life I wasn’t touching on.”
Although his father pushed him to pursue IT, construction was Art’s true calling. He began flipping houses for fun, realizing he truly loved it and could nearly match his income in IT. He resigned and started his own construction business.
One month into his new endeavor, Art received a call from a former IT client: Mark Garza, president and owner of Kingdom Builders. Mark was interested in login credentials for his Kingdom Builders website. “After a quick 10-minute catch-up conversation over the phone, Mark and I scheduled a meeting with each other that Friday,” he laughs. “Within two hours, we formed Summit Construction, and our partnership has been running three years strong.”
With Art handling most of the business side, including contracts, correspondence and marketing, Mark oversees the operations, scheduling and management. “The great thing is, we have the ability to swap roles at any time.”
Art the Builder’s Keys to Success:
• Tackle the day: Early-to-rise, Art hits the gym at 4 a.m.! Ambitiously scheduling his day by 5 a.m., he is sure to get his kids off to school by 7:45 a.m. He encourages others to seize the day. “Not everyone has a lot of encouragement,” he says. “I try to post something positive every morning so that I might be able to ignite the fire in other people. Perhaps it’s direction and guidance I didn’t have and I’m trying to provide that for others.”
• Transparency and customer partnerships: “If it’s good news or bad news, we will tell you (the client) right away. If it’s bad news, we’ll tell you even faster!” Art explains. Partnering with the customer, he understands the value of customer feedback and satisfaction. “The word-of-mouth is strong when the customer has a good experience.”
• Technology is key for communication and marketing: “When I first started marketing and putting my face everywhere, I was slightly ridiculed. I was told, ‘That’s not what builders do; that’s what realtors do. Why would you want to do that?’” However, Art has found that marketing his profile picture on social media outlets, billboards and bus benches has given the public familiarity with Art the Builder.
• Delegate tasks and improve operational efficiency: “You can’t swing hammers, write contracts and manage operations all at the same time,” Art explains. “When you learn how to delegate responsibility to the right person, it works out well.”
• Give back: “I’ve helped people (and causes) both emotionally and financially when I could,” Art says. “I’ve helped with scholarships, clothes, food and recommendations. I want to help how I can. I’ve been blessed. It is though God that all things are possible, and I want to pay that forward.”
“Most of my drive is my wife and my kids,” explains Art of his strong family values. Yet much of his success has been built upon helping people and building a network without selfish intentions. “I always try to motivate people to be the best they can,” Art explains enthusiastically. “There is plenty out there for everyone. Why not help each other out?”
From residential ranch style to Victorian and contemporary, Art’s team has expanded into larger projects, including Odem High School and Mattress One Retail Store renovation on SPID, as well as the new Allergy Partners Medical Facility in Esplanade Medical District. Their next goal is to enter the industrial market.
“We don’t try to control the build,” Art explains. “We’d rather see eye-to-eye with our clients as a partnership so that the experience is great on both sides. We love challenges. If it’s different and difficult, we are up for the job!”