31 Days of Dreamers & Doers | Will Metcalf
Meet Will Metcalf, owner of Metcalf Construction specializing in residential construction and remodeling. Will has done many creative and amazing jobs, taking some of the most basic concepts and boring spaces, turning them into something that looks fabulous. Will also takes extra care to focus on his community, always willing to teach and use his skillset to help someone, even if for free sometimes.
WM: My earliest memories we're just helping my dad as a kid. He started the business a long time ago. I really wasn't interested, I just was helping because he was my dad, lol. I was always good at building/fixing stuff though. As I got older, I continued to help whenever I could, but when I went to college I fell away from it. After graduating, I made the decision that this was something I wanted to do. I began to value "freedom".
What makes you passionate about this lane?
What makes me so passionate is the fact that I come from humble beginnings and I'm able to give people things in their homes that they never had. Things I never had! I love taking something ugly and making it beautiful. I just love making people proud of their homes. I'm a sucker for before/after pics. I also LOVE tools which is convenient.
WM: My journey was difficult to say the least. Out of college I became serious about the business and then the recession hit. We weren't doing fancy remodels. We were boarding up buildings for the city, putting beams in dirt basement crawl spaces, and just working in the worst of the worst environments doing whatever to survive. Other obstacles we had, were coming from a community where people didn't have the resources to pay for remodels and not being hired by other races due to stereotypes. I also was ignorant to the fact that not everybody wants professional work (which still blows my mind, lol). There were many instances where I was going to just get a 9-5, but somehow every time I got to that point, an opportunity/job came through. I was just grinding it out. In my line of work, before/after pics really shows what your capable of, but the things we were doing wasn't picture worthy to say the least. Fast forward to now and I've been able to do some cool projects. I've been able to do jobs all over the city. I'm actually doing some of the things I like to do. I'm allowed and trusted to be creative with people's spaces.
How do you hope people feel after working with you?
After people work with me I hope they feel like I cared about how the project turned out and not just about getting paid. I hope they feel like I did everything I could to bring their vision to life. I just want to give people a stress free experience. I'm aiming for a more personal experience with my company.
"In my line of work before/after pics really shows what your capable of but the things we were doing wasn't picture worthy to say the least."
Can you name a highlight of your career?
I don't know about highlights, but I have a few things that were memorable. First would be the emergence of H.G.T.V. Traditionally, a lot of people (mostly men, lol) only wanted to "fix" things in the home, but not "update" them. H.G.T.V. opened up people's imaginations which brought me more business. It gave the customers confidence to let me be creative and also got their creative juices flowing.
Another great memory would be a specific job I did in West Omaha. As a black contractor, it's not easy to do business in West Omaha. People have their stereotypes and it's just one of those things you deal with. I did a job for a white female customer and in the end, the job went smooth and she was very satisfied. I was often left in her home when she wasn't there. This was big because her deceased husband had ties with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln football program and she had VALUABLE memorabilia in her home. She had a room with signed footballs, jerseys, pics and even a couple championship rings!! She was a very nice lady that treated me fairly and I'll never forget her. She had a dog named 'Husker', lol. What's memorable about that ordeal was that she genuinely trusted us. I mean, I did a job West before and the people told me that they didn't trust me while they were gone because they had $1,000.00 in electronics in their home, lol.
Lastly, something that has been very memorable is appreciation letters we've received. We worked for a program that hired contractors to do remodeling work in low income homes, free to the owners. The sad part about some contractors who work in low income homes is they don't treat the people with respect because of their situation. Some were doing sub par work and not cleaning up after themselves. Myself, coming from humble beginnings, I always made sure that the quality of work should be the same no matter the income/situation of the customer. That's exactly what we did in the program and often did little things to give people a sense of dignity. There were people in the program who wrote thank you letters and that really made me feel good! I'm also thankful to the program because it gave me an opportunity to work while doing some good in the community.
Would you go back and change anything?
The only thing I can honestly say I'd change is my decision to go to college. College can be very beneficial, but for me, I feel like I lost some valuable years that I could of put into the business. Not to mention I wouldn't have the student loans I'm paying (for a degree I'm not using, lol).
My advice is always try and get the best equipment/tools needed for your business. It makes everything easier. Do not try and take shortcuts. If you do things right, that eliminates error/callbacks.
As humans we make mistakes so stay honest. If you make a mistake with a customer just own it and do what you can to make it right.
You may have to do something for free, but it will be worth it. Advertising is important, but you don't want to have bad experiences with customers because word WILL travel. People that "don't know" you will hire you just because someone "they respect" highly recommended you.