Integrity Based Long Term Partnerships – Paul Bertozzi of Live Oak Contracting

Paul Bertozzi, President and CEO of Live Oak Contracting

Paul Bertozzi, the President and CEO of Live Oak Contracting, grew his company’s revenue from $829,000 in 2014 to $62 million in 2017, a 7,382% increase, and to around $97 million in 2018.  

Live Oak Contracting is a general contracting firm in the multifamily development industry.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Paul shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Leveraging their relationships with subcontractors and vendors to find the best people to build their multifamily developments.  
  • Receiving referrals to developers from design firms (ie, architectural, civil engineering, structural) to build their designs.  
  • Winning second round bidding by providing valuable guidance to developers during their first round loss.  

Computer generated transcript - Live Oak Contracting Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - Live Oak Contracting Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Paul Bertozzi, the President and CEO of Live Oak Contracting, a general contracting firm in the multifamily development industry. Welcome to the show Paul.

Paul Bertozzi: Thank you.

Malcolm Lui: Paul, you grew your company's revenue from $829,000 in 2014 to $62 million in 2017, a 7,382% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $97 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah absolutely. As you said Labor contracting as a third party multifamily general contractor based in Jacksonville Florida. Our area of work is primarily throughout the southeast. We have developed some clients up in the New England markets as well and have been working up in those markets for the past three years. Also our focus is creating partnerships with our clients and really bringing the value of the company and to their projects on the front end focusing on the reconstruction and design construct ability to really separate ourselves from other disease that may be looking at the shorter term cycles with their development partners and more of a bid cycle than a negotiation or partnership cycle. So our focus has been on working closely with the design teams with our development partners from the beginning during the phases of construction when we're not actually building. We're making sure that what is being put on paper can be built. So that's where we've brought the most value to our clients and that's where we've been able to really achieve a great core group of clients that we continue to develop for year after year

Malcolm Lui: So as a general contractor I mean we try at the straight in my mind. Your response before I get would you just share with me now. But then when you get to the actual construction you're just overseeing and you have subcontractors that take care of everything

Paul Bertozzi: Correct. We're primarily construction management at risk. So we have a great group of subcontractors that we work with as well from project to project. We have relationships throughout the industry with groups that focus in the multifamily so we're able to utilize them on projects depending on the market from you know some some are local more local to certain markets whether it's just in one state or regional or national. So our development partners subcontractors vendors they play a key role in our success as well and it's the partnership that we have with them that has that has helped us to continue to to win work time and time again

Malcolm Lui: What's meant by the phrase construction management at risk

Paul Bertozzi: So where we do not self perform We Are construction management we have field managers as well as project managers so field superintendents on the job they're working through logistics and schedules onsite as well as working with the subcontract foremen onsite. But we do not self perform any of the any of the contract work that we do. We construction were construction managers and we signed contracts where we're responsible basically for the construction schedule for the construction process. That means and methods. So we take the risk there. So that's a general contracting or construction management at risk is kind of how how how that is termed

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. So you're not doing the work directly but you take the risk of anything that doesn't work right.

Paul Bertozzi: That's correct.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Got it. And you said before that you're doing work now in New England. How did you find the subcontractors out on the other side of the East Coast. The to do the work for you

Paul Bertozzi: So one of the project managers that I had worked with previously at one of the previous companies that I was with had performed had built a project up in the market I guess about 24 months prior. And so when he came on board I had worked with him at another company for a number of years. So he had some of those relationships and then we really basically tapped into a group of subcontractors that he knew and then they kind of really gave us the guidance on who they were who they would see on projects similar to ours and the type of work in and we just continued to to build the team up in that market and build a trade base that that built the type of products that we that we build. It's not the southeast is known for having apartments throughout the Northeast doesn't have really that the same type of products that we build the multifamily or and they're not as prevalent there's not as much of a market. So you know it became really focusing on the trades that had the understanding of building and and utilizing their expertise in the marketplace to be successful

Malcolm Lui: Right now I take it in terms of vetting your subcontractors. How do you do that. Is it just simply in reference checks getting recommendations or is it the way that you do construction of a subcontractors subcontractors not doing work up to snuff. You just replace them right away and fix whatever they did wrong.

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah. So we worked closely with with the with the trades we do vet vet them to make sure that they have similar projects that they've worked in in the marketplace. We have also you know we'll look through their financials will look to previous work we'll go visit job sites that they're working on. So we we have a heavy vetting process on the front end. Once they go through that process and they're on projects with us you know we work with them it's the first time that we're working together as a team and that's truly how we view it. So their success is gonna be our successes as well. There's you if any one of them is looking at why I'm going to get rich off of this one project that's not the mentality that we're looking for. So we really look at you know that they see it the same way we do that it's a partnership that you know we're gonna help make them successful. We're gonna have ideas they're gonna have ideas and we're gonna work together to make sure that those ideas are heard and vetted and that you know that they they they're making money we're making money and our development teams are making money because that's really the best of all worlds

Malcolm Lui: Yeah but I have to say that construction initially kind of gets a bad rap for know for contractors not really doing quality work. Not doing it on time and so on is that more so at the retail level as opposed to the commercial level

Paul Bertozzi: No you see it throughout the market. I mean you know it's it's unfortunate but there there are in every industry I would say that there's there's people that do things the right way and those people that they cut corners.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Paul Bertozzi: So you're going to experience that in any industry. I think it's probably you know as you said kind of becomes a running joke with within the the contract world that you know that the contractors are always out to to make more money or to do change orders. And that's really where we focus with our clients to eliminate that stuff on the front end so that all costs are that we can possibly associate with the job are found upfront identified you know and basically incorporated into the original budget and our development teams really appreciate the that extra level of work that we do

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. You want to get it right at the beginning right because it's more costly to fix it at the end.

Paul Bertozzi: The more costly it's more timely and that's where the relationship gets you know gets fouled is when you're when you're saying you know I know that it was this upfront but now it's going to be this and and you know here's the reasons why you know your design team or or whatever didn't do this or you know it just makes it more difficult when you're trying to figure out what problems are and pointing fingers. It's much easier to work together on the front end alleviate some of those issues as many as you can and then really those conversations become fewer and fewer

Malcolm Lui: Yep definitely. That that's definitely the optimal path. So from a business growth perspective your business I believe started in 2014 as that right.

Paul Bertozzi: That's correct.

Malcolm Lui: In 2014 in that first year you did eight hundred twenty nine thousand dollars which is a pretty chunky amount in the first year and then four years later you're at ninety seven million. So that's a huge increase. What was that. What were the drivers behind that

Paul Bertozzi: You know I had been in the industry for eleven years prior so I had really good relationships I had know trade partners development partners at that followed us as we started the company but then it was also really a referral base that that helped drive our growth. We were getting referrals from design partners whether it be architectural teams or civil engineering teams structural or structural design teams that were giving us referrals to their development developers that they were working with where they were saying you know who should we talk to you know who do we need to build this project and time and time again we were getting great referrals from from people that I had relationships in the industry knew how we were operating and knew what we were doing. So it allowed us to pick up clients and we were able to make sure that those clients had the same goals and and ideas that we had about development and construction. And it really allowed us to create a great core group of of clients and build on them and have successful project X time and time again. So that's been the the biggest driving factor is just you know having that referral base that really supports that has supported our growth and has led to you know the project volume that we've been able to contract.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So Growing from eight hundred twenty nine thousand and ninety seven million that was done entirely through referrals and more client work.

Paul Bertozzi: Well it was it was relationships and it was you know some of the projects were were bid projects. You know we went into them looking at that as investments. So you know as we grew the company as we grew new opportunities new new development partners we focused focused on on those partnerships and you know there were projects that we spent a lot of time and a lot of effort on and a lot and invested a lot that we didn't end up getting awarded at the end of the day. But where that paid dividends is the second round of projects that those developers that we didn't get the first round but the second round you know there what we told them and the feedback that we gave them was right on point and they saw it when they went into construction and went with another general contractor and they basically said the value was was given and there was value to what we were doing. So now we're negotiating projects with them and for a contractor to you know I can sit here today and and say you know we have you know these projects that we're operating on and we have nearly 300 million in our pipeline of construction projects that we're negotiating with our development partners that will carry us through 2019 and into 2020. And we're having those conversations this early on one of our development partners. You know we're working on a project now. I'll be up in Connecticut meeting with them on a project that will not break ground until January of next year. So we're spending that much time with our with the design team with the with the developer to to help them make sure that the product that they're investing in is what there is is what they're getting and that their dollars go as far as I can. There's a construction process

Malcolm Lui: So when you're helping these developer partners a year in advance now you've already been you're pretty harsh I said you're already engaged with them you're already won the contract with them or this is still preliminary work.

Paul Bertozzi: No I mean we're we're negotiating these contracts know at this point. So we know we're going to do the work. You know a year from now. So I know I can sit here today and you know if if if everything that we did was on a bid basis I would know that I was going to have to bid at least you know 20 jobs. You know the odds are you're going to get 50 50 and we're we want to do 10 to 15 projects a year is kind of our our our goal. So if I'm going to get 10 jobs I've got to bid at least 20 jobs for you know for the opportunity but instead for us you know we make those investments upfront. And we're not bidding 20 jobs and spending all of that money chasing work that we may not get. We really focus on the client and say OK we're going to build this job so you know when when the job comes to you know a schematic design we get engaged with the client when it comes to design development or engage with the client when it comes to construction documents. We've been engaged with the client and each step along the way we've given them guidance and budgets and where we're we're seeing the project come in and where we're seeing projects in and around their projects come in. So we're able to give them that market feedback as well.

Malcolm Lui: Ok so you're we you're negotiating with the contract I mean there's a potential there that these contracts aren't going to work out and nothing will come of it or is it more of a letter of intent husband sign is you just working out the details

Paul Bertozzi: It's really you know like I said it's really become a partnership with most. With most of our developers so know they give us an email or a letter of intent saying that you know the intention is that this project doesn't move forward and live up contracting is going to build the project. We don't charge them for our time. That's

Malcolm Lui: He

Paul Bertozzi: Where we look at the value of of doing the reconstruction and being there throughout the project so that we can give them the guidance and you know we've had projects that literally from the schematic design this is what we're we envision for this project to final design documents and we're bidding the project. We've had projects come in that are you know there's a 2 percent delta between what was bid and what was what what was final constructed from from their initial vision of what the project was going to be. To actually putting a shovel in the dirt. A 2 percent delta over a year period. And it was because we were able to get work through a budget on the front end. Fine tune it. Make sure that it met the budget and make sure that they knew what it was I mean good or bad news. We want to give it to him upfront so that you know they're not spending a lot of money. You know all through this phase and then all of a sudden other projects too expensive it's not going to work. So we have those conversations those budgetary conversations up front and really you know give them the guidance that the that they need so that they understand what the what the markets are and the cost and you'll make sure that it's going to work upfront because if it works upfront with you we spend enough time going through this process and knowing this market that we can tell them you know six or eight months from now this is where you're going to be in

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Paul Bertozzi: This project. So

Malcolm Lui: Right. So I take it in these projects because of the partnerships and what you mentioned before. You know they're already intending to work with you getting the design down and then you know when it's time to for you to do the actual construction to some price and Boff which you've already factored in your time for other efforts you put in on helping them come up with the design and the frameworks in the guidelines. Right

Paul Bertozzi: That's right. That's

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Paul Bertozzi: Right. And in the cost of the work and once the construction moves forward you know we get we get funded on on the the work upfront and it's you know this part of the construction cost.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. And it doesn't go out to bid at this point right. Because it's your premise you're the only contractors can do that. Okay got it. Yeah it's good. It's not a good sale it's a good win win for everyone on that front. Now how many clients did you have back in 2014 and how many have today. At ninety seven million or other at the end of 2018

Paul Bertozzi: In 2014 we had probably I came out with two clients that we started doing work for and we did a number of commercial projects as well coming out just because there were opportunities. And basically we had the staff to to staff those types of projects so we did some commercial work and then did smaller projects kind of starting out with our development teams and then now we're working with eight different clients between New England and the southeast. And like I said we really focus on you know their current project that we're building for them and then working through reconstruction on their next their pipeline of projects and some of the development firms that we work with. You know they have a couple of development teams and we may be working with one of their development team that they're doing you know four or five projects a year and one of their development teams who were partnered with. And so what we're seeing is kind of we're also expanding within companies as well. One of the companies that we work for has groups that manage region and they've basically made the introduction for you know for us with the group that manages you know Tennessee and Alabama. So you know we're they're looking for us to kind of do you want to engage in these markets so it kind of pushes us to spread without really having to go with to a different development group and have to learn somebody new and understand how they operate. We have those relationships. We know how they're going to work. And then we just kind of go from project to project with them and they see the benefit in it and we understand how to make sure that that we're giving them everything that they're requiring.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So the two that you are working with in 2014 are you still working with them today

Paul Bertozzi: Yes we are

Malcolm Lui: So over the expanded four years you picked up six new clients and those came pretty much from referrals

Paul Bertozzi: Yes

Malcolm Lui: Nice. And how many clients did you speak to engage pitch to who chose not to work with you.

Paul Bertozzi: I probably say just as many as we've as we have at this point. I mean we've worked with we've done some design development. We've only had one one development group that that basically as we went through the design phases of the projects and you know kind of helped them and then you know had a pre-K instruction service contract with them and you know we had one that the one group that basically didn't didn't follow through with with that pre-K instruction service contracts are going to contract afterwards. Other than that we had bid opportunities that we've bid certain clients and did not do the work we have bid some jobs we were awarded a project and then got to a contract that they sent over and the contract was not favorable terms for us and it was not something that that would have been a beneficial contract for us at the time. So we actually turned a project down that we that we had been awarded and obviously that client moved on to the next general contractor and that you know we do look at what we do as a partnership and the developers that we work with have that same mentality and understand that and you know it's it works much better than having you know someone that's that you know in contract language as far far superior in a performance or far more elevated within the contract documents than the general contractor. So you know we look for a fair any and even contract between the work we're here to do a good job for you that understanding you know is put into the contract and there's you know there's consequences if not but you know we always make sure that we deliver a great product and the best product for our development partner so

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah. I just want you shared me sounds like for the most part your conversion rates are pretty high. When someone is referred to you

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah. Now on referrals we've done very well with with conversion there's one client that we've pursued and had did not have and we've bid projects we we didn't we didn't get them in. If been to projects with one group and we're just a bidding service and we've kind of not you know on the next project. We'd rather spend our time with the client that sees the value in what we're providing versus just being a bidding service. So

Malcolm Lui: Yeah more inherently the the the developers who complete projects out the bid right they might be a bit more interested in the final price end as opposed to a partnership type relationship as to what you prefer

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah there's there are some some development firms that you know they have a requirement whether it's from their equity partner or whoever that they have at least one other bit. And I have absolutely no issue working with the development group that I know that I'm going to bet against another qualified general contractor. But you know we've been an opportunity we've had opportunities to bid projects where there were four or five C's and that just means they're looking for the lowest number on the project. They're not looking for a partnership or anything. They're just looking to get the bottom line number. On the on the deal and not really you know that's their that's their goal. That's their interest. So

Malcolm Lui: Write

Paul Bertozzi: And we're not going to be we're not going to be the cheapest one on the block. We're going to know the project we're going to be able to to sell them the best project because we know the project better than anyone else.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. So I took a look at the numbers he shared with me in terms of the number of clients he worked with. Back in 2014 versus today compared to your revenue. So back in 2014 you did about 900 K on two clients about 450 Kapor client and then in 2018 we have eight clients and you did ninety seven million which is about twelve million dollars per client. So a huge bump up here. How did that happen. How did you increase the amount of work that you're doing with the clients.

Paul Bertozzi: I would say a lot of it when we came out we really focused on you know the size of the projects we wanted to make sure that they made sense for us. Jumping into 25 or 30 million our project right out of the gate was not going to be something that you know it was going to take a heavy toll financially. Make sure that we had the finances to support it so we didn't focus on those style projects we focused on doing whether it was renovation work or face to style projects where the dollar values were were less within within the project. So as we kind of as we grew the business and stabilized and invested you know the earnings back into the company we were able to pick up and do larger projects. So over the years it allowed us to really step up the style and type of projects and really going from doing you know probably on average you know our contracts were somewhere in you know seven to 15 million dollar range. All of a sudden our average projects now are 30 million dollars. So. So it really has changed the dynamic. I mean we're doing all new ground up projects now we're not doing rehabs or renovations or face to projects where they're adding two or three buildings to an existing community.

Paul Bertozzi: But we're taking all of that work on you know basically from start to finish and and those style of projects. So it's really grown the size of the project. And then you also with construction cost over the past couple of years continuing to increase that has pushed what these projects a couple of years ago were twenty five to twenty eight million dollars and now all of a sudden they're you know 30 million dollars to thirty five million dollars so that the the the number of projects while it hasn't changed a great deal probably from two thousand and sixteen to 2019. We were doing you know six to eight projects a year the dollar value of those projects has increased just because of construction costs because of the market. So we've seen that play a part of those increased revenues. And then just you know the way that people are looking for products to be delivered you know the amenities that are going into the communities and what they're looking for has pushed the market rate of those of those projects up more and more year over year.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. So for 2019 What are your targets. You're right. Ninety seven million the end of 2018. What are you shooting for for 2019.

Paul Bertozzi: Right now our pipeline if our projects start within the within though the pipeline that we have will. Right now our projection is about one hundred and ninety million in revenue in 2010 ninety

Malcolm Lui: Just Mitch I heard you correctly. Hundred ninety million 1 9 0 0.

Paul Bertozzi: One

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Paul Bertozzi: Nine. Now

Malcolm Lui: A big bump

Paul Bertozzi: Some

Malcolm Lui: Up

Paul Bertozzi: Of

Malcolm Lui: Against

Paul Bertozzi: That comes in from projects that we've contracted at the end of 18. So our project durations are typically. Right. Our product durations are typically about 20 to 24 months. So you know if we start a project in the fourth quarter of 18 the heavy portion of that project is being built through 2019. So with the contracts that we signed at the end of last year and the contract that we anticipate to sign in second quarter and going into third quarter and fourth quarter of this year obviously we'll have different revenues off of those different start dates. So but right now we're projecting that our revenues based on those starts would put us around 190 million.

Malcolm Lui: Okay so you're two thousand ninety numbers are pretty firm because it's all based on contracts that you've already won. And now they're being executed now and you're being paid as you're doing the work. So how about for

Paul Bertozzi: As we breakout

Malcolm Lui: As you as you break ground right. And then how about when we look a little bit further ahead to 2020 now I guess that might be a bit more uncertain because you may not have contracts yet have been signed

Paul Bertozzi: It it is. But I mean also if we break ground on the depending on when we break ground on on some of those projects it would push our revenues. And if we did not find anything in the 20 20. Right now we're carrying about 260 million into 2020 through the end of 2019. So you know those are. And it's all based on the dollar value of those projects and the project duration. So.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Paul Bertozzi: So if we get if we get those projects on on board it will depending on how much revenue goes from 20 19 to 20 20. And then some of those projects will go well just by the date of when they're executed go into 2021

Malcolm Lui: Ok so for 2020 you're anticipating based on the current contracts and timing that you might be at 260 million revenues. Did I hear you correctly. All right. Of course that's all subject to changes if the contracts get delayed or or there are major changes I imagine

Paul Bertozzi: Correct. And timing of those changes.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. So what's the biggest challenge an obstacle you have right now in regards to growing your business further.

Paul Bertozzi: The biggest challenge is is you know people and finding the right people to put in that have the same culture ideas that we've created here. So it really really is putting you know finding locating having the right teams looking for the four that support staff. But you know I tell you you know in most all of the interviews that I've had with with new staff I tell everybody you know it's there's not one thing that I do or that our director of construction does or our project managers do in a day that makes us successful it's what the team is able to accomplish that allows us to be successful. So and that that includes our you know our vendors our subcontractors our design teams and development partners. It has to become that team and really finding the right people that have that understanding and then are able to come on board and not have the mentality of you know if it's not right I'll just send the back charge or if it's not right I'll send the change order and really building that culture has been important as we've built the company and it continues to be. So it's finding the right people to fit into the culture and continue that growth.

Malcolm Lui: Are you finding it hard in the sense that that you might interview 100 people and only one might be a good fit. Is it like that kind of difficulty you're talking

Paul Bertozzi: It's

Malcolm Lui: About

Paul Bertozzi: Probably not that that great of a of a number but we definitely will interview 20 people and have one one candidate that stands out. So I mean it it does get to a point where you know you're going through a number of resume A's and you know you you only find one or two people within within that group that is really a standout candidate that you want to bring on. It takes time to time effort energy and money to to bring those people in to make sure to do that and make sure that they're going to fit the culture so that you're not bringing them in and then you know three four months later they're there. Moving on to the next opportunity or the next project with another GC. So so we we spend spend some time trying to vet make sure that we understand the people that we're bringing on.

Malcolm Lui: So that people who who stand out you know what what are those qualities and make them stand out

Paul Bertozzi: It's really an understanding of of construction and having the the background to under to understand and provide information. You know what we see and what I continue to be drawn to are people that are more senior in the industry that that basically as you say look I have the knowledge and I want to be able to train some people I want to bring some people in around me and and and and train people with the knowledge that I have. So it's really bringing people in that want to be mentors to you know a younger generation. We've created a a full internship program here at live oak and we've had five interns that we have placed for full time work as they've graduated. And part of that I think is that we created a team of people who are willing to teach the younger generation of you know how how to build how to understand construction how to go out into the field and see things and see things in different ways that it's not just you know there's there's always more than one way to accomplish something and not to just be the dictator on site that tells you know somebody you have to do it this way because this is how I was taught. There's there's always more than one way there's you know when there's problems there's there's six or seven solutions it's just finding the best solution to those problems and getting them resolved and having men on board that want to train and want to be mentors. I think that's something that men and women that that's important and that seems to be the people that we continue to attract and and and actually bring on to live a

Malcolm Lui: Right now it is is the hiring the people who are a good fit. Is this the limiting factor to your growth right now.

Paul Bertozzi: It is know some I mean we're like I said we interview 20 people and find one one out of 20 so. So it takes time to find the right people you know. But it's also we make the investment. I mean we've we've worked closely with probably five or six different recruiting firms at this point to make sure that we're getting as much talent brought in for us to review as possible. And you know we've hired you know we've hired through those to those recruiting firms and then also through referrals and word of mouth and it seems you know that we get referrals or are obviously great because those are typically people that that we're working with that understand how or how we're operating. So they they know what type of person we're looking for. So those referrals are critical because we get probably there's more placement within the referrals and there are probably just within the headhunters and seeing resumes and I'm looking to resume. So

Malcolm Lui: Right

Paul Bertozzi: Referrals are typically easier placements for some of those positions just because the people that are bringing them to us know what we're looking for and know who who we want to be known with.

Malcolm Lui: Right. How about in terms of finding new business finding new clients finding new projects within your current clients. Is there a challenge there

Paul Bertozzi: No we've. Yeah. Last year we turned down more work than what we contracted as far as as far as dollar value of work. There has been an immense opportunity. Within our market and there have been some pieces that have chased every bit of it that you know say yes to everybody it's not something that is you know they they they just want to increase revenues I would just want to keep going keep going and I do feel like we've said no and understand what we're capable of. Probably more than a lot of others. And I think that has benefited us to where we've seen clients come back and you know that that you know yeah we wanted to do business with them we better projects. We didn't get the project and the GC that they selected took on you know four or five other projects at the same time that they took on their projects. And you know we're seeing them come back to us and say you know yeah we made their own decision there. We probably should have gone with you guys. We didn't. We've learned and you know this next project that we have we'd like to know if y'all or if we all engage and and you know that this project for us. So we have those types of opportunities that come to us and you know depending on the development group we've been we've engaged and we've you know some some of it depending on their timeframe if they've come in and said hey we've got this project and we're looking to break ground in the next three months because of the pipeline that we have and the way that we work with our development teams. And if it's a new development company we've had to turn some of those we really want to do business with you guys. But you know projects start in three months does not work for us in the pipeline. We have five

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Paul Bertozzi: Projects that are going to start in the next three months and there is no way that we can put another one into that pipeline and be successful for you. So I'd rather turn it down and you come to me the next time then tell you yeah we'll do it I'll figure it out and hope that we do and maybe we don't and we fail on that project. So so we do focus on you know making sure that we can be successful at that project and not just accept a project just to say hey we got another project on board. And I think that's benefited us. We had to turn a client that we that we're doing reconstructed came from a referral from an architectural firm that we that we worked with on a project that was the first time we worked with them. They gave us a referral to one of their clients on a project that is scheduled to start in 2020. And if it's that's the pipeline it's a good timing for us. They came to us just last week and said hey we have this one. And it's actually set to start in July of this year. Would you be willing to bet it for us we basically said it doesn't fit. We'd love we want to do your work but let's focus on this project that we have the time to do design development with you and everything versus just jumping into a project that's a quick start that we haven't had any involvement in sorry. That design team. It's a different design team. So we don't even know the architecture firm and how they operate. So we had to turn down projects like that that we want to work with the firm. But the quick start doesn't doesn't fit for us. So

Malcolm Lui: Right. And other reasons you turn down projects might be one. The pricing doesn't make sense for you. Easy to do to that level of work that you want to accomplish I suppose. Again other reasons why you say no

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah I mean we had a call with one of our clients today that they sent us a schematic design in and we had kind of an initial phone call with them about OK where do you think this is going to come in. So we gave them that price range and you know we're doing a project for them right now that we just finished pricing and they basically say well we kind of felt like it was a better product. A little bit more expensive but we were only going to do about this much more per unit than cost. And you know we basically told him Look your design team knocked it out of the park as far as design. It'd be a beautiful project but you're looking at a much more expensive project than what we're building for you right now. And we're just upfront with them you know at the same time I don't want them going in and spending you know two or three hundred thousand developing and designing a project that at the end of the day the budget is not going to work.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Paul Bertozzi: I'd much rather look at their understand their budget you know know what they're looking to spend and tell them this works and this doesn't. And this is where you're looking to be then you need to yeah. You need a pass on this one and let's go find another site.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah fair enough. Yeah. It's actually a building near here that I can be too specific but yeah I go through this building I kind of feel like something happened midstream because the building looks set up to be this way but it looks like they ran out of money or something and had to cut corners at the end because it doesn't look like it was finished properly.

Paul Bertozzi: Yeah. Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Three last questions for you if you were to have a billboard for your company for libel contracting somewhere on a fast moving freeway. What would be your billboard message. Keep in mind that people only have six seconds to see the billboard and they drive by. So it has been a bit

Paul Bertozzi: I

Malcolm Lui: To

Paul Bertozzi: Think

Malcolm Lui: The

Paul Bertozzi: It

Malcolm Lui: Point

Paul Bertozzi: Would be I think you know we would obviously put our logo. We've we've done a lot within our within the market that we operate in the multifamily industry. We've done a lot to brand ourselves and to have a logo that stands out. So would definitely be our logo. And then I would put our you know our company slogan or or motto which is building long term partnerships based on integrity. And you know I think that that's something that is sometimes missed in our industry and I think that it's with our clients. I know it's appreciated and I know they value that. So I think the client that that saw that would pick up the phone and make the call

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Paul Bertozzi: For

Malcolm Lui: Definitely if it resonates with them why not. And the two last questions Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to contact your team.

Paul Bertozzi: Our ideal clients or multifamily developers that that focus on the multifamily industry. There's a lot of people within the last probably sorry within the last few years because of how well multi-family has done that they've jumped into the market and they've tried to develop and then really have a good understanding of what the deliverable was and what they were looking to build and there were products put out there that you know probably shouldn't have been been built or they shouldn't have been built the way that they were similar to what you were just saying about the project that started off as one way and then it kind of finishes another and kind of like there's some disconnect here.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Paul Bertozzi: I think we look for clients that understand the multifamily industry understand what the deliverables are and understand how to develop the products that we're building the way that the best way that we reach them is you know we I speak at a number of conferences every year so we get in front of them and and get the opportunity to speak with them and then also through our you know through our architectural teams and design teams that we work with. You know we do focus on those relationships because if it's a bad relationship with the designer it's probably going to be a bad project if everyone's fighting. And that's really where we see a lot of trouble brews between you know a designer that says you know that that design one thing and a contractor that's trying to build something that maybe doesn't work. So that's where we really do focus on the front end of the projects and making sure that every construct ability reviews and the design team that we work with you know those are the firms that we work with over and over again no matter who the developer is. There's really a select group of design teams and architects that understand our industry that focus on it and that's really where we focus on building our clients and and understanding what those designers are working towards. It helps us be successful with with the development partners

Malcolm Lui: Right. And for the ideal clients you mentioned the developers who are really you know it's their thing. The multi-family developments. How can a best contact your team

Paul Bertozzi: That we were. We're on the Internet you know through art through our Web site. We know they can they can reach out to our office directly. I have a director of reconstruction for new projects. We have a director of marketing and business development in the office. We have a director of business development as well. So we do. Like I said we've spent a lot on that front end relationship and I think that's what has really helped us has really set us apart from the juices that we work within the industry as well.

Malcolm Lui: Would you like to share your website domain or or e-mail addresses phone numbers for people to contact.

Paul Bertozzi: Yes sir. Our website is w w w dot Live Oak contracting dot com and the main office number is 9 0 4 4 9 7 1 5 0 0. And Katherine Ruto Milton Christopher day and Kevin Powell head up our reconstruction team and business development as well as myself. So Milton and Kevin and Catherine are typically in the office and if not there they're out marketing or doing business development. So really those are the two best ways to reach us is just picking up the phone and giving us a call or emailing me direct that Paul be at live oak contracting dot com.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. Paul it's been great having you on my show today. I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast.

Paul Bertozzi: Absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about it.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Paul Bertozzi, the President and CEO of Live Oak Contracting, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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