Business Spotlight: Backyard Builders
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:38 AM
With just a tool belt and a hammer, Michael Ormsby went to work building a deck in 2002 and in the process constructed a custom decking and outdoor living company to serve the Springfield and Branson areas.
Michael Ormsby builds custom decks like this one in the Lexington Square subdivision in southeast Springfield. His company works in an 80-mile radius of Springfield.
The Deck Co.
Owner: Michael Ormsby
Address: 3203 S. Newton Ave., Springfield, MO 65807
Phone: (417) 818-9494
Fax: (417) 882-0174
Services/Products: Contractor for decks, fences and outdoor living products
2011 Revenues: $500,000
The Deck Co., owned and operated by Ormsby, specializes in composite and custom decks, and it went from grossing about $30,000 in its first year to nearly $500,000 in 2011 revenues. The company also builds fences and creates outdoor living areas, including kitchens, fire places, patios and landscaping.
Ormsby said the growth resulted from increasing client referrals, and being on HGTV three years ago and on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in January this year.
After the EF-5 tornado hit Joplin in May 2011, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” crews built seven houses in seven days for tornado victims. While the makeover crew focused on the houses, Ormsby says The Deck Co. built a deck for one of the homes.
Ormsby and his crew of 10, at the time, worked for 30 hours straight to complete the deck, says James Davison, Ormsby’s brother-in-law and supervisor of the company’s construction crews.
“There are a lot of people who can build a deck, but they can’t do it and be out of there and have the customer satisfied in a timely manner,” says Davison, whose crews can finish a deck in a day or two on average.
Andrew and Kim Weaver’s 800-square-foot cedar deck was completed in two days. The couple moved into a new Springfield home in fall 2011 and wanted to create a covered area on their back porch for their dog, Andrew Weaver says.
“There was no covered area in our backyard,” he says. “It was just a real small concrete slab, and we have a dog. Our No. 1 need wasn’t for a big deck, but we wanted a covered space.”
The Weavers worked with Ormsby to come up with a final design for their backyard that included a deck and a pergola to provide shade for their pet.
“It was really fast, and it was more than what I expected,” Kim Weaver says of the $7,900 custom job. “The detail that they did to build it – the edging of the corners and the design of it all – was way more than what I expected.”
Ormsby says The Deck Co. charges $10 per square foot for custom wood decks, $25 to $35 per square foot for custom composite decks and pricing on a case-by-case basis for exotic woods from Ecuador and South America.
In an average year, The Deck Co. builds about four decks a week, but Ormsby says this year the company is ahead of schedule building five to six decks a week with more than 100 decks built so far this spring and summer. He says the company is on pace to exceed 2011 revenues by 20 percent.
Ormsby says the next step for The Deck Co. is creating a maintenance program for completed projects.
“We’re moving into staining and sealing decks in our next phase,” he says. “Since we build (a couple hundred) decks a year, it’d be smart to build-up residual income by staining and sealing decks every two years after we build it.”
However, Ormsby has recognized a growing need for decking materials that don’t require as much upkeep, and he has added the option of composite materials.
“I’m pretty conscious about the products we use … and in my mind, Timber Tech’s the one that’s stood out – the best warranty, the best product, the best application,” Ormsby says.
Timber Tech sales representative Matt Gates has worked with The Deck Co. for six years, and he says Ormsby was looking for a product that would meet his standards for quality and provide his customers with the maintenance-free option they were looking for when he first approached the company.
“I think The Deck Co., at the time, was seeing that people were asking for more products, rather than just pressure-treated wood and cedar,” Gates says, describing the Timber Tech alternative product as a mixture of wood flour, resin and proprietary ingredients that combine to make a durable decking product that has a 25-year warranty.
“It’s nothing you’re going to have to be going out every year and restaining to last longer,” he says. “It’s not going to be rotting, or doing other things that typically wood does.”
With his most successful summer so far to date – more than 100 jobs this season already – Ormsby is looking to expand his business outside of the Springfield market, he says.
“I chose the name The Deck Co. so we could franchise out someday,” he says, citing northwest Arkansas, St. Louis and Kansas City as places identified for expansion in two to three years.