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Dan Ryan Builders


The past 20 years have not been easy on the construction industry. The home construction segment, in particular, has had a bumpy ride these past two decades. From housing booms to bursting bubbles, the segment has gone up and down, rattling even the most solid companies along the way.

However, for Dan Ryan Builders, the past two decades have been profitable. According to Dan Ryan, president, the operation has seen increases in settled homes every year for the past 17 years. As the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, Ryan credits his company’s success to a unique operational strategy that has withstood the stress of today’s market.

An Educated Entry

Dan Ryan the individual knows a thing or two about the construction industry. The Ryan name has been synonymous with construction since the 1940s – Ryan’s grandfather, uncle, father and two brothers each owned a construction firm. As the fifth member of the Ryan construction clan, Dan Ryan’s operation specializes in the construction of single- and multifamily homes.

As a result of his background in the industry, Ryan was able to make his business flourish. “We’ve grown from a small, local residential homebuilder to a pretty large regional homebuilder,” he says. “This past year, we were the 66th largest homebuilder in the country.”

Dan Ryan Builders has projects in communities ranging from rural settings to metropolitan developments in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina. As Ryan explains, his company has grown over the years as a result of dedication to customer service and quality construction.

“We focus on doing the little things extremely well,” he says. “We’re never going to be a pioneer in design and innovation, but we are fanatical about doing the right thing and doing the small things extremely well.”

Staying Strong

Dan Ryan Builders possesses a unique blend of business DNA that has enabled it to stay agile in an industry that often shifts quickly from prosperous to perilous. “We’re large enough to be a well capitalized company, and our systems are strong enough that we can really control how we run this business,” Ryan notes. “It’s a nice combination of the personal touch you get from a smaller company, yet we have the strong systems that you see in larger companies.”

It is the intimate feel of a small company that has attracted 20 years’ worth of homebuyers, even as the company has grown in size, strength and capabilities. “Our customers still get that personal attention,” Ryan states. “With us, they’re not just a number. I think it gives us a real competitive advantage to any of our competition.”

In terms of customer service, Dan Ryan Builders has a unique company motto: “Build every home as if we were going to live in it ourselves.” The company says it builds homes with quality products and craftsmanship. When a home is completed, Dan Ryan Builders will follow up with responsive service, should a homeowner need it.

“Homeowner satisfaction is our top priority and, immediately following settlement, we supply owners with a phone number they can call for prompt, professional service,” the company explains. “We make every effort to respond within 24 hours and handle emergency calls immediately.”

Dan Ryan Builders also has been able to stay ahead of the competition during the past several years by following some interesting advice once given to the company’s president. “Keep your powder dry,” Ryan says. “Don’t get too overextended in your land purchases.”

According to Ryan, five years ago homebuilders were under the assumption that the more land lots a business had under contract and owned, the better. “Now, it’s just the opposite,” he says. “The less land and the fewer lots you own, the better. It really puts into perspective how risky the homebuilding business really is.”

The advice to stay small with regard to land purchases proved to be invaluable for Dan Ryan and his business, especially as the housing bubble inflated beyond anyone’s expectations. “As an industry, we were lulled to sleep thinking that land would continue to appreciate at unreasonable levels,” he explains.“Those economics don’t work. Sooner or later, the bubble was going to burst, and it exploded.”

As the housing construction industry continues to get its bearings after the bubble burst, it’s business as usual for Dan Ryan Builders.

The company enjoyed success through out tough economic times as a result of its dedication to customer service, quality construction and by keeping the industry in perspective. With this business model firmly in place, Dan Ryan Builders says it is set for another 20 years of success.

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