When an architect is designing a client’s dream home, they want to know the person who builds it will care as deeply about the project as they do. Home Enrichment Co. shares in that enthusiasm by viewing its work as a craft. “If you think of our crew as artists building your home, then you know who we are,” Client Relations Specialist Aimee Rich says. “We’re not somebody who wants to slap something together and move on to the next house.”
Quality is the highest priority for Home Enrichment and the foundation on which the company has built its reputation. Even if it eats into profits, Home Enrichment will pay to have the work done right. “We’re constantly watching quality control and addressing things before it even goes to the architect,” Rich says.
Those quality standards have allowed Home Enrichment to thrive for nearly 30 years. Josh Rich, Aimee’s husband, started in the construction industry in the mid-’80s. After six months working for another firm, he left to form his own company. “I felt like I could do a better job even though I was only 20-21 then,” he says.
The company started small but had a desire to work on complete custom home projects. Prior to the Great Recession, Home Enrichment focused on one job at a time. All of the company’s woodworkers would be on site together reviewing each and every detail.
But the implosion of the housing market in the late-2000s changed how Home Enrichment approached its projects. Having its entire team at one location extended the building time and added to costs. Instead, Josh Rich began spreading his team out among two to three simultaneous projects. “We had to do multiple jobs to conform to the new economy,” he explains.
Since its founding in 1987, Home Enrichment has completed more than 30 complex renovations or homes primarily in the Westchester County and Hudson Valley areas in New York. The company largely relies on client-based recommendations to secure its jobs, and often does not even have to bid on projects. “Our work is strictly referral,” Josh Rich says. Those referrals have continued to come in because of how Home Enrichment builds relationships with the other project leaders. The company sees itself as one corner of the decision-making triangle along with the architect and owner.
Home Enrichment concentrates on high-end projects that take as long as two years to complete. Since changing its strategy during the recession to complete more projects, the company each year typically undertakes two homes valued at $2 million and one or two smaller jobs in the $500,000 range.
To ensure Home Enrichment’s strict standards are met, the company has at least one of its own supervisors on site at all times. “The jobs are all managed by a master carpenter,” Josh Rich says. Once the structure is framed, Home Enrichment’s own team completes the finishing work itself. “Anything that is complicated and has a lot of detail is right up our alley,” Josh Rich says. “We’re paid for our ability to execute these complex projects.
“We work closely with architects to insure all of their details are executed perfectly,“ he adds.
The recession may have made Home Enrichment adjust its business model, but the increasing workload has also given the company opportunities to build relationships with more architects. Those new relationships allowed Home Enrichment to prove themselves to a larger pool of architects and homeowners, growing the company’s reputation.
“To survive, you always have to have that potential of meeting someone new,” Aimee Rich says. “But the people we work with often come back to us because they know the quality of work they’re going to get.” Josh and Aimee Rich have found the architects they work best with are the ones that communicate well and have a desire to be involved throughout the project. “We want an architect that is as excited as we are to build someone’s home,” Aimee Rich says.
The long-term relationships Home Enrichment depends on to secure work also extends to its subcontractors. Many of the businesses in Home Enrichment’s stable of subcontractors have worked with the company for more than 20 years. Home Enrichment relies on those companies for each project, typically only bringing in an unknown subcontractor when the homeowner insists.
New subcontractors can be a challenge, Aimee Rich says, because if they don’t meet Home Enrichment’s standards they can cause frustration. “It’s a team effort when you work with our company,” Aimee Rich explains. “Who we work with knows what we expect.”
Subcontractors that understand the way Home Enrichment works help the company deliver on the features clients want in their homes. Josh Rich says homeowners today demand greater efficiency and larger kitchens. “They seem to grow every year we’re in business,” he says of the latter. As a high-end homebuilder, Home Enrichment often is tasked with installing the latest and most luxurious amenities, from stone exteriors and commercial-grade appliances to floor warming tile and extravagant wine cellars.
After 29 years spent leading his own company, Josh Rich says he is most proud of how Home Enrichment’s work ethic has developed as well as its continuity. Three of the company’s seven employees have been with Home Enrichment for more than 20 years. Even the two newest employees are in their fourth years at the company.
Despite that wealth of seasoned experience, there are no plans to expand the company at this time.
“We’d rather deliver a product that’s something not a lot of people would get anymore rather than compromise and turn over more projects,” Aimee Rich explains. “We want to work for people who really want quality and don’t want to compromise on that.”