Brush Arbor Home Construction LLC
Brush Arbor Homes considers it a privilege to build homes for clients in Northern Virginia.
By Alan Dorich
When Brush Arbor Home Construction LLC works with a customer, it maintains a direct line of communication. President Jonathan Smith says, “Every customer has my cell number – it makes a huge difference in distinguishing us from our competitors.”
That personal approach has paid off for Brush Arbor.
The company specializes in building custom homes in Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. A native of Loudoun County, Va., where the office is located, Smith started Brush Arbor in 2007 after gaining extensive industry experience.
He began by building homes in East Africa and South America, which made an impact on how he manages his company today. “It humbled me and translated to how Brush Arbor treats our customers, employees and subcontractors,” Smith says.
“When you see what people in third-world countries do every day just to survive, it changes your view on everything. It made me realize how fortunate I am to have opportunities available to me. God gave me these opportunities to try and bless others.”
Smith returned to the states and won numerous awards while building for NV Homes. These included the NV Corporate Customer Service Award and the Virginia South Project Manager of the Year. Ultimately, Smith decided to start his own company after he saved $10,000.
“I just decided to go for it,” he recalls, noting that he very quickly lined up a job afterward. “I thought it would pay the bills for six months, but it only paid for three.”
Over time, Smith grew Brush Arbor through referrals. Since its modest beginnings, “We have grown quite a bit,” he says, noting that the company expects to build 15 homes in 2016.
Brush Arbor has established itself as one of the more unique, premier custom builders in Northern Virginia. “Our relationships with customers drive the numbers, not vice versa,” Smith adds. “I often hear from clients that our competitors sometimes give the impression that they’re doing the customer a favor in building their house.
“We consider it a privilege to be able to build beautiful homes,” Smith continues. “We take a service-oriented approach and try to maintain a humble attitude.”
Brush Arbor is enjoying strong business in the area, especially Arlington, McLean and Vienna. “People want high-end, quality custom homes,” he says.
Recently, buyers have placed more emphasis on the lot, rather than the size of the house. “People are more concerned about low maintenance, great location and utilization of outdoor space,” Smith notes. “We’re fully custom, so we allow the customer to do anything they want.”
If customers request changes during the construction process, Brush Arbor makes sure to communicate the time and cost consequences those alterations incur. “It’s all documented and executed through our client portal,” Smith asserts.
“[They can see] any change-orders as well as any cost transactions, so there are never any surprises,” he says. “We also have a set number of meetings throughout construction to communicate about the project.”
Smith is proud of Brush Arbor, which also has completed projects outside of the United States. “To date, we’ve built over 30 houses overseas in third world countries,” he says. “For every house we build here, we build at least one overseas with our partners in Central America and Africa.”
He also praises his associates. “They’re all real team players, concerned for the customer and have a really great work ethic,” he says.
The company keeps close through biweekly meetings. Thanks to this approach “We’ve never once had a principal quit the company,” Smith says. “I treat them how I would want to be treated. Our employees love what they do and feel invested in the homes, the customers and each other.
“We use a servant-leadership approach,” he says. “No matter who has what title, it’s your job to serve and do what you can to make others successful. It makes the team tighter and more cohesive so we deliver a much better project.”
Brush Arbor plans to stay on its current path, Smith says. “We’ll continue what we’re doing, which is doing right by the customer in each and every situation without compromise,” he says.
With this approach, “The growth has followed,” he says. “It’s important to look at more than just growth or sales goals. In business, financials can take precedence over people and that’s not what I’m after.”
Smith sums it up by saying, “If you focus on doing the right thing and treating people the right way, the growth and sales are a natural outflow of that over time.”