Snellman Construction has built a reputation in its market as a custom homebuilder that puts all of its focus on every project that it takes on. By Eric Slack
A fourth-generation family business, Snellman Construction strives to build the homes that its buyers are looking for. Building dreams since 1965, the company has built its reputation in Connecticut for practical, functional and creative homes, building in a wide variety of price ranges, styles and project types.
“Throughout our history, we’ve done everything from single-family residential homes to multifamily projects,” Vice President John Snellman Jr. says. “Over time, we have been moving toward the luxury custom home market.”
The Right Balance
Snellman Construction is not focused on taking on every job that comes its way. Instead, it handles a small number of projects to ensure high quality. Snellman or his father, principal John Snellman Sr., are on site or within a short drive of each of the company’s projects every day.
“Once people meet us and learn our process, they see that this is our passion,” Snellman says. “We want to make this process as fun and easy as possible for our clients. We focus on finding the right budget and sticking to it while providing outstanding customer service.”
Helping Snellman Construction on its projects are a number of subcontractors and vendors, many of which the company has worked with for years. For example, the company’s plumbing subcontractor has worked with Snellman for more than 30 years, while other subcontractors are brought in and out as jobs move along.
“We know the subcontractor base that we have and make sure they know how we operate,” Snellman says. “We are very fair, and we try to be problem preventers, not problem solvers from the start. We have a core base of subcontractors, many of which work together on multiple projects. We put a huge emphasis on the team aspect of our business. We focus on finding the best people to work on projects, and when we bring these people in we want to make sure they understand the importance of the Snellman team approach.”
On its past few custom projects, Snellman has worked with people who have found success in life and were looking to build the homes where they could spend the rest of their lives. On its most recent project, the company included elements such as an elevator and a curbless shower, as those were the kinds of things the buyer anticipated needing later in life.
“We can look through different ideas and help define the game plan,” Snellman says. “It is important to think about functionality, we look into what people want for now and could potentially need in the future. Home automation green technology and practical integration are all items that clients are looking for when designing a home. People want to be able to control everything from their HVAC and sound systems to hot tubs and power blinds.”
By thinking ahead on these kinds of elements, Snellman can anticipate what people want. Its most recent project also saw a buyer that said they only wanted speakers wired into two rooms. Snellman suggested a whole house prewire so the homeowners could add onto the speaker system at a later time with ease. This proved fortuitous not long after project completion when the buyer decided they wanted speakers wired throughout the house.
“Forward thinking on our part allows us to understand what people want,” Snellman says. “We stay on top of everything taking place in the industry. Aesthetically, many people want modern contemporary design, while other want more ornate styles. We must be able to see the entire spectrum of what is trending now and what remains timeless.”
For Snellman, continued success comes down to finding the right price points. The company is focused on custom projects, but it also has its eyes on select spec opportunities because not everyone wants a high-end custom home. “Some people may want a smaller footprint with more efficient use of space,” Snellman says.
The company also sees that today’s buyers remain cost conscious, and Snellman prides itself on strong relationships with vendors and subcontractors that help it to control costs. In the end, the company is always learning and working to keep up with what kinds of homes people are looking for and what they are aiming to spend, developing its model to make it work for the market.
“This is our livelihood,” Snellman says. “We’ve been around for more than 50 years, and we want to propel our company to the next level by showing people what the Snellman experience is all about, classic craftsmanship with today’s luxury in mind.”