Onshore has assembled a clientele that includes PGA golfers, Céline Dion and Kid Rock.
By Alan Dorich
When Onshore Construction takes on a project, it puts itself in the position of its customers. “It’s about treating our clients the way we want to be treated both in day-to-day communications and keeping our clients appraised in the financial status of our projects,” owner and President Dan Reedy says.
Based in Jupiter, Fla., Onshore specializes in large custom estate homes in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Reedy has a longtime connection with the region. “My family always vacationed in this area,” he says, noting that he returned to Florida after graduating from college in 1982 and worked for two general contracting firms.
At the first company, Reedy helped build developments for the Palm Beach County School Board. At the second, he worked on a 20,000-square-foot house that was being built for an entrepreneur. “I did that for about four years,” he recalls.
The client helped Reedy get his own business started in 1993. “He had a beach house he wanted to build and a large office building he wanted to build out,” Reedy recalls.
Since then, Onshore has grown to employ a staff of approximately 40 and offers its clients a one-year warranty on their homes. “When a window or roof leaks, we take care of it,” he says, noting that the company often provides repairs even after the warranty has expired.
This helps nurture Onshore’s strong reputation among customers. “We’re in a bubble environment in Palm Beach County where bad news travels fast,” he says. “But so does good news.”
Homebuyers often tell others about the experiences they have with their builders, Reedy says. “We try to keep our clients in the position where it was a good process and in the end, it’s not a nightmare for them,” he explains.
Homes for the Stars
Onshore serves a base of well-known customers. “We have 20 PGA golfers we’ve built for,” Reedy says. “They tend to flock to this area because we’ve got a good airport, the weather, incredible golf facilities, the beaches and the fishing.”
The company’s clientele also includes music superstars Céline Dion and Kid Rock. “In the tennis world, we’re getting ready to hopefully start projects for Venus and Serena Williams,” he adds.
Wealthy entrepreneurs also turn to the company. “It’s a good place to live in South Florida,” Reedy says. “They don’t mind putting $20 million towards a home that can’t be taken away in a judgment due to favorable Florida homestead laws.”
Onshore is coping with increased construction costs. “Because we’re in a location geographically where it’s quite busy, labor costs seem to be climbing quite a bit,” Reedy says. “We try to reach out to adjacent markets to get some better labor figures for our projects.”
The local industry also is adjusting to a shortage of land to develop, which has led Onshore to focus on historical renovations. Recently, it completed one on Jupiter Island, Fla., that was originally built for the Bassett family, which has its roots in Bassett Furniture.
“They were some of the original settlers on Jupiter Island,” he adds, noting that these projects are popular on the island, as well as in the town of Palm Beach. “About 95 percent of our projects start with the demolition of an existing structure.”
Onshore Construction is seeing a turnaround in what clients are looking for in their homes. Previously, clients in Florida largely sought Mediterranean-style designs with clay barrel-tile rooftops.
“Just recently, the trend has changed to contemporary architecture,” he says, noting that this is popular among entrepreneurs and celebrities, including professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who had the features incorporated in his home in Jupiter, Fla.
“That’s what you need to build to sell,” Reedy says. “People don’t want the Mediterranean look at this time, even though it’s timeless.”
Some of the contemporary features, he notes, include porcelain tiles. “Those in the past have been a bit looked down upon, but porcelain has come a long way,” he says, noting that the company has installed up to 40 pieces in its clients’ homes.
Onshore’s use of glass also has increased. Because the homes are in a high-wind zone area due to hurricanes, “We use a lot of impact glass,” Reedy says. “It’s designed to withstand 160-mile winds and coconuts that can fly through the air like missiles in hurricanes.”
Built to Last
Reedy is proud of Onshore and its longevity in the industry. “General contracting firms are like restaurants,” he says. “They tend to come and go.”
But after 24 years, “I have ended up with a lot of friends,” Reedy says, noting that many of his previous clients have become close associates. “That’s probably the biggest thing I’m proud of.”
He also highlights Onshore’s culture. “We care about our clients, and because of that, we’ve steadily grown from a company that started out with myself and one secretary to where we are now,” he says.
Thanks to its reputation, “We don’t need to advertise a lot,” he says, noting that this helped the company survive the recession. “We’re proud of the fact that our work typically comes to us through word of mouth.”
Reedy predicts the company will stay busy as more choose to retire in Florida, away from the cold weather conditions in cities such as New York City or Chicago. “They go here,” Reedy says. “Our location is pretty unique.”