Gold Style Homes is a multiple award winning boutique builder with a well-deserved reputation for quality workmanship and reliability. They measure their success not in terms of quantity, but rather in terms of excellence in design and building construction. They strive to deliver that excellence with every home they build.
“We’re the best,” says Director Wayne Barber. “That’s the same thing everybody else says, but we mean it. We’re not the cheapest builder. We don’t claim to be the cheapest price. We only have three supervisors, and we only build 70 to 80 homes a year – but every supervisor we have is an award winning supervisor, and we build every home as if we are building it for ourselves.”
“We have pride in every single home,” he continues. “A lot of building companies are like sausage machines. They might have 20 to 30 supervisors, and there may be 10 that are good. It’s a gamble to get a good product. With us, we have a guarantee that every product is built to the same high standard.”
Barber is an experienced developer with a diversified integrated property and investment group. His land development company has been running since 1985, which was when he followed his father into the business. Gold Style Homes was incorporated in 2003, partially to construct the homes Barber and his team were developing. More than that, though, it was founded to simply build nice homes.
Today, roughly 50 per cent of the projects they do are projects they own, which has accounted for the diversity and complexity of their portfolio. Gold Style Homes has worked on cottages, small and narrow lots, multiple group dwellings, land sub divisions, light commercial works and has also done work for departments of the Government. In terms of projects for the public, their central market is upper to upper-middle market two-storey homes.
When it comes to customer service – no matter who their client is – they “bend over backwards to make them happy,” Barber says. “We make sure they get what they want.”
They also give their clients access. At any time, a customer can pick up the phone and talk to a General Manager, and if they have a design issue they can come in and sit down with the head designer – who Gold Style Homes employs in-house. That kind of personalised service can be lacking at larger companies.
Despite the fact that they have only been building for the public for roughly three years, Barber reports that they have already seen clients come back to build again, or send their friends and relatives their way. “Companies live and die by repeat business and word of mouth, and our word of mouth is very strong,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve had anyone ever complain to me.”
The right people for the job
Gold Style Homes employs 14 staff in-house, and Barber describes the company’s relationship with that team as excellent. As is their relationship with subcontractors and suppliers, he adds. “The trades are everything. It’s important you get the right people.”
“We’re very picky about who we employ on our sites,” he says. “We’re always looking for good trades, and looking after them when we get them.” Gold Style Homes will even hold jobs until the trades they want are available, rather than use a different trade that was subpar.
With the mining industry in Western Australia “pumping enormous money,” it can be difficult for builders to hold on to high quality subcontractors, Barber says. Gold Style Homes have managed it by fostering positive, long-lasting relationships with the people they work with – and by paying them more than the industry standards. “We pay our workers more, and we expect more from them.”
Award winning excellence
Gold Style Homes and their commitment to excellence have been rewarded by the industry over and over again. Both the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry of Australia have given Gold Style Homes’ projects numerous awards – in 2012 alone, the company won six MBA awards.
“We value it tremendously,” says Barber of the industry recognition. “It’s kind of unusual because we’re not a big company, but at the last MBA Awards we won more awards than any other building company, including companies that build 1000’s of homes.”
“We’ve always known we’re very good,” he adds. “But to be recognised like that is kind of amazing.”
The six award winning homes in 2012 were not even exceptional homes among Gold Style’s portfolio. “They were just six homes we built for clients,” Barber explains. “There’s nothing different from those six homes than anything we do. We produce every single home like it’s an award winning entry.”
The key to achieving that kind of quality is hard to define, Barber says. He does know that the supervisors have to love what they are doing – and at Gold Style Homes they all do. “If they don’t love it, it comes through in the final product,” he says. “Our supervisors are absolute professionals and they love doing what they’re doing. They love the look in the client’s eyes when they deliver the project.”
Moving forward, Gold Style Homes wants to continue delivering that design and service excellence. Growth wise, Barber says they want to increase their turnover a bit, but not a lot more. “We never want to become a big project builder,” he says. “We would love to expand up to about $30 million a year, which wouldn’t stretch our capacity to deliver the same results. Once you beyond that, you have to introduce another tier of infrastructure, with more trades and more supervisors and diminished results.”
“There’s no major strategy to take over the world,” Barber says in conclusion. “We just want to see Gold Style producing the same quality, and building beautiful homes for people.”