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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 26, 2019 5 months ago

Building a business from the ground up

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Paul Beattie founded Beattie Development of Cape Coral during the recession as a one-man renovation company. Vertical integration takes it to the next level of full-scale neighborhood development.
by: Andrew Warfield Lee-Collier Editor

When he was 13 years old, Paul Beattie told his parents he wanted to grow up to be a home builder, his interest piqued by helping is father build their family home in Upstate New York from the ground up.

His ambition never wavered.

First, while pursuing a degree in construction science at Clemson University, Beattie parlayed two summer internships in Southwest Florida with national builder Centex into a full-time job offer awaiting his graduation. By 2009, at age 28, he ventured on his own, starting Beattie Development as a one-man remodeling firm in the throes of the recession.

'I set my goals way high, but 10 years ago I would never expect I would have almost 50 employees encompassing several companies and have the kind of team around me that when I wake up every morning I have to pinch myself.' Paul Beattie, Beattie Development

“When the market started to turn, I said, ‘why not try?’ against the wishes of a lot of people who thought I was nuts,” recalls Beattie, sitting poolside on the lanai of his model home in the long-dormant Remington Oaks neighborhood in the Buckingham community of northeast Lee County.

A decade later, Cape Coral-based Beattie Development is a full-service custom and semi-custom home builder and remodeling firm with nearly 50 employees across five divisions. Early on Beattie made a key move, recognizing the need to vertically integrate to compete with larger remodeling firms and homebuilders. So he started a cabinet division and a real estate division, and most recently purchased a granite company and plumbing company en route to his goal of bringing in-house — and to no longer outsource — all aspects of home construction, from foundation to rooftop.

Already a general contractor, licensed remodeler and licensed plumber, the 38-year-old Beattie has now set his sights on earning electrical and roofing certifications. Along the way, Beattie says he has grown the company 20-fold in 10 years.

“I set my goals way high," says Beattie, "but 10 years ago I would never expect I would have almost 50 employees encompassing several companies and have the kind of team around me that when I wake up every morning I have to pinch myself.”

Declining to disclose specific revenues, Beattie says the company has averaged annual growth of 20% to 40% over the past three years, projecting 40% growth in 2019.

Primarily an on-your-lot builder, Beattie has focused on central and northern Lee County, largely in Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands and into southern Charlotte County. The 36 remaining vacant lots he controls in Remington Oaks, in partnership with Fort Myers-based Land Solutions, which purchased the failed Ryland Homes property during the recession, represent Beattie Development’s first subdivision project.

Homes in the neighborhood start at around $400,000 with one-acre lots and larger. Outside of Remington Oaks, Beattie’s homes start at just less than $200,000 to more than $1 million.

Paul Beattie has built Beattie Development from a one-man remodeling operation to a full-service homebuilding, remodeling and subcontracting company. JimJett.com photo

Beattie considers Remington Oaks an incubator of sorts for similar projects, possibly also in partnership with Land Solutions. “That 40- to 60-home development is where I want to be,” says Beattie. “Unfortunately, there is not a lot of raw land out there. All the big national builders bought it up at the bottom and they are holding onto it, so it’s hard to find tracts like this. That's why I felt this was a perfect opportunity to get started.”

Beattie built his business largely on referrals, reputation, networking and hands-on experience. He secured his first new home clients while making a repair in their previous home. 

“The first home I built on my own started with a $50 drywall repair for a couple, and I noticed a floor plan in their home,” says Beattie. “I asked them if they were going to build a new home and, eight months later, they moved into the new house I built for them. That got the ball rolling because they let me hold open houses and parties there and to use their home as a makeshift model.”

Today, Beattie has two models, including a second on Chiquita Boulevard in Cape Coral. He is exploring opportunities for another niche development to start as soon as this year. By the end of the year, he plans to open a showroom for the remodeling division in Naples. It’s all part of his diversification plan to provide jobs during any economic condition.

His staff is built on youth. Some key front office personnel are as young as 22, most of them younger than 35. The intent is to build a long-term, dedicated team by attracting and keeping employees with a family-style culture.

“I'm all about culture,” says Beattie “My family values have influenced the culture I want to build. I know when I get out of bed in the morning I’m not just going to work for my family, I’m going to work for the 40-some other peoples’ families and I want all of my employees to feel the same way.”

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