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Business Observer Monday, May 30, 2022 3 weeks ago

Custom homebuilder plots growth amid industry obstacles

Bill Reiman and his siblings grew up in the family construction business. Now they’re guiding the Marco Island company into the future — with their father’s lessons paramount.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributor

As a kid, Bill Reiman spent plenty of time on the sports field. But he could also often be found hard at work learning from his father, Keith, who owned a custom homebuilding company in Illinois before founding R.K. Reiman Construction on Marco Island in 1995.

“I always had to work for my dad growing up,” says Reiman, 35. “So I was always that one after football practice where everyone would go and hang out, and I would have to go and work for my dad.”

Keith taught Bill and his siblings, Bobby and Jenna, both construction skills and life lessons. “My dad instilled in us that we had to work for what we wanted in life,” says Reiman. “That was how he was raised, and he raised us the same way.”

"I’m a big believer in give, give, give. The more you give people and the more value you give to people, the more you’re going to gain their trust and they’ll want to build with you." — Bill Reiman, R.K. Reiman Construction

Now that the siblings are essentially running the show at custom homebuilder R.K. Reiman Construction — Bill is vice president and director of construction, Bobby is vice president and project manager, Jenna is the financial officer and dad Keith is more of an advisor these days —the value of that youthful work experience has become clear.

“Construction has always been a part of my life since I was little kid, and I’ve said that it was always a love-hate thing at first,” says Reiman. “Because when you’re younger and your friends are out having fun and you’ve got to go to work, you’re not too thrilled about it. … But now I look back and I’m grateful for that, because it taught me so much of the business that a lot of people who are in it now would never know unless they went through that. I actually had to do all the things and learn the business from the ground up, and it gives you a lot more appreciation and respect for it.”

Building custom, luxury homes is no joke these days in a red-hot real estate market challenged by supply chain constraints and rising materials prices. “The downside of construction is you’re always on your toes, especially in the economy and world of today where product isn’t the easiest to get,” says Reiman. “I sometimes feel more like a counselor or shrink trying to talk about what’s going on with price increases. I’m on the phone quite a bit, but because I gain trust with the clients, a lot of them do trust me.”

Communication plays a major role in developing that trust. “It’s one of the most important things, especially in custom homebuilding, that you communicate throughout the whole entire process no matter what,” says Reiman. “If you miss something, one little thing can turn into a big thing. So we make sure everything that comes across our desk is communicated with the client, signed off on, double checked and approved.”

Marco Island-based R.K. Reiman Construction, run by Bill Reiman, has seven employees and expects to close $16 to $18 million in contracts in 2022. (Photo by Stefania Pifferi)

Being able to relay and soften the blow of not-so-great news is also vital. “I always make sure that if there is an increase [in price], I have proof of it and don’t just say, ‘The price went up, sorry,’” he says. “I explain the situation to them and go as far as I can to make them understand it. We are in a difficult world, but a lot of people are understanding because you can turn on the TV and see what we’re all facing.”

Despite the current challenges, Reiman loves working with clients to create their dream homes. “These are visions that people had when they were younger and worked their butts off to get to that we’re bringing to life,” he says. “You care about these people, and you want to deliver a superior product to them. I like working with people and seeing their faces once we do deliver the product, and they see how above and beyond we really do go. Our dad taught us that since we were kids, that you want to over-deliver on everything.”

R.K. Reiman Construction primarily builds on Marco Island but is hoping to expand its presence in the Naples area. “We’re so busy on Marco right now, but in the future once we catch up down here, we want to make that push and keep expanding,” says Reiman. He also wants to grow the company’s real estate arm, Reiman Properties, and add a design branch. Building in another part of the state, like Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, is also a possibility.

The company has seven employees and expects to close $16 to $18 million in contracts in 2022 and a similar amount in 2023. And despite the hot market and the firm’s busy building schedule, Reiman still does plenty of marketing via online content, videos and a podcast, where he often explains how things are built or answers common client questions.

“I’m a big believer in give, give, give,” he says. “The more you give people and the more value you give to people, the more you’re going to gain their trust and they’ll want to build with you.”

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