This week, in our “Women’s History Month” blog series, Radiant Plumbing & Air Conditioning was lucky to speak with Lynda, a custom residential builder and entrepreneur in Austin, TX.
Meet Lynda – Custom Residential Builder
Radiant: What got you interested in building to begin with? And how did you go about getting your foot in the door?
Lynda: “Well, my husband and I are both college graduates in the teaching profession. As we were raising our family, our salaries just weren’t enough for us to have what we wanted to have for our kids. My husband, who has carpentry experience in his family because his grandfather was a master carpenter, was pretty good with DIY things. So, when we needed a table, he would make us one. Our kids would need bunk beds and he made them….so then we decided ‘Why don’t we just build our own house’. Overtime, people and friends started catching on to what we were doing and began to ask ‘Can you build something for me?’. We started realizing, we were going to make more money doing that than in teaching.”
Lynda’s husband, left the teaching profession about 12 years ago. He went to pursue his aspirations of starting a business for residential building. Lynda decided to take the leap 4 years ago and left her teaching career to start working on their entrepreneurial efforts.
Radiant: What was the deciding factor to make the 100% switch?
Lynda: “You know, see a need, fill a need. We wanted to be able to provide a good service to other people. We just wanted to be good people working in the trade, and help others get the home of their dreams.”
Radiant : When you decided to put all of your efforts into your building career, what was the response that some of your family and peers gave you? Did you get any feedback?
Lynda: “Um, I think some of them thought it was great. Some of them thought it was daring to leave a stable paycheck and start a business. They thought, ‘Like wow y’all are crazy. To leave your job and start a business?’ [laughs]. But our parents and our family members had a lot of pride in us and they’re happy for us.”
Radiant: When you started working in this trade, where there any significantly different challenges you came across?
Lynda: “I didn’t really get anyone treating me different, but I could tell when I started talking to people or really started talking about building a house, they would look at me and say ‘What? You know this stuff?’ [laughs]. We also found that going from a regular paycheck to becoming self employed, your work is never over. You’re never really off when you own your own business. During the day I might be working with customers or scheduling or making a site visit, and then at night I work on our books and handling the business side.”
Radiant: How were you able to overcome the challenge of starting your own building business and trying to get things rolling?
Lynda: “Starting the business was a little challenging at first. I mean, definitely there were some learning curves. We were able to get with investors who needed our services. We didn’t have to look to the public or the consumer to start since we were getting a constant stream of houses to build from this investor.”
Radiant: So tell me, what would you say to all of the other women who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, builder, or that just want to jump into a trade?
Lynda: “I’d tell them that it’s a rough business, but communication is key, whether its with your clients or with the other tradesmen. You should always make communication your #1 priority. You have to communicate with customer and your bank in order for things to work properly.”
Lynda is currently the owner of a successful residential building company in Austin, TX. She and her husband plan to continue growing her business to be able to provide a good, honest service to the people in the community.
Visit any of our other “Women in the Trades” articles to read more about the skilled women that work in these various disciplines..
- Alexis – The Apprentice Plumber
- Deborah – The Commercial Electrician
- Catherine – The Commercial Painter
- Marie – The Commercial Rectrician