Arian Azarbar - Real Estate Investor, Bobois Townhouse Montreal

Arian Azarbar is a real estate developer who also manufactures and creates new construction materials and technologies to streamline the development process. He is diligent in his work processes and builds 200-300 homes a year. Many of those homes and townhouses constructed are located in South America. He also has manufacturing companies in Columbia, Venezuela, Canada, and Montreal.  His companies manufacture light construction homes and composite structures with light cement. Arian Azarbar is noted for developing a unique construction system that he uses for social housing; it caters to the housing deficit in this country. The system is actually in huge demand internationally.

Arian Azarbar works with various governments and in close quarters with the City of Montreal to help with the development of the social housing program which addresses the needs of low-income residents. He also handles road construction and electrical work for the city. Currently, he is working on Project Bobois which is located in LaSalle and consists of 122 homes. It’s a green construction project located in a rural area and is situated right next to a quiet park area.  They also handle their land development, sewers, architectural, and engineering planning. He knows that with him taking care of all the manufacturing needs of the real estate he can pass on the savings to his customers. He takes pride in knowing that his customers are getting great value for their investment.

How did you get started in this business and what inspired you to start?

My father worked in the manufacturing industry, and he owned a factory that manufactured electrical panels. I would tag along with him to his business every so often, and I was amused at everything that I saw going on in the factory. My father played a significant role in my life, and I always told him one day I would grow up to be just like him. I said to him I would own my own business someday and run it just like him. That is what I aspired to do. Now, here I am, the proud owner of my businesses which has made my father very proud.

How do you make money?

I am a land developer, and I make money by selling my property units. I also provide my services to other land developers in the industry. I manufacture for my own projects and do the same for other companies, that is pretty much how I keep the ball rolling. I always have various projects that I am continuously working on, so profits are coming in from those. It’s a rinse and repeat kind of process to keep the income flowing.

How long did it take you to become profitable?

When I first got started with my business, it didn’t take me long at all to become profitable. I had a vision which I then turned into a project. Once the project was complete, it began generating income immediately. I got lucky in that department because there is usually a waiting period or a lot of adjustments that have to go on before an entrepreneur ever turn any profit. So, that one project kick-started my career and business has been booming ever since.

Starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work and if so, how did you handle that?

Yes, absolutely! I did have my doubts when I first started out because there were regulations set in place in regards to entrepreneurship in South America. There were some hurdles that we had to get through to run our operation. International financing and insurance bonds for our government contracts were some of the difficulties that we ran into at startup. To overcome that issue, we had to contract with a major international developer that had a track record in the industry.

How did you get your first customer?

I obtained my first customer through working with the government. I was working with the government before I began working in the private sector. My first customer was acquired while I was working in social housing for the city. To get that customer, I had to be constant and persistent; I never accepted no for an answer. My strategy was powerful. Sometimes you have to consistently knock on the same doors over and over until you receive the result that you desire. Entrepreneurship is not for the meek at heart. You have to be a go-getter and continually challenge yourself.

What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

The marketing strategies that I started out with included paper marketing strategies such as, newspapers and banners. However, with the growth of technology, effective marketing strategies have shifted, and social media is our primary marketing strategy these days. The cost of social media marketing strategies is just a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing techniques. However, it will bring in more clients than conventional marketing. I think it’s fantastic that we are in an era where we can take advantage of the convenience of technology to grow a company. In earlier years we had to invest a hefty percentage of profits for marketing, but now we can spend less and get a larger response from our marketing efforts. It’s beyond amazing and very beneficial to our business.

What is the toughest decision that you’ve had to make in the last few months? 

The toughest decision that I’ve had to make is converting the project that we worked very hard on, which happened to be a condominium. At that time, townhouse market wasn’t as stimulating as the housing market, and I had to rezone the project to a low-income housing area which in turn, decreased revenues. However, it turned out to be a great decision because ultimately the project moved faster and was completed rather quickly, thus we were able to move on to the next project in record time. It’s mindful to be prepared for a change in this industry, being adaptable is an absolute must.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I am successful because I am persistent. I have worked with German companies in the past, and the Germans value persistence. I have learned that you must be consistent when working to achieve goals. Germans have a whole different business culture and set of values. There are numerous rules, regulations, and processes that they follow and they never deal with uncertainty. So, everything has to be structured and governed by regulations. I think this is why international business thrives at the rate in which it does. So, I have learned some great success strategies and techniques from that culture.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moment in business for me is when you take the vision that you put on paper and have that come to a realization. It’s kind of like having a baby in a sense. From the moment you conceive, that is what consumes your mind. Everything is based on the moment that newborn baby arrives so you start planning, making sure you have the right clothes, crib, toys and everything in place for the arrival. Once that baby is born, it’s your proudest moment; you feel accomplished. That’s exactly how it feels when your dreams come true, you’ve birthed your ideas into the world.

What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?

The future for me includes expanding my business into the restaurant and hotel industries. I especially want to develop my ventures in Turkey and South America where electricity is very expensive; we are talking more than double the cost in Canada. I want the cost to be more efficient. The cost of air conditioning in condominiums and houses in the Bahamas could cost as much as $1500 a month, but if there is an energy efficient structure one could reduce costs drastically. Paying that amount for a utility bill is like paying a mortgage payment, which is utterly ridiculous. This is one of my major concerns and something I look forward to remedying soon.

What business books inspired you?

One of my favorite books is, “The Art of War,” by Sun Tzu. I use this book as a business strategy for myself. It’s a well-written read that is a must for anyone who is a craftsman and likes to be hands-on with their work. The author gives a vivid and diverse perspective on how we see the manufactured and designed things in this world and expands upon how the quality of our environment is dependent upon the concept. It’s a real eye-opener that I would highly recommend.

What is a recent purchase that you’ve made that has helped with your business?

I’ve recently purchased software called Bluebeam. Its purpose is to synchronize my architectural and engineering clients, as well as, all the changes that take place. It effortlessly transfers information from projects to each party that works on any particular project. This eliminates the coordination of email because changes and updates are automatically performed through the software. It’s pretty amazing and comes in handy when you are dealing with many projects and trying to keep up with all the various changes that happen on a daily basis. It really makes life that much easier.

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