Hillan Homes, a home building company based out of Birmingham, Michigan, is currently under the leadership of Patrick Raye. As President, Patrick has personally overseen the design and construction of thousands of homes over the course of his 24-year career at the company. Each home is designed to the customer’s specifications and they are free to pick whatever materials they like for different areas of the house.
Patrick has always been drawn to construction because of his involvement with his family’s business. Working with Hillan Homes, Patrick is able to create 100% unique, energy-efficient homes for clients across the state. He ensures that each customer is satisfied with their homes and won’t leave until the job is done. Under Patrick’s leadership, Hillan Homes has become committed to the customer experience over all else.
Patrick lives with his wife and 4 children, ranging in age from three to 15 years old. By living in a busy family home, Patrick has been able to identify what a home needs to offer families of all sizes. He’s used his personal experiences to shape the way Hillan Homes operates, ensuring that families looking for a new home are taken care of and their needs addressed.
In his late teens, Patrick became aware that an office job wouldn’t work for him. He didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day. Patrick wanted a job where he could be kept busy and be hands-on when necessary. Each and every day Hillan Homes brings new challenges, opportunities, and experiences, that Patrick cherishes.
A big goal with the company is to avoid the making of “cookie cutter” houses. Hillan Homes strives to create unique homes that stand apart from the rest. With today’s impressive technology and new building materials, the possibilities really are endless.
How did you get started in this business?
My dad was a builder and I saw what a rewarding experience it was. There’s no feeling quite like designing and building something with your own hands. Not only that, but there was a great satisfaction in providing others with houses that they were proud to live in.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted yourself or your business? If so, how did you handle that?
Absolutely! Of course, who doesn’t? I put one foot in front of the other and took it a day at a time until the first project was done. When problems arise it’s best to just focus and stay organized. Make a list and focus your attention on the end goal and go step-by-step until you get there. It helps when you have a good team around you to help accomplish goals. I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with some of the best in the business.
Do you still remember your first customer?
Yes, I do. George George was his name. He was a really funny guy. I drive by the house probably once a year (still looks great-although I don’t like yellow). I think your first customer will always stick with you and Mr. George was a great way for me to get started in this business.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I think maintaining a positive public image is important. Some degree of success is certainly “right place right time” but there is nothing better for repeat business than taking care of people’s issues when they want you to. It is incredibly easy to earn a negative but so difficult for people to be positive. Give them a reason.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I see changes on the horizon so I am having to adjust. We are not buying as much land as we have over the past 8 years. In this business, it’s important to get ahead and anticipate things that are going to happen. The last thing you want is to get caught in a bad situation with no plan. Always be prepared. As they say, hope for the best, plan for the worst.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think I read people well. I always try to figure out what makes people tick. As long as people know you’re genuine, it is pretty tough to fail. Put your best self out there and people will recognize that. Being fat and funny also helps.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Building a customer’s perfect home is always satisfying. Seeing the look on their faces and handing them the keys after months of hard work is unlike any other feeling. I suppose if I had to pick just one, it would be George George, my first customer.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I see residential slowing down slightly in this market. We’ll have to evolve and work within the market restrictions that exist. I’m excited for Hillan Homes to get more into commercial and industrial construction. It’ll be a different ballgame, but I’ve got a great team behind me and I’m confident that we can handle any challenges that come our way.
What is the best thing about your job?
My hours are very flexible, which allows me to spend more time with my family. Family really is everything to me and I’m very fortunate to be able to work a job that lets me spend a lot of time with them. If one of my kids has a special event at school or in the evening I can always adjust my schedule to make sure that I can be there. There are a lot of moments that we take for granted in life but I value every second that I get to spend with my wife and children.