Remodeler Q&A: Michael McCutcheon
Chairman, McCutcheon Construction
Michael McCutcheon is Chairman of McCutcheon Construction, an employee-owned remodeling company. Founded in Berkeley, Calif. in 1980 by fourth-generation builder Michael McCutcheon, McCutcheon Construction’s 38 employees are leaders in green construction and building practices supporting the health, safety and comfort of the homeowner. As certified green building professionals, standard practices include use of building supplies made from locally sourced, recycled or sustainable materials, job site recycling and conservation, and careful handling of waste and pollutants.
A: For a lumber and building materials supplier, we look for a great selection of quality products, competitive pricing, and excellent service after the sale has been completed.
Q: Describe your best lumber and building materials vendor and why they are the best.
A: Truitt and White in Berkeley has been with us since the beginning. The staff there provides a wide range of quality products from lumber and other building materials to windows and doors, which makes it easy to get what we need. Besides good products and prices, the biggest reason we have been loyal to them over the years is that they always stand behind their products, no matter what the problem.
Q: When was the last time you changed vendors and why?
A: We have not changed our main vendor but we have used other suppliers when we need a more local yard. However, Truitt and White has been able to keep us happy for 37 years, a testament to their commitment to customer service.
Q: When and why would you accept a meeting from a new supplier/vendor?
A: The main way a new supplier could get their foot in the door with us is by providing a product or service that we cannot get elsewhere. Lunch and learn meetings can introduce our staff to new products. Industry meetings, such as NARI meetings, are another excellent way to meet our company—but not just occasional attendance. What makes participation in NARI powerful is regular attendance and getting deeply involved in the local chapter.
Q: What do you wish LBM suppliers understood about your business?
A: When a client and/or their designer do not like a product, we need the supplier’s help to solve the problem. Any vendor that hides from us loses our business.
Q: What products (if any) do you buy installed?
A: We like specialty subs to provide and install their products such as cabinets, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, and roofing. This simplifies warranty and service greatly since we have one vendor responsible for the whole project.
Q: What is the number one problem that keeps you up at night?
A: Client satisfaction is the most important priority, so any client problem gets our immediate attention. We have been blessed for 37 years with a ton of support from our clients and our community, so we feel a powerful obligation to return that trust with outstanding service, no matter what the problem.
Q: What do you see as your biggest opportunity?
A: Our company is now an ESOP, which means it is employee-owned. The biggest opportunity we have is to continue the tradition of outstanding service and great value that has characterized McCutcheon Construction from the beginning. If we do that right, this company will be able to continue to serve our community for decades to come, while providing great jobs for our employees so they can support their families and the local community.