She may not be as well-known as the late actress who bore the same name, but Debbie Reynolds is making a name for herself as a contractor and owner of Reynolds Home Builders, LLC, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Reynolds started as a certified financial advisor with American Express but left because she needed more consistency than what her commission afforded her. While raising three young children and taking care of her mother, she decided to start “doing anything to make money.”
Having met carpenters, Reynolds got a job, “slamming hurricane clips and LC straps on homes.” While working on a framing crew she remembers that she knew she was, “smarter than my boss and not afraid of responsibility.”
Her business, Reynolds Home Builders, started when she placed an ad in the local paper that read, “Let this Lady Carpenter do your work for you.” Eventually she changed the wording to read “Lady Contractor.”
Contracting involves several business-to-business dynamics. Reynolds uses a management program that the clients can access for information on the schedule and cost controls to combat the daily challenge of cost control and dealing with subcontractors.
“It is very hard to find reliable, responsible subcontractors,” she said. “The people they hire are often lazy and don’t think about how what they do affects the timeline or the next sub.”
“To this day I have men call and say, ‘my wife insisted I call you,’” she said.
Reynolds started her business because she loves working outdoors, considers herself a people person, and enjoys the challenge of designing projects.
“I think one of the most important parts of establishing any business is marketing,” she said. “And you really must find a niche for your business to grow on.”
As a small business owner, Reynolds is always cognizant of the details and has to take a proactive role.
“The goal is to always improve, be more efficient and learn how to read people– to become a better communicator.”