Building Relationships: Jim Carroll - Carroll and Strong Builders, Inc.
Posted by Robert Ellenwood on Mar 18, 2015
The importance of great relationships is a fundamental, recurring theme for Jim Carroll of Carroll and Strong Builders, Inc. This Watsonville-based company builds high-end, exceptional custom homes in the Monterey Bay Region. Jim and his partner, Randy Strong, focus their energies on outstanding communication with architects, home owners, suppliers and subcontractors as they create beautifully detailed homes for discriminating clients.
The close business relationship Jim Carroll and Randy Strong share is clearly vital to their success. “When Randy and I met each other I was running Carroll Construction,” Jim recalls. “We realized we had a lot in common, and if we pooled our resources we could create something special. I think we really did. For both of us, our passion is this company, but we have totally different approaches. Randy connects more on an emotional level, and I am more matter of fact, let’s get this done. It makes for a great team.”
Jim goes on to say, “I was already doing high-end homes, but on your own there is a lot to manage. I prefer being in the field and that is my strength—Randy’s strong suit is handling the business. Randy does the office systems, manages the business end and loves to interact with people. This works for us, because if you can’t manage a business, I don’t care how good a builder you are, you may as well close your doors.”
Jim has thirty years of experience in construction, having started out first as a framer, then going on to become a general contractor. He was living in his home town of Arcadia in 1980, when on a visit with his brother, then a student at UCSC, he fell in love with the area. “I enjoyed surfing and I moved to La Selva Beach. I’ve been here ever since.” Jim still likes to surf, but now he prefers the warmer waters of Costa Rica, where he and his wife Patti have a vacation home.
Jim started developing relationships with area architects back in the 1980s and this is still a key to his success. At Carroll and Strong Builders, Inc., “98% of our projects are designed by an architect, with an owner who has a passion for the home. We are usually found through the owner’s architect, and we keep in touch with our architects. We’re not the cheapest guys in town, nor do we try to be. We bring expertise, creativity, and talent, and Randy and I feel if we have the chance to show a client what we can do, they’ll hire us.”
These relationships give Jim the opportunity to do the kind of work he obviously loves. “We get access to beautiful projects. We are in Monterey, Carmel, Santa Lucia Preserve, Tehama, Carmel by the Sea and we’re just beginning to go into Pebble Beach. Every day is a challenge and something new, and we get to work with people who want something really special.”
Relationships with home owners are also carefully cultivated. “When we are hired to do a new project, we put together a lunch for the owners and architects. We also invite subcontractors and the key people who will be pulling the job together, giving the chance for everyone to form a better relationship with the owners so it is not ‘just a job.’ We also go through the procedures we will be using, which gives our clients the chance to interact, talk and connect. This works out really well at the start of every project.”
As a supplier, Graniterock also benefits from the emphasis on connections. “When we started out together, Randy and I had the idea of approaching our business as a team,” relates Jim. “We wanted the same kind of approach with our suppliers, and Graniterock was one of the first companies we wanted that relationship with. It is something Randy and I value very much. Graniterock has been the most open to this team approach. When we have a meeting, everyone pays attention, and what is discussed is taken seriously. Graniterock’s Seaside showroom is also fantastic. We bring our clients there all the time.”
At a Graniterock Saturday Sales Seminar earlier this year, Jim shared his views on the challenges and opportunities contractors in our region have experienced in recent years. He talked about the importance of quality results for his customers, the need for new and innovative products from his suppliers and for continuous education opportunities. “It was interesting and fun, the questions were great and made me think,” said Jim.
Right now, the “biggest passion” for Jim is a home he and Patti are planning to build in the foothills of Watsonville. “We started out by working on weekends to clear the property, and we’re planning to build very soon. We have two German Shepherds, Trixie and Dixie, both really smart dogs, who like to hang out with us while we work.” Patti and Jim also enjoy visiting different wine regions in California, especially on the Central Coast and Central Valley.
Graniterock is proud to continue to build a relationship with Carroll and Strong Builders, Inc., a Friend of the Family.
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