Design and Protect
Family-owned Chicagoland fire protection business values relationships above all
Chicago’s RidgeCP has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a small carpentry company, founded by Jasmir “Braco” Klicic two decades ago. Today, the three-pronged organization, run by three members of the Klicic family (Braco and his two sons, Iris and Isak), has expertise not only in carpentry, but in fire protection and plumbing as well.
The expansion into the other two divisions over the past 10 years has given co-owners Iris and Isak the opportunity to bring a unique perspective to the job—experience and knowledge of other trades. While they do their own general contracting on many projects, for the fire sprinkler division they tend to be the subcontractor, so their deep understanding of the whole process puts them in an optimal position to really know how the construction site operates. This has been an invaluable benefit to clients and partners alike, particularly as the fire sprinkler work now makes up the bulk of RidgeCP’s work throughout the greater Chicagoland area.
Getting Down to Family Business
Beyond experience alone, the company is well positioned in the industry. As Iris explains, “We are able to undercut most of our competitors in pricing because we are a family owned and operated company. We are involved in the everyday business aspects when it comes to bidding, emails, phone calls, site visits and even scheduling of the crews. On all of our projects, everything is done through me or through my brother.”
He adds, “If a client has an issue, they don’t tell a manager who tells me and then wait for a call—they can call me directly. It’s really important to us that the people we work with are confident they can reach us anytime for reasons big or small.”
To complement this hands-on customer service, all of RidgeCP’s design services are done in-house as well, another factor when it comes to keeping down costs.
Building Lasting Partnerships
RidgeCP’s driving philosophy is that it’s “in the business of building a lasting partnership with each client.” Iris shares, “As a company, we never view a project as just one and done. With each of our clients, we like to establish a partnership, a relationship that goes beyond just one project.”
A big differentiator for RidgeCP is that as a family-owned business, their team can bring a personal touch to even bigger-sized projects. For example, shares Isak, “We recently completed a 94-unit project at The Brewster, a historical landmark in Lakeview, and on any given day, you would have found myself, my brother or my father on-site. We’re involved with all the day-to-day details from meeting with project managers and communicating with our crew to daily walkthrough and reports.”
A Winning Calculation
The brothers share in RidgeCP’s successful equation, with Iris taking on more of the company logistics, client relationships, bidding and estimating, while Isak is a NICET-certified designer, so has a greater role in the field while also designing all of the company’s shop drawings and hydro calculations in-house.
RidgeCP, which started off as a modest one-man show, has grown to exceed Braco’s vision and presently operates with over 20 full-time employees. On the fire protection side of the business, in particular, the RidgeCP team includes designers and fitters. This team is doing everything from retrofitting an existing building with fire sprinkler systems to installing fire sprinkler systems in new construction—residential and industrial. Their expertise and attention to customer service has paid off; this past year, RidgeCP’s fire protection division did $10 million in sales. Future plans include continued growth in Chicago as well as expanding their operations to the greater Midwest, including Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.
With word-of-mouth as one of the company’s main client sources, the emphasis on partnerships serves them well. Iris concludes, “We’re proud to have a long list of clients we’ve worked with for many years. That’s our goal—to deliver what we promise, skill and professionalism, at a fair price and have our clients return to us.”