Though young and lean, Snyder Construction builds for national chains
For Snyder Construction, the recipe for success has been straightforward. “It’s about getting an understanding of the client, what they need and require on their projects,” says Justin Snyder, President and Owner. “We facilitate their goals on every project. We are efficient in our process and our clients enjoy working with us.”
The full-service general contracting and construction management firm is headquartered in southeast Michigan but has worked in 15 other states—from Montana to Florida. As clients’ needs expand, Snyder is prepared to work in even more areas of the country.
In business for just four years, Snyder Construction has grown to $20 million a year in sales. Its clients include national retail chains and grocery stores that hire the team to build wherever they are expanding. Snyder says the company focuses on building relationships with clients through a focus on quality and schedule.
Snyder, who earned a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Wayne State University, has been in the construction business since 1994. He founded Snyder Construction on his own in 2016.
“We had gross sales of $2 million that first year,” Snyder says.
The company focuses on commercial construction, specializing in grocery stores, retail and medical office buildings. Hobby Lobby is a client, and Snyder Construction has built or up-fitted stores as large as 60,000 square feet in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. New Hobby Lobby stores are constructed using cast-in-place concrete. In areas where winter weather is severe, Snyder Construction works closely with subcontractors to make sure the exterior work is finished before weather becomes a concern.
Building Across the Country
“We prefer to grow with our customers,” explains Karrie Roever, Marketing Manager. “Wherever they are growing, we are preparing for their expansion.”
This includes getting licensed to build in many states in addition to Michigan. Snyder Construction also holds general contractor licenses in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio, as well as in a number of municipalities in these states.
“We will be successful together,” Roever says.
Snyder Construction is a lean company, with just 10 employees. This requires the business to develop relationships with subcontractors and trades, both at home and in the other regions where it works. “We are able to come back to them year in and year out to work on projects,” Snyder says.
Lucky’s Market has been a repeat customer for Snyder Construction, which has constructed stores for the client from Jacksonville, Florida, to Missoula, Montana. The construction company also recently completed a Burlington retail store in Hobart, Indiana, and hopes to work on more of their stores, Snyder says.
A newer client is the La-Z-Boy furniture store. Snyder Construction recently finished constructing a new store in Orion Township, Michigan. This added location is built into the side of a hill. “Starting with the sitework, we built this store during a rough winter and a global pandemic,” Snyder says. “The finished project is stunning and is the prototype for future La-Z-Boy stores.”
Big Footprint for Small Firm
Snyder Construction has a big footprint for a small firm, Snyder says, both in the geographic area it covers and in the number of projects completed. From 2017 through the second quarter of 2020, the company completed 60 projects, with 16 more underway in 2020, including eight Hobby Lobby stores.
Snyder serves as Project Manager on some of the projects. With his civil engineering background, he is adept at solving problems. When he looks at an architect’s plans, he is already constructing the building in his head.
That engineering background has helped Snyder meet many challenges, he says. When working on a remodel for Lucky’s Market in Fort Collins, Colorado, Snyder questioned some of the recommendations for reshaping the parking lot. He asked for some additional soil data and suggested stabilizing with rock rather than excavating and removing poor soils.
“I have significant experience with some of the more difficult construction problems, such as poor site conditions, environmental and remediation issues,” Snyder says.
Another challenging project underway is the conversion of a former church into medical offices in Ferndale, Michigan. The original building was constructed in 1950, with later additions, and has four levels. “We’re finding several different structural issues,” Snyder says. “We are working closely with the architect and looking at the project from all angles.”
Medical offices are a newer line of work for Snyder Construction. These structures have specific requirements for wiring and air exchange, Snyder explains, and if clinical care is provided the building must be fitted with gas lines for oxygen and other needs. The company has acquired expertise in meeting these requirements.
Developing a Team with Specialized Strengths
Managing multiple contracts requires the attention of Snyder and two other Project Managers, Paul Noll and Bill Denby, who can travel to supervise projects in states beyond Michigan. All have many years of construction experience and are committed to fostering good relationships with project owners, co-workers and subcontractors, Snyder says.
Snyder has hand-selected people with specific strengths to develop his team. Each employee has demonstrated a knowledge of the industry, good customer service skills, an ability to deliver on promises and a strong work ethic. “I’m not a micromanager,” Snyder says. “They know how to work and get things done in a collaborative manner. When you have respect for each other and treat people with dignity, they buy into the program.”
Most people stay with the company once they are hired, Roever shares, adding that customers appreciate knowing Snyder Construction’s owner as well as the employees. “We all have relationships with [our clients],” she says. “They are big companies. They know who to call for whatever their need is, and we are always accessible to them.”
Roever tells of being on vacation with her family in Florida, when she got a call from a Florida customer who wanted to come and visit. She says she was glad to be available.
Snyder Construction supports charitable projects in the community mainly with monetary gifts at this point, Snyder says. The company contributes to Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit and also the Special Olympics. As a way to recognize employees, Snyder provides bonuses twice a year, in summer and at Christmas.
Snyder’s team is committed to managing both timelines and costs for each client, staying abreast of new materials and techniques.
“We have a road map,” Snyder says. “We do what we have been contracted to do and we do it in a professional and high-quality manner. We keep the project owner’s expectations in mind—and that means always.”