Dennis Forrest and Jeff Davies are two life-long friends who started the successful construction business DaFore LLC. The pair started the company back in April of 2004.
Based in Fredericksburg, Va., DaFore LLC specializes in a broad range of industries, including: drywall, metal studs, acoustical ceilings, insulation, carpentry, doors/frames, and hardware. From the beginning, Forrest and Davies started working from a young age, garnering an extensive knowledge of the construction industry. After high school, Davies had went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, while Forrest created his own Finish Carpentry Business. As the years went on, the two—both for different reasons—ended up in Maryland doing the same type of work. After finding this out, they both decided to join forces, and thus, DaFore LLC was born.
The Idea of Adaptation
Growing a business is no easy task, especially when considering a company that specializes in a multitude of areas. So, how does a company build its portfolio up to make itself more competitive?
“Knowledge of the business and personal backgrounds were the basis of the skills. Growth of the business taught us the rest,” says Davies, co-founder of DaFore LLC. He demonstrates the idea of knowledge and experience, as being the basis for a growing business. As uneasy as starting a new business can be, Davies talks about how the growth of their business taught them the rest of what they needed to know. These two learned as they went, acting as encouragement for those out there who may be on the fence about starting their own business. Demonstrating that you don’t need to know everything from the get-go, and that there is much to be learned from growing the business itself.
Forrest and Davies also had to learn to adapt to the economic challenges that surround the construction industry.
“Economic issues affect us in the construction field. With our business being in and around Washington D.C., the political arena also directly impacts the workload. We have learned to be versatile in this market and knowing when to act quickly to changes,” says Davies.
For Forrest and Davies, the location of their company has had a direct impact on their business but have nonetheless, found a way to adapt their company’s practices to counteract these challenges.
The Effects of Technology
As a company that started off in the 2000s, a time that was not as widely impacted by the use of technology, Davies talks about the impact that technology has had on the business over the years.
“Computers and the Internet has changed our production as managers to at least 100 percent if not double that in some respects,” he says.
The hubbub over technology in construction is getting louder and louder every year. And apparently, for Forrest and Davies, this commotion has reached their business as well. Technology is impacting the way they conduct business, communicate with customers, utilize software programs, and conduct company production and management.
Every business—no matter how successful—faces their own struggles at some point. The inevitable fate of being a business owner.
When asked about some of the company’s greatest struggles, Davies says that, “We believe the biggest issue in this business is loss by time, equipment theft and laziness. Each must be consistently monitored to reduce loss.”
Utilization of the time is a big component to making money in any business. Hence, the infamous phrase, “Time is money.” Davies’s comments about the issue of laziness pays homage to this idea of the importance of time in business, and how we must be “on top of it” if we want to reach maximum productivity.
Davies also makes an interesting observation when asked about the future success of the company, saying that, “This business will survive if construction allows it to.” This statement raises an interesting discussion about the future of construction in general. Although, if that’s the case, then we predict a long and successful future for this small business.
DaFore LLC has experienced continued growth since they first started their business 15 years ago. And a major reason for their success—aside from their talented group of contractors—is the continued support of their customers.
Davies says that, “Our customers are very trustworthy and great partners to work with. Our customers depend on our ability to react and perform even in the toughest situation.”
DaFore’s customers expect the best, and are given that no matter what the project. The reason DaFore LLC is able to give such quality to their customers is because of their philosophy when it comes to each job that comes their way.
“[We] manage projects on a case by case basis. What that job needs [is] what it gets,” says Davies. DaFore pays special attention to each project they have, allowing them to provide quality services to their customers.
The company began as a small business in Virginia that started with two life-long friends that eventually turned into a thriving business with 104 employees. These two gentlemen have created a construction business all their own, through their ability to adapt to change and provide quality service.