If you're looking for a reputable builder in the Cleveland area, Greg Allen Builders will hand over a list of over 100 referrals they've accumulated over the last 37 years as a firm. That's how confident they are in the relationships ̶ and homes ̶ they've built with each of their customers.
We caught up with Greg Allen to get a glimpse behind his firm, Greg Allen Builders. We found out what their clients' must-haves are, trends they're seeing in the industry, and Greg's go-to product if he were to remodel his own kitchen.
EDELMAN: What services do you offer?
GREG ALLEN: We offer new custom home construction, existing home renovation, historical renovation, and custom cabinetry from our own shop.
E: How long has the firm been in business and how did it get started?
G: I started at 16 working for an Amish builder in Geauga County. I got to train under an accomplished Amish cabinet and furniture maker after spending 4 years at Kent State University. In 1977, I brought that ambition, skill, and craftsmanship to the west side of Cleveland and we've been building and renovating some of the finest homes in the area ever since.
E: What is the team like at Greg Allen Builders?
G: We're a family-operated business with a solid group of skilled craftsmen who value their individual roles in the company. My son Michael has been working with the firm since he was 21 and my wife Carolyn manages the office.
E: What would you like Greg Allen Builders to be known for?
G: Quality, craftsmanship and personalized service.
E: What sets you apart from other builders in Cleveland?
G: We are an in-house company with our own employees on our payroll who are very dedicated to our success. All of our work comes by referral.
E: Can you tell us about a design challenge you encountered and how you overcame it?
G: We were asked to build a large garage addition in Rocky River and the owner requested a basement underneath. We tackled the challenge of building it like a commercial parking garage while still making sure it looked like a residential structure inside and out. The owner now has his woodworking shop underneath his parked cars above!
E: What is the planning process like with a client?
G: Our first meeting with a new client is not a sales pitch. We often find ourselves doing more listening [than talking] when meeting a potential new client. Most customers usually have a good idea of what they want to do in their home. We work closely with the designers and architects on each project.
After the first meeting, we go over the drawings and create a preliminary budget. We prepare a line item budget because changes are inevitable, and this allows the customer to modify the amount of work they want done. We give the customer a breakdown of costs and add our markup, which makes the customer feel comfortable with our margin.
Once the estimate is complete a legal contract is signed, the project is scheduled, permits are secured and the work commences. We schedule meetings during the construction process and document all change orders or additional work. Although we allow the designers to design, we also assist many customers in the selection process.
E: Are you seeing any trends or changes in the industry?
G: Definitely. We are seeing a trend toward transitional designs in place of the traditional interiors we’ve been involved with for many years. The use of maintenance-free and green products is also very popular with our customers.
E: What are your clients’ must-haves?
G: Hardwood flooring, tile showers and heated bathroom floors, multiple kitchen islands, LED lighting, stone or quartz counters, beverage and wine coolers, built-ins... and more built-ins.
E: If you were going to remodel your own kitchen and had an unlimited budget, what ONE product would you have to include?
G: A Wolf steam convection oven!
E: What can you tell us about your experience working with Edelman?
G: I have been working with Edelman for over 35 years. You can’t beat their beautiful showrooms and the way they stay on top of all of the new products and trends. We work with Pat at the Westlake showroom and she always comes through for me when I need her help.
Greg Allen Builders have been featured in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio Magazine, Building Edge Magazine and Architectural Digest. Learn more about them at www.gregallenbuilders.com.