Jose owns S. Construction, Inc., a commercial sub-contracting firm specializing in concrete installation. When Jose started this business three years ago, he was his firm’s only employee. Now, Jose has 16 full-time employees and the capacity to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Jose began working in construction 17 years ago as a general laborer. From there, he worked his way up through the construction industry, gaining experience in cost estimating and project management along the way.
Jose has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which he earned while working full-time to support his family. In the eight years that Jose was a student, he took a variety of odd jobs both within and outside of the construction industry. Instead of going through the motions as he pursued his goal of becoming a civil engineer, Jose took every job as a learning opportunity and a chance for self-improvement. For example, Jose credits working at Wal-Mart with building the customer service skills he uses daily as a small business owner.
Recently, UTEP began offering graduate studies in construction management. Jose wants to return to school part-time so that he can learn more about the financial side of project management. He says that his educational and work experience to this point prepared him to design and implement projects, but that management and finance courses will make him a better business owner.
Jose is using this loan as operating capital for his business. The construction industry in El Paso was really slow during the first few months of 2011. In order to support himself and his employees, Jose says he rolled the dice in taking projects with several general contractors he otherwise wouldn’t. The decision backfired when they didn’t pay on time, and Jose’s cash flow diminished to the point that it threatened his ability to pay upcoming bills. As someone who stakes his reputation on punctuality, Jose decided to take out a small loan for operating capital until business picked up. In addition to supplying Jose’s business with needed cash, it allows Jose to build his business’ credit.
Within the next two to three years, Jose wants to become a general contractor. To do so, he says the business will need to expand its services and add expertise, which will take time. In the meantime, Jose believes that there is enough demand for concrete installation that his business can continue expanding its presence as a subcontractor.
S. Construction, Inc. is a family owned and operated business. Jose employs his dad, who has 37 years of experience in the construction industry, as his chief superintendent of projects. Jose’s wife, Monica, manages the business’ administrative work and finances. For the time being, they run the business out of their home to keep operating costs low, though Jose anticipates needing to open an office if business continues growing. Jose and Monica have three children.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.