Blake Byrd, Building a Future

One of our newest EO Dallas members, Blake Byrd is a custom home builder. His company, Knox Built Construction, works on single family construction, high-end home builds, and extensive remodels with small-scale multifamily projects like duplexes, condos, townhomes, etc. He’s originally from the DFW area and has a young family.

Blake grew up in a family of five in Arlington. He played lots of sports and attended Texas Tech where he majored in project management with a minor in construction engineering. While in the fialn semesters at Tech, he met his future wife, Nina, who attended Baylor. They both moved to Dallas to be in the bustling job market.

Blake’s first professional job was with a commercial construction contractor. He stayed there for three years and then went on to work with Tatum Brown Custom Homes, a high-end builder. He spent seven years there and then decided to launch his own company. He also was an EO Accelerator and “graduated” this past July.

One of the blessings and curses of being a home builder is your personal home is usually a show home. Blake and Nina got married, bought a house on Lower Greenville, remodeled it, and sold it. They bought another one, did the same, and are now selling it as well. Their next home is a new build in University Park. With a six-month-old baby, Blake and Nina hope to stay in the new home at least a few years. “It’s always the case that our home will be a show home,” says Blake. “We move about every two years.”

Blake got into this business because “I love what I do. I love to meet people and get to know them. I like to get to interact with people and help them build their dream homes.” He also is looking forward to a great life with his newly expanded family.

Like all of us, though, there are sleepless nights for Blake (baby notwithstanding). He says he comes by worrying naturally, as his family is full of chronic worriers. Blake worries about his employees, where the next project is going to come from, and how he’s going to keep growing his business. “And rain,” he adds. "If it rains, I’m thinking about who is calling me about a water leak on current construction. And how long it’s going to be before we can get started again.”

The building industry has been impacted by COVID-19. “The trend right now is home improvement and remodeling. People are sitting down and saying, I’m now in my house more. I need outdoor living, a study, kids’ home school area, maybe another bedroom, or an addition. People also want infrastructure, fully functional Internet, smart homes, a home network, the whole thing.”

He foresees continuing changes to the industry because of the pandemic. “When the corona virus hit, it put a big pause on everything. People stopped going out and meeting with architects and designers. That’s where it starts. The architects had a slowdown and it’s been trickling down. We’ll eventually have a slowdown and lowering of prices with sub-contractors which will allow us to be more competitive. There was a lull in starts, but people came back relatively quickly. We had a dip from March to May, but now are starting to see more in July through September. There’s definitely a lag. On top of people wanting home improvement, people are saying they want a bigger house. There will be an increase by next year with people wanting to build new.”

Blake also sees an opportunity. While the company usually does new builds and large-scale remodels, he’s trying to make a division that could take on small renovations and updates. “I’m exploring how we, as a larger general contractor, can get a pricing structure in line with a home improvement business that is smaller in volume. If we can get 10-15 smaller projects rather than 1-2 big ones, with one guy to manage 10 $200,000 projects vs. 2 $1 million projects, that could work. I want to figure that out.”

We are sure Blake will figure it out and much more as he continues his journey as an entrepreneur and as an EOer. Welcome, Blake!

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