By Mary Carpenter | Photo by Jessica McCafferty
Issue: November 2022
While home ownership is one of the principles of the American Dream, most any home owner will admit there is a great deal of work involved in the upkeep of their dream home. There is plumbing to maintain, walls to paint, kitchens and bathrooms to update, insulation to add, windows to replace, new flooring to install, and that’s just on the interior of the home. On the outside, there are porches, decks and fencing to build – maybe even a gazebo for your back yard — concrete work around your pool, a new roof and siding for the house. And the list goes on. How to keep up with everything your home/property needs?? Enter The Honey Do Team.
Brothers and partners Bill and Eric Jost from Burke, New York – east of Malone – got their start in the construction industry in the early 2000’s buying and flipping houses in Clinton County. “We had the skills and we knew how to borrow money,” Bill explained. That business model worked well until 2008 when the mortgage crisis hit. “Business just dried up,” he continued. “We spent about six months licking our wounds, and then set out to change the way we did business.” Their new approach was to become contractors for hire.
As the recession eased and their reputation grew, the Josts took on bigger and bigger jobs, but their perspective was changing. “Big jobs required us to travel constantly,” Bill offered. “When we stepped back and analyzed our business and our profitability, we realized there was a tremendous demand for people who would do small jobs and that market could offer us a better opportunity.”
By the fall of 2018 the Jost brothers were ready to reinvent themselves. “We knew that to be successful we had to offer quality work, bid each job accurately, sell our service to the customer, and then produce what we promised,” Bill observed.
With Associate degrees in both architecture and engineering, Bill understood the principles of his trade. “I know if what a customer is asking for is possible and I can draw it out and show them the best way to get what they want,” he explained.
The brothers play very different roles in the company. Bill calls himself “the detail guy” while Eric is considered “the utility guy.” “We each stay in our lane and that makes for a productive work environment,” Bill observed.
In the winter of 2018 – 2019 the Josts developed a business plan that focused on small contracting jobs, maintenance and repairs. They created a family of professionals and set out to introduce themselves to a new client base. They came up with a name – The Honey Do Team (not to be confused with The Honey-Do Handyman franchise), reached out to freelance graphic designers on line and held a contest for a new logo. By spring 2019 they were ready to go. They opened an office on Route 3 west of Plattsburgh, began advertising and the phone started to ring.
The business was growing and doing well, but then the pandemic hit. As businesses struggled to stay open, The Honey Do Team was deemed an essential service and its work went on. “During that time, we had six guys on staff and we took any job we could get,” Bill said, “anything from a small two-to-three-day job to a full take down to the ground and start over project.”
The Team offered a full range of remodeling services that included bathrooms. “From our beginning we did, and still do, a lot of bathrooms,” Bill observed. “Also, kitchens and additions, as well as other interior and exterior home improvements.”
As the demand for their services grew, the Jost’s employee count grew as well. Two person teams took on what Bill called, “an endless stream of jobs that took anywhere from a day to two weeks.” Asked how his employee count is today, he offered, “Currently we have a staff of ten guys in the field and two in the office and we are constantly searching The supply of carpenters and trades people is the most difficult issue facing the construction industry at this time and I do not see any end in sight. We need to do more to encourage young people to enter the trades. Jobs are plentiful and wages are good. Not everyone
needs to go to college to be able to earn a good living.”
Asked what he looks for when he hires, Bill offered, “People who have the skills we need, but also who are honest, have good personalities and can communicate well with customers and with team members. We are proud of our people. They work so well with our customers it is not uncommon for a homeowner to offer them a tip as a recognition of their craftsmanship and the effort they put into each job.”
Bill also pointed out a second problem impacting the construction industry. “Workers Compensation is very expensive and it is not reciprocal,” he said. “For a company like ours, a yearly premium can be as high as $50,000 and when an employee gets hurt, the fund can be difficult to deal with and compensation is seldom what it should be.”
The Honey Do Team has offices in both Plattsburgh and Potsdam, but Bill explained he is purposefully shrinking the company’s area of service. “Right now, most of our work is within a five-mile radius of Plattsburgh,” he said. “If we could find more qualified employees, we could take on more projects.”
According to Bill Jost, The Honey Do Team is committed to a set of principles. “We say what we do and do what we say. We treat everyone the way we want to be treated. We prioritize clear, honest and constant communication throughout every project. Everyone is treated like family. Customers and team members are treated with dignity and respect.” What a great way to do business.
A Honey Do list is a collection of requests, usually by a spouse for a partner to perform a series of tasks, assignments or jobs dealing with the maintenance of a household.
The Honey Do Team
1016 Route 3
Plattsburgh, NY 12901