ness almost as long it has been around, while others among the six full-timers and two part-timers have been added along the way. To start the hiring process, Schneider first interviews prospective craftsmen, then lets his foremen do the same. They then come together and discuss whether or not the person will be the right fit for the business. “It’s almost like when we hire them we’re bringing them into the family,” he said. “It’s a team situation. We continue to look for quality and craftsmanship.”
Industries and businesses naturally change over time, and that has been true over the past 25 years of both construction and the Schneider & Schneider company. In recent years the business has found additional success in doing projects in cities such as Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Appleton. Schneider said he has been sub-letting some work to experienced quality-conscious carpenters so that his business can take on bigger projects and not turn down work. “The future is going to be more like that,” he said, but he added, “We will always do a great job.” Schneider also pointed out that technology such as cellphones and Web sites have attracted more business from further away and helps Schneider and Schneider be more effective working further from its home base of New Holstein.
He also points with pride to projects he has done in the immediate area, including work on the Timm House in New Holstein as well as Pieper Dental, Bank Mutual and Muermann Engineering in Kiel. Schneider’s background was in commercial construction prior to starting his own business, and he has carried over those skills to the projects just cited as well as Payday Loans in Fond du Lac and Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc.
“Everybody wants something a little different,” Schneider said. “We try to offer the best quality for the money. When we build something, we want it to be long lasting.”
Schneider said the volatility of the new home market since 2008 has been one of the biggest changes he has witnessed, but he added, “New home construction still is a good fit for people who really know what they want. More people are building new at an older age.” Schneider said there are two main reasons for that—older people often have built up greater equity, and they still want to have their dream home.
Energy efficiency much better
Energy efficiency is 10 times better than it once was in new homes, Schneider added, pointing to better insulation and improved window and door performance as being key factors.
Among other trends in home building, he cited basements being finished during the construction process. “Everyone wants a three-car garage,” he added, and also said large kitchens continue to be popular. “That’s because that’s where they gather the most,” he said.
While new residential and commercial construction continues to be a lot of what Schneider & Schneider Construction does, they have not forgotten the customer who needs remodeling projects, both large and small. From installing a single window or door to remodeling an entire kitchen—their number-one remodeling request these days—Schneider & Schneider Construction has the expertise to do it. Schneider said remodeling requests are economy dependent and go up when the economy is down.
Schneider does what he can to help the local economy by being very active in community and trade organizations. He is the president of the New Holstein Economic Development Corporation, the former president of the state builders association, and involved in multiple other organizations throughout the region from chambers of commerce to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Despite that busy schedule, Schneider still occasionally finds time to swing a hammer on some difficult or unusual jobs to lend a hand to his crew. He said that organization and communication are critical to the success of his business. He also said he likes the size of Schneider & Schneider Construction as he is able to monitor all their projects at any given time.
So with 25 years behind him, what lies ahead for Schneider? Dan said he has been too focused on the present to think too much about the future. “As long as I stay healthy and we continue to be successful, I haven’t thought about retiring,” he said.