June 1, 2015
Professional Improvements LLC (PI) was founded in Maryland in 1999. It was the product of my efforts to combine my formal college business education with the hands-on construction-trade experience that I had accumulated while working to put myself through college. With less than $500 to purchase a few essential tools and supplies, PI provided handyman services and window tinting, starting with new projects from customers that were already familiar with my work on past jobs (while I was in school). As expected, our initial jobs were small, each bringing in between $200 and $2000. We invested all of our profits back into our company to build our inventory of tools and equipment and contracted for increasingly larger projects and services. With some research and an evaluation of the business, we moved from the broad offering of general construction services to specializing in stone and brick masonry and cast-in-place, masonry-patterned concrete.
In retrospect we realized that our ongoing success to a large degree was due to the way we did business with our customers; and establishing a reputation for good business relations was the key to growing the business. And this was true for all of our customers, commercial and residential. When we pursued new opportunities we were always able to use our previous customers as excellent references. We never developed the habit trying to be the lowest bidder simply to get work. And while excellent workmanship was something that we could point out on our previous projects, we did not afford ourselves the luxury to assume that other contractors could not provide the same caliber of workmanship. Instead, we established our credibility by helping our customers with defining their requirements, organizing and developing their project plans, providing fair and accurate estimates of costs and time, and writing clear and concise contracts to set their expectations. (And while this may sound somewhat simple and sophomoric: we always made sure that our crews acted professionally and courteously and treated every project as though they were doing it for their own mother or favorite uncle.) This was the classic win-win situation: the customers received excellent products on-budget and on-time; and we maintained a growing business and a good referral network.
In 2007, PI established a factory in Baltimore to manufacture decorative precast-concrete-products including stone-patterned concrete fence-walls and columns, decorative bollards, and custom precast concrete products. This has allowed us to take some of our onsite construction activities into the factory where we could better enforce quality-control and a more efficient manufacturing process. As a result we are able produce better and less-expensive concrete products and pass this quality and cost-savings on to our customers.
Our decorative precast-concrete products have become an ever-increasing portion of our business with our stone-patterned concrete fence-walls and columns being our best-sellers. This is because they offer a high-quality, cost-saving alternative to traditional stone-masonry. They also present an ideal choice for projects that require high product volume and/or have restricted budgets.
Starting in 2008, PI started expanding its Masonry business into the Commercial, Institutional, and Government markets. We took on masonry renovations and repairs for many public schools throughout Maryland. Concurrently, we developed an excellent relationship with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to perform Masonry work in State Parks, Historic Landmarks, and Monuments and Museums. Many of these projects included a large degree of Historic Masonry Masonry Restoration work, a branch of masonry that requires special care, attention, talent, and expertise. We have developed this into one of our high-demand, in-house offerings. More recently, PI completed Historic Restorations of some office buildings for the U. S. Navy in Philadelphia; and just this year, PI has commenced on some additional Historic Restorations for this same customer.
As we come into our 16th year, all of us at Professional Improvements LLC look forward with utmost optimism to be of service to you for your masonry and precast concrete project needs.
Ivan J. Maldonado
Owner and President
Professional Improvements, LLC