Today we’re shining the spotlight on a builder doing exceptional work: Jared Fleming. He’s been working in the trades for the better part of his life, and his company, North Wood Homes and Renovations is growing rapidly as a result of his work ethic, expertise, and most importantly, as a result of the beautiful results he and his team deliver.
Fleming is modest and soft-spoken, but he can afford to be: his work speaks for itself. He grew up in a small town in Ontario called Haileybury, which has since been absorbed along with some other small towns into a place called Temiskaming Shores. Despite the “disappearance” of his hometown, he credits his small town beginnings for part of his success.
“Everyone knew everyone, so I had good contacts there that led to a big renovation. That really helped get the company started,” says Fleming. This people-first attitude still helps him, as he says he gets most of his jobs on referrals from previous clients.
“To be honest, about 90% is word of mouth. It works great, so it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you make a mistake, you definitely want to fix it, because word gets around fast in a small town. Do the best you can on every job, because that’s where your next job is coming from.”
Starting Out and Growing Fast
Fleming got his start in a vocational program called Tool Time that his high school offered. That program led, eventually, to an apprenticeship, and he’s been in the trades ever since. The apprenticeship took him to three different places in Ontario, where he learned the job and made more of those contacts that would be so important later on.
He worked for Sargent Custom Carpentry for six years, after which the owner of Sargent downsized and Jared started his company, North Wood, which later went on to buy out Sargent, allowing him to work beside his old boss.
“We’ve grown 10x in just two years,” Fleming explains. “It’s easy to overwork yourself trying to grow your company, [so] you have to know your limits. I had found my limit with trying to have multiple jobs on the go and have employees, so for me it was critical to have that business partner [his old boss] to relieve the pressure to be everywhere at once.
Knowing Your Limits and Doing it All
This idea of knowing your own limits is key to growing your business but is doubly true for someone like Fleming who wears so many hats.
“We can’t really specialize because there’s not enough work [in the area], so I’m a general contractor. I’ve expanded to cover anything from excavation to footings to high-end trim to shingling. But that’s also helped us for custom builds. We have our own sub-trades, so there’s almost no down time. We have all the tools for every part of it.”
Besides doing such varied work, Fleming also makes sure to have multiple jobs running at once. “We always have at least two jobs on the go, but we typically have 5 or 6. We don’t like saying no to jobs that come our way, and we’re up to 10 guys, so…we can go quickly, especially on smaller jobs.”
“I had heard of Trim-Tex before, but had no idea how vast the catalog was, but I saw it at CSR [in Toronto] and it sparked my interest…Now I’ve converted to using only Trim-Tex products. We try to sell customers on picking their own look, not leaving it square and impersonal, and [Trim-Tex’s] products help us as installers.”
Another recognizable aspect of Fleming’s custom work is lighting – especially LED strip lighting.
“I came across this renovation from a friend and he…wanted something not seen in the area, every room unique, and that got me into lighting, different levels of trims…tons of light features, almost every ceiling in the house has a light feature, actually. With all the strip lighting, I use the ones from LED Lights Canada, out of Alberta and also from Omnify Lighting. They make a light panel that I used behind solid onyx to backlit onyx risers on the stairs. The staircase is more of a wow factor…when it lights up and you can see the veins of the stone.”
Where It Goes from Here
The future is still an open book for Fleming, and perhaps an unusually long one, since he’s only 28 years old. “Pretty much all of my employees are older than I am,” he laughs, “but that doesn’t change much in the way everything functions. I just knew what I wanted at a young age and went for it!”
That forward-thinking attitude has served him well so far, and it’s helped him stay focused as he navigates the split in roles that owning his company calls for. “For me personally, my role is more administrative and overseeing things. That’s changed over the last year, though. I used to be on the tools every single day, but since the merger with Sargent, he’s on site and I can focus on growing the company, making connections, doing blueprints…whatever will progress the company.”