After three decades in business, J&B Home Improvements still specializes in windows, roofing and siding, but the firm’s most important quality is satisfying customers. Owner Jeff Bershad of Howard Beach grew up watching his father, Bernie, run the business, and says that because of his love for construction and his desire to help other people, he’s still happy with what he’s doing today. The results show on every job site.
J&B recently added masonry, countertops and painting to its list of specialties. In the past five years, due to the change in the economy, Jeff has had to adjust his daily operations to keep providing excellent service.
He also added service and repairs to the company’s range of work. More people are fixing older components of their homes, rather than replacing them, Jeff explained. Many contractors don’t service anything they didn’t install, but J&B does.
As the economy softened, Jeff also decided to change locations from Glendale to Ozone Park, reduced the number of company trucks by three and even had to let a few employees go. Today, the firm has between 12 and 14 employees, depending on the season, and six trucks.
“I saw a lot of people around me getting in trouble,” Jeff said. “I downsized before things got bad.”
It’s what he had to do to remain competitive while expanding the scope of the business. Jeff also said his company doesn’t face any special challenges while working because he is very selective when choosing what jobs to take on.
“I only take on jobs that I have confidence in,” he said.
Once Jeff added painting to J&B’s repertoire, many old customers began using the company for that as well. Painting has become even more popular because weather cannot affect it, he added.
“Being more diversified has helped us do well,” Jeff said. “By adding interior painting it helped our business a lot.”
Almost all of the work done by J&B is residential. Last year the company had a $50,000 job in Howard Beach where workers installed fiber cement board, which is cement siding, and put on a plywood roof. The construction took three weeks because it was a new product, Jeff said.
“For us that’s a long time,” he said in reference to the fact that his workers can put up siding, roofing and windows in just one day.
Guy Tardugno of Whitestone had windows installed his house 10 years ago, and because of the quality of work that J&B workers provide, two weeks ago he had them put new ones in. They finished all the work in one day and left Tadrugno satisfied. They did a great job in a short amount of time and he would recommend them to other people, he said.
In life, people cannot be successful or happy if they aren’t doing what they love, Jeff explained. To have a business where he is the boss and to do work that can never be replaced by computers is an ideal situation.
“It feels great I can never get fired,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. I like being my own boss.”
Companies like Home Depot and Loews can do siding and windows, but they cost more and take more time, Jeff said, while J&B will do siding jobs in one day. By dealing with J&B there is no middleman and no extra people to pay, he explained.
“Being around for 30 years gives us some stability,” he said. “I take things personally because my reputation is everything to me.”
As much as being successful and making money is important, the greatest gift in life is giving, not receiving, he said. Seeing a client smile and truly appreciate the work that his company does is what keeps him going to work every day and customers coming back.
“You don’t have to be great to start, you have to start to be great,” he said. “If you’re not passionate you won’t go far.”
After recently having his first child, Dylan, with his wife Anne, Jeff said keeping the business in the family is very important to him. He hopes to pass on to his son the same values that his father did to him.
J&B Home Improvements services all five boroughs and Long Island. Jeff said about 70 percent of the company’s jobs are referrals or repeats, reflecting the quality of the work.
J&B Home Improvements is located at 87-10 101 Ave. in Ozone Park. For more information, call 1 (800) 599-1150 or (718) 738-5538, or visit the company online at jbhomeimprovementsinc.com.