By Joseph F. Schuler Jr.. When you've remodeled 7,000 homes, you qualify as an expert. That's exactly what Jim Rice, named Big50 with brother Joe in 1987, has done from his Camarillo, Calif., offices.
The brothers quit their country/gospel band in 1976 to run their father's company. (Their father, John Forest Rice, was later killed in a car accident.) It was a $2 million business. Last year, it brought in $16 million from kitchen and bath work, full-service remodeling, and commercial divisions. The company's 35 employees include project managers, estimators, designers, and office staff, but subs install its jobs.
Jim Rice, 53, says his nine salespeople can outsell him, so while he brings in work, he does no selling. Jim bought Joe out last year.
The picture that defines his success hangs on his office wall. It's of a $7 million jet center, a commercial project. "I owned the company that built it, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it," he says.
His contribution to the company was building a pro-family culture where everyone has access to him. His growth secret is "the right people. You bring in the right people and they seem to bring out a way to get it done."