Chad McDonald has turned a few woodworking classes he took in high school into a full-time career.
The owner of McDonald Woodworks LLC for just under two years, McDonald started small and has slowly been expanding his business to include more and more areas. He started out doing just cabinets, but found that to be too narrow an area of focus.
"So I decided to start getting bigger," McDonald said. "I do everything from cabinets, new construction, garages, additions, remodels, siding, roofing, pretty much everything a general contractor (would do)."
He would like the business to grow even more, and said doing more garages is the key to making that happen. McDonald enjoys working on garages because they're not as intricate as an entire house and not as tedious as a remodel, but he'll do whatever work comes his way regardless of what it is.
For more information he can be reached at 838-9663.
McDonald has been doing carpentry work professionally for almost 11 years. This experience was preceded by two years of trade classes in high school and two years in a carpentry college in East Grand Forks, Minn., where he earned a carpentry degree.
"Right after I graduated from college I got a job and I've been doing it every year since," he said. "I love it, it's great."
He worked for two contractors in Grand Forks before being hired by a Minot contractor and moving here. After working in Minot for two years McDonald set things in motion to get his own business started, which is something he had been thinking about ever since he entered the work force.
"Since I graduated college I knew it was going to be just a matter of time because I've always been ambitious like that, and I've always wanted to try and get the best out of what I can with my career," McDonald said. "It happened a lot sooner than I thought it would, and so far it's been really great. I couldn't ask for anything better than this right now. I feel pretty lucky to be 27 years old and have my own business for two years."
McDonald has loved carpentry for much of his life, devoting much of his spare time to it before he got into the field professionally. Even after college when it became his full-time job, he still did small carpentry projects in his spare time.
"For as long as I can remember I've been doing little projects and tinkering," McDonald said. "Even right after college I got my own miniature little shop in Grand Forks and I would just go out and build cabinets for myself and custom-furniture projects. Just tinkering, just because it was fun to me."
At the moment, home remodeling - things like windows, interior doors, closet doors, and trim work - is taking up a fair amount of his time. He recently did an office remodel that had a lot of custom oak work. McDonald handles the larger, on-site jobs during normal business hours when most people tend to be away and then does smaller jobs like custom cabinets or other woodworking projects when he comes home at night.
"Things like that, they keep me busy but I can do that on my own time. If I'm done with another job at five o'clock I can come here and work on that stuff," he said. "I do the stuff at people's houses during the day so I'm out of their hair by supper time. When I come back here I can work for a few hours on small projects."
Business has been progressing at a slow but steady rate for McDonald. He said starting his business during the winter wasn't an ideal situation, especially for a contractor, because most people don't want to do those kinds of projects during the winter.
"The first year was pretty slow," McDonald said. "It was trying to establish yourself, get your name out there, figure out the best ways to go about things, where to advertise."
He made things work until the following summer, however, when he built a 28-foot-by-28-foot garage. Things started picking up after that job was complete and McDonald hasn't looked back since.
"That kept me busy for a couple of weeks, then after that it just started slowly taking off," he said. "The following winter was better but it was still slow, and this summer I've been fairly busy. It's been good."
McDonald has received a lot of positive comments from his customers, with many noting how professional he is, which he said is something he strives to be at all times. He said he's worked for other contractors in the past who were less than professional to their customers, and it was something he wanted no part of in the future.
"It's embarrassing to be associated with them when they're not very polite to customers," he said.
As far as quality of work, McDonald said he's received nothing but A-pluses from customers. He noted if a customer ever gave him a B, he would do whatever it took to fix it so the work was deemed an A-plus.
"That's just the way I do it. I'm not going to do things halfway. You're paying good money to have stuff like this built, you want quality work. It's important to me that customers are satisfied because the biggest advertising is word of mouth, and if you're getting a bad rep out on the street then (that's not good)," he said. "I try pretty hard to keep everybody happy, and that's the golden rule. If you don't have happy customers then you don't really have a very good business."
While it might have started out a little slower than he had hoped, McDonald couldn't be happier about having the opportunity to build his own very own business from the ground up. Being his own boss and enjoying each day of work are things he has strived for his entire life, and now McDonald is finally able to enjoy the fruits of all that labor.
"I love the people I work with in Minot, everyone's been great. It's been real fun," McDonald said. "I figure if you love what you do you're going to have a good career, and I do."