What a milestone it is, to be celebrating 30 years in the New Zealand building industry.
Through the ups and downs of the business, Paul and Sue Kingsbeer are still going strong, and credit their success to constantly growing and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the market.
The couple own Kingsbeer Construction Ltd in Hamilton, and have been building residential homes, commercial buildings and developments for more than 30 years.
They also celebrated 30 years of marriage this year, and believe their business has been so successful over the years due to how hard they work, how compatible they are together and how they’ve learned to run a business, both from a young age.
“We started in business so young, we were just 21 and 25, and we didn’t know how to be in business, so we learnt it all simultaneously together,” Sue Kingsbeer said.
“If you want longevity, you can’t keep doing what you’ve always been doing. Even though it might have been a brilliant formula at the time, you have to always be open to change.”
The couple is widely recognised for their work building Lockwood homes, and were the No 1 franchisee in New Zealand, winning multiple awards, including Best Showhome, Best Building Systems, Operations Management, General Excellence and After Sales Service.
They also own KBuilt, building residential homes, and Steel Shed Systems that provide a range from commercial and industrial buildings to retail outlets, factories, rural business buildings and more. And most recently, they have started Kingsbeer Properties Ltd, developing commercial properties, including their latest build, Burnsco in Hamilton’s fast-growing north, near The Base.
The couple has decided to now focus on Steel Shed Systems and property development, and is taking a step back from KBuilt, their residential home building business.
Sue said part of the reason they’ve down-scaled is to simplify their lives and not have them so complex through running so many businesses.
It all began in their hometown, Gisborne, first doing renovations and residential homes independently, then as franchisee owners for Lockwood Homes. Within three years their business was thriving, to the point where they had outgrown Gisborne. They were young, driven and ambitious, so it was time to move on. In 1997, they decided to move to Hamilton with their young family and became the franchisees of Lockwood for the greater Waikato.
“We saw the potential for growth for Lockwood in Hamilton. The market was facing a downturn, but after an extensive feasibility study of the six regions we were offered by Lockwood, we established that Waikato would hands down be the most successful option for us to move to for our next step with Lockwood.”
She remembers it being a very challenging time as they were working extremely hard, while juggling raising a very young family and the ups and downs of a recession. But they were confident business would be strong, and within one year they went from being No 32 in the Lockwood Homes franchisee ranking, to No 2.
From there, the business took off. They were very busy at work and at home with their three kids – they needed more staff, more builders and it was becoming very successful. But after 10 years, it was time to make a decision, and they decided it was time to sell, to focus on a simpler life and their family and just build one or two spec homes a year. It was early 2007, and they went straight into the global recession.
“It was brutal,” adds Paul. “Business was drying up and building companies were going under.”
So Sue went and got a job while Paul joined forces with a couple of other builders and formed Steel Shed Systems New Zealand Ltd. In 2011, they started KBuilt, building residential homes as a way to supplement their commercial business.
For the past eight years, Sue and Paul have been running four businesses, including HABiT, a home and building inspection company. So they have made the decision to focus on one building company, and have decided to sell KBuilt.
“We ended up back where we were 12 years ago, very busy and overworking. So we’re going to focus on the commercial side of the building industry,” Paul said. “Kingsbeer Properties are using Steel Shed Systems to build the commercial developments so the two together complement each other perfectly.”
Paul said they are currently building the existing contracts for KBuilt, and have listed KBuilt for sale with ABC business brokers.
Paul and Sue say the secret to their success of being in business for 30 years is continually adapting and moving with the changing market demands, and they are looking forward to the next chapter in their business.