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Finding Success as a Woman in a Male Dominated Industry

2015 was the worst year of my life. While still grieving the loss of my beautiful mother, cancer decided to take my loving father! I found myself falling apart and unable to cope almost daily. That wasn’t all. I was newly married with my 2 sons from a previous marriage and my new husband and I had just given birth to my beautiful daughter. Although we were ecstatic to have her, we had a new set of challenges. After being born prematurely, she had her first surgery at 9 weeks of age and was on a feeding tube for her first 3 years. I was beyond overwhelmed and started selling cosmetics part time while I figured out what I was going to do long term. I had spent years working for my father's HVAC business and it just wasn’t the same after he left us.

I had always loved interior design and creating home improvements. I woke up one day and decided it was time to take action. I made the decision to use some of the knowledge I learned spending so much time with my dad and apply it to a passion of mine. There I was in the summer of 2015, new husband, new baby who needed special attention as I studied for my states licensed contractor exam! I passed the test and in July of 2015, DB&C Home Restorations was born. I wanted a name that would make my dad proud! DB&C has significant meaning to me since it is named after my beautiful children, Derek, Brandon and Chloe. 

I love reinventing my clients’ homes to their vision so much that it feels more like my passion than a job. My personal home reflects my design philosophy of creating a warm environment with the colors that I love.  Being a woman owned company isn’t always easy in this male dominated industry. However, I have successfully overcome several challenges, many of which are simply my own fears while others are overcoming assumptions some have about a woman in this field. I have a skill set that many women have and I use it to my advantage. While many men seem to focus a lot more on the overall result, I focus on the details and think things through to the end in great depth. I pride myself on doing extensive research upfront and many of my clients compliment me on the time I spend on homework compared to other contractors. My clients know what they want and they want someone who can implement their vision. It is my job to understand that vision, overcome challenges and execute on what they want!

The biggest misconception in my business has always been regarding costs associated with a re-model. I meet with clients all the time who are fearful about the expense and the overall process. Many customers have been taken advantage of in the past and find it hard to trust another company again. I vowed that I was going to change the misconception consumers have about cost and the construction process and that’s exactly what I do every day!  Another misunderstanding many customers have is that it is more expensive to hire a General Contractor. This is simply not true. One of my go to sayings is: “If you were planning your wedding day, you wouldn’t want the wedding planner baking your cake, definitely not.” I offer a one stop shop for all home improvements. One of the challenges I encounter in my work as a General Contractor is overcoming misconceptions and concerns my customers have before I even walk into their home.  As a woman, I believe I do a better job than some of my male counterparts just listening to my customers, understanding their wants and “must haves” and truly demonstrating the empathy I feel for them.

We have a tremendous amount of talent on our team but that doesn’t mean it is going to cost more. It just means that I take my job very seriously and I wouldn’t send a handyman to create and install a 3 piece floating crown in your elegant dining room.   In other words, not all painters are good painters and as a General Contractor, I ensure only the best person is in your home to get the job done. I love what I do and could never see myself doing anything else!

Lorraine O. Pendleton is a Houzz awarded licensed General Contractor.

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