Jake Gave is the owner of Gave Co. LLC, a Twin Cities-based construction company that specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodels, plus door, window, and siding installations.
Born in the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World, better known as Anoka, Minnesota, Gave spent several October 31st’s indulging in Snickers bars, but when he wasn’t subjecting the enamel of his teeth to excess amounts of sugar, Gave could be found playing any number of sports.
“I played basketball, baseball, and football,” Gave says.
“I was always a shorter guy, and then during and after my senior year of high school I grew five inches, and that’s why I’m considered to be a big guy today.”
Like many of his classmates at Anoka, after high school Gave enrolled in university.
He studied biomedical engineering for nearly three years, but eventually he walked away from college when his interest in science-related subjects began to dwindle.
“I attribute leaving college to not going to class enough, partying, and playing too much basketball,” he says with a chuckle.
“I was initially going for biomedical engineering, but I discovered that sitting in a classroom or an office wasn’t for me. I’m much more hands-on.”
No longer keen on pursuing a career in engineering, Gave transitioned and found employment working in the trades.
“I would install windows and doors,” Gave says, then mentioning that during his time as an installer he met a man named Jack, who he would eventually spend eight years working under.
“Working with Jack, I learned a whole bunch of stuff.”
For nearly a decade, Jack kept Gave busy with various projects related to windows, doors, and siding, but over time Gave began to develop a reputation among homeowners for exhibiting excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail, which led to opportunities outside conventional work hours.
In fact, Gave became inundated with so many requests for side projects, he soon realized that he had enough work to start his own business.
“I had projects booked out a year in advance, so I figured I might as well just go out on my own,” Gave humbly mentions.
Today, Gave excels in many different areas of home construction, but his most rewarding projects revolve around kitchen and bath remodels because this type of work allows him to use his hands and stimulate the creative juices percolating in his brain.
“I do a lot of bathroom remodels because I legitimately like doing bathroom remodels,” Gave says.
“There’s also more money in that, and it’s nice because then in the winter I can be indoors.”
In addition to kitchen and bathroom remodels, Gave also does custom carpentry work.
“That’s probably my favorite thing to do,” Gave admits.
“If a homeowner wanted a bar built in their basement, I can do that. I’m really good at taking inspiration from Pinterest and then applying that to my work.”
It’s during these types of projects that Gave’s intelligence is on full display.
After all, one doesn’t pursue a degree in biomedical engineering if they don’t have at least a semblance of scientific aptitude.
“I’m smart, but it comes out through the things I build,” Gave says.
Today, Gave has leveraged his soft hands and artistic eye to build a construction company, and while his reputation and work ethic often immediately ingratiate him to homeowners, he also fields questions from prospective clients who are diligent when it comes to selecting a contractor.
That’s why Gave does what he can to instill as much confidence in homeowners as he can, while at the same alerting them to potential red flags to avoid when dealing with other contractors.
This includes advising homeowners to walk away from contractors if they are not licensed through the state of Minnesota, or if they don’t carry workers comp insurance.
“As a homeowner, you want to find a contractor who does things the right way, in the sense that they go about getting permits,” Gave says.
“Permits are important because if you ever try to sell your house and you had work done in your bathroom without a permit, you could run into issues there. You also want to do permits because then the city actually comes and inspects the work. That protects you in case some hack comes in and does a shoddy job.”
It isn’t overly difficult for a business owner to secure licensure and insurance, so for homeowners who are interested in doing a kitchen or bath remodel, it is also wise to ask a contractor for samples of past work.
For Gave, he is in the beginning stages of Gave Co. LLC, and while he is rightfully proud of the work he has completed at this juncture of his career, he also understands he still has a long way to go in terms of solidifying his brand and establishing a client base.
Gave also wants to improve on ironing out more precise timelines for each scope of work he undertakes.
“I know how to build out an estimate, but I still don’t know exactly how long each project will take me. That’s one thing I’ll learn as I start to produce more of these projects,” Gave explains.
For the time being, Gave also will be performing all the labor on each contract he signs, citing his current reluctance to hire subcontractors who may not share his same approach to remodels.
“For the first couple years, it will just be me doing the work. I’m very particular, and I have found that it’s hard for me to trust other people to be as detailed and thorough as I am,” Gave says.
“Eventually I think I’ll have to learn to delegate, but for the first few years I like the idea of having complete control.”
Which is to say, Gave is in the midst of a professional and personal revolution.
Professionally, he understands there may be minor tweaks he has to make in order to grow Gave Co. LLC into a bona fide player in the Twin Cities remodeling market.
But none of that would be possible if he didn’t make the personal decision to stray from the comforts of a stable job and believe that he could operate his own remodeling company.
“It was hard for me to take the leap to becoming a business owner, but I would also recommend to anyone looking to do the same that they do their homework before making that leap, and make sure that they know what they’re getting into,” Gave advises.
“For example, one thing I wouldn’t do is quit my job and go start a business on a whim.”
To put things in perspective, Gave notified his current employer of his impending departure six months in advance.
Doing so not only allowed Gave to maintain a healthy relationship with his employer, but it also afforded him enough time to register his remodeling company as an LLC, start building a client base, and subsequently prepare estimates.
“Preparation is definitely key, but ultimately, if you want to start your own business, just go for it,” Gave says.
“Because you won’t know if you have what it takes until you put yourself out there.” QS
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