This local construction company works on a broad range of projects—from multi-million dollar constructions to smaller jobs for clients in the educational, municipal, commercial, industrial, institutional, healthcare and recreation fields.
Horan Construction, Inc. began as part of Horan & Company, which was founded by Thomas and Joanne Horan in 1948. After Thomas’ death in 1982, Joanne took over the business. Later that year, their daughter, Susan Arnholt, purchased the construction division and renamed it Horan Construction, Inc. in memory of her father. Currently, five family members work for the family business: Sue Arnholt, president; her husband, John, superintendent; Sue’s brother, Tim Horan, superintendent; Sue’s daughter, Katie Arnholt Kim, vice president; and Katie’s husband, Charles Kim, estimator/sales.
When she bought the company, Susan Arnholt established it as a women’s business enterprise (WBE), enabling Horan Construction to be eligible to work on municipal and educational projects set aside for minority businesses. Yet the designation has not proven as useful as they had hoped. According to Katie Arnholt Kim, “Being a WBE has done very little to procure jobs. There’s a lot of talk about set-asides for women, but in actual practice, it just does not happen. It’s our timeliness and customer loyalty that have kept our doors open.”
In the early ‘80s, there were not many women in the male-dominated construction industry, and because of this, Horan Construction faced many obstacles. “It took extraordinary work and presentations to sell our abilities. As we achieved more successes, our past customers have taken over much of our PR to the tune of 80 percent of our business last year were repeat customers or referrals from past customers,” Arnholt Kim reported.
Also aiding in customer referrals is the fact that Horan has never failed to meet a contract deadline. “We work hard and plan ahead in order to ensure all of our subcontractors are on board with the project timeline, have questions answered before they become roadblocks and material specifications approved before they are needed on the job site,” Arnholt Kim said.
When Susan Arnholt expanded the business, she also created a design/build division which “works with customers to design a space that fits their current and future needs,” according to Arnholt Kim, and builds according to those plans. This is where Horan saves clients the most money, she said, and is “why we prefer to get involved at this stage.” When the company is a part of the design/build process, the completion of projects is expedited by two to six months—a noteworthy amount of time.
Susan’s expansion of the company also included a construction management division to ensure that all projects get done on time. Horan partners with architects and owners when necessary throughout the design/build process, whether for commercial or residential projects. “While most of our work is commercial,” Arnholt Kim said, “we also have developed two residential subdivisions and offer complete custom designs for residential buyers.”
Having their own real estate team also gives Horan an edge in the construction industry. Arnholt Kim said, “Having a team of licensed real estate brokers on staff enables us to offer a complete range of services, from selling our customer’s existing buildings to selecting and purchasing a lot/site.” After obtaining a site, Horan is able to custom-design and construct a client’s building, and even find tenants for any rental space it might contain.
This design/build project completion model is enhanced by Horan Construction’s team of licensed agents who can work on the design aspect of a project while waiting on the purchase of the site. As the diagram shows, Horan’s model saves customers time and money by bypassing the bid process and contract negotiation/possible redesign elements in most architect/contractor methods.
Arnholt Kim explained, “This design phase enables the customer to see what the space is going to look like after the fit-out, and it gives them an idea of the cost of the fit-out prior to closing the deal in order to leverage this information during negotiations.” The company notes numerous advantages to this method: single point of responsibility and accountability, owners’ minimal risks and headaches, time and financial savings, budgets tailored to clients, reduced administrative burden and knowledge of construction costs early in projects. “We know today’s organizations are cost-conscious, strategically driven and often times on tight schedules, yet they desire a quality project,” Arnholt Kim said.
As part of Horan’s build-to-lease work, which is popular with their small business clients, the company designs a custom space which fits their needs and budget. They then purchase the land and complete the construction. When the client is ready, they purchase the building from Horan.
In addition to the aforementioned services, Horan Construction offers general contracting services, partnering, fit-outs and remodels, renovations and emergency repair work 24/7.
Catering to Clients
One aspect of the Horan business model is to deliver expedient, cost-effective service with minimal disruption to clients’ daily activities. Years of experience have made Horan’s employees “proficient in working over and around people and their schedules,” according to Arnholt Kim. One example she gave was when they switched out an entire drop ceiling over 200 computer operators without disturbing them. Horan has also constructed a half-million-dollar foyer addition in 30 days and a $1.2 million office remodel in 90 days, which included preparing a temporary office for workers before beginning the
To keep everyone on track, Horan Construction creates a website for each project, which includes project status, upcoming milestones and photos of the site. This allows clients and their patrons to see how their project is progressing. For example, Horan is currently working on the construction of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Peoria. Because of the website created for the build, not only can clergy and employees see the progress being made, so can the entire congregation, which has proven to be very popular.
Because of their successes, Horan Construction was selected to be part of the prestigious Jack Miller Network of 500 Best Contractors, a network that believes in win-win sharing, which has also given them a place to turn for resources and networking. Horan is also a part of the Better Built Alliance, a regional network of construction professionals dedicated to the highest standards in building construction and providing customers with a better construction experience.
Horan Construction, Inc. has proven to be a one-stop shop for many of their clients by getting involved in projects at the design stage. No matter when they begin partnerships, however, this family business completes projects on time and at or above customer satisfaction levels. TPW