Scott and Angela Helbing had worked with many contractors. They never had good experiences. Home-improvement projects ran over budget. Electricians didn't show up on the day a rewire was scheduled. Construction crews turned in shoddy work and then vanished.

And, the contractors that the Helbings hired never finished their jobs on schedule. 

But that changed when the Helbings worked with Park Cities' Princeton Construction to tackle a major remodeling of the couple's University Park home, a project that the local construction company completed in late August.

The Helbings had nothing but praise for Princeton and its owner, Wes Marmaduke. 

"We have had bad experiences with contractors in the past. Our experience with Wes was the complete opposite," said Scott Helbing. "Wes always exceeded our expectations in terms of quality of work, organization and integrity. If we ever build another home in the future, we would not even consider using anyone else."

This is the type of recommendation for which Marmaduke strives. He calls himself a low-volume builder, meaning that he and his crew members don't juggle multiple building projects. Princeton Construction focuses on one building project at a time in order to efficiently and effectively complete the job. 

This low-volume approach gives Marmaduke the time to answer clients' questions and directly supervise the work of his construction crews. Because Marmaduke's crews don't face multiple deadlines on multiple projects, they're not tempted to take the shortcuts to which other builders sometimes resort.

"The low-volume approach has worked for me," Marmaduke said. "I can't imagine giving each project my personal attention if I was working on three, four or five at once." 

The Helbings' project was one that required this attention. It was far from a simple job. The Helbings hired Princeton to add a pair of second-floor bedrooms and bathrooms and a new laundry room. Princeton also remodeled the home's kitchen, added a back porch and fireplace and landscaped the entire yard.

Marmaduke was personally involved in the project from the start, Scott Helbing said. During Marmaduke's first visits, he and the Helbings discussed the couple's goals for their home and what steps Princeton could take to help them reach those goals. Marmaduke then worked closely with an architect to draft the initial construction plans and showed up on site throughout the construction process to make sure that his work crews were turning these plans into reality. 

Most important, he kept the Helbings updated throughout the remodeling process. 

"At every phase of the project, he continually confirmed that we were happy with the work," Scott Helbing said. And he was always willing to make any changes that we requested." 

The Helbings lived in their home during the six-month remodeling process. It's never easy living through construction work, especially work as intensive as what the Helbings ordered for their home, but Marmaduke and his crew took the steps necessary to minimize the disruption to the couple. 

"At every phase of construction, Wes went out of his way to ensure that the house remained clean and that we were disrupted as little as possible," Scott Helbing said. 

Marmaduke and his crew even built an exterior staircase in the back of the house so that the sub-contractors were able to work without disrupting the front of the home. 

"It does take longer to do a job right," Marmaduke said. "But, it pays off in loyal customers."

If you are ready for a new home, or if you need to bring new life to an outdated kitchen or bath, call Princeton Construction at 972-471-9126. 

Princeton Construction
by Wes Marmaduke


Wes Marmaduke makes a promise to all of his customers: When Park Cities' Princeton Construction is building them a home or overseeing their kitchen, bath or master bedroom remodeling, he will give them his full attention.

Wes Marmaduke, owner of the local home-building and -remodeling firm, refers to himself as a low-volume builder. He and his crewmembers never juggle multiple building projects. They won't attempt to build four, five or six new homes at a time, something that is all-too-common with other residential builders.

The result? Princeton Construction completes its projects -- whether new construction or remodeling -- on time. The company doesn't face multiple deadlines, meaning that carpenters, electricians and plumbers aren't tempted to take shortcuts. In addition, Marmaduke and his crew are always available to answer clients' questions.

"Because I am so low-volume, I am also hands-on," Marmaduke said. "I am there on the job every day. My customers have my cell phone. They can call me on the weekends. Unlike other builders that rely on project managers and superintendents, I'm the final voice on my projects. And, the people in the office know what is going on with the project. To me, that's what customer service should be about."

This personal attention has resulted in a growing roster of loyal customers. In fact, even the country's largest homebuilders seem to be recognizing that customers today value the personal touch from their contractors.

The 2010 J.D. Power and Associates New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Survey -- the most recent conducted -- found that as residential builders build fewer homes, customer satisfaction has gone up, a trend that the J.D. Power survey has documented for three straight years now.

This doesn't surprise Marmaduke, who has long based his business model on focusing on a small number of projects at a time.

"I am at my sites every day watching the progress," he said. "If someone does something wrong behind a wall, it too often gets sheet-rocked over. No one knows about the problem until years later. However, when you operate as a low-volume builder, you can be there on site for your clients. You can see the problems and correct them before they become bigger issues. Basically, I'm there to fix problems before they get covered up."

Good customer service also requires talent. That's why Marmaduke hires the top tradesmen in the region to work on his residential projects.

"I never rely on the cheapest of the cheap," Marmaduke said. "I use the best trades’ people in the area. I focus on the higher-end professionals who do top work. That may cost a bit more upfront, but it pays off in the long-run when it comes to customer loyalty and referrals."

Marmaduke has worked in residential construction in the Park Cities region for nine years. He has served as the owner of Princeton Construction for a year.

If you are ready for a new home, or if you need to bring new life to an outdated kitchen or bath, call Princeton Construction at 972-471-9126.

Princeton Construction
by Wes Marmaduke