Itâ€™s quite an accomplishment â€” actually, a series of accomplishments that build upon one another, such as being recognized by peers as 2006 Builder of the Year by the Lincoln County Home Builders Association; currently serving as president of the association; coming in first place in the $500-$600k home range and second place in the million dollar-plus category in this yearâ€™s Regatta Parade of Homes; in addition to expanding into estate development projects, beginning with Quinlan Estates, an up-and-coming top-of-the line housing development.
Itâ€™s quite a heady pedigree for Mark Ingle, who founded Ingle Builders Inc. in 1986, and a remarkable journey for the son of a preacher man. (His father, Charles Ingle, has been in the pulpit 55 years and currently serves as pastor at High Shoals Baptist Church).
The religious upbringing has served Ingle well; actually, it has served the people of Lincoln County, and excellently at that. Indeed, it is just one hallmark of Ingle Builders, Inc.
â€œOnce we build a house, we take care of them from now on,â€ says Ingle, speaking of homeowners who have purchased houses constructed by Ingleâ€™s firm. The service he provides in the after-sales realm exceeds what a home buyer might get from a home owners warranty (HOW) many builders offer.
â€œIf something is wrong, it gets fixed at no charge,â€ he says.
That service isnâ€™t limited, adding that includes something that develops several years after the house has been occupied. It can include repairs or changes.
â€œThe main thing is, people want something fixed or done to the house no one else can or will do for them,â€ says Ingle.
Itâ€™s all part of the philosophy he brings to home construction, a trade heâ€™s plied since 1978, but which dates back several years earlier, when as a high school student, he took part in East Lincoln High Schoolâ€™s Trade and Industry curriculum, then taught by George Dellinger, the current president of Lincoln County Schools board of education.
As a result, Dellinger lined up a job for Ingle upon graduation as a carpenter of Ken Dellinger Builders (the two Dellingers are not related, according to Ingle). After five years, Ingle and a partner opened Chapman and Ingle Remodeling, which operated for three years. In 1986, Ingle branched out on his own, beginning by building starter homes.
Demand for Ingle Builders Inc. grew as word-of-mouth brought in business, to the point that Ingle estimates that 70 percent of his work originates from referrals provided by satisfied customers, architects, real estate lawyers and real estate agencies. He adds that many homeowners are repeat clients. As their fortunes have improved over the years, they have turned to Ingle to build them new homes.
Most of the remaining 30 percent of business comes from the Internet.
â€œI just talked to somebody who found us on the Lincoln County Homebuilders web site. Weâ€™ve got a link on that,â€ he says.
Another plus is a stable crew of employees who boast an aggregate 53 years worth experience.
â€œMy customers lover my employees,â€ says Ingle. â€œThey donâ€™t drink. They donâ€™t cuss. Theyâ€™re all local.â€
Ingle places particular emphasis on the latter, and terms the influx of tract builders pouring into Lincoln County as a bane.
â€œThey donâ€™t do anything for Lincoln County,â€ he says. â€œNo employees, no subs (meaning subcontractors), no supplies.â€
Ingle says that in the final analysis, tract builders are going to force a number of local contractors/builders out of business.
(Editorâ€™s note: An expanded version of this article will appear in the June 20 edition in the Shoreline section.)
by Steve Steiner