Highgrove Home Improvements: Providing Quality Through Trust
Housing is an ever-growing hot topic in Florida. Outside of availability and affordability, the reality is homes are aging and becoming more inefficient.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, spending tripled in the last two decades on energy-related improvements like roofing, heating/air conditioning, and windows and doors.
The Space Coast isn’t immune to this trend, and thus, many homeowners are intimately familiar with the stress of looking for a home renovation company and wondering who can be trusted. For those lucky enough to make it onto Highgrove Home Improvements’ schedule, that concern soon evaporates.
Andy Groves is the owner and founder of Highgrove Home Improvements. He’s a straight-shooting, yet unassuming British expat who is known for being a bit of a perfectionist.
“I have been told I have high standards, but to me, it’s just about doing the right thing; doing a good job,” Groves said. “It’s not something I have to put effort into, it just comes naturally.”
Going Out On His Own
After emigrating to Florida in 2014, Groves found a stable role overseeing projects for a local home improvement company. But six years later, he started to feel like it was time to move on. The COVID pandemic kicked the construction industry into high gear, and Groves saw an opportunity to help clients with more than windows and doors, which had been the focus of his 9-to-5 role.
“My vision was simply to have a place in the construction industry in Brevard County, providing home remodeling services with high quality and with honesty,” Groves said.
Initially, entrepreneurship in the U.S. had some steep learning curves, and supply chain breakdowns cast a grim outlook for Highgrove Home Improvements.
“It took a few months to get materials and for the jobs to really start rolling in, but now, I am busy enough to support several additions to my crew,” Groves said.
He estimates he’s had more than 140 projects since launching in May 2020. This break-neck pace and his dedication to quality mean Groves is a hands-on boss. On any given day, you’re more likely to find him at a job site covered in sweat and dust than behind a desk in an air-conditioned office.
Highgrove is thriving and growing against a backdrop of a national ongoing shortage of skilled construction workers. Associated Builders and Contractors estimated that in 2023, the industry will need to hire an additional half a million workers above normal hiring to keep pace with demand. And the problem is only projected to worsen as current workers retire.
Groves is confident he will be able to overcome these challenges with realistic expectations and a dedication to serving customers.
“I am looking for more people to train to the point where I can leave them at a job site and trust that they will do the work like I would do it,” Groves said. “But I’m not trying to expand into some giant company. My goal is just to get to a point where I can help more customers in a timely manner instead of asking them to wait weeks until my crew frees up.”
For the Love of the 'Before and After'
Groves has always loved working with his hands. As a teenager in the United Kingdom, he worked as an auto paint technician, putting the finishing touch on cars and trucks. One day, his brother-in-law called him up to help on a job installing windows.
That made such an impression on him that when he left his auto paint job, he decided to jump into home improvement full-time. After three decades and a trip across the pond, he’s still in love with the process of meeting a client, listening to their needs, tearing down plaster, wood, and other materials, only to replace it with a finished product he can be proud to attach his name to.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, he craves big, complex, intricate projects that give him a chance to transform a mere idea or concept into awe-inspiring reality.
“One of my most memorable projects was one where we renovated several rooms,” Groves said. “We moved the laundry room, expanded the kitchen, opened up and reconfigured the bathroom. Those kinds of jobs are cool because you can look back and actually see a transformation. That remarkable before-and-after photo is a big part of why I do what I do.”
Many of Groves' clients come to him through word-of-mouth recommendations.
"So for the most part, they feel they are on the right track talking with me and are just eager to get started,” he said.
Customers not only rave about Groves' work, they rehire him to come back and do more.
“Andy has a strong work ethic and cares about his customers. We will be using him again for kitchen remodel,” Carly Huba said in a Google review.
Another Google reviewer, Marie Rogerson, agrees: “Andy was a pleasure to work with, resolved issues and respected our budget. They completely transformed our home. I look forward to having them back to redo the other bathroom."
Susan Meeker Paul, a design professional who has years of experience working with general contractors, said the best fully understand the scope of a project before offering a detailed, realistic estimate of labor and material charges.
“They are forthright with regard to change order charges and the timeline necessary to complete the project. Andy fits this bill to a “T,” Meeker said. “Throughout the project, he stayed on top of subcontractors, permits, inspections and material deliveries. Furthermore, he kept us informed along the way.”
Karla Martinez went so far as to use the word "perfection" in her Google review: “Andy and his crew made my dream come true. We needed more room and Andy worked with my budget and it was perfection.”
Home Renovation Roulette
Brevard’s more than 140,000 seniors are a prime target for financial exploitation, something that True Link Financial reports as totaling $36 billion annually. Home improvement scams fall under this category.
The US Administration for Community Living says seniors are a prime target for Home Improvement scams because they typically have a nest egg, own a home with equity, have excellent credit, and they’re less likely to report a scam. But the trust deficit in the home improvement industry isn’t bound by age.
Groves recognizes this reality, and he says it’s something he’s had to contend with when meeting clients.
“When I talk to new clients who are wary because they’ve had or heard of bad experiences with contractors, I don’t try to talk that fear away. I just show up authentically and I answer all their questions about my experience and licensing and anything else honestly. I just hope they get a good feeling about me by talking with me... Luckily, it’s not a problem I have to worry about a lot.”
Joseph Johnson's review on Nextdoor reveals the peace of mind he found once he connected with Highgrove Home Improvements.
“After trying two different contractors who wasted my time and took my money before even getting started, I found Andy Groves with Highgrove Home Improvements," Johnson wrote. "He is building us a large room addition and has been fabulous, professional, and has an eye for detail. We are highly impressed with him and highly recommend him.”