Making Difficult Construction Easier

Nicholas Design Build
Written by Pauline Müller

Few firms make taking on complex projects their forte, but Nicholas Design Build is a premium residential and commercial remodeling contractor that specializes in complexity. Its team develops complex systems to achieve what other companies often consider impossible, and combines form and function to create visually sophisticated, welcoming spaces.

Serving the Indianapolis area, Nicholas Design Build (or NDB) has in-house architectural and interior designers alongside a complete production team who knows their business inside and out. The company’s homeowners and commercial clients alike know how tough it is to find a trustworthy contractor who hits the sweet spot between providing professional construction services and supporting clients through the experience of having a home, office, or retail space ripped up and redone. As such, the team is known for the clarity with which it presents its ideas to customers. While that may at first sound straightforward, this team of nearly 50 industry professionals understands how important it is to develop a thorough understanding of the client’s hopes for the outcome of a project before establishing specifications.

Owner Kyle Nicholas says that the team takes details seriously. “We’ve become known for being tenacious. My dad always said to do the complicated stuff no one wants to do. Through most of [our history], that’s what we get involved in.” Indeed, when a customer whose living room floor had to make way to lower a 15-foot countertop into the basement returns to have a floating staircase installed, the trust in the work is obvious.

Nicholas Design Build’s attention to detail and commitment to investing in technology has secured tremendous growth for the company in recent years, driving new hires and spreading its name across an increasingly expanding area. Regarding the technology it employs, the company is adamant that any suite it purchases must work to its full potential. That is why, after testing available products, the team recently invested in custom software developed to address its exact needs. That means no surprise overnight upgrades to confuse and ruin everybody’s schedule or delay a project; instead, the new tool supports the efficiency and professionalism on which the company built its reputation. In addition, it uses Chief Architect as design software, while Matterport renders architectural evaluations and field measures.

Recognized as an Indianapolis Business Journal Fast25 company, Nicholas Design Build is one of the area’s most prolific expanders between 2020 and 2022, with $8.29 million in revenue. At nearly 200 percent growth, the company has its work cut out to keep up the trend. Luckily, there is no shortage of new and returning customers to help it grow.

“We always enjoy being challenged… We will nearly double [our revenue] again this year,” Kyle says.

As challenges go, he describes the COVID-19 period as having tempered him as a leader, allowing the firm to deepen its operational capacity in the process. “We chose to grow regardless,” he shares. “Although it was hard and not the most profitable time, we grew through it.”

In support of this growth and in a bid to communicate its high level of industry expertise to customers, the company is amply certified. It holds accreditations with many related groups like the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), One Zone Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Builders Association, and the National Association of Home Builders.

Naturally, the company would not be what it is today without its team. “Truly, we have the best. We are always team players. We’re winners. Regardless of what the problem is, we always coach toward positive conflict and toward being a team,” Kyle says. In a company with about 30 construction projects running at any given time, conflict resolution is the key to keeping schedules, quality, and customer and employee satisfaction on track. “We don’t allow problems to result in poor attitudes or issues.”

To show appreciation for their hard work, NDB ensures its pay and benefits packages are among the best in the area. As a result, it is sought after by some of the state’s best people. Kyle thinks the reason for this appeal is that employees realize how crucial a strong company culture is for success. He actively works to promote this environment, which boosts growth. NDB leadership consciously develops its team to secure a future where healthy company practices and strong staff morale will lead the way.

Kyle is generous in supporting new entrepreneurs and contractors in the field. Through mentoring, he pays it forward to help establish the next generation of service providers. In addition, the company aids charities and community-based organizations. These include local sports teams and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which supports children with cancer.

As a fourth-generation builder Kyle Nicholas comes from a long line of craftsmen. With over a century of family history in construction, building is in his blood. While he initially had different ideas for his future, it appears fate had other plans!

Instead of continuing a career in finance like he had planned, Kyle ended up borrowing a ladder from a neighbor to help a friend with a house repair. Surprisingly, within a week, signs for “Nicholas Construction” popped up all around the neighborhood, marking the beginning of his new venture. Today, the neighbor who set the whole story in motion and was part of the founding team still works for the company as a project manager. Evolving from exterior repairs to a remodeling outfit in comparatively little time, the company adapted to customers’ requests to become the industry leader it is today as a design-build firm.

“I think we were on the forefront of the design-build side. Now, everyone says they’re a design-build firm, and so we discuss with [clients] what a design-build firm provides,” Kyle says. Nicholas Design Build also educates the market that there is a difference between interior and architectural design, and it offers both.

The company stays ahead by exploring sustainable and environmentally responsible practices. As buildings become increasingly more energy-efficient, the firm provides customers with the latest in construction and design, no matter how advanced the method or technology.

Looking ahead, Nicholas Design Build’s expansion plan focuses mainly on acquisition, aiming to purchase companies with technologies and knowledge that can further enhance its services. Kyle looks forward to holding down the fort until his two sons, Kade and Kash, can join the firm to continue the family legacy. The two “are always joking about how they will one day be working in daddy’s office. At this point, they own the company until somebody can provide me with a wildly audacious number,” he says with a smile.

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