We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Dibara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I guess entrepreneurialism runs in my family! I come from four generations of proud Masons. My father supported our family as a Mason, and I brought the family tradition out here to LA when I started my first company, DiBara Masonry, several years ago. I learned a lot as I grew that business. I started to understand why it seemed like my dad could never get away from work. There’s too much to do! Everything’s important and urgent. And even if you can afford to hire all the help you need, good luck finding qualified, reliable people for every role.
So I started researching, studying, testing, and learning. I developed a lot of strategies and processes and skills that really helped me manage my business and my time a lot better. And I found some great partners who have extensive knowledge in the areas where I needed it most, and started working with them.
As I became more successful, people started asking me how I was pulling it off and if I could help them with their business. And that’s how my new company, The Contractor Consultants, was born. It gained traction pretty fast. A lot of contractors out there are in the same position as me and my dad. They’re hard workers, great at their craft, good with people, love their job. But to run a successful, competitive, growing business in today’s world, you need to understand everything from digital advertising to applicant tracking systems to tax laws and beyond. And that stuff shouldn’t just be available to the big corporations – it’s the small businesses that need it most.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What The Contractor Consultants does is help contractors improve their business in any and every area it needs, from strategy to coaching to production and execution and beyond. But the real goal of the company is to help those contractors take control of their business and trust that it will stay on track so that they can have more free time to spend with their families. They all started a business for a reason – actually lots of different reasons. They all have different backgrounds and education and skills. The construction industry is pretty unique in that way – there can be wild differences from one business to the next in terms of the operating model, the growth strategy, and so on. There’s a lot of niche categories and specialties that you don’t understand unless you’re part of the industry. That’s one reason it’s so hard for contractors to find the right kind of partners to help them.
So I think what sets us apart is our experience in the industry – all of our consultants have at least 10 years of construction experience – and our flexible, customizable, transparent approach for each client. We’re all about reducing stress, earning your trust, and putting our money where our mouth is. We genuinely want our clients to think of us as partners, because our goal is to help them live a better life. Seeing those contractors start to relax and realize they’re in good hands and the future is looking bright – that’s what I get excited about.
I started working when I was 9 years old. I was out in the field with my dad, picking up trash on job sites and sorting stones for stone walls based on size – smaller and bigger than a soft ball and smaller and bigger than a basketball.
I watched my dad get up at 4 in the morning and work until 10 or 11 at night. Every day. There was always stress, whether it was a problem on a job site or money or a client or an employee. And no matter how much pressure he was under, he always treated everyone with respect and kindness and fairness. But I still knew he was struggling. And it was hard for me to see that and not be able to help, you know?
Soon I noticed how other companies looked like they had thousands or hundreds of employees, and the owners weren’t caught up having to do everything themselves. There was no ceiling to how much they could grow. I started to wonder: What are they doing differently than us? I became obsessed with that question. Why is it fair that my dad had to work so hard and still couldn’t get the freedom and reward he deserved?
Obviously, my dad’s experience had a big impact on me. I vowed it wouldn’t happen to me. My wife and I had our first child last year, so this mission is more important to me than ever. I want to make sure all the other contractors out there can understand what I’ve come to understand: You can grow a successful business and still live a full life outside of it. You just need to find the right information, make the right investments, and trust the right people.
We have this slogan – “Wherever you are right now, thank a contractor.” Basically it’s reminding you that every building, every house, every bridge, every road is built by a contractor. They shape the world around us. We trust them and rely on them every day without even thinking about it. Some of them aren’t too savvy with social media, others aren’t very good with paperwork, others get frustrated by budgeting or payroll. Everybody has blind spots.
Through our work we’ve discovered that the single biggest pain point for everyone in the construction industry, though, is recruitment. The US Chamber of Commerce does a study every quarter, and they found that 62% of contractors are having trouble finding skilled labor. And 45% have to turn down work because of the talent shortage. And it’s getting worse every year. So we’ve been working on a brand new tool to help people – it’s a soup-to-nuts online course in how to find, vet, hire, and retain top talent, and the whole thing is designed specifically for the challenges of construction industry. We call it The Contractor Hiring Course. It has 40+ lessons, everything from where to find people to how to make sure they stick around. It’ll be available this summer!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I keep things pretty simple when it comes to leisure time so I’d probably just pick up some picnic food and take them to the beach for some swimming and people watching.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to all the contractors out there. Thanks for putting in all the long mornings and late nights, and for putting up with the sore knees and the stress of hiring and firing and all the frustrations and struggles of owning your own business. I’ve been inspired by so many contractors – way too many to name here – so here’s a shoutout to the ones that do their best every day because they take pride in their job and over-deliver for every client because they believe everyone deserves to get their best work.