Golden Rule Builders presents a fresh face

By Posted on Jan 21 2021 | By

In 1987, Joel Barkman strapped on his carpenters’ belt and began building homes. Today, some 700 homeowners in Northern Piedmont are enjoying the results of his commitment to quality housing and remodeling.

On November 12, the company celebrated 34 years in business by launching its new brand with a ribbon-cutting at its office at 3409 Catlett Road, Catlett. The Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce, former clients, and the general public attended the event.

“We rebranded to further fulfill the community’s need for exceptional homes and lifestyles, to continue to be profitable, and for God’s glory,” said Barkman.

In March, Stephanie Kennedy joined the firm as its marketing manager and quickly assessed the rebranding need. Her goal was to increase sales, especially within the remodeling business. “I saw a need to create new a logo to help further drive sales,” said Kennedy.

The new brand is a sleek, modern-looking logo showcasing a bold GRB underscored with a thin line design reading Golden Rule Builders. The new symbol will grace its fleet of 20 vehicles, all its signage, stationery, business cards, and related promotional materials.

Companies typically rebrand to better differentiate from competitors. It can help a business stand out by showcasing what makes them different and better. Even the largest organizations rebrand when needed.

It also reenergizes the company’s leadership and employees by focusing on a recommitment to the firm.

In the beginning, GRB had only a modest goal of building two or three move-in-ready homes a year. Around 1990, that evolved to a focus on custom home construction. Such houses typically take a year or more to design and build. Remodeling projects can run from 30 days to three months.

Recently, the concept has been expanded to include a Golden Rule Lifestyle Homes division. Using conventional designs and deliverable in a three-month period, the model better matches younger families’ timing and budget needs while maintaining the firm’s reputation for quality.

Remodeling rounds out the company portfolio.

“Today, our goal is to produce 50 percent new homes and 50 percent remodeling. We’ve had an increase in new home construction recently, but our goal is to strive for an equal balance between the two businesses.

“I’m particularly proud of our in-house design capability,” said Barkman. We have always done our own designs, but we’ve stepped up those efforts quite a bit.”

New home construction is divided into two contracts. One is the design/build, followed by the contract to deliver. Design is a critical aspect of the effort since all else follows on its correct execution.

In 2013, GRB moved to its location in Catlett. The quarters include a company showroom where clients can make exterior and interior home selections in one location.

The firm serves the nine counties surrounding Fauquier County, which is its home base. “We try to stay within an hour’s drive time for any project. But the majority of our homes are in Fauquier. It’s where we love to be. It’s where people know us the best.” said Barkman.

The firm has 30 employees with about half administrative staff and the remaining field employees.

“We feel very blessed to have thrived in today’s environment,” said Barkman. The firm created a structure so it would not have to shut the company down if anything like the pandemic hits again.

There are four different office entrances, separate restrooms, and a shift to conducting all virtual meetings. “We have minimized direct contact among the staff. That’s both good and bad. It kind of wears on some staff who are more communicative and like group interaction.”

Concerning actual construction, at first, a few remodeling projects were put on hold by customers. Otherwise, Covid-19 has had no impact. “It’s probably promoted more work because people are sitting at home saying, ‘We’ve been wanting to do this project. Now’s a good time to start’,” explains Barkman.

About eight remodeling projects are in progress.

New home construction has grown, too, especially with the favorable interest rates that are available. Currently, 10 homes are in various stages of construction.

“Our greatest asset is our people. Our team is highly competitive, skilled, and produce excellent work. I am proud of all of them. We are not here to see how big we can get. We are here to serve the community.”

When asked about the name he chose for his company over three decades ago, Barkman said, “Being a Christian and having the belief that we are here to serve our fellow man, I wanted to focus on who we are rather than using my name.

“I chose Golden Rule Builders because it’s the rule we live by it in our business dealings. It also helps our employees and myself stay centered on why we’re here.”

For a comprehensive description of its design/build services, materials, and more, visit https://www.goldenrulebuilders.com/


Published in a January 2021 edition of the Fauquier Times.

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