Lee Lipniskis took the plunge this July launching Levello Construction, a Denver-based residential general contracting company with a focus on exterior systems, including roofing, gutters, paint, windows and siding.
In this edition of the Fast 5—a Q&A series spotlighting the insights and expertise of construction industry experts—Lipniskis shares her expertise in starting a construction company, why her varied experiences make her a stronger advocate for Levello clients and the most impactful piece of advice she has for burgeoning business owners.
Launching a construction company is no small feat. What is your approach to handling challenges and unforeseen issues that come with creating and leading a business in this industry?
Lipniskis: When I started Levello Construction, I took a step back and evaluated the previous pain points I encountered from clients throughout the construction process. Most can be boiled down to communication. Levello’s purpose statement is, “Production at a higher level,” and we live and breathe that on a daily basis.
Of course, when you do any kind of restoration work, unforeseen challenges inevitably come up. This is where communication between your team and the client is vital and can smooth out that process. We especially emphasize the importance of follow-up and follow-through—two actions that historically were very present and expected from contractors but that have recently been lacking at many companies across all industries. Holding my team to the highest standards of communication, follow-up and follow-through has proven to be very successful.
How have you blended your background in construction and insurance claim management to strengthen your new venture?
Lipniskis: Having a background in risk management and insurance, along with working as an adjuster for a few years, helps me see the bigger picture when speaking to clients dealing with an insurance claim. I know how that process works from the insurance carrier’s point of view, so it helps me empathize not only with my clients but also with the adjusters. Contractors and adjusters can sometimes forget who our client really is and what our jobs are. With the help of my previous experience, I help bridge that communication gap and ensure respect for everyone, which in turn gives me the opportunity to better serve my clients.
How do you see technology advancements further impacting the construction industry in the next five to 10 years?
Lipniskis: Even in the last five years, the roofing industry has made huge progress in adopting new technologies, and I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic almost forced us to do so. We still have a long way to go, but from what I have heard and seen, there are some great developments coming down the technology pipe specifically for our industry.
An increasing number of companies are using drone and/or satellite technology and pairing them with virtual reality glasses to conduct safer inspections. Additionally, consumers are deeply desiring that immediate gratification and looking for answers 24/7. They are used to the two-day shipping from Amazon or being able to Google answers to everything. Because of that, I believe that in the next five to 10 years, automation and integrated software will have a bigger market share within the construction industry.
What is the most impactful piece of advice you could give to someone looking to launch a construction business in a seemingly full market?
Lipniskis: Take the time to really think through your personal “why.” There are so many great advantages to owning your own company, including financial freedom, family legacy and helping others. Whatever that “why” is, fearlessly pursue it. Start a new company and figure out what makes you unique—what makes you stand out against a crowd of thousands of other contractors. Focus on that, and you will be successful.
How does being a woman-owned contracting company help set your business apart from the competition?
Lipniskis: Being a woman-owned company is only a fraction of what sets me apart from the competition. I truly have a passion for the betterment of the industry, and I’ve got a deep sense of empathy for my clients and an eye for the minute details. That, combined with my extensive knowledge and expertise in insurance restoration, planning, design and construction really gives me an edge.
I am the only one who has the exact background that I do. That makes me unique. Being a woman is just the bonus icing on the cake.
Bonus: When you aren’t heading up Levello, how do you like to spend your time?
Lipniskis: I live in Colorado so I tend to enjoy the typical Colorado outdoor activities like hiking, paddle boarding, concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the occasion patio happy hour. I have been dabbling more in oil painting this last year—mostly nature scenery and channeling my inner Bob Ross (the painter), who says there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents. I am also very involved with the National Women in Roofing association and am on the board of directors as the vice chair of the events committee.