Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Anna Perks. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Anna, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s start with what makes profitability in your industry a challenge – what would you say is the biggest challenge?
The construction industry, in general, is very linear. We take resources from the environment, build a structure with those materials, and, then, when we want something different we knock the building down and throw it all away. Homeowners and contractors want demolition done fast and cheap. There’s a lack of awareness for the value of our existing building materials.
Our challenge and opportunity is to increase awareness along the Front Range and help expand the reuse culture. We are urban miners and disassemble buildings so that materials like dimensional lumber, plywood, hardwood flooring, doors, cabinets, fixtures, insulation, garage doors etc can be reused instead of landfilled. Almost 40% of our landfill consists of construction and demolition debris so there is an enormous opportunity to salvage reusable materials by deconstructing a building rather than demolishing it.
When more people understand the value and longterm benefit of our existing building stock it will help drive the demand for deconstruction as well as profitability.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I am the owner and founder of Perks Deconstruction. I have 11+ years of experience in waste management, business sustainability, environmental education, and business development. My focus now is on managing construction and demolition debris, building partnerships along the front range, and increasing education and awareness around building material reuse.
Prior to founding Perks Deconstruction, I graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. degree in Political Science and a focus on Environmental Issues. Upon graduating, I worked with ecotourism business groups in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer to develop a municipal waste collection program. I worked on zero waste policies, education, and events for Eco-Cycle. I also worked as a business sustainability adviser for Boulder County’s PACE program where I assisted over 200 businesses with waste, water, energy, and sustainable transportation. Most recently, I worked as a business development manager of a manufacturing company to help launch a reusable bag made from ocean plastic.
I have always been passionate about reducing material waste and started Perks Deconstruction after watching a historical home get bulldozed in the Berkeley neighborhood in Denver. We take a surgical approach to demolition to maximize the salvage and recycle value of the materials. In the first three years of business, we have diverted over 1.5 million lbs. of material from the landfill. Our team takes pride in giving material another life and often donates the material to local non-profits for reuse.
Clients are often surprised to see what we salvage from projects and we feel proud showing other contractors how easy it is to sort material for reuse and recycle on-site.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
We have grown organically by building strong relationships with general contractors who use us as their primary demolition/deconstruction subcontractor. We have built these relationships by being easy to work with and by communicating clearly along the way. We also keep a clean and tidy worksite, which no one expects from the demolition crew.
There aren’t too many women owned businesses in the construction industry and we’re the only deconstruction contractor focused on the Denver market. So by offering a unique sustainable demolition service we have attracted new customers who want to reduce their environmental impact.
Does your business have multiple or supplementary revenue streams (like a ATM machine at a barbershop, etc)?
Last fall we earned a grant from the Front Range Waste Diversion program to help fund “Denver’s First Deconstruction Warehouse.” Our primary mission is to offer deconstruction services in the Denver metro area but we need outlets for some of the materials we salvage. So later this spring, we’ll start selling bundles of reclaimed lumber and hardwood flooring to serious DIYers, tiny house and shed builders, woodworkers and other contractors.
One challenge in the construction industry is weather. So when we’re not able to work outside on a project our team can work in our warehouse by processing and bundling wood to be resold. This secondary revenue stream is a way to help support our company through the inevitable inconsistencies of a construction schedule.
Selling reclaimed material from our warehouse is also a way to offer more affordable building materials to people who either want to save some money on their project or appreciate the character of salvaged material.
- Website: www.perksdeconstruction.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perksdeconstruction/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perksdeconstruction
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/perks-deconstruction-ltd/
- Other: Sign up for Reclaimed Material Alerts: https://www.perksdeconstruction.com/warehouse