Peart makes dreams reality
Fort Dodge-based custom home builder is relocating to bigger space
For many families, moving into a new, custom-built home is at — or near — the top of their dream list. Helping people in north central Iowa turn that important life goal into a reality is part of the mission of the team at Don Peart Custom Homes Inc. Undertaking assorted remodeling and renovation projects for homeowner is also a significant component of the company’s business.
“The primary business is building new homes,” said Don Peart Jr., who founded the business and is its president and owner. “We also do additions, remodels. Anything that has to do with a new home, we do that for existing homes, — kitchen remodels, cabinets, countertops, everything.”
This Fort Dodge-based construction company currently is headquartered near the west entrance of Crossroads Mall. By later this year, however, it will relocate from that site to 3635 Maple Drive.
“We’re moving to the old Mediacom building,” Peart said. “The building is 4,000 square feet. The lot is 2 1/2 acres.”
He said the purchase of this new home base for his enterprise will allow him to have his showroom and all other parts of the business at a single, consolidated location.
Don Peart Custom Homes represents a major Midwestern player in the home-building industry — Amwood Homes Inc. Headquartered in Jamesville, Wisconsin, Amwood serves home builders in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It specializes in the construction of building components that are then shipped to local builders for final assembly.
“With the Amwood homes the advantage for the customers is our flexibility,” Peart said. “Our range of what we can do is endless. With that comes an endless choice of options. We do our design work here and with Amwood. Amwood is a panel-building company. They build the wall sections, put them in trailers and bring them to us. The wall sections have windows, exterior doors and such on them. There are usually four to five semi loads of panels. We have to assemble it, construct it on-site.”
Once the trucks are unloaded and the assembly is underway, it isn’t long before a recognizable house is taking shape.
“The panels speed up our construction process quite a bit,” Peart said. “If the concrete is in the ground, or if we do the wood foundation, we can have most of the home up and under a roof in three to seven days. From the time that the Amwood products show up on the site, construction usually takes three to four months.”
While most of the homes Don Peart Custom Homes builds make use of the Amwood system, Peart said other options are also available if that better meets a customer’s needs.
“We do some stick building also,” he said.
The company handles new home construction and remodeling projects well beyond Fort Dodge.
“Most of my business is outside of town,” Peart said. “We do a 60-65 mile radius of Fort Dodge. I use a lot of subcontractors. One thing we do, even when we’re out of town, we bring Fort Dodge subs with us all around the state. All my subcontractors follow me wherever I go in the state.”
Peart said the first stage of building a home for a customer is getting to know that client and understanding exactly what they hope to incorporate in the structure.
“We’ve got 70 to 100 homes already pre-priced for base pricing,” he said. “So, if they give us an idea of where they are at, we can tell them what to build. They contact us and we see if it is a fit and they come in and we get all the details of what they think they want. Everybody’s wish list is different.”
Part of the process, Peart said, is making a realistic comparison of the customer’s dream home with what can be afforded. He said the huge number of options his company can offer helps make it possible to achieve an acceptable match between what is desired in the home and the funds available for the project.
Peart said one of the things that sets his company apart from some competitors is that there are no pricing surprises.
“We lock in our pricing,” he said. “When we have an agreement with someone, we do not go 10 to 20 percent over. Any overages are customer-driven only. Once I lock in a price, that’s your price.”
Peart said he take pride in his team’s commitment to getting work done on time while always being concerned about doing a good job.
“The quality of the work is a priority,” he said. “We try to do it right. When we get done, we still go back. We fix issues that we have.”
Meet Don Peart
During his years at Fort Dodge Senior High, Don Peart got introduced to the construction world long before his 1977 graduation.
“While I was still in high school, I was working for a local contractor,” he said.
He found the home-building field appealing and continued developing his skills through partaking of the builder’s course at Iowa Central Community College. Peart was employed briefly at two local construction companies, but his career shifted venue when he had a chance to join the team at Georgia Pacific, where he spent nearly a decade and a half.
From early on, however, Peart had the dream of being the proprietor of his own construction business. During his years at Georgia Pacific he continued to work toward that goal and refined his construction expertise.
“I’d been doing additions, small homes, roofing all through my time with Georgia Pacific,” he said.
Then in March 1994, the time was right for Peart to strike out on his own. After a short time in a partnership, he established Don Peart Custom Homes Inc.
The business he leads is very much a family operation. One of Peart’s daughters, Ashley, and his son, Joshua, are key parts of the business.
“Ashley is still running the office,” Don Peart said. “Ashley has been part of the team for 17 years. Joshua is taking over some of my duties. They’ll own this. The whole plan is to roll this over in probably the next eight to 10 years. They’ll take ownership and continue on.”
Don Peart said he finds his career choice immensely satisfying.
“I just like fulfilling the customer’s dreams,” he said. “And I just enjoy building. I like working with the customers and having them content and happy when we’re done. That is a fulfillment for me.”