A foundation of solid principles and strong partnerships has helped Cleary BUilding Corp. sell more than 100,00 buildings.
For almost 40 years, Cleary Building Corp. in Verona, Wis., has prided itself on offering clients a quality building that satisfies their needs at an affordable price.
Founded in 1978 by CEO Tom Cleary, the company is a debt-free, family-owned business that designs, manufactures, delivers and constructs commercial, equine, farm, suburban and residential pre-engineered post-frame structures. And, on November 18, 2015, Cleary sold its 100,000th building.
The company grew quickly from its headquarters and flagship manufacturing plant in Verona, opening its first branch office in Appleton, Wis., in 1985. Less than a year later, the company opened offices in Sandwich, Ill., and Breese, Ill. Expansion continued at a steady pace, and today the company employs more than 800 people throughout its 81 branch offices. Sean Cleary, president, attributes the company’s expansion with an increasing product line. “We expanded our product lines from agricultural products-machine sheds and livestock housing-and got into commercial products,” he explains, “Today, we have 45 standard products and a variety of non-standard products as well.”
Each of the 45 standard post-frame products has its own unique aspects and components, allowing every building to be custom designed. The company even developed its own proprietary 3D software called DreamMaker, which allows clients to customize the building layout and design.
Buildings range in size from 24 to 100 feet wide, and consisting of a wood frame with pre-painted steel panels for roofing and siding. These buildings are designed to provide a long lasting, low maintenance, cost-effective structure. The company uses laminated columns consisting of 3 – 2-inch by 6-inch #2 Southern Pine along with saddled truss to column connections, which it engineers and manufactures.
“Once the design is determined, DreamMaker allows clients to test various [Minneapolis, MN.-based] Valspar color combinations to get a visual representation of their structure before the shovel hits dirt,” explains Mike Wuennemann, director of marketing, “The color is the capstone of a building’s design, and combined with customized architecture from Cleary and metal material provided by [Lancaster, PA.-based] Fabral, it completes the trifecta for success.”
Every Cleary Building project is built with the company’s Shamrock Service Guarantees, ensuring customers they will be working with a sales specialist throughout the building process. Each building has a shamrock logo, representing the hard work, dedication and effort of the entire Cleary team in the building process.
Residential Building in Vienna, WV.
Cleary Building is built upon a foundation of solid principles with policies and procedures that are proven and time tested throughout the years. “Having a solid set of principles to start with is the foundation of any company,” says Cleary. “With our set of values and our management philosophy and our mission and vision statements, we really, in theories, shouldn’t need anything else. You should know how to conduct yourself; you should know whether this company is the right fit for you just by knowing things.”
This foundation has led to forming strong partnerships with companies like Fabral and Valspar. Cleary Building has been working with Fabral for almost four decades, using its metal roofing and wall panels to construct the majority of its 100,000 buildings. And, through the company’s partnership with Fabral, Cleary Building formed a relationship with Valspar. A large majority of projects over the past 20 years have featured Valpsar’s WeatherXL coil coating, allowing them to withstand heavy wear and tear while being aesthetically pleasing.
“Business partnerships are essential to any company’s success,” Cleary adds. “Every vendor is our partner and they’re an extension of our team. We all have to be on the same page, have the same ideals and set of standards. If we can’t come to that common ground, then we aren’t a good fit.”
Suburban Equipment Storage Building in Verona, WI.
Secrets to Success
Being in business starting its 39th year, Cleary notes the company has learned a number of valuable lessons over the years. One, he says, is the importance of people. “We’ve been very fortunate to have many good and great employees over time, and still have today.” he says.
Also, Cleary says continued development and education is very important. Calling the company an education company, Cleary claims they created their own university, Steel Wood University, to offer a variety of business and personal development courses. The company’s MVP and MBA training offers fully trained Building Sales Specialists to evaluate the building site, design and price a structure to meet their client’s exact needs. Additionally, manager training helps the company succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. “Through our MVP and MBA training programs, both new and veteran employees are taught the fundamentals of success, leadership and customer service,” Cleary explains. “Cleary Building Corp.’s philosophy encompasses more than just the construction of a high-quality product. We are building leaders as well.”
When it comes to running a successful construction company, Cleary says how they’ve managed their business has helped them through some economically slow times. For example, making sure to run the business 12 months out of the year, even when weather makes it difficult. Also, having a backlog of work to start the year is a very important key to success. “We are very austere, and we try to maintain that in good times and in bad because we want to deliver the best value we can to our clients.”
Sean Cleary, President at Cleary Building Corp.
Cleary Building Corp., Verona, Wis.
Year Founded: 1978
Geographic Areas of Service: Oregon to Pennsylvania
Services Offered: Designs, manufactures, delivers and constructs commercial, equine, farm, suburban and residential post-frame structures.
Number of Employees: Over 800
Estimated Square Footage of Post-Frame
- 2015: 23,257,000 square feet
- 2014: 20,112,000 square feet