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Home | DALLAS / FORT WORTH | Spotlight | Spotlight - Clay Gafford, Texas Trophy Remodeling LLC

Spotlight - Clay Gafford, Texas Trophy Remodeling LLC

image Owner of Texas Trophy Remodeling, Clay Gafford, presenting a completed shower remodel

DALLAS/ FT WORTH - Whether it is remodeling a house’s back or racing on a track, Clay Gafford is an expert. The Texas Trophy Remodeling co-owner feels equally at home striving to create the perfect kitchen or driving the perfect Corvette.





Tell us briefly about your company.
    Sure thing.  Our company is called Texas Trophy Remodeling, and we special-ize in custom kitchen remodeling, bath-room remodeling, whole home renovations, and room additions. We serve the DFW area in North Texas, which would be primarily include Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, and all the smaller cities nearby.
    I know there are a lot of contractors out there who may be calling themselves “remodelers,” among other things too, but remodeling is the only thing we do. We specialize in performing first-class custom remodeling work, and we try not to stray too far from our wheelhouse. 

Share a bit about your personal background.
    I was born in Dallas, and when I was about 9 months old, my family and I relocated to Manhattan; my dad is a CPA and so he was moved around for various jobs.  We lived in Manhattan for about 14 months and then moved back to Dallas. My father kind of moved us around the country for the next 12 or 14 years. I lived in Montgomery, AL, Salem, NC, moved back to Fort Worth, then moved to Huntington Beach, CA and finally moved back to Arlington, TX before I started high school.

Why did you start your company?
    I had considered going into my dad’s line of work at various points, but I saw the downsides of being forced to move around the country at your employer’s will. Actually, I was always very interested in real estate, and I was looking for a way to work within that industry. I earned an undergraduate degree in Real Estate at the University of Texas at Arlington, and later a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of North Texas.
    I thought I might like to work in commercial real estate lending, but at the time I was trying to do that, there were not a lot of good things going on in the economy, and there were very few of those types of openings for new MBA graduates. I was utilizing my Finance degree by working at a local bank, and I was slowly moving up the ladder. I routinely was working with local business owners and entrepreneurs, and while I was opening up accounts for them, I was thinking, “How can I do something like this myself?”  That’s really what kind of got me interested in owning my own business.

How were you introduced to the remodeling industry?
    My family has been involved in buying and investing in single-family residential homes for many years. As I got older, during high school and college, I was gradually put in charge of a lot of that. I gained a great deal of experience not only in working on and transforming old houses, but also managing contractors and subcontractors, and seeing the transformations take place from start to finish.  It came pretty naturally to me.
    I learned all the crucial “ins and outs” of renovating houses, and gained a lot insight into whole process. I saw what can go wrong, and learned how to avoid pitfalls. Just as importantly, I learned how to do things the RIGHT way to give the best possible outcome. These are lessons I still carry with me today to Texas Trophy Remodeling. 
    My business partner Jeff is the same way. His dad has bought, renovated and sold over 100 houses in Jeff’s lifetime, and Jeff has been pretty heavily involved in that process growing up.  He learned quite a bit about remodeling and renovating homes, and developed a passion for seeing old and distressed homes become beautiful. He jokes that remodeling is about “literally making the world a better place to live.”
     Each of us have also completely renovated our personal homes.  We bought older homes that needed a lot work, and we completely transformed them to suit our needs. So that’s probably one of the things that drew us together as friends and business partners. I always knew I wanted to work for myself, and not for somebody else. We started this business four or five years ago and just incorporated it this past year.

How did you adjust to business ownership?
    There’s a lot to learn; it’s a constant learning process. I think anytime you own a company and you’re passionate about the work you do, it is something that you’re going to be constantly working on, or thinking about. It is definitely a different lifestyle than working 9 to 5 for someone else.
    However, I was really surprised at how rewarding it can be. I was surprised at how great some of the clients are whom I have worked with over the years.

Who has mentored you?

    My dad helped me quite a bit just with some of the motivation to start. I also had another friend, David, who was in the remodeling business for a while.  David was very helpful with guiding me how to price things appropriately when bidding jobs, how to build relationships with clients, and how to make sure things are properly documented in contracts because you want there to be clear understanding between you and a client.

How has the business evolved?

    One of the first big projects was building a huge outdoor kitchen and patio cover for someone. That merged into us primarily focusing on doing interior renovation work. We still do outdoor kitchens and living spaces, but today our main focus is kitchen remodeling, bath-room remodeling, interior remodeling, and whole-home renovations. 

What do you enjoy about your work?
    I really like building things. One of my greatest joys comes from taking something that looks mediocre and turning it into a work of art. I enjoy being able to get into the nitty-gritty details, fine tuning and just bringing something to life.
    I had a client who texted me about 18 months ago, and it stands out in my mind. She texted, “I know we are getting what we asked for but it is even better than we ever could have imagined.” Being able to do things like that for people really makes me feel good.

Share about your family.
    I got married to Laura, my wife, four years ago. Laura teaches high school English. I have one brother, and we have a couple of nephews; one nephew was just born a few weeks ago. We have a pretty close-knit group and we see our families a couple of times a week. Probably not a week that goes by that we don’t have some kind of contact in one way or another.
    We also have two dogs, a German Shepherd named Songe, and then we adopted Bentley, a Mexican hairless with hair – one in four of these Mexican hairless dogs have hair – and he’s an interesting one. They get along, but they have their days where they need some time apart.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
    I’ve always been into cars. I’ve owned various vehicles over the years, although I recently thinned out the collection so that it wouldn’t occupy so much time.
    I just went through a run where I was changing it up every couple of years. I’ve owned a couple of BMWs, a Mustang GT 500, and a Z06 Corvette. I did own the only RUF RT12 S in the country for a while. I stumbled across the car and went on a limb, but I ended up spending a lot more time dealing with it than I wanted. It took a few months to sell it and now I have been kind of taking a break from the car game.
    I also like to do archery, compound bows specifically. I have a good buddy, Travis, with whom I have done some bow hunting.
    As far as other hobbies, I like to play golf. I haven’t played in a while since it’s been a little cold, but it’s about that time of year again.

What do you hope the future holds?

    From a business standpoint, one of the goals that we want to highlight is excellent service, and great communication with our clients. There are many ways to do a job, but we always try to do things the correct way. Our main goal is to convey to our clients is that we want to do things the right way. Typically, when you do something the right way, it looks as it should look; you get a nice, polished final product. That’s always our goal: to deliver high-quality work, with good communication and service with our clients, and handling things in a timely fashion.
    Today, we are trying to expand our presence on the web and get the word out there so folks can find us. We’re looking to document our future jobs in a lot more detail on various websites. One of the things we’re trying to implement is having photos with specific details of what products, colors and materials were used to complete the jobs.
    We’re just looking to grow. They teach you in business school that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
    Texas Trophy Remodeling LLC in Arlington is a full-service home remodeler. –mjm

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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net