Small Business F&L Construction Inc.’s Recipe for Thriving, Not Just Surviving the Pandemic
F&L Construction Inc. is a locally-owned small business that has been serving the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area since 1991, providing services in general contracting, construction management, design-build, and site development. I recently had the opportunity to speak with their founder and CEO, Freddie Winston, a long-time and devoted client of PSA, about how F&L Construction, Inc. has adapted their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We at PSA are inspired by the grit, dedication, and service of the small businesses in our community every day, but especially during these trying times. Winston has found ways to keep his company thriving and growing despite the challenges 2020 has brought—read on to learn more about F&L Construction Inc.’s business journey and take a page out of Winston’s book!
The Mind Behind F&L Construction Inc.
Freddie Winston, founder, president, and CEO of F&L Construction founded his minority-owned firm at the age of 29. He began his career in construction working for family in high school, and after years of hands-on experience and on-the-job training, Winston took the next step and founded his company in the D.C. metropolitan area. Winston has spent the last 29 years establishing a well-known, respected, and community-focused organization, providing services and programs for many other small local businesses in the community as well as large-scale governmental institutions, including the Government Services Administration, the White House, the Department of Justice. With the help of his late associate, Cynthia Taylor, Winston and F&L Construction Inc. has received many awards for their efforts within the community such as the Top 100 Minority Business Award. He was also interviewed by Black Enterprise Business Report and has received several other honors.
COVID-19 Business Journey
Fortunately, F&L Construction Inc. was deemed an essential business when the COVID- 19 pandemic hit the U.S. Although F&L Construction Inc. has remained operational over the course of the COVID crisis, new measures had to be put in place in order to protect Winston and his fifty employees. Here are some of the tactical changes keeping F&L Construction Inc. running strong.
- Reduce exposure wherever possible. Previously, it was common for Winston’s team to be on jobs with multiple other organizations to complete a project. To limit his employees’ chance of exposure since the start of the pandemic, Winston has restricted that collaboration to ensure that his team is the only team on a site at a time.
- Require some form of health evaluations. At F&L Construction, Inc., employees are required to complete daily temperature checks and monitor/report any symptoms. As an extra level of precaution, employees are also asked to be tested for COVID-19 periodically.
- Plan for now AND the future. Winston and his employees are continuing to work with their current contracts and have been fortunate enough to continue gaining more contracts, albeit at a slower pace than pre-coronavirus. With operations stalled due to increased wait times for required permits or materials, Winston has taken advantage of the extra time to restructure his business model for the future and connect with his clients to provide any services or support possible.
General Business Tips:
- Have the right people on your team. Throughout the pandemic period, F&L Construction, Inc. has continued to hire drivers, mechanics, and even sales staff. Winston stressed that it’s important to go through your workforce and only hire and keep those on your team who have the will to work and improve themselves and their community. If you’re the kind of company that focuses on giving opportunities to your employees and you have dedicated people on your team, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
- Give back. According to Winston, a commitment to giving back and serving community and his employees is the key to the success of F&L Construction, Inc. Winston and his employees personally donate school supplies to their local elementary schools, especially Ketcham Elementary. Several of his employees also partner with the school to tutor and mentor students who are having difficulty in the classroom. Winston maintains that investing in your community, especially in the youth, is crucial to keeping crime down and providing opportunities for those who need a hand.
- Consider your legacy. For Winston, his work isn’t about the money. He has a genuine passion for his business and for the services he provides his community.
Winston shared that everyone has a place in life—for him, he feels blessed when blessing others. Find that sweet spot in your own business. Define the “why” for your business, and then channel your efforts there. You need a vision and passion to survive the ups and downs business-owners face.
Overall, F&L Construction Inc. strives to be a company for its employees and the community. Winston attributes much of his success to the supportive people in his life, the D.C. community, and Bank of America, who have always supported his strong vision for what he wants to accomplish.
PSA is proud to partner with and support our small business clients, and in turn, our community. Winston shared, “PSA is a great company all-around. Everyone I have worked with for my personal, health, and business insurance has been a go-getter and always responsive.” While our relationship maintains a professional nature, I consider Freddie Winston a friend—he is more than just a client to me. If PSA can be of help to you or your business during this time, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Stay safe, stay strong, and support your local economy. For resources regarding reopening your business in light of COVID-19 and other information, check out our COVID-19 Business Resources.