Building on a need
Zack Kelly helps custom homebuilders take care of business – so builders can build
By Ellen Linnemann
A longtime serial entrepreneur and successful insurance agent who currently owns an Allstate insurance agency in Charleston, Zack Kelly’s path to becoming a true visionary started while simply “sitting in” on a meeting at the request of a friend back in 2014. The friend, a custom homebuilder who was looking for a better way to access and manage the financial data of his business, knew that Zack was tech-savvy — and wanted his opinion, and input about a new software solution that was being presented to him that was being touted as the solution to the custom homebuilder’s financial management challenges.
Two hours into the meeting Zack knew that not only was a software solution not the answer to what his friend needed to grow his custom home-build business, but he had a “vision” of what he believed could really help his friend run his business more efficiently – and how he could help.
“As I listened to this presentation trying to sell my friend a software system, I realized that a software solution doesn’t fix a contractor’s problems when it comes to running their business and effective financial management,” said Zack. “Even if my friend had the most accurate data, the key is knowing what to do with the information and having the tools, and the time, to put the information to use in running a business. Most importantly, I knew that what could really help my friend was having someone do all that for him so that he and his team of builders could devote their time to doing what would truly help grow the business: building homes.”
Zack soon became his friend’s outsourced chief financial officer, working closely with him to help run the business more effectively. Zack provided construction-specific accounting, bookkeeping, financial management and insurance management and served as the company’s off-site CFO. Over the next few years Zack continued to provide his friend with a critical financial management partnership to help the company grow, all while continuing to grow his own insurance agency. However, in 2016 Zack’s initial vision turned into something bigger during an appointment selling a life insurance policy to another custom homebuilder.
“During our meeting the contractor realized that we had a mutual friend in the custom home-building business – and that I was the one who had been serving as the outsourced CFO that he had been hearing about,” Zack recalled. “He began telling me about some of his needs with his company’s financial management and some of the challenges he was facing in running his business. He asked me if I’d be interested in serving as his outsourced CFO as well, and I said yes, turning my initial role of helping a friend into a vision for a business that can help all custom homebuilders run more efficiently.”
Zack has continued to build on his initial vision and meet an existing need in the custom home-building arena, growing and expanding his business at a rapid pace. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and in-person meetings were put on pause, Zack was able to further extend the reach of his services – moving to virtual financial management and expanding to help custom homebuilders throughout the country as well as throughout South Carolina. He founded his company, Home Builders Financial Partners (HBFP), in early 2021 and hired his first employee. By the middle of 2021, he had eight clients (further growing that to 18 clients by the end of 2021.) Today HBFP has grown to 25 clients consisting of contractors and custom homebuilders all over the country.
“Almost 10 years ago I saw a need in the custom home-building industry that has continued to grow, where homebuilders were getting bogged down with all of the things that go into running a business,” said Zack, who serves as HBFP’s founding partner and CEO. “By providing contractors and custom homebuilders with the resources and construction-specific financial experts who can help them run their businesses more efficiently, we can free up homebuilders to do not only what they do best, build high-quality homes, but help them produce higher profits and returns in their businesses as well.”
As HBFP continues to grow, Zack Kelly is helping custom homebuilders take care of business and, in the process, build his own successful company from his vision.
- Have passion, and work within your passion. “When you love working and helping people, it means a better business,” Zack notes.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. “With every decision, you have to cross a bridge to get over it,” he points out. “Sometimes you just have to do it.”
- Try to do something bigger than yourself. “You’ll experience a lot more satisfaction when you can find people you can help and give them success.”