Garthwaite Homes

Friday, January 5, 2024

Home built by Garthwaite HomesWe had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Garthwaite, one of the owners of Garthwaite Homes, a family-run business based in Dodgeville, WI.  Jeff and his father, Zeke, are the driving force behind the company, which prides itself on building high-quality homes with a personal touch.

How did you get into the building industry?

In the early 1990’s my dad and I worked full-time at the United States Postal Service (USPS). While working there I also worked on various construction project with friends. In 2003, we started our construction business but remained working full-time at the USPS. We did this so that we could gradually grow the business and build up our reputation while keeping the benefits and steady pay from the USPS. During this time frame we built around 1 – 2 homes per year.

At age 72 my dad retired from the USPS. When I was 45, I had a hip replacement and then I left the USPS as well to focus solely on our construction business. We both wish that we would have done the switch sooner as we now do at least 5 – 8 homes a year and the phone has not stopped ringing since.

How long have you been with Amwood?

We started working with Amwood in 2009. In addition, we are proud to have won several awards including the prestigious President’s Club Award.

Tell us a little about your business model. Do you build contract homes, spec homes, model homes, remodeling, etc.?

My dad focuses on the real estate aspects and I work on the construction side of the builds. Since the business is just me and my dad, we have other family members who help us out. Karen, Zeke’s wife and my stepmom, is a retired office manager and she does the bookkeeping for us. My sister, Jody Moen manages our marketing which includes our website, ads, and social media. At some point or another, all of my kids have helped out on job sites; from tarring foundations, breaking ties off concrete, cleaning, or landscaping. I use them as much and as often as I can.

We do custom contract homes and spec homes. We do not have a model home but I do use my own home and spec homes to show potential customers what our product looks like. I have also found that many homeowners are open to showing their homes to any potential customers that I have. We do not do any remodeling.

Where do you get your leads?

Word of mouth is the primary way that we get leads. My inspector actually sends us a ton of referrals. He even gave us a referral to a developer with 20 lots that we are now working on that will give us 8 homes this year and another 10-13 homes next year.

Jeff Garthwaite family

What type of marketing has brought you the most success?

We do not really do much marketing since it is just my dad and myself. We currently have more than we can handle and at this point, I would not want to do any additional marketing. That could put us in a position where we cannot successfully service the customers in the manner that we like.

What is the price range of the homes you build?

$300,000 – $600,000

What type of style of home do you build the most?

We primarily build ranch-style homes.

What is the total number of homes you have built with Amwood? What is the total you have built in your career?

We are around 30 or so with Amwood. We did just one or two the first couple of years and now we have more. I have been involved in 100’s of builds in my career from doing framing early on to now managing the entire job.

Zeke and Karen Garthwaite

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My wife, Ashli, and I were recently married this past September. Ashli works as a dental assistant at a dentist’s office where she works the front desk and assists the dentist with procedures. She even worked on putting in my crown!

I have a blended family, my son, Dillon is a sophomore at Edgewood College, and twins Sawyer and Ava are juniors at Dodgeville High School. Then, I have two step-daughters, Presli is also a junior at Dodgeville High School and Addy is a fifth grader at Dodgeville Middle School.

Other interesting facts you would like to share?

In addition to working in the building industry, my dad has been an auctioneer for around 58 years. Zeke went to auctioneer school when he was 16 years old and hasn’t stopped since.

Thank you to Jeff and Garthwaite Homes for taking the time to share their story with us.