A Passion for Quality Customer Care


by Bruce Frankel  ~

In a tough and challenging business such as a fence building company, how does one succeed?  Once you meet David Sandel Jr., the owner of Sandel Fence Builder, the answer becomes clear.

It is not about any one single skill or accomplishment.  It is about a life’s commitment to a strong work ethic where customer satisfaction is paramount.

For David, it started when he was only nine years old.  “I spent the summers with my grandparents in Columbia, SC.  My grandfather owned a gas station during the time when we had full service stations.  I would help him by pumping gas, cleaning the windows, checking oil and tires when asked.  When I finished the customer would smile, thank me, and pay for the service.  To me that was amazing, for someone to thank you while paying you.  I knew during those early days that customer service would be my future, although I was not clear on the specific direction I would take.  I learned more than just business from my grandparents; they taught me to have respect, a strong work ethic, and dignity.  Those lessons have never left me.”

By the time he reached high school, David had already started his first small business detailing cars.  He quickly began benefiting from the reputation he earned by exceeding clients expectations.  Even several teachers from his school would use his service knowing his commitment to delivering quality work.  Upon graduation, David took a full time job at Burlington Industries which would pay for his tuition at Greensboro College.

After completing college, David did not hesitate to start his first full time business and has been a dedicated entrepreneur ever since.  Triad Mobile Clean was started and quickly grew into one of the largest commercial pressure washing companies in the state.  With over 7,000 houses washed, hundreds of cars detailed, and his professional standing in the business community established, the company earned the coveted job of handling all the Bassmaster Classic Tournament vehicles (trucks and boats) during the five day competition and RV shows.

With his growing reputation of quality customer service throughout the Triad, David built close relationships with many of the area builders, realtors, and other business owners who regularly utilized his service and referred him to others.  Therefore, it was only natural that these same clients would ask David to do more for them than just pressure washing jobs.

Seeing the need for home improvements such as repairs, painting, decks and yes, fences, it was then that Sandel Home Exteriors was established.  Keeping true to his beliefs, Sandel Home Exteriors delivered a strong focus on providing the highest quality of customer service and workmanship while charging the most competitive prices, which was rare among the other local businesses doing similar work.  And once again, David was successful in establishing a new growing business based primarily on referral and repeat business.

But David has never stopped looking for more opportunities where he could excel and do more for others.  The evolution to his next venture was jump started in 2003 in a discussion with a local builder and realtor. They were discussing the fence his company was building for their new house in Summerfield when the realtor commented, “I wish we could put a fence on every house for sale, I know they would sell twice as fast.”

When David heard that comment, it triggered a major change in his business plan and marketing strategy.  Already having a very strong relationship with the Triad’s Builders and Realtors, he started giving presentations that a fence would help sell the house.  And it worked!  Greensboro, High Point, Burlington, Summerfield, Oak Ridge, Winston Salem, and Kernersville would all be part of this pre-sale marketing plan.  By the end of 2007, Sandel Fence Builder was a strong company in talks with two national suppliers about expanding into the southeastern states.

Then without warning, it happened, the 2008 Mortgage Crisis which would impact all home sales in the United States and cause thousands of foreclosures rattled the local housing market and fences became a nonessential addition.  This was one of David’s darkest moments in business.  As David recalls, “The absolute hardest thing for any business owner to do is to tell hardworking, dedicated, and loyal employees that you no longer need them.  It is a scar that I believe will never go away but has only made me stronger.  My strong belief that God will take care of us if we will trust him gave me the strength to keep going.”

You might be able to knock David down, and he might stumble some, but his relentless passion for success always anchored in great personal customer service allowed him to keep the business intact.  Over time, he has rebuilt the company with a solid understanding of today’s new business and consumer environment.

David knows the value of dedicated staff who shares his vision.  Mickey Hill, his Operations Manager has always been his greatest asset, along with a team of top notch and experienced installers who take a personal interest in satisfying each and every customer.  Their workmanship cannot be beat no matter what type of fence they are installing: wood, vinyl, aluminum, or chain link.  Plus, David has fine-tuned his business model to install the highest quality fences at the lowest prices by working closely with his suppliers and keeping his overhead low.

However, David is not satisfied.  He is continually striving to figure out how he can raise the bar and do things better.  He has just returned from Orlando where he attended FenceTech, which is the national convention of the American Fence Association, to learn the latest developments in his industry as well as meet with suppliers to discuss his new venture, spurred by consumer requests beyond the triad.  ‘UFence-IT’, which is initially serving the Southeast from Virginia to Georgia, will allow his winning business sell out-of-state customers their fence at a discounted price, ship it to them, and arrange for an insured, qualified installer to build it.

David is most proud of the three significant ladies in his life; his wife Sandy, and his two beautiful daughters Ashlyn (age 16), and Abigail (age 10).  In fact, it was his closeness to his family that led them to move from High Point to Kernersville in 2006.  The family had enjoyed all the family friendly activities in Kernersville such as the annual Spring Folly event, attending church, spending Halloween downtown as well as enjoying watching the Christmas parade together every year.  It became evident that Kernersville was the community in which his family would reside and enjoy living in going forward.

As David pointed out, “For me, things have not changed much since I was a little boy working at my Grandfather’s gas station; I am still providing my customers with good service and they always smile and say thank you while handing me payment.”

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