The husband-and-wife team of Linda and Jeff Vap started their family business, Vap Construction, headquartered in Atwood, Kansas, nearly 40 years ago. They added post-frame construction in 2004. Jeff also runs a 1,000-head Black Angus cattle ranch, and Linda is president of the local school board.
We recently talked with Linda Vap and office manager Wendy Holmdahl about the company and what makes it successful.
What products or services do you provide?
Wendy: Vap Construction is a general contractor. We sell primarily post-frame buildings, but we offer steel-frame buildings and traditional stud-frame construction as well.
How many employees do you have?
Wendy: We have approximately 25 employees, and we also use a number of subcontractors who’ve worked with us for many years.
What areas do you serve?
Wendy: We build mostly in western Kansas, western Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. We do everything from agricultural barns and commercial offices to residential garages and even turnkey homes.
When did you join the National Frame Building Association, and why did you join? What are the benefits of membership?
Linda: We joined NFBA more than five years ago. We joined because it’s a great resource for us and for our customers. We use the association to research potential new vendors, materials, different techniques and construction ideas. We refer our customers to the Post-Frame Advantage website (postframeadvantage.com) to look at all the possibilities. Also, we find a lot of value in the annual Frame Building Expo. We’ve missed only one in the last five years. The networking at the Expo is very valuable to us, as are all the educational opportunities.
What post-frame projects would you like to highlight? Could you discuss one or two in detail and talk about the challenges and positive outcomes of the projects?
Wendy: We did a project near Laramie, Wyoming, that used weathering steel siding. One of the best aspects of the job was working with the customers. They run a wild-horse sanctuary on a beautiful ranch in the mountains west of Laramie. The location was a challenge for several reasons, including building in winter weather. We had to do that because the weathering steel was a special-order item, and we didn’t receive it when we were expecting it, so the project was delayed.
What are the benefits of post-frame construction, and what, if any, misconceptions about it have you encountered? What areas of growth do you foresee?
Wendy: The benefits that we see in post-frame construction are numerous. It’s economical, quick to build, and environmentally friendly. As far as misconceptions, the biggest is that many consumers still believe that post-frame construction is reserved for barns, outbuildings, sheds, etc. In the same vein, the area that’s surging for us is the residential market. We’ve seen a lot of growth in garages, man caves, “barndominiums,” and even custom homes.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Linda: We’ve built Vap Construction into a family business, with two of our sons, two nephews, Jeff’s brother, and my brother involved. Jeff’s main focus is his cattle ranch. I am president of the local school board. My hobbies include spending time with my granddaughters and attending Texas music concerts.
What is your business philosophy?
Linda: Vap Construction is a family-owned business. When potential customers call, they become part of our extended family. We pride ourselves in bridging the gap between professional and personal relationships with our customers. We insist on friendly interactions with our customers, whether it’s the receptionist answering the initial phone call or the employee installing gutters at the end of the project. This philosophy has served us very well. We get so many repeat customers and numerous referrals.
What values drive your philosophy of customer service?
Linda: Our goal is to provide each customer with a positive experience. We believe we offer an excellent, well-constructed building at the best price for our customers, and more than that, we treat our customers like extended family and friends.