Southwest Homes Owner, Jason LaFollette
When Southwest Homes owner Jason LaFollette arrived on the campus of Texas A&M in 1988 as a wide-eyed freshman Biomedical Science major, he was full of dreams of attending medical school after college. But while attending A&M, he found himself returning to his family roots in order to pay for college, working around home construction sites, which ultimately led him down a different path than he’d planned.
The son of a residential painter, LaFollette was familiar with home construction sites as a kid, oftentimes tagging along with his dad.
“I enjoyed working with my Dad on his jobs, but I learned at an early age that I didn’t want to be a painter,” LaFollette said, “but building houses from the ground up is something that always appealed to me.”
During his time at A&M, LaFollette worked part-time for an electrician, a plumber, an air conditioning company, and even a home builder. At the time, he thought that it was just working as a college student to help him pay for his tuition and keep the lights on.
What he didn’t realize at the time, was that God was preparing him for an entirely different path.
“Sometimes we don’t understand why God closes certain doors and opens others, but in the end His plan was better than mine”, LaFollette said. “I was able to use the years of experience and knowledge that I had gained working in the various trades to create an opportunity to follow another dream of mine…to build houses from the ground up.”
That early experience and nearly 30 years of gaining knowledge as a home builder is something that now sets him apart in the industry.
“There aren’t many home builders who have worked in most of the trades involved in building a house, which I suppose that means I’m old school, but I think it’s an incredible advantage for our customers,” LaFollette said. “Having worked in electrical, plumbing, air conditioning (among others), I know when a job is being done well, and I’m often times able to look for solutions with our subcontractors because I’ve done that work myself, and because of my experience, they trust me.”
But technical experience isn’t the only thing that sets Southwest Homes apart from the competition.
After college, Jason worked for Southwest Homes and then worked for himself for more than 13 years with LaFollette Custom Homes, basically operating as a “one-man show,” as he puts it. Then in 2014, he got a call from his former employer, Roger Williams at Southwest Homes. It was a phone call that turned out to be a game changer.
“Roger said he wanted to retire but didn’t want to shut Southwest Homes down, mainly because he had a team of really great people working for the company,” LaFollette said. “I was excited for the opportunity to work with an experienced team because it allowed me to offer everything I always wanted to offer to people, and do it consistently.”
So…what DOES Jason and his team at Southwest Homes offer?
The project manager walks Southwest Homes clients through the entire process, helping them decide on every aspect of their new dream home. LaFollette even has an in-house interior designer to help coordinate various material selections, at no additional charge to the customer. Everything they do is in an effort to make the home building process, which can seem overwhelming for many people, a fun and exciting time, while the Southwest Homes team does the heavy lifting.
It’s that kind of service that LaFollette says he expects from his team, to turn a process that many people dread into a fun-filled adventure.
“When we finish building a home, I want the customer to say that they would do it all again,” LaFollette said. “I don’t want them to feel worn out and frazzled at the end of it. We want them to say ‘we actually had fun and enjoyed working with these people.’”
And unlike many builders out there, that service doesn’t end once the keys are handed over to the new homeowner. LaFollette and his team follow up regularly with their clients, offering warranty repairs and just making sure that the house they built, turned into the home of their clients’ dreams.
“I’ve had people comment that they’ve never had a builder call them two years after they move in,” LaFollette said. “They’re sometimes caught off guard, but that’s one of the things I really enjoy. I think it shows that we’re not just in it for the money. We have the privilege to build homes for people and it is about the relationship with each of them.”
While medical school may not have been in the cards for Jason, it’s clear after visiting with several of his clients that he certainly would have had the bedside manner down pat.
VISIT THE SOUTHWEST HOMES BLOG NEXT WEEK TO HEAR FROM OUR CUSTOMERS WHO DISCUSS WHAT THEY LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH SOUTHWEST HOMES!