Renovator Profile: Victor Mingo Quality Construction Ltd.
In the town of Truro, Nova Scotia, competition is tight for construction clients and certified carpenters. But Victor Mingo and his 29-year-old company are booked nearly a year out and have staff members who’ve been on the team for 20 years.
Mingo has developed a reputation for doing top quality work and specializing in challenging projects. “Anything that’s unusual or different, we get the call,” he says. That includes complex roof frames and matching existing interior finishes.
Meanwhile, Mingo retains employees by managing them well, gathering them together at social functions and offering a medical plan. But most importantly, he offers steady work all year for his mostly certified team of 10. “They know the work is there, there’s no question mark every morning,” he says. While it’s somewhat standard practice in the region to lay off teams in the winter, Mingo gets work even in cold months and sometimes takes a hit to his bottom line to avoid layoffs.
Mingo, who grew up in a small town outside Truro, was always around hands-on work, as his grandfather was a carpenter. He did vocation school and then spent seven years working for a construction company in Truro. He started doing some work on the side and quit in 1989 to found his own company.
The economy was in rough shape at the time but Mingo, who would hire help on contract as needed in the early days, started by doing house framing and other structural work. Over time, he expanded to interior renovations, including top-notch finishes.
He built a house for himself and then for a few clients. Those led to more jobs building homes from the ground up.
A major coup was landing a wintertime contract in the early 1990s at the Stanfield’s plant in Truro. Projects like upgrading washrooms and other interior work helped the company become year-round – Mingo still does work for the plant on a project-by-project basis.
Mingo’s tendency to say yes to just about any project paid off. “We were never afraid to take what came through the door, we never shied away from things that were odd or complex.” So, the team kept getting work that challenged them and expanded their expertise.
That reputation led to some ambitious gigs, including seven years of work helping build the Fox Harb’r Resort – Victor Mingo did several timber frame buildings, the high-end interior of the resort’s spa, and Tim Hortons co-founder Ron Joyce’s 15,000-sq.-ft. residence at the resort.
Today, Mingo’s wife Wanda still runs the office – she’s done so since day one – and he manages the team. Usually, two carpenters work in the shop he’s built in his backyard while the other eight go out on two-to-three jobsites. They’re always working on a range of projects, including, of late, a high-end cottage renovation to double the living space and build a pool house.
With projects booked into next October, the Mingo family and professional team have the kind of job security few experience in their region in this field. “People are willing to wait for us,” says Mingo. —Diane Peters
Company name: Victor Mingo Quality Construction Ltd.
Location: Truro, N.S.
Specializing in: Renovations, new builds
Number of employees: 10, plus 2 owners
Approximate revenues: $1-2 million