In 2005, Angel Ortiz, the owner and president of ZITRO Construction Services, had been out of the construction business for three years. Angel was working in New Orleans as a pressman for a printing company when Hurricane Katrina hit. After the storm he returned home to help repair the break in the levee. “That turned into people saying, ‘Hey we need your help,’ so we started gutting houses, and I naturally got back into the industry.” Hurricane Gustav brought him to Baton Rouge when contractors called him to help with the recovery. “I ended up meeting so many good people and the business community was so strong here, I decided to stay.” Angel ended up working as an independent contractor for six years, and in 2011 opened ZITRO Construction Services.
In the wide world of commercial construction, ZITRO finds our passion in a market niche. Instead of going after big projects like apartment complexes or industrial plants, ZITRO likes to work with its own kind: entrepreneurs. When we meet an aspiring entrepreneur, whether they are getting into business or expanding, we know how they feel. We will lay it out on the line for an entrepreneur. ZITRO enjoys experiencing the entrepreneurs’ business concepts and getting to be the first one to go in to ensure that the project gets done properly so they can get started with their business. Some recent entrepreneur projects include CUT Fine Jewelers, two Subway franchise restaurants and Louisiana’s first Bullchicks franchise on Coursey Boulevard.
Patience is a Virtue
It is important for ZITRO to operate under our own values and guidelines. There are a lot of good contractors out there, but the industry gets a bad rap sometimes, and rightfully so. For us, it is essential that we run things the way we want to run them. ZITRO has two business strategies that have allowed us to survive and grow with little to no collateral damage: operating debt free and referral networking. It takes a little longer, but we do not owe anyone anything, Roughly 85% of our business comes from developing close personal relations. It is a slower process, but you are much more likely to get a solid job. We always believed in a philosophy of being more patient, letting things take their natural course.
Adaptability and a strong team is key to ZITRO’s success. The volatility of the industry forces our team to adapt to various challenges daily and sometimes moment-to-moment. If you can’t adapt in this business, it will swallow you up. With each project, our main focus is having a good team and executing on time. Obviously, we are not the only contractor in town. People work for other people, so finding quality—we call them ‘A-players’—to be part of your team and nurturing those relationships is a challenge because the work is going on while that is happening. At times, it is tough to find workers, but we know they are out there. It is just a matter of finding them. It can be difficult if you are not vigilant.
Learn more about ZITRO Construction Services in the Baton Rouge Business Report article by Gabrielle Braud here.