Colorado dream house retreat with snowy mountain views

Steamboat Springs provides a stunning backdrop for JSM Builders’ unique architectural feats

Based in the picturesque skiing region of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, JSM Builders is known for its difference in quality, design, and approach. With two decades’ worth of experience, and one of the finest homebuilding teams in the state, the company’s co-founders, Vice President Brian Heit, and President Jeremy MacGray, have turned JSM into the area’s foremost builder of custom, speculation, multi-family, and commercial buildings. Brian’s American Dream first began when he moved to Steamboat Springs nearly 26 years ago, as he details: “JSM Builders was originally founded in 1998. My business partner Jeremy MacGray and I grew up in Minnesota. We both made our way to Colorado in search of the mountains and ultimately settled in Steamboat Springs. At the time, home building was one of the few thriving industries. We began as a framing subcontractor, and over the years grew into a general contractor – completing custom homes, speculation homes, single family subdivisions, multifamily projects, and commercial builds.”  

Comprehensive product portfolio

The city of Steamboat Springs inspired Brian to get into the homebuilding industry. The region, known for its lively culture and beautiful surroundings, is the ideal landscape for burgeoning and creative homebuilders, as Brian affirms: “To be honest, home building was not on my radar as a young adult. It was after moving to Steamboat Springs, and seeing all its potential, that I became interested in, and ultimately passionate about, home building. Seeing a home go from schematic design to fully complete is one of the most rewarding processes to be a part of.”  

Having found its home in Colorado’s skiing region, JSM Builders is staying close to its roots. “Currently we have no plans to broaden our reach beyond Steamboat Springs. This is something we have entertained in the past because we have been asked to do projects in other parts of Colorado. However, homebuilding is a very region-specific industry. We’ve come to know Steamboat Springs incredibly well, and we’re successfully building homes for the community that we love. Maybe one day in the future, but right now we have a rich and interesting environment in which to build homes, and we don’t want to compromise that by spreading ourselves too thin,” Brian reasons. 

Construction is competitive, especially in desirable areas like Steamboat Springs. Brian discusses how he and JSM Builders stay one step ahead of the competition: “We build a broad spectrum of homes, ranging from custom homes and speculation houses to single family subdivisions, and multifamily projects. We also work in the commercial market from time to time. This is typically what separates us from other builders in Steamboat Springs, who tend to focus just on custom homes, or just on multifamily homes. We enjoy the process of building all types of homes and found that it is a great way to navigate shifts in the economy.”    

Communication and collaboration 

The working culture of JSM Builders also helps to maintain the company’s success. From skilled laborers to an approachable and transparent team of senior leaders, everyone works together in harmony. As Brian asserts: “First off, we have been extremely fortunate to hire and retain exceptionally skilled individuals who have taken this company to the next level. They are the lifeblood of what we do. We strive to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork, which means everyone on the team understands each other’s role and provides support when necessary. All our project managers, estimators, superintendents, and office staff are working towards the same end goal: completing projects on schedule and within budget, while maintaining the vision of the client. Communication is very high between all our staff and trade partners, allowing ideas and solutions from one job to be shared and utilized across all our projects. All in all, I believe this is a very positive place to work.” 

Vendors, suppliers, and subcontractors are also an integral part of the JSM Builders’ family. Without strong connections to local businesses and tradespeople, the company wouldn’t be where it is today. As Brian affirms: “Our relationships with our vendors and subcontractors are of paramount importance to us. We have worked with several of our key vendors and subcontractors for over 20 years. Through the years we have built strong relationships with these companies and refined our processes together to become more efficient and effective. They are an integral part of our team without whom we could simply not be successful.” 

Agile operations 

Recent increases in interest rates have posed a problem for smaller-scale homebuilders across the US. To tackle the rising costs head-on, JSM Builders has strategically diversified its offering, as Brian reveals: “We’re currently navigating some challenges that exist within the wider homebuilding industry, not just in Colorado but across the States. Over the past several years, construction costs and interest rates have risen. This has shifted more of our energies and focus to custom homes and reduced our work on speculative homes, as these kinds of projects provide a greater degree of security. Challenges like this provide a good example of why diversification is so important to us, when the market is unsteady, or if certain kinds of projects become more expensive and higher risk, we have expertise in other areas. This can protect the business from market fluctuations.  

Improving processes 

“For instance, through our experience of building custom homes along with speculative homes and developments, we have learned how to optimize design and selections to get the most out of our budgets. We pride ourselves on value engineering, giving our clients the most ‘bang for their buck’. This has helped us to stay competitive and meet clients’ budgets and finish level expectations despite the rising costs. We are also a completely open book, so any savings go directly to the client.” 

The future of JSM Builders goes hand in hand with that of Steamboat Springs. With the region attracting more attention in recent years, business is booming, and the future is bright. As Brian concludes: “In 2024, we will complete 14 custom homes. In the coming months, we also anticipate that we will be starting 14 more. Additionally, the company will be working towards breaking ground on our next single-family development and a luxury ski-in-ski-out multifamily development on the mountain, which is an exciting and unique project all around. 

“In five years, I see JSM Builders continuing to build custom homes, speculation homes, single family subdivisions, and multifamily projects. My hope and goal are by that time we have continued to improve and refine our processes and are an even better company than we are today.”