A Rewarding Leap of Faith for H & M

Written By Letty Alvarez

A brief history

With all his specialized contractor experience, Humberto Ruelas Jr. decided to start a partnership with his wife Margarita in 2017. It wasn’t until this May 2022, that they were both able to quit their full-time jobs and concentrate solely on H & M Additional Builders, Inc. which they had incorporated since 2020. Humberto Jr. and Margarita are first generation Mexican Americans, both were born and raised in Southern California.

H&M Additional Builders, Inc. is a General Contractor specializing in Infection Control Containments, Painting, Metal Stud Framing, Taping, Demolition, and more. They now have a team of framers, tapers, and painters who do quality work and have years of experience.

A common, important struggle

Like most start-ups, they found it difficult to build capital as they simultaneously worked a full-time job and ran the business. It was “safe” to have steady income with an employer; however, they were limiting the opportunity to expand their business. It was very difficult to keep a permanent full-time team without additional capital.

Finding and keeping a good team was also a crucial challenge. Margarita says, “As we continue to grow our team, it is important that we express to them how important they are to the success of our company. We are very grateful and happy to be working together.”

Taking the risk

Taking that leap of faith and leaving their full-time jobs to focus on growing the business has been a great decision. They started networking and made themselves available to new opportunities. They reached out to Tanya Counts at the San Diego, Orange, Imperial PTAC, and she started the process for certifications and Bid Match Enrollment. Margarita received the SB-PW Certification from California State and the ICRA Certification. H & M signed a lease to a small office space in a Hubzone location on Pacific Highway, so with Tanya’s help they’re in the process of obtaining their Hubzone and 8(a) certifications.

Almost immediately after venturing out on their own, they started bidding on projects for other contractors at Naval Base Coronado, Camp Pendleton, Naval Base Point Loma, MCRD, Naval Base San Diego, and Naval Medical Center San Diego. They’re currently working on a project with J & J Worldwide Services.

Success and beyond

In their first three months, they were awarded close to 10 projects between $5K-$27K. They have successfully completed Emergency Flood Abatement, Infection Control Containment, and Painting Contracts. They developed different strategies to make their company competitive and efficient, using in-house software to assist with Daily Reports and Certified Payroll. Margarita is very excited about future contracts which will insure them of a permanent full-time team. She was also very excited about attending the Navy Gold Coast Conference for the first time and attending National PTAC Day, both in September.

Learn more about this inspiring small business on their website here!

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