Mako focuses on building chemistry

Custom home company gets high marks for service 


Special correspondent

Rick Kastelberg always has had an interest in homebuilding.

In 1975, he and his brother, Louis, acted on that zeal to start Mako Builders Inc.

“We decided to start something on our own in a small way by building two spec houses,” Rick Kastelberg said.

The company built its first custom residence in 1976 for a client in Goochland County.

“We’ve done a lot of homes in Goochland,” said Rick Kastelberg, who bought out his brother’s interest in the business in 1999.

“We also build in western Henrico and the city of Richmond,” he said.

“The Windsor Farms in the city has been good to us.”

Today, Mako concentrates on building custom homes and on home renovations.

The company builds one to two custom homes a year, ranging from 1,200 to 20,000 square feet.

“We may have as many as four projects going on at one time,” Kastelberg said.

Revenue has increased 5 percent each year for the past four years, he said.

The company also started Mako Builders Continuing Maintenance Program three years ago. The service, overseen by Sarah Cossé, is available for a fee to all homeowners, especially current and past clients.

“We do anything, from changing light bulbs to major remodeling,” said Bill Kastelberg, who joined his father’s firm in June 2006.

“If you hire us, we will always be there for you.”

Rick Kastelberg said Mako specializes in quality and service.

“We’ve always tried to do good work and focus on chemistry with the customer,” he said. “We recognized that was the way to survive.”

Most of the company’s business is generated by word of mouth and referrals from customers.

Charlie Luck and his wife, True Farr Luck, find Mako to be dependable and trustworthy.

“Without a doubt they are the very best,” True Luck said. “Even after they finish your home they come back whenever you need anything done.”

“Their projects are very professionally carried out,” said Charlie Luck, chairman of Luck Cos.

“They have very high standards. They are great people.”

Mako built Wilson H.

Flohr Jr.’s house in western Henrico County.

Flohr, the chief executive officer of Richmond 2015, the organization that will produce the UCI Road World Championships here, said he likes Kastelberg’s “attention to detail and spirit of cooperation.” He now uses Mako’s maintenance program.

“Their response rate in helping to handle homeowners’ issues is wonderful,” he said. “They get their craftspeople over quickly and help you get the problem solved. That’s a great comfort to a homeowner.”

Because of the economy, many homeowners are opting to renovate an existing home rather than build a new one.

“We always have a good mix of renovation work and new construction,” Kastelberg said. “Because we have always done both, we were well-positioned for the present time.”

Janelle Hyman of Richmond had Mako renovate her home, which was built in 1954.

“Their quality is first class,” she said. “They communicated with us throughout the whole process. They did it on time and within the time frame we needed the renovations done.”

She felt comfortable and at ease with the Kastelbergs.

“They are a familyowned business, and you get treated like family,” she said.

Mako has been adding employees since 2000.

“We’ve never had to lay anyone off,” Kastelberg said. “All of our employees get 40-plus hours a week. I believe in stretching out our labor force rather than having too much labor.”