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Sat, Nov 1, 2014

Contractor not afraid to show her ‘girly’ side

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Contractor not afraid to show her ‘girly’ side | Business, Nikkin Construction, Nicole Bird

Nicole Bird, owner of Nikkin Construction, stands outside a house her company built this year in Huntington Place subdivision off Dejarnette Lane. TMP/ E. Egdemon
“Anything a boy can do, a girl can do better.”

That’s the motto of Nicole Bird’s construction company, Nikkin Construction.

Bird, a licensed contractor and real estate agent, isn’t afraid to show her girly side even on the construction site where she always has her hair done and lipstick on.

“It is a girly company,” she admits.

And, she is proud that she is one of the only women contractors in town.

Bird formed Nikkin Construction in 2001 at the age of 29. She has been a real estate agent since 1994. Bird is currently an agent with Red Realty.

“This way I could truly be my own boss, and I super love it,” she said of opening her construction company.

Bird was pregnant with her first child, Macey, 7, when she began thinking about starting her construction company. She couldn’t get it out of her head, but she wanted a sign or something to give her a push to go forward.

Then one day after eating at an local Asian restaurant, Bird got her sign in the form of a fortune cookie.

It read “Take a leap, it will pay off.”

The next day she called to schedule her licensing test to become a contractor.

Bird said she hasn’t faced many challenges being a woman in the construction industry.

“I think it has been a plus,” she said, adding that many of the first homes she built were bought by single women.

Most of the time her attention to detail and the upgrades she puts into homes are appreciated.

“I try to put so many extras into (houses) that other builders don’t think of,” Bird said.

Every one of her homes has upgraded custom kitchen cabinets, tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, bronzed plumbing fixtures, hardwood floors, extra trim and designer paint colors.

Nikkin Construction homes are generally $180,000-$350,000, but the company will build custom homes up to $1 million.

But in the beginning of her construction career, Bird did admit that some subcontractors didn’t think she knew anything about construction.

She quickly proved them wrong.

For the first several years of construction business, Bird’s crews were building 25-30 homes a year. Now, with the real estate downturn, Nikkin Construction is building about half that amount.

But, Bird sees the current real estate market as a challenge and she loves a challenge.

And she feels fortunate that her company has made it through the real estate downturn when many builders haven’t.

Bird feels a lot of her success comes from putting God first in everything she does.

“I believe if you have it and give it away, it will comeback tenfold,” she said.

She learned a lot about running a successful business from the late Vester Waldron, of Waldron Enterprises.

“He taught me to have a successful business you have to put God first and then your family,” she said.

And being honest and treating customers well has given Bird a lot of referrals over the years.

Bird doesn’t discount that a little bit of luck also played into her success.

Her advice to anyone thinking about opening his or her own business is to have a plan and to work hard.

“I always think you have to work hard but you have to work smart,” Bird said. “I am always trying to come up with the best ideas.”

Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at eedgemon@murfreesboropost.com.

Nikkin Construction
848-1726
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