A Q&A with Brett Ramsay
2020 is all about celebrating 20 years of Ramsay Builders. And as the year draws to a close, we wanted to take some time to share more about our history, our values and our team.
This month, this takes the form of a very candid Q&A with founder and builder Brett Ramsay. You might have seen Brett’s on-site videos and Instagram Stories over the past few years, but we wanted to get a little more personal this time around. And who better to do that then Brett’s wife Anthea?
Keep reading to learn more about Brett as a person, what made him choose construction and of course, what footy team he barracks for!
Anthea Ramsay: Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Brett Ramsay: Sure! I’m Brett and I’m 47 years old. I’m married with three children and I live in Glen Iris – around the area where we build. I started in the building industry when I was about 17 years old as an apprentice carpenter with AV Jennings / Fletcher Construction. During this time, I was awarded the company’s apprentice of the year three years running.
Later on, I went on to become a building supervisor for a major Melbourne builder and then a building manager. It was there that I decided that wanted to start my own building business – hence, Ramsay Builders, which commenced in 2000. I’ve basically been in the building industry my whole life.
Anthea Ramsay: Did you always want to be a carpenter and builder?
Brett Ramsay: Yeah, I always wanted to build things. In fact, my mums got a photo of me when I was in prep, nailing a bit of timber together! Obviously, later I went on to trade school and started my apprenticeship when I was about 17, but I’ve always been interested in creating things.
I love working with my hands, love being outdoors and love being able to look back at what I’ve created over time. That extends into building – I’m seeing what we’re creating every day and I get to see the reward in happy clients, which is wonderful.
What’s the most important thing you try to impart on your staff?
Brett Ramsay: Morals. I was taught certain morals growing up and I respect them still. I always try to surround myself with people who share the same morals and teach these to my children and my staff.
Anthea Ramsay: What’s been your biggest achievement at Ramsay Builders?
Brett Ramsay: We started out in the first homeowners’ market and our build quality and customer service is what brought us into the inner-city suburbs where we’ve been able to build bigger homes with more detailed fixtures and fittings. I just love the attention to detail these homes require and really enjoy the challenge this brings.
I suppose our biggest achievement is just that – moving into those higher end homes and having happy clients at the end of the process. That’s what I love about the business.
Anthea Ramsay: What’s the most challenging part of being a small business owner?
Brett Ramsay: That’s easy to answer! It’s definitely workflow. You can be really busy one day and really quiet the next. It would be so much easier if you could get just one job a month coming in – that would be perfect.
Anthea Ramsay: The business is obviously named after you. How involved is your family with the business?
Brett Ramsay: When we started back in 2000, it was something you [Anthea] and I did together. You’ve been involved right through the journey as an administrator and looking after the books and all of those things.
I also had my father working for me many years ago, helping with job cleans and things like that. My two sons labour for us from time to time – in fact my son is currently studying Construction Management at RMIT and may take over the business one day. I want to build Ramsay Builders to be something I am proud to hand over. My daughter, who is 15, is also really involved – she does filing once a week and sometimes helps with house cleans to get them ready for handover.
Anthea Ramsay: What’s your favourite part about building homes for clients?
Brett Ramsay: I love creating beautiful home for clients – building something from a pile of materials with help from tradesmen that we support is an amazing thing to be able to do. I love looking back at the end of a project, remembering the vacant lot we started with and then admiring the beautiful place we’ve built for our clients to live and call home. I imagine my clients living happily in their new home and showing it off to their friends – saying how proud of it they are.
Anthea Ramsay: What do you do in your personal time?
Brett Ramsay: Personal time is all about family, friends and the Great Outdoors for me. I love getting away from Melbourne camping, either in a caravan, tent or swag. I also like four wheel driving, boating, water skiing, snow skiing and in the last few years I’ve taken up mountain bike riding too. It’s a great stress reliever for me doing all of these activities with family and friends.
At the end of the day, I just love seeing my kids and my wife happy – smiling off the back of the boat.
Anthea Ramsay: What would your friends say about you?
Brett Ramsay: Little bit of a hard question there! Probably that I like to catch up and have a beer and socialise. That I love getting out of Melbourne and getting away with family and friends. And hopefully that I’m a good bloke to be around, caring – all those kinds of things!
Anthea Ramsay: How about your kids?
Brett Ramsay: Probably the same! And I’m hoping they’d say “hard but fair”. Or maybe that I’m a cuddly bear!
Anthea Ramsay: What footy team do you barrack for?
Brett Ramsay: Go the mighty Bombers! I’ve been an Essendon supporter ever since I was born and the whole family are Essendon supporters too.