Nick Schiffer, Founder and owner of NS Builders with an obsession of quality craftsmanship and working with our team to build really cool projects.
I’m not sure if I remember it, or if the stories I’ve heard allow me to believe that I do. I was little, maybe two, and I was walking around the hardware store with my grandma. I kept asking her to buy me a “do-da.” After countless times asking, I finally showed her what I was talking about, and it was a screwdriver. I just wanted to play with tools. I bought small toolbox and filled it with all sorts of hard tools. I got to play with them every time I visited my grandma. When I say ‘play,’ I mean hammering nails into the wood flooring in the corner of her kitchen.
When I was younger, I used to make my parents drive through new housing developments to see the construction worker’s progress. I also woke up early on weekends and watched the home improvement and woodworking shows. I even stalked every contractor that showed up at our house. It got to the point that I would do my best to wear the same clothes as them…I just wanted to fit in!
Through the years, my father taught me how to use different tools and invited me to work at his business, Canton Fence Co. Immediately, I took a liking to Al Costa, an older gentleman that taught me everything he knew. When I was old enough, he let me drive his truck home if I needed a ride. He later passed away, but I will never forget the things I learned from him.
When I was 15 years old, I sold my first job. It was a 10×12 storage shed that sold to my art teacher. I called the lumber yard and gave them a material list to have delivered to my first real job site. My mother dropped me off in her Caravan with all my tools and told me that she would be back around dusk to pick me up. I sat there for four hours waiting for the truck to show up. When it did, I was so excited to sign the slip, despite the gentlemen who did not believe it was for me. For 2-weeks, I built that shed and hand nailed every piece of lumber. At the time, the only power tool I owned was a jig-saw and cordless drill.
I insisted on going to a technical high school. I enrolled at Southeastern Regional Vocation Technical High School and focused in House Carpentry. I quickly excelled in the trade. I was often head of the group, but I respected my peers and we would work as team. Later, I went off to college at Fitchburg State University. There, I received a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. Throughout school, I always kept my tool belt behind the seat of my truck and my hands ready to work.
When I graduated college, I returned to work for my father and continued doing my own projects on nights and weekends. A month later, I was contacted by a large firm to work in multifamily construction, where I would go off to be a project manager that built high-rises. I remember my first interview and had never been to the city. Since I overestimated my travel time, I showed up over an hour early. I sat down with the gentleman interviewing me and he instantly made a comment about my calloused hands. I was embarrassed and apologized, but he explained that he was tired of seeing kids my age graduate school with no sort of experience. He knew with hands like these that I wasn’t like the others.
With 11 years working for my father, 3 years working in multi-family high-rise construction and 9 years picking up my own projects, I decided it was only right to focus on what made me happy. I left the big city behind and started my business, with a focus in residential remodeling, building and custom millwork.