Could you please share your background prior to starting your business?
My parents, Rolando, Sr. & Graciela Robles, owned four businesses and I ran one of them for 2 years. They were my first teachers in the business world.
As a teacher, what inspired you to start R.B. Construction?
Being self-employed and being able to work along side my husband was my primary reason for starting our company in November 2007. Having an educational background allows me to give clients better-informed choices.
What have been the most difficult challenges you face as a woman in a still mainly male dominated industry? How do you overcome them?
The most difficult challenge in a male dominated industry is not to take their opinions personally when it comes to working with a woman. If I find a contractor that refuses to work with a woman, I just keep searching for one that will work with me. The difficulty is living and working in Texas, machismo attitudes are rampant in the construction business.
Overcoming the challenges is an ongoing process of self-confidence and positive thinking.
Have you been able to do business with local, state and federal governments? What has been your experience with government procurement?
I have done business in three different states with Dallas flooring companies. No, I have not pursued any government procurement due to my lack of commercial liability insurance at this time
How did any outside advisers make a difference in your company?
To be honest, due to the fact that the construction industry is male dominated, it has been difficult. Continuing education is paramount in any industry. I take advantage of webinars offered by Cisco and other agencies.
What are the services your business provides?
Commercial & residential hardwood flooring & stairs is our specialty. Custom designed patterned panels are cut to the client’s specifications. We do installations, repairs, and demolitions.
What are your plans for the future?
Expansion is my goal and to reach out to businesses across the borders.
What advice would you give a woman thinking of starting a construction business?
It isn’t wise to purchase your own equipment. Until your business is financially stable, it would be best to rent your equipment. Downsize your personal expenses to a minimum. Plan for financial risks by finding investors, mentors, and other women doing business in construction.
Are there any other questions you wished I had asked, from which you feel Women and Biz’s readers could learn valuable lessons?
Yes, here they are:
What are you doing to take care of yourself physically to be mentally prepared for the mental challenge of working in a male dominated industry?
Make sure that you don’t forget to workout aerobically at least 3 times per week. As women get older, we need to include weight training to sustain our muscle mass. Eat a good breakfast everyday and eat as healthy as possible. Drink lots of water.
What are you doing as a company to promote the community where you do business?
Find something in your community that you can become passionately involved with that could also lead to some business contacts. Being of service is what enriches our lives.
Ms. Robles mentioned that she served on the Mayor’s Southern Dallas Task Force for Area 3 for two years.
Contact Leticia Robles through her website at http://rbizconst.com/