We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek Van Der Werf and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Derek, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Our situation was very unique in that our business was started because of the real estate market crash in Arizona. In 2010 when the housing market went completely upside-down, my father and I began to buy homes in the East valley and fix them up to rent them out. We both had a history in the commercial and residential construction industry, so we felt that we could handle the work and help keep costs low on the renovations. My fathers role was to purchase the properties and fund the renovations. My job was to do most of the remodeling work and then rent the houses out once they were updated. In a 12 month span we purchased about 13 properties. After doing those projects for a year is when we decided to turn the opportunity into a full time business.

The original business idea and goals were to continue to buy and renovate real estate but also provide those services professionally to clients who owned rental properties. After doing this for about 7-8 years we decided to shift our business direction into doing full residential general contracting and home building. We now continue to buy real estate, manage rental properties, and also run a full scale general contracting business.

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Sometimes people can look at our company and get a little confused on what exactly we do especially since we do many different things. Primary we are full scale residential and commercial contractors and a real estate investment firm. We work with teams of designers, builders, investors, and various contractors to be a one stop shop home design and build company. I think what sets us apart from others is mostly the experience and combined knowledge of the construction and real estate industries. I think being a business that is built around the entire real estate industry from purchasing to building to renovating to renting homes really helps provide our clients with an experience like no other.

When we began our business in 2010, we were a residential property management company who managed and owned 40+ rentals. In 2019, we shifted our direction and goals to be geared towards doing more home remodeling and renovations. We still manage and run multiple rental properties today thanks to the help of our team of 4 full time employees, a team of designers, and approximately 10-15 subcontractors who we work closely with on each project to make sure it turns into our clients dreams.

I think some of the most challenging and difficult things that we face in this industry is that our company is heavily driven by what the real estate market does and trying to stay one step ahead of it. Since we started in 2010 the market has taken a complete 360 from being at one of the lowest points in history to now being in one of the highest and most demanding markets ever. We want to make sure we are always staying relevant and always be able to offer a service and product that people will want. I also feel that having a large team of trusted people who are as invested as you are in something is a huge key factor in running a successful business of any kind. Building a team like that takes time and years of ups and downs and that can be very challenging at times.

What I would like everyone to know most about our business and brand is that we are family owned and operated with a combined 45 years of experience in the real estate and construction industries. We take huge pride in our workmanship and customer service and make sure each project that we touch will meet our clients expectations and beyond. We want our brand to stick in people’s minds as honest, reliable, and top notch workmanship.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I was born and raised here in Arizona and one of the most common misconceptions of Arizona is the weather. Something that I really love about living here is that you can be 2 or 3 hour drive away from a completely different climate and weather throughout the state. We have the beautiful sunshine and warm climates and we also have the snowy and cool parts of the state. We have the Grand Canyon which brings people from around the world to visit and see.

When my family and friends come to visit us, then I would say the perfect itinerary would be to drive to Flagstaff and Sedona for a couple of days to see the beautiful mountains and red rocks. I would also bring them to the Grand Canyon because I think it’s something everyone should see at least once in their life. If we were to stay local in the phoenix area then I would start with taking them to South Mountain or Camelback mountain to see the views of the city and skyline. We also have tons of local food and restaurants but we are most known for our Mexican food. I would make sure we eat at a local Mexican food spot which is throughout the valley. We honestly have so much to offer outdoors that it is really hard to pick just one thing. We have outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, off-roading, boating, etc. We also have great food and restaurants throughout the state. Arizona is a beautiful state that everyone should visit at some point.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My goals and dreams of being able to wake up each day and do what I love would not have been a reality if I did not have the full support of my whole family, co-workers present and past, and all my business associates. I would especially like to thank my wife Michelle and my father/business partner Edward. This company would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for my fathers amazing business mentoring and vast knowledge of how to run a successful business. I also could not have done this without my wife’s full support and truly believing in my dreams and dealing with me at my craziest moments. All of these people have truly helped shape what this business is today and I am forever grateful for having such a supportive team. I strongly believe team work makes the dream work and I am fortunate to be living proof of that.

Website: www.devanmanagement.com

Instagram: @devanmanagement

Twitter: @devanllc

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Devanmanagementllc

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/devan-management-tempe-2

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.