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Stearns Custom Builders | A Lesson in Website Quality Control

Stearns Custom Builders | A Lesson in Website Quality Control

As the old adage goes, one never stops learning until they die. Even for experienced web designers, there is always learning and growing; in fact, part of Atilus’ corporate mandate is that each employee participate in continuing education on an on-going basis. This gives the client the best possible product from development specialists who choose to always consider themselves students. While working with Stearns Custom Builders, the Atilus team learned a lesson together.

The Stearns family has over 100 years of experience in residential and commercial construction in Florida. The family started in construction in the early 1900’s on the east coast of Florida where Earnest Stearns built homes in the Daytona Beach area. In 2004, the father-son team of Scott and Derrick Stearns changed from R. S. Stearns Carpentry to Stearns Custom Builders, Inc. Derrick became the fourth generation of the Stearns family to pursue a career in construction in Florida. From 2004 to 2013, Stearns Custom Builders has grown including the addition of 5 more employees including 4 carpenters and an office manager.

Accurate Representation Online is Crucial in a Small Market Area

stea_img_old-siteThe charge from Stearns was to build a website based on their unique connection to the area. Though starting on the east coast of Florida, Stearns had become engrained in the Pine Island community and Lee County for well over 30 years.  This was an important distinction and vital to reaching the uniquely local clientele in southwest Florida. Their original website was classy, sharp and sophisticated. Though those words aptly describe the Stearns family, this message was not reaching their target. When Derrick stepped outside and headed into town, he was not wearing tails and a monocle. Derrick grew up in Pine Island, a son of the community whom everyone knows. He is a friend, a compatriot. The people Stearns works with crave a relationship with their builders. The Stearns name meant that – a relationship, a family, a long-standing level of trust.

This is what Atilus had to represent online. They needed to make people feel, just by being on their website, that they know the Stearns personally. Based on multiple conversations with their development team, target research and our own experience in construction services development, we provided the following solutions:

  • Customized Website Design
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Online Photo Gallery
  • Rotating Testimonials

Providing Top Quality Design for Clients Includes Taking Pride in One’s Work

Atilus started their focus on the design. We made it our goal to do our best to connect classy with a small beach town feel. This is where we had to teach ourselves a lesson. The website had a nice design, but all of us, every time we looked at it, felt there was something off about it. It didn’t fit. As part of our guarantee to every company we work with, we ensure that they client is happy with the design before even moving into the development stage. There were a few suggested revisions, but overall the Stearns family was good with what we designed, so we started building the site. The problem was that we were not happy with it. We became caught in a conundrum. We needed to get the site up and running in short order, but were charged with the online representation of their family. What to do?

“Internally, we were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the product we were creating for our client. Something had to change. I called up the Stearns and explained to them that, while they were ok with the design, we did not feel it would do them justice and asked permission for the time to start over from the beginning. We chose to do this – it was on Atilus – we didn’t charge them a penny for the restart.”

Phil Stalnaker, Director of Marketing, Atilus

Web Development Combined with the Perfect Amount of Human Touch = Success

stea_img_new-siteStearns, while surprised, appreciated our dedication to excellence and allowed us the extra time to start over. This time, we put all our attention on the beauty of Pine Island and the deep relational connection the Stearns hold there and throughout Lee County. Giving up the “dark, cherry wood” kind of feel made was all it needed. The second time, we hit a home run and are able to represent Stearns with a site that is them and communicates their business as if it were Derrick talking himself. Plus, with the added benefit of testimonials from real customers and a photo gallery that includes personal pictures from their family, Stearns Custom Builders has transformed online to an open, transparent, and down home company that is very easy to trust from first click – a feeling that will only grow once they show up in person.

“Atilus went above and beyond for our company website.  The original layout chosen continued to run into issues that were not allowing the site to be what we wanted for our customers.  Atilus changed the layout at no additional charge to us and in the end left our company with an amazing site that we were happy with.”

Darsey Smith, Stearns Custom Builders

As with all clients, Atilus will continue to monitor the success of the site over time through detailed Analytics. We are confident that Stearns will enjoy long-term success with the help of the original design work (and re-work) and on-going monitoring and maintenance. With Atilus on their team, they are free to give you more of stea_log_driftwood-2the personal one-on-one attention that they offer to all of their clients. For more information on Stearns Custom Builders and see how you can the home of your dreams, visit

Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

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