The lifelong Bayside pals founded the construction business Bullfrog Builders in 2007, one year before the economic crisis took root. Two years later, Rigas reports, business is better than ever despite the worst recession in decades.
Rigas attributed Bullfrog Builders' success to the company's unconventional business model. "We decided to try a different take on construction and make it cooler, in a way," said Rigas, who, along with Andreakos, is 30 years old. "We were tired of seeing the old way in construction. In today's day and age that doesn't go over too well."
Though College Point-based Bullfrog Builders does standard residential and private commercial jobs in New York, Westchester, and Long Island, Rigas said the company takes a cutting-edge, eco-friendly approach that sets them apart from competitors.
"We have an expert knowledge of green materials. Obviously that's something that's very important to many clients now a days," Rigas said.
Rigas and Andreakos earned their stripes in the business after graduating from high school, when they went to work fulltime as construction workers. After years of this, and several more in the mortgage industry, the friends decided it was time to start a business of their own - one that reflected the values consumers look for in a cost-effective, conscientious contractor.
Today, Bullfrog Buildings offers home improvement financing programs through the Federal Housing Administration and Rigas said he always sits down with clients before taking on projects to discuss a variety of financing options. This way, he said, his clients never bite off more than they can chew.
This customer-friendly approach is paying off, said Rigas, as he and Andreakos navigate a tough building market crippled by tight credit lines. Despite the recession, Rigas said business has more than doubled since it's founding.
"When we come to our clients we show we're not the traditional contractor," Rigas said.