For decades, Afton native John Hinman of JA Squared Contracting has been building his passion.
“I think it was in shop class at high school that I fell in love with woodworking,” Hinman, 49, said. “I started my own business right out of high school, but it failed because I didn’t know the business end of it, so I did several other things, and I was never happy. Finally, in 2012, I took the leap again with contracting, which is really my passion, and I’ve been full-time ever since.”
The decision to strike out on his own, Hinman said, was demand driven.
“I was working part time for someone and doing this on the side,” he said, “then this just got to where the demand was high enough for me to go on my own. Now we have four full-time employees.”
Rebooting his contracting company close to home, Hinman noted, was important.
“I grew up here and I never wanted to leave,” he said.
Hinman specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodels, flooring, home and deck additions, demolition and cleanup services, driveway paving and repair, foundation work and new builds, but especially likes a chance to return to his woodworking roots.
“My favorite is full barn restorations,” he said. “I love the challenge of fitting old beams together and seeing how the old-timers built and how good they were at what they did. They knew where to put all the notches and how they held it all together. We don’t build like that anymore.”
“I also do a lot of jobs for city people or downstaters that want custom cabins built on their (upstate) properties,” he continued. “And I love doing sheds. I have my own sawmill, so I can do the Adirondack-style siding that I saw myself and that’s what I like — seeing it go from tree to my mill to the final product.”
Hinman said, while second homeowners make up the bulk of his clientele, his customer base is broad and satisfied.
“We get everyone,” he said. “The majority are people from downstate who want us to maintain or fix up their homes while they’re gone, and we get a lot of elderly. We like to stay within a 40-mile radius of Afton, but we go down below Scranton, Pennsylvania, and up as far as Syracuse.”
“Everybody has been really happy,” he continued. “The biggest thing with clients is communication and understanding what they want, then getting that vision myself and seeing it through from start to finish.”
Hinman said he hopes to hone his craft continuously.
“I want to do it forever, for as long as I can work,” he said. “It might be on a smaller scale, but even if I can’t do the heavy lifting, then I’ll take barn wood and make furniture.”
For more information or to inquire about services, find “JA Squared Contracting” on Facebook or call Hinman at 607-343-0533.