Few young people know how to gracefully play the hand they’ve been dealt, but Basim Mansour had no choice—his family was depending on him. At the age of 19, Mansour’s father died, and, almost immediately, the community college student had to drop out of school and take over his father’s struggling home-improvement company, Michael & Son Services Inc. Growing up, Mansour had tagged along with his father on jobs, but it was little preparation for taking over the company and carrying the weight of his family’s financial well-being on his young shoulders. Mansour made it work because he had no choice, and, in the 22 years he’s been at the helm of Michael & Son, the business has far exceeded anything he could have dreamed of as a struggling and overwhelmed 19-year-old teen.
Mansour’s father, who specialized in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and home remodeling, left his son with a business name and just one truck. Now with a fleet of 250 trucks, around 350 employees, and millions of dollars in revenue, Mansour has surpassed his family’s humble beginnings. “The way I started out gave me the determination I needed to be successful,” Mansour says. “My father gave me a great foundation for hard work, and I was also very competitive as a kid. You couple those things together and you can literally accomplish anything. My passion was insane.”
Mansour’s early life experiences and strong work ethic have been the biggest influence on Michael & Son’s company culture, where Mansour is known as an assertive character and a boss who places emphasis on support and accountability. He also understands the importance of being able to delegate, but in order to do so successfully, Mansour has to hire the right people. A person can have all of the experience, education, and skills in the world, but if they don’t have a great personality, they’re not getting hired to work at Michael & Son. “Your smile, your personality—these things are truly important, because when you work for me, you represent me and the hundreds of families who depend on the livelihood of my business,” Mansour says.
And employees are more than happy to work for Mansour. The potential for growth at Michael & Son is well known, as many current managers were former technicians. Not only that, but Mansour goes out of his way to pay his employees well above the industry standard. Obviously, the point of business is to turn a profit, but Mansour is content with bringing in a smaller profit if it means his employees have a better quality of life. “I want my employees to have a wonderful life,” Mansour says. “I would feel horrible every day if I could eat steak and I knew people at my company were having Cup Noodles for dinner. Providing good pay and growth opportunities to everyone who works here is very important to me.”