Arnold Budhram is an experienced carpenter and entrepreneur living in New York City. After immigrating to the United States from Guyana in 1990, Arnold opened his own business, Arnibina Home Improvements, which he successfully operated for over a decade. As a high-end carpenter, New York business owner, and family man, Arnold Budhram is living the American dream.
Why did you decide to become a carpenter?
My grandfather was a master carpenter who originally got me into the business. He taught me all the basics, and I really enjoyed the profession. Being able to build things from scratch and repair nearly anything appealed to me. Over time, I expanded my skills and never stopped learning. Once I came to the United States, my skills were sought out by many homeowners, and I was able to start working fast. Eventually, it just snowballed into a career that I still love to this day.
How long did it take you to build a solid business in New York City?
Well, I think that building a solo venture is a never-ending process. Meaning, I am still working to expand and improve my business. As far as getting customers in the beginning, it took a few months. I had to spend some time settling down and organizing my life in New York. Once I got accustomed to the local market, however, things took off fast.
What are some of the most common ways for people to improve the value of their home?
Remodeling is usually the easiest way to get 20-25 cents on a dollar worth of improvement. Meaning, for every 25 cents that you invest into the home, you will get 75 cents back in home value. I usually advise my clients to plan their ventures and take it one room at a time, since massive renovations usually lead to more stress and higher spending. Sometimes you get so tired of renovating that you just throw as much money at it until it is finally done. We want to avoid this. Most people begin by upgrading their bathroom and using high-end tiles or other materials that boost value.
Also, you want to make sure that everything is working fine on the back-end. This means hiring inspectors who can examine the property. Doing so helps you prepare for any repairs that may need to be done once you decide to sell.
What do you enjoy the most about living in such a fast-paced city?
The diversity is amazing. Just the fact that there is an entire neighborhood built by those from my country is mind-blowing. You can always meet people from some new place and learn and share about each other’s backgrounds. Even my clients follow a similar pattern. Over the years, I probably worked on hundreds of homes. Most of them were very unique and had specific cultural traits.
Also, New York City is a great place to raise a family. You can find anything you need here, and the neighborhoods are very diverse. Meaning, there are just as many options for those who like to live in a quiet place as there are upbeat areas. I love that my child is exposed to such diversity.
What do you do in your free time?
I have played chess for my whole life, and in 1986 I was the national Guyana chess champion. Although I still play, I am now very passionate about poker, and I hope to play in the world series of poker someday. I also love bowling, and of course, spending time with my family is my number one priority. Whether we go for a walk or play some sport does not matter.