In the beginning, Aptitude was a team of one—founder Matt Mierek. After years in the construction industry, Mierek began taking on side-jobs to accommodate a growing base of clients that he’d become acquainted with over time. As demand for his services grew, Mierek took a leap of faith. “I just thought, well, maybe I’ll try this for six months and see what I can do—just make my side-job my full-time job,” says Mierek. That six-month experiment quickly proved successful, with each of his customers referring him to friends and family members for new projects. Rapidly and organically, Mierek’s stable of clients grew to the point where he was soon in a position to hire. “I had enough work where I needed to hire someone to come onboard and give me a hand—and since then, every year or so, I’ve hired another person,” he says. “At a certain point, I suddenly had five guys working with me, and I realized I had to make a decision—did I want to pull back and manage the projects and my employees?” Mierek stepped back slightly from the day-to-day operations to allow for more growth, but he still remains highly involved—especially at the beginning stages of each project. “I do all the quotes myself,” he says. “I always think, ‘What would I do if this were my house? What would I want for my own home?’”
Aptitude, however, is still synonymous with Mierek, even as the company has grown. “I’m very picky about who I hired to be in the company—sometimes the process may take six or eight months, because I’m making sure we interview and hire the right people. We’re looking for a very select few—we pick the top one percent from the construction industry, because we’re looking for the best of the best.” The values that have guided Mierek from the start—the very values that were instilled in him during his early days on the job at the start of the career—are still the guiding principles of Aptitude, and they dictate how each project is run and which applicants make the cut in the hiring process. “I never want to lose sight of the reason I started this business,” says Mierek. “Integrity and those core values...that’s why people come back and work with us again and again. That’s why our work is still 80% referrals-based—it speaks to the way we’ve continued to build relationships and do quality work. And that’s important, no matter what size our company is.”
“Integrity is doing everything to the best of your ability, whether someone is watching or not.”
Mierek has created a culture of honesty and ownership throughout Aptitude’s ranks—something that sets the company apart. “We value having that open and honest relationship both among the team and with our clients,” he says. “It’s easy to sweep something under the rug—but that’s not what we believe in. We believe in being forthcoming throughout the entire process and taking responsibility for doing our best work.”
“True craftsmanship comes from one’s personality. We can teach anyone a skillset—but craftsmanship is a deeper mindset.”
Aptitude projects are characterized by superior attention to detail and thoughtfulness—these are the qualities that set the company apart and contribute to the longevity of each completed remodel. “I think patience is a huge thing in our industry,” says Mierek. “Craftsmanship evolves out of an ability to have patience on the job. You have to plot out your steps and take the time to ensure everything is done correctly.” Mierek insists that his staff prioritize high-quality materials and methods that ensure a lasting, timeless result—no matter the additional effort. “When you look at buildings in St. Louis from the late 1800s and early 1900s, they still look incredible—and that’s because the builders took the time to do the job correctly in the first place,” Mierek notes. “They weren’t skimping on costs, and they used the materials that were the best. I want Aptitude to do the same thing.”
“We want to become friends with all our clients and forge lifelong relationships.”
“I've emphasized this to everyone on our staff—that the most important thing is caring about and considering our client’s perspective on each project,” says Mierek. “Their wants and needs should be incorporated at every stage.” This emphasis on the client is apparent from the beginning of each new project with Aptitude. Mierek’s thoughtful, friendly approach to consultations, quotes, and initial walk-throughs sets the tone for the entire process, putting homeowners at ease and creating an environment where the client’s input is put first.
“Community involvement looks different to everyone—for us, it’s always evolving.”
Aptitude owes its success to the referrals and community buzz that helped build its client base during the early years—and as a result, the company is always looking for new ways to reciprocate that generosity. “We’ve donated our time to help local schools,” says Mierek, “whether it be auctioning off four days of work to raise money, or doing little fixes around the school and donating our time. Recently, we partnered with other local businesses to create a playground for an early childhood learning program—we donated our time, and others donated landscaping and things like that. To me, that’s community.”
Work With Us
With over 20 years of experience remodeling homes and giving new life to commercial spaces, Aptitude has the knowledge, integrity, and craftsmanship you need for your next project. Work with us and you’ll find yourself with a true partner in building your vision.
“When our bakery burnt down we turned to Aptitude to rebuild and we could not be happier about our space. They helped our vision come to life.”
“Working with aptitude was a great experience. They have a lot deeply talented men on the crew. Aptitude transformed this building into the beautiful structure that you see today.” Bill Sauerwein, owner of Pedego Electric Bikes