Santa Monica local Ramin Ghaneeian started Lot Plans with his brother to offer affordable blueprints to future home owners while lifting the audience of architects and contractors. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Ghaneeian about the Silicon Beach scene, growing up with an entrepreneur dad and Lot Plans.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
Ramin Ghaneeian: Our dad was an entrepreneur, so we’ve always been in that environment. We’ve always been self-motivated. I’ve always worked in sales and I just left my company so I thought it was a good time. My brother had this idea and we wanted to run with it because we thought that between the two of us having such different talents we could make it work. I always wanted to work with my brother and combine our talents because we have very unique talents that complement each other. I think it was an obvious fit, and I work in construction anyways, so Lot Plans seemed like the perfect plan for us.
EH: Tell me about Lot Plans.
RG: It’s a quicker, cost-effective and more efficient way to build a house. For anyone that’s ever wanted to build a house ‚Äì- typically the conventional route is that you hire an architect and architectural fees are really expensive. They typically run around 10 percent of the construction cost. So if you’re building a million-dollar home, you’re looking at roughly $100,000 in fees, and it could take 6 to 8 months to develop your perfect plan. The idea behind Lot Plans is that it lets the consumer pick a range of about 5,000-plus unique plans on our site from small cottages to big estates, beach houses, Mediterranean houses, colonial, southern ‚Äì- anything you’re essentially looking to build, we want to say we have it on our site. If we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, all of our plans are modifiable. Modification can be anything from small, minor changes to dramatic changes that change the footprint, or entire style of a house. So you can still end up with that exactly perfectly tailored custom home, but at a fraction of the cost and fraction of the time. Once you get the delivery of the plans, everything is ready to build with instructions to your builder -‚Äì it’s extremely efficient.
EH: How are you changing the world?
RG: We’re changing the world because we’re able to help architects, contractors and people who are looking to build houses. We’re making the process more efficient. We’re helping architects because, in my opinion, architects are artists. They’re not necessarily in the business of selling plans, they’re in it for the artistry or the craft of building and designing beautiful homes. We help more people look at their plans and let them do what they do best, which is design beautiful homes and help them monetize on plans they drew up years ago or are working on now. A lot of architects I talk to don’t know how to market their plans or how to sell them. We help people looking to build houses by making the process more friendly, easier, more cost effective, and give them the ability to see the finished product on the website. If you start the process with an architect, you may end up with something you didn’t necessarily want or anticipate. We’re also looking to reach out to builders and general contractors to build more relationships there so we can also help the clients by referring them to a network of quality builders and saying, “Hey you’ve bought a plan in this area, we have a relationship with so-and-so that we’re confident can help you build your house.” That’s how we’re helping change all sides of the architectural world and community.
EH: Why Santa Monica?
RG: I live in Santa Monica. I love Santa Monica. I think that Santa Monica is a really progressive community. People in Santa Monica have open minds and they’re excited to find new, efficient ways to do thing -‚Äì whether it’s building a house or anything in between. I thought that this was the perfect environment to foster this business, build this business and in my opinion there’s no better place in the world than Santa Monica.
EH: What do you think of the Silicon Beach scene?
RG: I think it’s really cool. For my brother and I being two younger guys who are ambitious, this is really an environment that fosters our growth, helps support what we’re looking to do. There’s a huge network here and I think the energy here is really exciting. Over the last five years, we’ve seen all this new development, an influx of talented, young professionals moving into the scene. I think it feeds itself. It really encourages more tech companies, more entrepreneurs to come here, which on an aggregate level helps everybody.
EH: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
RG: Don’t give up. Get past the dip and once you do that it’s a little bit greener. It stays just as hard, but emotionally speaking it gets easier. I always give the analogy that it’s easier to drive the train that’s running than build the train from scratch. The process is really, really tough. It tests you a lot of the time. But if you believe in what you’re doing it helps you move through some of the difficulties to get the business off the ground.
EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?
RG: I’m excited that Cheesecake Factory is coming in.