Today’s ON THE SPOT with Emil Juresic we have talented developer and builder, Rob Gray, who has completed a whopping $43,000,000 worth of luxury developments before the age of 30.
Rob is the founder and Managing Director of Graya Construction; a Brisbane-based full-service construction and development company, that delivers everything from designing and construction, all the way to marketing.
Emil got the chance to find out about Rob’s inspiring story and how exactly he has managed to become one of the most renowned developers in Brisbane.
Rob’s parents immigrated to Australia from South Africa and worked hard to guarantee a quality education for their two sons. Rob’s career plans, however, started taking shape early on – and they didn’t include university.
“I was never a high achiever, that’s for sure,” laughs Rob.
“Pretty early days, I knew that I wasn’t an academic, and that I wanted to be in the construction industry.”
Rob’s first job was a carpentry apprenticeship, which was a great stepping stone into the industry and in order for him to learn more, he always kept an eye on the people and procedures around him.
“I always knew that it would only get me so far, so even though I was learning to be a carpenter, I was looking at the bigger picture,” explains Rob.
About nine years ago, Rob completed his first development project – check out the interview to hear how he and his brother Andrew ended up walking away with $100,000 from their very first project!
“I thought ‘this is it, this is what I’m going to keep doing!’” says Rob.
CHALLENGES AND GOALS
Years of grinding has paid off and Rob now makes a living doing something that he loves.
The journey to get to where he is right now, however, has been anything but easy, and it has required many tough decisions on the way.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it,” says Rob.
“I’ve got many areas in my life that I have sacrificed because of it, and that was the decision I made.”
Being a very goal-orientated person, Rob has found that the hard times were made easier by setting goals and sticking to them.
There was a lot involved in it and it didn’t happen overnight. It was battles, day to day, but how I got through it, was just setting goals.Rob Gray
“I always want to reach that level so laying them out, year to year, and holding myself accountable to those, really helped me scale quickly when I look back at it.”
Rob also recognises that sometimes you have to give yourself a break and take a look at how far you have come.
“You need to look back as you do and see what you’ve achieved – that’s what gets me through it. If I wasn’t hitting those goals and looking back and being proud of what I do, I don’t think I would have the energy to keep pushing,” Rob says.
Rob has been working alongside his brother Andrew Gray for years, and together this duo has definitely put their mark on the Queensland real estate industry.
The dream team of brothers are the driving force of the entire Graya venture, and with clever marketing they have managed to turn their last name into a high-end development brand that is now recognised all over the country.
Marketing has played a huge role on Graya’s route to success but Rob knows that marketing alone doesn’t cut it.
“You have to have a good product, you have to tick all the other boxes, but the marketing is a key role to push you in places,” he says.
Rob agrees that when balancing the marketing side with everything else, it’s crucial to have a good team around you and have the systems in place to ease the workload.
“Way more important than marketing, is having a really good team that can stick to procedures, follow through and better those things, to actually take the pressure off my brother and I’s shoulders,” he explains.
Some people believe that mixing family and business is a dangerous idea, and Rob admits he understands where they are coming from, but also sees that having your family in it with you can be an incredible resource.
“If everyone’s working together and everyone’s got equal goal for the future, it can really help the business scale and grow quickly,” he says.
At the moment, Graya has multiple amazing projects on the go, including Rob’s own home ‘Arcos’, designed by Joe Adsett Architects, which is currently under construction in Upper Cairns Terrace, Paddington.
“This house will be one of the more unique homes in the suburb,” says Rob.
“Its distinctive features are all the archways surrounding the house, it has really nice spiral stairs inside and the whole house is smart home operated,” he says.
Another extraordinary home, ‘Larc’, has just been given the go-ahead, as it received DA approval, with construction set to commence later this year.
The home is located on the hill of Prospect Terrace in the prestigious suburb of Hamilton, looking over the water and the six-bedroom home really stands out with its stunning, minimalist architecture.
Other current projects include several client-builds as well as a couple of developments around Paddington, Bardon and the West End.
After nearly a decade of flipping single homes from trash to treasure, Rob is keen to expand the business into multi-residential buildings.
“I do want to do bigger projects, and the most important thing to me is that they’re special, they’re landmarks and I can look back at the end of the day and everyone that’s been involved in it, is proud of it,” he explains.
He has, in fact, already taken a step towards this next dream and a seven-storey boutique building called ‘Maison’, in New Farm, and is looking to start construction at the end of the year.
The single unit floorplan represents the quintessential Graya spirit with incredibly spacious units, bringing the feel of a high-end home, rather than an apartment, and the intriguing façade is another reminder of Joe Adsett’s game-changing architectural skills.
For Graya, there’s no slowing down in sight. Rob gives his most important tips to his younger self ten years ago – or anyone out there for that matter.
He urges everyone to watch how other people in the industry do what they do, and it’s also critical to set goals and stick to them. Most importantly, however, you have to do what you love in order to succeed.
Choose something that you’re passionate about. Otherwise it’s never going to happen, you’re never going to work hard unless you love it!Rob Gray