Lee and Kadee Ruble, Bent Nail Home Inspection Services

Customer Service Is Everything!

Kadee and Lee Ruble are one of those rare couples who work with each other every day and simply love it. Since they started Bent Nail Home Inspection Services in Oak Ridge two years ago, they’ve enjoyed learning lessons together as they grow their business. Each of them brings something unique to the table, and they’re thankful for the privilege of serving their customers.
Lee worked for Amazon for 14 years, and he also has experience owning his own construction company and having his contractor’s license for a number of years. “Because I built houses, I understand how they’re put together,” he pointed out. “I know how they work, so I can bring that knowledge to home inspections. Realtors really appreciate it when I can talk to the customer and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got this problem, and this is how we can address it.’”
“I moved a lot with Amazon,” he explained, “and I was never happy with my home inspections. With Bent Nail, I just feel I can provide customers with a better product and much more customer service. That’s the focus of our company—helping customers learn about their house and understand its condition. We really want people to know what they’re buying and not be surprised by anything.”
Kadee came from a corporate background working for a chemical company. “As Lee and I have traveled together over the last 10 years of knowing each other, we’ve realized more and more that customer service really matters. When we first decided to start our own company, we knew we’d be focused on customer service because service is the center of everything. If you take care of your people—not just the people buying the house but your employees, the real estate agents, the mortgage people, everyone who touches the process—then everyone can benefit, Both of us knew that. It was drilled into us in the corporate world, so it’s easy for us now.”
Lee’s father was influential in his career, as the family owned apartments when Lee was growing up, and he learned to handle all the issues that came up with the rentals. “I was my dad’s helper,” he remembered, “and since then, I’ve always had a tendency to enjoy building. It’s like Tinker Toys—I love being able to walk away at the end of the day and see what I’ve accomplished.”
Kadee was heavily influenced by two factors, by some people in her corporate world who were willing to take a big leap of faith and teach her something brand new…and by her grandfather, who started his own tree nursery business after he retired. “I helped him a great deal during middle school and high school,” she said, “watering, fertilizing…and weeding, lots of weeding. He had never built a business before—no one in my family had been an entrepreneur before—and he did a great job. He followed a super strict moral pathway, so now I kind of look at business like ‘What would Grandpa do?’ He would always say, ‘It’s not about having an issue or a problem or a mistake that you made, it’s about how you deal with it.” He passed away a few months ago, but he still influences me. My mom tells me all the time, ‘Grandpa would be really proud of you.’”
“Yes,” Lee agreed. “He based his business on trust, integrity, and doing what he told people he would do. Those were the core principles of his business, and we strive to live up to that legacy. It’s impressive what he was able to do, and it helps us every day.”
If they could have dinner with anyone, Lee would choose Jeff Bezos—“I’ve met Jeff and had conversations with him at Amazon. He’s brilliant, and I’d love to learn more about his mindset and his vision for leadership. I’d just like to know what he’s forgotten!”—and Kadee would choose dinner with Brassaï, a black and white photographer in Paris in the early 1900s.
Lee is most proud of their kids—an intelligent daughter with a heart of gold and an athletic son who’s the social butterfly of the family. Kadee is most proud of Lee. “I’ve seen how he’s allowed himself to grow and change with all the things we’ve done since we’ve been together. Even though it’s scary sometimes, he always says, ‘Let’s do it!’”
In business, Lee is more visionary and Kadee is more tactical. “Kadee is my sounding board,” Lee described. “She keeps me focused. Our whole relationship has been about adventure with each other. I’m probably the luckiest guy in the world because I get to work with my wife every day.”