Saturday, February 22, 2020

Where are All the Young New Home Builders?

Sometimes you have to wonder if we will ever see young new home builders entering the business with the numbers to replace the current pool of aging home builders.

Wonder no more! There will never be the number of new home builders we had just 30 years ago.
That’s when I managed two of the biggest lumber yards in central PA. Between the two locations I had 5 outside sales reps, a kitchen rep and 3 inside builder salespeople at the contractor counter. Serving the builders were a fleet of 7 trucks making deliveries at least twice a day to our builder’s job sites. There were always at least 20 people in the “yard” pulling orders for both those deliveries and the builders that stopped in for materials. Each of those outside sales reps had at least 20 builders to call on, sometimes daily. They did takeoffs for their builders, visited every job site and were responsible for collecting past due accounts. At the time there were only a couple modular or panelized home builders in the area and it wasn’t unusual for my store’s builders to have several hundred new homes under construction at any time. Today most of those builders have stopped building new homes. Age and death claiming most of them. That was the Golden Age of New Home Building! Fast forward not only to today but let’s look just 5 years into the future. Very few of those builders had a succession plan because they wanted more for their children than just pounding nails. The children weren’t at the job sites to see what their parent did and were never allowed to catch the “making sawdust” fever. Even today, the few that actually did follow in their parent’s footsteps are not encouraging their children to take over the business. It’s tough and the parents don't want their children, who now get ribbons for placing 8th in an 8 person race, to learn such a tough trade. Better for them to become a lawyer, doctor or even a politician. Little Johnny or Jane might hit their finger with a hammer or cut off the tip of their finger like their “old man” did. There are many reasons for the lack of 25 to 34-year old people entering not only the building business but business in general with the biggest being fear of failure. A recent report stated that almost 50% of that age group are held back by fear of failure while the over 35 age group only has a 33% fear of failure rate. There is a slight glimmer of hope for the 25-34 year old age bracket however. It is becoming the norm for young Americans not seeing the value of a college education. When it comes to small businesses, the majority of owners don’t have a college degree. But that glimmer of hope is reserved mostly for the digital technology and online commerce industries with young people, who have grown up living in those worlds and wanting to join those industries rather pick up a hammer. Financing is one of the most difficult hurdles a young entrepreneur has to overcome. Because they don’t have strong credit history or savings it is that much harder to get approved for financing. Younger new home builders not only need money to start their business, they also must have enough in reserve to live on for at least 6 months until they see any money coming in from their contract(s). At IBS 2020 I saw a ton of young people wandering the aisles of displays and vendors booths, watched them soak up knowledge from all the speakers and observed how excited they were just to be there. But when I talked with them, the majority are working at entry level positions with companies in marketing, media, CRM or Internet based businesses with little desire to actually become any type of builder. So, even if they have a strong desire to start a business, they might have to wait. There are other reasons such as fierce competition among their peers because of low entry barriers; not enough skill sets and lack of experience. To further hinder young people from entering the new home building business is the lack of any formal training in construction, sales, marketing and if they would like to become a modular home builder, there is no training for set and finish of a modular home being given anywhere by anybody. Not from the factory and not from any of the national building associations. The only place I know of currently that is putting together a complete training, marketing and sales educational program is Express Modular Franchising, the new business opportunity from Express Modular, the national modular home builder. Will we ever see the “Golden Days” of small independent new home builders again? Probably not. That ship has sailed. But what we should see is the modular housing industry beginning an education program offering interested young people a pathway to become modular home builders. Again, will we ever see that happening? Probably! It has to happen if the modular home factory wants to continue selling single family homes. I just hope they don’t wait 5 years to get organized to start it.
Gary Fleisher, the Modoach, is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant. Contact modcoach@gmail.com

Friday, February 21, 2020

Modular Construction Industry Take Note: Manufactured Housing is About to Change Everything

MHI (Manufactured Housing Institute) has proposed new regulations to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that identify the hurdles that impede the financing, zoning and development of factory-built housing systems across the country. This represents a serious move by the MHI to allow manufactured housing into many building zones (R1 for example).


Included in these new regulations are allowing HUD factories to build 2 story, 4 module homes with varied roof pitches, new stair requirements and the ability to build HUD multi-family projects.

MHI has already introduced their latest type of manufactured home, the CrossMod, with plenty of fanfare and the biggest HUD manufacturers in the country are already at work promoting.


They are also proposing to alleviate state and local impediments that discriminate against manufactured housing which would allow them to use third party approvals over state and local code approvals giving HUD homes and projects a more direct, easier and quicker than modular factories and builders using the IRC code which in most states requires a much longer vetting process.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson is already behind these changes by orchestrating HUD’s “Driving Affordable Housing Across America,” a multi-city bus tour to identify ways to eliminate regulatory barriers to affordable housing.

The following definitions are from Subpart K, found at the very bottom of the proposal:

Attached manufactured home. Two or more adjacent manufactured homes that are structurally independent from foundation to roof and with open space on at least two sides, but which have the appearance of a physical connection (i.e. zero lot line).

Fire separation wall. A wall of an attached manufactured home which is structurally independent of a wall of another attached manufactured home with a fire separation distance of less than three feet.
§ 3280.1003Attached manufactured home unit separation.(a) Separation requirements. Attached manufactured homes must be separated from each other by a fire separation wall of not less than 1-hour fire-resistive rating with exposure from both sides on each attached manufactured home unit when rated based on tests in accordance with ASTM E119-2005, Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials (incorporated by reference, see § 3280.4). Fire resistance rated fire separation wall assemblies must extend from the foundation to the underside of the roof sheathing.

This is a very ambitious undertaking by the MHI and the regulations have not been approved yet.

Rumors are not facts!

It is very important for each and every person that manufactures or builds IRC modular homes to learn the facts as quickly as you can.

That is why I am holding a public forum about this so everyone can learn the facts from experts on both IRC and HUD regulations.

CLICK HERE to register for this important event on March 25th!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Immediate Need for People to Fill These Jobs

Just when you think nobody will ever offer you the job of your dreams, along comes this list of job openings in the modular housing industry.


Robert Sage Careers has clients with immediate need for the following positions:

Modular Dealer seeking Sales Representative 2-5 years for custom commercial projects. Market segments are industrial, government, education vertical markets healthcare. Territory North Carolina Salary competitive 80K plus sign on bonus and uncapped commission structure.

Modular Dealer seeking Sales Representative 2-5 years for custom commercial projects. Market segments are industrial, government, education vertical markets healthcare. Territory PA, NJ and DE. Salary competitive 80K plus sign on bonus and uncapped commission structure.

More Job Listings

Modular/Materials Mgmt./North East

Modular/Project Manager/North East

Modular/P.E. Structural Engineer/Midwest

Modular/Area Sales Manager/South

Modular/Engineering Manager/North East

Modular/Purchasing/Southwest

Modular/Director of Business Development/South West

Modular/Project Manager/South West

Modular/3RD PARTY/Inspector/Southeast

Modular/Inspector/Southeast

Modular/Purchasing Manager/South East

Modular/Asst. PM/U.S.

Modular/GM/South

Modular/Sales Manager/West

Modular/G.M./Houston

Modular/Estimator/U.S.

Modular/Sales Manager/N.E.

Modular/Sales Manager/West

Modular/Asst Production Manager/Southwest

Modular/Production Supervisor/Southwest

Modular/Engineering Manager/Southwest

Modular/Materials Manager/Southwest

Modular/Assistant Materials Manager/Southwest

Modular/Sales Custom MP/Southwest

Modular/Project Manager/N.E.

Modular/Quality Control Manager/Midwest

Modular/Revit Designer/Midwest

Modular/Controller/Midwest

Modular/Engineering Manager/Southwest

Modular/Production Manager/South

Modular/Supervisors/South

This is a sampling of the many positions we are in need of filling throughout the US.

For more information, please contact us with your resume at sales@robertsagecareers.com or cindy@robertsagecareers.com.

"We've matched quality with quality for over 50 years."

10 Practically Free Ways to Promote Your Modular Home Business

It doesn’t matter if you only build a couple of new modular homes a year or 100, you have to get the word out about the great homes you build.


Throwing a lot of money at marketing can be one way but if you get few leads and maybe only one new contract, then that is probably money that could have been best used for something else, like taking your family to Disney World.

What you need in addition to your usual promotions and advertising are some free or inexpensive ways to attract new home buyers to your website and then a meeting to discuss their wants and needs in their new home. You not only have to build homes, you have to be your own best marketer. There is no Marketing Fairy.

Hopefully there will a few new ideas here that will help make things happen for your business.

1.Take great photos of completed houses – this has been the most successful free advertising that you can do. Don’t just grab your phone and snap a couple of shots. Take your time. Walk room to room and take a ton of photos, especially the front elevation, finished kitchens, baths, entry ways and family/living rooms.

2. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If you are not sure how to do it, hire a young person to do it. The rewards will be huge. These are the sites where people ask each other about building a home with you.

3. Write your own blog, create meaningful content. To get people to read your blog and want to keep coming back to your website over and over until they are ready to meet with you is the real purpose of the blog. Publish at least one article a week. Make sure you put your new article on social media, not just on your site.

4. Comment on other blogs, many blogs will link your name back to your website. When you comment make sure you enter your website in the field that asks for it. Modcoach will allow you to link back if your list your website in the comment signature area.

5. Hand out business cards. Take them with you everywhere. Be almost obnoxious. It only takes one new home from your card distribution to pay for a lifetime of business cards.

6. Participate in a Home and Garden shows as well as Builder Shows and make sure to hand out business cards. February and March is the time for these. Make your booth count. Home Shows - Do's and Don't

7. Learn how to use Google Analytics to analyze existing traffic so you can reach your target audience and keep them on your website.

8. Provide awesome service and communication to your existing customers, they’ll tell their friends.

9. Find free places to advertise in your local community – put your business cards up in coffee shops, at your salon, gym, or places your customers might frequent.

10. Learn to post videos on YouTube, then share them on all your social media platforms. Finished homes featuring kitchens, baths and exterior views are best.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

S2A Modular Begins Hunt for Factories Across the US

S2A Modular has launched a nationwide search for locations to build eight MegaFactory facilities to build their new type of modular homes and projects.


"With two S2A MegaFactories already under construction, we're immensely excited to begin the process of selecting eight additional sites to build our next eight facilities – which will create hundreds of jobs and help stimulate local, regional and state economies," said John Rowland, president and co-founder of S2A.


"Electrically self-sufficient and smart #GreenLux residences and commercial buildings have created a wave of excitement globally – driving a future that's no longer reliant on old and antiquated energy grids, costly and slow construction techniques, old property value models and high energy bills. The demand from real estate developers and customers is massive – and we look forward to bringing our manufacturing facilities to various regions that would benefit from both a MegaFactory, as well as the new homes and commercial buildings constructed there."

According to the owner, #GreenLux buildings are setting a new standard in the industry with high-end design and materials, faster construction speed, tailor-made premium features and "surplus energy income" (Net Zero) – which may even result in the utility companies paying residents and companies for contributing energy to the grid.

27 Year Old Brit Building Modular Empire

Joseph Daniels is unlike anyone you’ve ever met in the world of real estate and construction.

Joseph Daniels

At the age of 27, he has already been backed by one of Europe’s richest families and a hedge fund titan, met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss tackling the global housing crisis and built houses on two continents.


He wants to turn his company, UK-based Project Etopia, into the Tesla of housing, by which he means building high-quality, affordable homes that create energy rather than putting carbon dioxide into the air. It may sound overly ambitious, but then you factor in Daniels’ background.

He became homeless for the first time at 15, and has been homeless on four separate occasions. His mother had mental health issues and his father was physically abusive.

He has no formal educational qualifications, but taught himself disciplines from thermodynamics to electrical engineering to architecture, and has invented or co-invented technology that is now being put to use in the smart, energy-efficient modular homes his company is building from two factory sites in the UK.

CLICK HERE to read the entire BISNOW article.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Join Modcoach for a Discussion of the New HUD Regulations

The Manufactured Housing Institute has been promoting a new term, CrossMod, which has left many modular home factory owners and builders a little confused.



That confusion has caused some IRC modular people to question why they chose “Mod” to be added to a HUD product.

Recently MHI has asked for Federal approval of 2 story homes and multifamily projects to be built using HUD building codes not requiring local and state plan inspection approval.

Many of you have read the new regulations being requested by MHI and even then don’t fully understand how they might affect decisions made by new home buyers and developers.

Join Modcoach on March 25th for a
Forum on MHI’s "CrossMod"

I will host a panel of 4 people with knowledge of both subjects who will go over MHI's latest annoucements and answer your questions. Learn the facts.



Date: Wednesday March 25, 2020 Place: Country Cupboard Village, 101 Hafer Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837 Time: 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Cost: $49.00 per person

Agenda: 8:00 - 9:00 AM Meet and Greet with a full breakfast buffet 9:00 - 9:15 AM Introductions 9:15 - 10:30 AM Open Panel Discussion with Questions

Sign up today as seating for this event will be limited to 50 people

For more information, contact modcoach@gmail.com

Monday, February 17, 2020

Japan’s Sekisui House to Build Modular Homes in England

With encouragement from the British Government, Sekisui House is partnered with developer Urban Splash and Homes England to deliver phase 2A of the Northstowe scheme, known as Inholm village.


The village will see 406 modular homes built in England by Urban Splash. Japanese housebuilder Sekisui House formed a $115,000,000 joint venture with Urban Splash, the Manchester-based developer and Homes England, a government body that funds affordable housing.


In 2018 Sekisui House delivered 43,735 modular homes from its factories, which use cutting-edge technologies and rely on a high degree of automation. They employ 1,000 people in its R&D department alone.


If you are getting the feeling that England is becoming the proving ground for foreign modular companies prior to coming across the pond to the US, you’re probably right.

Our rich environment of affordable housing starts may soon see many new types of modular construction.


Gary Fleisher (the Modcoach) is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant. Contact modcoach@gmail.com

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Finland Modular Company Plans New Factory in US

Finland’s turnkey construction company Admares plans on launching its first North American development, a 10,000 square foot commercial property in Brooklyn, New York.

Admares' Modular Factory in Finland

The construction project will be executed via the new modular construction technology developed by Admares, called Building 4.0, and is in partnership with Porsche Consulting, a global authority in industrial processes and manufacturing.

Inside the Admares Modular Factory 

Building 4.0 technology allows Admares to complete nearly 100% of the modules in a U.S.-based factory, with a very small percentage of the above grade building actually completed onsite.

The development is located at 58 Grattan Street, in the heart of the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. In addition to the elevator-serviced commercial space, it will also include a ground floor retail space featuring double height ceilings, a terrace, and three floors of up to five commercial loft/studios.

Admares plans to build a new modular assembly factory, which was designed in cooperation with Porsche Consulting and is planning to break ground during 2020 and be completed in 2022.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Airbnb Looking at Modular for their "Backyard" Project

Through a new initiative called Backyard, the company will start testing prototypes for “adaptable” residences very soon.


The homes may have features like modular floor plans and interchangeable roofs, allowing them to “evolve and even reconfigure to the occupants’ changing needs” — including, of course, renting out rooms through Airbnb.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article