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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PROBUILT HOMES READY FOR UPTURN

It’s always nice to talk about a modular manufacturer that’s prepared for the future housing recovery.  ProBuilt Homes is one of them.

I visited their website and talked with a member of management yesterday and was impressed with both.

First, their website is very clean and informative. It features a great looking home on the home page that would showcases what they and their builders can do.  It appears on every page after that which I found a little annoying but not distracting.

ProBuilt

ProBuilt also does something that I have been pushing for years.  They show a link to all their management, sales and production managers and reps with EMAIL addresses.  Now how cool is that!  None of their staff hides behind that dreaded “info@anyfactory” that almost every other factory uses. 

They have some really good info on the website but some areas need fleshed out a little.  Today’s home buyers want details without a lot of dialogue.

Next, they are busy!  I found out they are building at near capacity and have a nice backlog.  That’s more than can be said for most of their competitors.

If you are a builder looking for a good factory to align with or a prospective home buyer checking out modular factories, ProBuilt should be on your shortlist.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is good to see Pro-Built doing so well. Hopefully this is a good sign to all the module companies that things are picking up.

Anonymous said...

there is only one reason or should I say one person who is making them successful despite their owner.

Anonymous said...

So anonymous, tell us who that person is that is responsible for the success of Pro-Built homes. As for me I remain skeptical about the news Coach published about how the business Pro-Built has generated. Does this news come from first-hand knowledge for from the owner of Pro-Built? I have yet to hear a modular operation talk about how little business they have and one generally must wear hip boots when listening to them about how great things are going with their company.
And Coach should you, as a blog owner and operator, promote a speific company over others who visit your site?

Coach said...

Hi Anonymous,
Yes, it my duty to write about companies that I feel are doing a good job. I talked with a member of management at ProBuilt about their business but before I published the article I asked several vendors about them. They told me they were a good, solid company and will be around for a long time.
I have promoted a lot of factories on this blog over the years. My barbs are usually reserved for factories that pretend they are modular manufacturers but are nothing more than trailer factories such as Clayton trying to pass off their i-house as a Eco-friendly modular home.

Frank at ProBuit said...

Anonymous #1 Thank you. Anonymous #2 Its not only about one person it is about the team here at ProBuilt. Our internal teams work together to out hustle the competition and create opportunties where others fall short. Anonymous #3 if you doubt us please feel free to give me a call and I will gladly take your through our facility. We take great pride at the strides we have made in the last year to increase our builder base with quality builders and retailers. I do have to agree with you though that there is a lot of misinformation out there on all modular manufacturers. Unfortunately for years we have been attacking each others builder bases and not targeting the stick built market to help grow our sales.

Anonymous said...

Frank, I am 100% in agreement with your last statement. For far too long the modular industry has fed on other modular operations builder network. I was talking this week with a few industry leaders about why the modular industry has not increased their market share. I stated that I felt it was because the number of modular units simply switched from one manufacturer to another without eating into the stick built market. If you track the modular industry for the past 15 years you will find we are a pure function of the market. If the market increases so does the number of modular sales, but our overall market percentage stays relatively the same. And if the market falls the modular industry falls proportionately.
I have long promoted that for the entire industry to be successful we must market to the stick builders and developers. We MUST CONVERT this market to factory built products. To do that we must take some of the advice given by Coach in his postings regarding having trained, professional sales reps OUT IN THE FIELD promoting the company and its products.
In all the plants I have owned or managed I have always had a field based sales force. I want them in the field where buyers are located, not sitting in an office acting like they are doing something, or doing busy paperwork processing orders, etc. I have always, and still do, needing sales professionals who are having quality face-to-face sales time with quality buyers who will be an asset to our company on a long-term basis. Plus, we do not play the price game. If we cannot feature benefit our product, our services and ourselves sufficiently we will not sell ourselves out by discounting our prices. All that does is cut our profit margins which will cause us to eventually close our doors. Look around the industry and you will see padlocked plants who have played the pricing discount game and plant based sales reps.

Frank at ProBuilt said...

Anonymous, very interesting and thought provoking post. I also believe that sales people are more effective and efficient in the field spending quality time with the builders helping to develope existing and new business. The problem with this however is two fold. First the sales person must truely be a driven individual who can thrive in an entrepreneurial enviroment and unfortunately in this business they are few and far between. The next is that the company must provide the support to the sales staff to enable them to act with a hunters mentatilty. I do disagree with holding the line on pricing. During the past year its been more evident to me that you have to be flexible with the ebbs and flows of the market. However to do this you must have your business in order as you walk a fine line of profitabilty and failure.

Anonymous said...

Frank, it takes a PROFESSIONAL SALES MANAGER to interview, hire and then train field based sales reps. It is the toughest way to go but the one that bears the most rewards when done correctly. Plus you answer the question correctly when you wrote, and I quote, "the company must provide the support to the sales staff to enable them to act with a hunters mentatilty," Many operations, and I take it ProBuilt is one of them, do not provide that level of sales rep support to allow them to act as an entrepreneur and go after business and then support those endeavors.
I think most of this comes from the fact companies do not want to properly compensate field based sales reps based on their sales volume. I saw this change back in the mid 80's when companies felt that a 3% sales commission was too much to pay and started bringing sales into the office to cut costs. Owners felt the business these sales reps were writing was demand business and they could do that with trained monkeys or neophyte order takers working the telephones. This is all great when the market is booming but when times are tough as they are now companies are behind the proverbial eight bal with no one out there telling their story and without one dime of marketing to tell the company story to generate any type of quality leads.
Only when companies learn how to properly market and sale their products will the modular industry start eating into the stick built market and start increasing the modular share of the market.

aerieone said...

Strangely enough, all of the hype sounds a lot like the same verbiage that used to come from Champion Home Builders, aka Champion Enterprises, the largest manufactured and modular home builder before their bankruptcy. In fact, it still continues from the "New Champion" after emerging from bankruptcy, even though nothing has really changed. Marketing is so much easier than honesty and that, is the real shame of it all.

Frank at ProBuilt said...

Anonymous, I do agree with most of what you posted however I do not wish to air the modular industries dirty laundry over a blog as I fear we will do if we continue this thread so if you would like to continue the conversation please feel free to email me at: fhanlon@pro-builthomes.com