Monday, April 4, 2011

HOW THE RECESSION IS CHANGING THE MODULAR INDUSTRY

Many economists and government officials are predicting that we are headed out of the recession but does that mean business as usual for modular home factories?  

There are some factory owners that will probably just go back to what they were doing before the 2007 housing recession hit but most have learned some valuable lessons over the past few years.  Many were on the verge of closing their doors but today some of those are having a great year.  It's not by accident.  What caused this amazing turnaround?

Adapting to change!

I've watched as some modular factories embraced large commercial projects to keep the doors open and have now gained confidence in going after this market with people dedicated to finding and signing bigger and better projects; something that they would not have even considered a decade ago.


Other factories are honing their sales and marketing skills to make sure that both their builders and the builder's customer has answers to questions that have been eluding them from the factories in the past.  Building green and making sure the homes meet Energy Star ratings are other areas that most factories have worked on.

When we finally see the end of the housing crunch, many modular factory owners and management will have successfully turned their factory's efforts in new directions that they never thought they could do.  The number of small and medium size builders has dwindled over the past 4 years and the factory owners are realizing that they must be more attentive to the ones they have.

Then we have factories like Nationwide and Excel trying to get people's attention by supplying homes for Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  Haven Homes, a builder of top of the line custom homes, has moved into a new factory where they are working on a line of homes for the affordable market.  Signature Homes built a huge dorm project for SUNY that had a 24/7 live video feed showing the complex being built.  These are just a couple examples of good marketing.

More and more factories are using YouTube, Facebook and Linkedin and other social media to keep their names in front of people.  I'm starting to see real email marketing campaigns by some factories.  There are new and updated websites by other factories.

But with all this, there still needs to be an effort by our industry to change people's minds about what we build and how much better our processes are than site built homes.  I guess that is on the agenda for the next recession.

3 comments:

John Haddad said...

Coach,

Yes, the modular home industry is being creative in promoting the modular home industry. However, most factories (not all) do not have adequate sales materials for their builders to easily sell their homes.

I worked at one factory when a builder would ask, "what kind of faucet am I getting?" The answer the builder would receive, "A really, really nice one." (with a laugh)

The concept and benefits of modular home construction is easy to sell, but the Devil is in the details.

Factories who don't have basic marketing materials - primarily a comprehensive product guide, complete sample kits and a factory show room full of all options leave doubt in a potential retail customers' minds.

Factories will spend tens of thousands of dollars on a website, renderings and floor plans, but never show the retail customer an easy system to make upgrades and options.

Modular home builders are competing against: short sales, site builders and developers. With all three, the potential buyer has the opportunity to see what they are buying.

The short sale - what you see is what you get.

Site Builder - What you see in the store is what you get.

Developer - What you see in their show room is what you get.

Modular Home Builder - Its a really, really nice option.

This is the time for modular home companies to scrape up nickles and dimes and build a comprehensive sales system for their builders.

Product guides and a factory show room are as imperative tools for a modular home factory to be successful as supplying hammers to hard working people on the production line.

Mobile Homes said...

I love the picture there. It says: Time for change."

Now its time to become better.great post!Macomb Home Builder

Paulie said...

Agreed with Haddad, if I'm building custom new homes, the builder must know and educate the client, even explain the materials and components that will be used in the construction, their purpose and their benefits. "A really, really nice one" tells me nothing about that faucet nor does it reinforce WHY I should spend more money on that specific faucet, when I could spend considerably less, and get a normal one.