Friday, December 2, 2011

REFLECTIONS ON THE MODULAR HOME INDUSTRY

As 2011 comes to a close I was asked recently what happened in the modular housing industry this year.  I was about to tell the reader about the factories that closed, the ones that merged and others that opened new plants but I didn't.

Instead I thought of all things that could have been said about our industry by the factory owners, their management and the people that actually sell modular homes to new home buyers...the modular home builders.  I also thought of all the things that were said about modular housing that reflected badly on a great way to build homes, apartments and commercial buildings.

I saw so little press about the wonderful work modular and panelized construction has done in places like Haiti and Japan and thought about missed marketing opportunities.

Over the past year I have sent personal emails to factory people and home builders asking for information about projects and unique homes they are working on.  Many of them said they would send me photos and news about their factory and the people that make system built housing the best way to build new homes but alas most of them didn't.  It couldn't have been that they were too busy.  Modular construction is off 80% for some factories.

Why is the modular home industry hiding under a rock?
Modular Home Builder has written article after article about ways for factories to help their builders become efficient in marketing and selling their homes but as far as I can tell, most factories do not even have a marketing plan in place for themselves let alone helping any of their builders with one. 

This industry forum, Modular Home Builder, has thousands of visitors every month with tens of thousands of page views and has proven to be the one voice that can reach people interested in our industry.  Yet, there is so little information coming from the factories that actually build these homes that I am wondering if anyone cares what we build.

Time and time again, people, mostly media reporters, confuse manufactured housing (HUD) homes with modular homes and not a single comment is sent in by anyone to tell their readers the difference between a custom modular home and double wide trailer.  We let the people from Clayton, Cavco, Fleetwood and other HUD factories tell our story.

Some factories say they use FaceBook and Twitter to get the word out.  That's fine for all the people that "like" them but what about the thousands that come here?  Your missing a great opportunity to add to your audience.  There are factories that do great humanitarian work and don't tell anyone.  My question is "why not?"

There are some notable exceptions to this problem.  Signature Custom Homes, Nationwide Homes, Excel Custom Homes and some of their builders do send me interesting things that are happening in their plants and the last I heard, all three of these companies are running on all cylinders going into 2012.

The modular home industry will always be an "also ran" if someone from within the industry doesn't step up to the plate and start swinging away.  The time is now.  If you think this blog can help get that word out, it's here and having your factory featured in an article is FREE!  I have the capacity for 1 million emails but if I get more than 5 I'll be shocked.

Send your articles and pictures to Modular Home Builder at modcoach@gmail.com and let's make 2012 the year of modular housing.




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coach, why don't you become the voice of modular housing? It's obvious that nobody from within it wants to take on such a responsibility. Nobody from the BSC would ever think about stepping up to the plate and swinging away. Maybe it needs some new and younger people that aren't part of the good old boy club.

Randy said...

Coach...I love the in your face tone of the article. I have adopted some of that when working with clients and developers and GCs who refuse to "get" what we do in our industry or are just plain stubborn. Our industry does indeed need a cheerleader to get out in front of all facets of our industry. architects, builders, developers, banks etc.