Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Modular Home Builders from 30,000 Feet

Recently I’ve had a couple of emails from modular home factory sales reps telling me about some of the prospective builders that wanted to go modular. Every sales rep I’ve met has similar stories but here are just a few of my favorites.

A rep from a PA factory got a lead from his sales manager and told to get in touch with the builder and sign him up. A few calls and emails later, everything was place for a face to face meeting with the builder in McKeesport, PA, about a 4 hour drive one way. When he arrived at the address where he thought the builder lived and where he wanted to meet, he was escorted into the townhouse and out the back door and into a garage.

He met the builder who was sitting on a huge barrel of driveway coating surrounded by gallons upon gallons of paint and roofing tar. Turns out the ‘builder’ is a painter that wants to build a home for his cousin Hector. He thought that he could save a bundle buying directly from the factory. He had already talked to three other factory reps and just wants the lowest price. It was a long 4 hour drive back.

Learning that a builder in VA wanted to talk to someone from an east coast modular factory about selling him all the homes for his 34 lot subdivision, both the sales rep and the factory owner made the trip. Since the factory owner was the one that had been talking with the builder, the rep saw no reason to question the trip. Once there, they learned that indeed there was a ready to build in subdivision but the builder only had a $1,000 deposit on the project and thought the factory would love to put the model home including all site and land costs in exchange for exclusive rights to sell all the houses. The development was bank owned. I was told the owner only said a couple of words the entire way home.  It was never mentioned again.

My favorite so far is the rep that had an appointment to meet the builder at their model home located two states from the factory. He looked up the builder’s website and saw the model and a picture of the woman that owned the company. Everything looked good. Upon arriving at the model, he walked into a completely barren first floor of a cape cod. The only thing he saw was a cell phone on the breakfast bar and a couple of counter stools. It was empty or so he thought.

Deciding to go upstairs he noticed that it was unfinished except for a blanket hung at one end. He walked over and found a middle aged woman sound asleep on a bed. She was in unflattering PJ’s. It was 10:00 AM. He quietly went downstairs and found one of the builder’s business cards next to the phone. Walking out the front door he saw a 7-11 a couple doors down and went over to see if anyone knew what was going on with the model home.

Turns out the lady upstairs was the builder. She had lost her home to foreclosure and moved into the vacant model home another builder had used before he went out of business. She was squatting there. He drove back to his factory and when he got there the owner called him into his office and demanded to know why he didn’t meet with the builder. He told his boss the story of the sleeping woman and was told to go back because she called and was pissed. He was also told he would only be getting expenses for one round trip, not two. The rep quit and went to work the next week for a competing factory.


Anonymous said...


What happened to this post:http://www.modularhomecoach.com/2013/03/somebody-stop-blu-homes-please.html

I love you blu homes stuff.

Coach said...

Yes, there was an article about Blu Homes and thank you for bringing it to my attention that it is no longer there.

I have absolutely no idea where it is. It is not in any file or folder, no archives or even in 'draft' mode. It's just gone. This is the first time anything like this has happened in the last few years.

I accidentally erased about 100 articles in 2010 but I was able to get most of them back but this is different. I am at a loss.

Rest assured that I will not give up my Blu Homes articles. Everyone has something that makes them ask "WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?" and Blu is mine.

Anonymous said...


Do you thing Blu Homes used some of their dough to get rid of your post???

Coach said...

If they would have asked, I probably would have taken it down for them. I don't think they had any hand in it.

Anonymous said...

Re: Modular Home Builders from
30,000 feet

Unfortunately, your three anecdotal stories are prime examples of the approach taken by modular factories . . . any breathing soul becomes a "qualified builder". Until this part of the business model is addressed, single-family modular construction will be hard pressed to overcome its stigma.