Thursday, November 13, 2014

Remodelers Can Make Great Modular Home Builders

There are a dwindling number of independent new site builders in the US. Every modular home factory sales manager and sales rep is keenly aware of that. Even when they are lucky enough to find one that is willing to try modular construction, the lack of proper education and help from the modular home factory almost guarantees that the builder will be back to site building rather quickly.

That only leaves factory sales reps trying to steal other factory’s builders. That is the biggest reason fewer modular home factories are listing their builders on their website. That is a huge disadvantage for the builder but what else can the factory do to protect their loyal builder base? By the way, Loyalty only lasts as long as the builder feels good about buying from their factory. Dogs are loyal as hell until someone gives them a bigger bone.

This lack of new builders coming on board means that some factories are turning to large commercial projects to keep the production lines running. Orders for 100 or more modules from one developer are no longer unusual but if a builder is trying to get a home out of the factory while that order is being produced, he may get so frustrated waiting an extra two weeks that he never places another order.


Enter a good solution. Remodelers. There are Pros and Cons to courting them to explore offering new homes to their current work.

Pros:
  • They already know how to quickly repair problems (that's what they do every day)
  • They make decisions on the fly (time is money)
  • They know how to give bad news to their customers (BTW, your bathroom subfloor needs replaced!)
  • An almost endless supply (every other pickup truck)


Cons:
  • They have never sold new homes
  • They have limited marketing and sales skills
  • They usually don’t have offices and display rooms
  • They don’t know why building modular homes would be an advantage
  • Most don’t have a website

Now take a look at those Pros and Cons again. Notice that the Pros are qualities that many current modular home builders struggle with on a daily basis. A modular builder will sometimes wait a week or more for the factory to tell them that they should go ahead and fix the problem and send in an invoice for payment. That won’t happen with a remodeler. First, they don’t have that kind of patience and secondly they will be on the phone to the factory service dept while they are repairing the problems.

Now take a really close look at the Cons. Every single one of the Cons can be overcome if the factory had a program in place to train and work with the remodeler. It will take a big effort on the factory’s part to get this kind of help in place for them. No doubt that many factories have neither the financial assets nor educational skills to do this but if factories joined together to train them, there could be hundreds of new modular home builders added to the list.

Attention Sales Reps:
The next time you are driving in your territory and see an addition being built or a garage being added to an existing home, you should stop and ask the owner if he/she ever gave any thought to selling and building modular homes. When you think about it, a modular home is just a huge remodeling job.


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