BSC Summit

Monday, May 18, 2015

Modular Housing and the Kentucky Derby

As I was watching the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness the past two weekends I noticed how well prepared the horses and jockeys were for the races. Even the mud on the track at the Preakness didn’t stop the horses running all out.

The horses were well fed, healthy and well groomed. The jockeys had their silks pressed and the colors were bright. The trainers had prepared the horses and were excited to hear their horse’s name from the loudspeakers. Owners were anxious to see if their horse could win. Bets were placed on every horse. It was Go Time!

Then the jockeys brought their horses up to the starting gates and guided them into their starting position. The horses were keenly aware that soon they would be ready to run.


Then the announcer said the horse race was ready and the buzzer went off and the horses bolted from the gate. Magnificent!

Maybe your horse didn’t Win, Place or Show but it ran the entire race and finished. Maybe it won and you won some money. Either way, it was a great race.

Now imagine the modular housing industry in a similar position. Thousands of potential customers in the stands waiting for the chance to see our builders in action.

The modular factories are the trainers, the modular home builders are the jockeys and the builder’s companies are the horses.

Unfortunately only a few trainers (factories) have spent any time with the jockeys (home builders) preparing the horses (New home companies) for the race. Most of the jockeys have had to not only get themselves prepared for the race, they also had to train the horse.

The trainers each have so many horses that need trained that they just don’t have much time or money to do a good job of it. Some trainers have so many horses in the race that the ones that work hard on their own get all the feed and attention while others stand around waiting to see who will feed and train them.

The jockeys are trying to fill the trainer’s job but they know little about what goes into the behind the scenes of properly training the horse. There is no book or person to turn to fill this need.

The horses tend to lose their fine tuning and begin to be less than they could be.

When the horses are brought into the starting gate to await the run, neither the jockey nor the horse are prepared to capture the crowd’s attention. When the gate finally opens the horses and jockeys don’t run out but rather just wander around looking at each other for the way to the finish line.

Isn’t this what the modular housing industry is becoming? We all want more than a 3% share of the new home market but nobody has stepped forward and said to the industry that until we start training the builders and the factory sales staff on ways to market our unique building methods, we will just continue to wander around the starting gate until maybe a couple of them will eventually find the finish line.

There are some factories and builders actually doing things right and winning over hundreds and thousands of new home buyers but for every one of them, they are others that need the training that our industry should be providing.

It is a question of money, talent and time. Three things that have been in short supply since the housing recession of 2008. It is coming back but very slowly.


Maybe it’s time to bring in professional trainers to help. They could get us to look at what we are doing right and improve on them. They could help factories and builders improve their websites and social media. They could create marketing programs for both our industry and for the factory and the builder.

As Dr. Phil says, the first step to changing a problem is to acknowledge the problem. I don’t think there’s any argument that we have a problem. Now we need to find that professional help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As usual you are right on target about the factory and builders needing to work together. Maybe it will happen in our lifetime.