Monday, June 27, 2016

You First....No, You First.... No, I Insist, You First….

Today, especially on the East Coast. most modular home factories are stuck in a standoff with their competitors.  

To the builder, they all look alike with similar plans, pricing and support. Similar plans, pricing, warranties, features such as colors, delivery time, installation, availability and distribution methods keep most modular home manufacturers in the standoff.
It all starts with the home.  They are all basically made the same way with the same materials and costs.  You may think that your home is unique, but your builder probably doesn't see it that way.  Small differences won't get a builder to switch.  They may only help a builder who has switched to your factory justify their decision.

Framing lumber, insulation, roofing shingles, furnaces, drywall, faucets and probably even your homes are viewed by your builder as not that different than your competitors. When a new homebuyer sees the shingles, they don't know or care what brand it is. When an architect specifies a certain material, they care more about the material than the manufacturer.

Modular Home Manufacturers are all focused on lowering production costs instead of innovation. No wonder their homes are all similar. They also provide similar levels of customer service that are measured in terms of "good enough", instead of "outstanding".

Certainly there are some modular home factories that have moved away from the standoff but they are mostly boutique manufacturers that specialize in certain types of homes such Blu Homes, Method Homes and Huntington Homes.  

Pricing is definitely in this standoff. No factory wants to be the first one to raise prices even when they must. You don't see many companies saying, "We cost more and we are worth it".  This pricing parity only reinforces that the one factory’s home is the same as another.

This standoff mentality also keeps the factories focused more on each other than the builder or that unexpected new competitor who may disrupt the standoff and make their product and approach irrelevant. Think of a new type of competitor, like Blueprint-Robotics.

All things come to an end.  What will be the outside event, company or person who will resolve the standoff?

3 comments:

George Morgan said...

I AM A CAREER MODULAR HOME FACTORY REP AND HAVE STRESSED THE FOLLOWING....IF YOU HAVE A FINE STEAK,,, HIGH QUALITY POTATOES AND FRESH VEGGIES....WHO DO YOU WANT TO COOK IT...A MASTER CHEF OR A SHORT ORDER COOK.....THE MATERIALS ARE ALL BASICALLY THE SAME..BUT ITS THE ASSEMBLY , THE SERVICE,,,THE FACTORY BACKUP THAT AMOUNTS TO A MASTER CHEF.....

Anonymous said...

I always made it a point to educate builders, especially stick builders who changed to modular, on the subtle differences in our homes which were directed towards builders from the homes manufactured by all the companies who manufactured both double wide on frame (HUD) and modular "off frame" mostly to mobile home lots who did scattered lot sales. Big differences once the builder notices! Companies who manufacture HUD code carry the nuances over into the off frame line. A big one is the windows. Most of them still use single windows installed as close as they can get them to make up a double or triple window configuration. Wrong! Builders buy prehung windows in a true double or triple set in UNIT and there is no narrow separation with siding outside and drywall inside. Another one is dormers. HUD plants all seem to think its architecturally OK to put dormers on a 7/12 pitch roof just because a customer is willing to pay for them. Builders install dormers on 10/12 or 12/12 pitch roofs only and 99% of the time without shutters. He's hooked.....I reel him in.

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