Last week I sent out an email to some previous longtime Excel Homes builders asking what they are finding now that they have to shop around for a new factory.
To say I was pleasantly surprised was an understatement. Without exception the demise of Excel and their quest for a new factory have gone relatively well.
For some their former Excel sales rep had moved on to a new factory and they joined them leaving most of the complicated changeover stuff to the rep.
Others were surprised by the quality they found with their new factories but were forced to adapt to new ways of doing just about everything. Many of the former Excel builders decided that never again will they put all their eggs in one basket and placed home contracts with several factories which meant learning new procedures at many factories at the same time.
Attention to detail and quality at the new factories was mentioned by several builders. They mentioned Excel was lackluster at best for the last 18 months. One builder said the quality they have been receiving is 10 fold from what Excel was producing. That’s a good thing!
One Northeast builder said “New management and new leadership. It is great to work with companies who care about their product. With Excel you could tell it was starting to be about the bottom dollar and how they could save money. They never paid for service, they were sloppy, and they just had the feel of "we are Excel homes and no one is better than us." Well I can tell you for a fact the three I am working with are blowing them out of the water.”
A couple of others said they now have an abundance of samples.
At the end of the day the prices are virtually the same throughout. That seems to be the consensus among the builders. The huge discounting by Excel is now a thing of the past.
The former Excel builders also found that they are not the “chosen ones.” Their new factories already had good, solid builders that have been loyal to them for years and the new Excel guys now need to prove themselves.
Different ways that the engineering departments operate and how to price homes are definite challenges to some builders but that will soon pass.
Another builder sent me this “New factories are hard to work with even the best of them. It takes years to learn how each other processes work, build relationships, get proper attention and work through problems. I wish I could go back to where we were 6 months ago but unfortunately that is not an option. So everyone, including myself, are having a tough time acclimating to the “new” way to conduct business.”
Overall, this has become a very positive thing for everyone. Too bad it had to happen at the expense of one of the oldest and biggest brands in modular.