I’ve been thinking of the things I learned at last week’s Midwest Boot Camp and here are some of my thoughts:
Midwest vs East Coast Modular home builders
I was told before I even scheduled the Boot Camp that I might not get the same type of builder I usually see in an East Coast (EC) event. That was true to some extent.
First thing I noticed was the Midwest (MW) builders were younger and there were more women involved in the sales and operations of the business. The MW builder also seemed more focused on the type of home they would build compared to their EC counterparts who will attempt to build just about anything the customer can draw on a napkin.
Plan book homes vs custom
The EC builder gets plan books from their factory and immediately puts them on the floor in the corner as every EC builder knows that “no one ever builds from them.” The MW modular builder gets plan books, uses them in their sales approach and tries not to make too many changes.
I talked with one EC builder who would love to do that but is not sure he would have much business if he did. When I asked a MW builder what is a typical home they build, the answer was a 28’ x 60’ ranch.
I questioned if they would like to build more 2 story and custom homes and their answer stopped me cold in my tracks. “If I could make as much profit on the second floor as I do the first, I would build them but I can’t.” End of the discussion. Very smart woman and doing very well in her market.
Model Homes vs Showroom
Another way that the MW builder is different from their EC custom modular builder sibling is they tend to sell mostly from model home sales centers that feature both manufactured and modular homes (28’ x 60’) while the EC builders work from showrooms and home offices.
I do not see either the EC or the MW ever wanting to do business like the other however.
It was very interesting to hear the exact same things that bother the EC builder coming from the MW builders. Few or no visits from their factory reps. No information about changes in the industry from their factory.
Little or no training; little factory/builder interactions; lack of marketing knowledge; lack of leads, etc….
Three of the speakers at the Boot Camp were EC builders and they all agreed that every modular builder in the US needs to learn from each other to better our industry. Some of the ideas and ways the MW does business will be taken back to their offices and discussed.
As I mentioned several times during the Boot Camp, this is the time for builders to start building bridges with other builders to have someone to share insight, resolve common problems and work on marketing. Networking!