Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Bad Apple Hurts the Entire Modular Industry

Whenever a site builder screws up and doesn't finish a customer's home, only the immediate local community knows about it. If a modular home factory has a problem, everyone knows including the other factories. It sours people's taste for modular housing, the most efficient way to build a new home.

With that said, I just spent some time talking with a fellow from Old Greenwich, CT that bought a home from Taylored Building Solutions this year. He experienced something that no homeowner should ever have to go through. Unfortunately, when the word "modular" is part of the conversation, it becomes a different animal, one that keeps eating away at all the good things modular brings to housing.

He has finally moved into his home with his wife and two small children, ages 2 and 4, after living in a very small apartment waiting for his house to finished.

Here is the email he sent me along with additional comments we discussed on the phone. The we discussed on the phone comments are in red. He has asked that I not use his name but said that anyone that wants to talk with him can contact Modcoach.

I have had serious issues with Taylored. I ordered my house last December 2nd, with a promise of delivery of 4 weeks. Instead, it arrived 13 weeks later, on March 2nd.  So we had to incur 2 months of short term rental because of it. After ordering the home and told it would arrive about January 15, 2012, he heard nothing further until one week before the house was delivered.

That wasn't all.

On set day, we had about 8 hours of delays. Why? Because they had made permanent walls instead of temporary ones that could be taken down to join the boxes. 8 hours of delays means more costs for crane, tow truck, and police escorts. about $5k extra. But that wasn't all. He explained that the "temp" walls were secured with hundreds of nails which took so much time that a one day set turned into a 2 1/2 day set.

We then discovered $6.5k worth of electrical work not done (wiring not done, wiring not long enough, mistakes, etc.) which we had to have an electrician do. Most of the wires were not labeled!

Also, the carpentry work they did had several mistakes, accounting for another $5k worth of issues. Then we had plumbing issues; about about few thousand. All of which, we had to have locally done out of pocket cost since they would never come out to resolve it. We had a broken window at delivery, and it took 6 months for them to replace it.  They (including Tom Schott) have said they will pay, but of course, they haven't.  Their service contract means they are supposed to pay us. We are over $20k at this point.

So, I would recommend trying to get out of the contract and go elsewhere. Your delays in build will only be the beginning.  Here he is talking to Cheri, the woman who is living in a camper because of her house not being delivered.

We have filed a complaint with the consumer protection agency at the State's attorney's office. And our builder's lawyer is now moving ahead.

Here is an interesting note: The house was basically a finished shell without cabinets, flooring or siding and still the factory couldn't build it on time or without major problems.

This is one of those stories that will continue to haunt the industry for some time.


Anonymous said...

Man, where is the local builder in this??? There seem like a huge amount of problems for a local builder not to have been aware of.

Also, before we completely crucify Taylored, let's all remember how exaggerated and erroneous home buyer's problems can be.

Taylored seems like a ton of home builders over the past few years. Good people who provided work and community betterment for a lot of people for many years. As things went bad, they were so personally involved in their company, psychologically and financially, that they had no choice but to keep going. Then they just ran out of gas. Often times what a lawyer tells you to do in these situations is not what you want to do, but you have no legal choice.

There appear to be some people who are not getting paid for the work they did. That is unfortunate. I wonder how many weeks the owners kept them on out of personal loyalty when they should have laid them off. I also wonder how many years they supported their families based on the paychecks that were produced because of the risks the owners of Taylored took in owning and operating the business.

It is always good to keep a little perspective.

Anonymous said...

The local builder was repeatedly contacting Taylored to get reimbursed for the issues he had to fix onsite with the subs and carpenters. Each issue and cost has been itemized and review with Tom Schott and Charles Funk. There is an email from Tom agreeing to make payment, but they have not done so.

Rich Barton said...

The person from Taylored leaving comments seems to have a rather inflated sense of the inherent virtue of running a business. Running and starting a business is of course a virtuous undertaking. Creating productivity in the economy and providing jobs are wonderful. But the rhetoric is a little tired here.

Taylored and its principals struggled to complete even basic contracts. From my experience with them, they generally were extremely dishonest. They claimed to have placed orders which were never placed, they claimed to have engaged subs who were never engaged. And generally, they used assignment of funds letters and extremely questionable 'legal' tactics carried out by their in-house counsel/partner to compel payment when it wasn't due. Tom generally played the roll of making a lot of empty promises. Then Jeanie and Frank strong armed clients at whatever cost.

The woman Cheri who is commenting here will unfortunately not get her deposit back or the letter released. Anyone with a hint of ethics would have released the contract long ago. The deposit may be gone, and maybe all parties have to admit it. But Taylored likely won't. Taylored/Anonymous claims that their 'lawyers' made them do it. Would that be the 'lawyer' who is also a named partner in the company? (http://buswk.co/QlCLgk).

No reputable attorney would ever recommend that a company take money form clients for contracts they weren't certain they could fulfill. Nor would she recommend littering the region with half-finished projects and then using legal threats to try to compel people to pay for less than they ordered or be locked into a contract with a shuttered factory. And they certainly wouldn't advise swindling workers into laboring for weeks without prospect of being paid.
Attorneys tend to recognize that while having to shut a company is painful, taking desperate measures to rescue a floundering company can quickly take a turn toward the criminal. Based upon Taylored actions, it is not remotely credible that any attorney who didn't have her own financial interest at heart had any roll in their actions.

Based upon the comments on this blog, the ownership is likely as delusional now as they have ever been. Until that changes, they will only inflict more damage.

Anonymous said...

I know a few of the key players at Taylored and I believe there is more than meets the eye. The key people are respectable people and I feel something more is pulling them down than their own actions. I hope they can find their way through this controversy and regain the integrity they are made of.

Anonymous said...

Once again a company which is clearly going under, in this case for the second time is doing anything to stay afloat. Included selling money from builders and home buyers. I have been in the building business for over 40 years and have been through more than a few rough spots and not once did it ever hurt one of my clients, I always did whatever was needed to complete the job and satisfy my customers no matter what it took. As for the customer in CT paying for extra crane time and other items, WHERE WAS THE BUILDER?? As far as I know builders buy houses from modular companies not retail clients. More than a few times I paid the extra charges and then went after the house company for the extra charges the homeowner never even knew there was a problem, that is the way it should be! But it is also the reason I rarely sell a modular home anymore, The BS you get from the average house company and the fear they will go belly up is just more than I want to deal with any longer. It's a shame but I used to be one of the strongest supporters of modular homes, But no longer. Talyor pay up, shut down and go away.

Doug Stimpson said...

Yes, Taylored is responsible for may of these problems, but were the hell did the builder go. the home was purchased from him and manufactured by Taylored. The builder should by resolving all of these problems for his customer and then going back to Taylored for compensation. The builder had a multitude of manufacturers to select from and he chose to have Taylored build this home. I'll bet it was driven by lowest cost to the builder and maximum profit for the builder. There are plenty of reputible builders out there who fully support their customers, this one doesn't appear to be one of those.