Friday, January 3, 2020

“Daddy, why do you build modular homes?”

In 2014 I met with a modular new home builder in his home office when his young daughter, I’m guessing about 10 years old, walked in and asked who I was. I told her I write about what her Daddy did for a living.


I still remember the surprised expression on her face like I was from MTV there to interview her Rock Star Dad.

She asked me a couple of questions before she got bored by the whole thing and left the room but she asked one question I still think about to this day.

“Daddy, why do you build modular homes?”

I can’t remember what we told her but here is how I think that conversation would go today.

Alyssa: “Daddy, why do you build modular homes?”

Daddy: “I like building new homes for people to raise families in”

Alyssa: “Is is hard work?”

Daddy: “Not as much as the guys that build houses the regular way”

Aylssa: “What’s the regular way?”

Daddy: “My homes are built in a factory and the other guys build them in the dirt”

Aylssa: “Why?”

Daddy: “Building my homes in a factory is easier for me and I get to spend more time with you”

Aylssa: “Why don’t the other Dads build like you do?”

Daddy: “They can. They just choose not to”

Aylssa: “Can you show me how to build houses?”

Daddy: “Yes I can!”

We all know this conversation never happened but wouldn’t it be great if it would. Simply explaining to your children why you build modular homes instead of site building them would be a great first step to giving your children a great heritage.

One of the biggest problems facing all single family home builders today is that of succession. If you don’t have children that want to take over the business, finding someone else to do it will be almost impossible as Millennials and Gen Z’ers have been told to go to college or you’ll end up pounding nails at a jobsite or working at McDonald’s. That is total BS!

Here’s an ominous prediction. If nobody talks to those Millennials and Gen Z’ers, where will the modular housing industry get new modular home builders?

If you are currently a modular new home builder and want your children to learn what you do and maybe take over your business someday, begin by taking them to your job sites, watching the crane and set crew put a house together, help finish the inside of the house and even take them for a tour of your factory. You just might see a sparkle in their eyes knowing they could be doing this someday.

If you aren’t a modular home builder and would like to become one, there are several ways to do it. One way is to go to work for a modular home builder, learn the trade and when it’s time for the builder to retire, buy it.

Another is look into owning a modular home franchise like the one offered by Express Modular Franchise. This would allow you to hit the ground running armed with the training and tools needed to succeed.

A bad way to become a modular new home builder is to wake one morning, go to a modular factory and tell them you want to start buying homes from them. With little or no training offered by the factory to help you start and maintain a successful business, the end result would be ugly.

The worst thing you can do is not getting your children involved in what you do as a modular home builder. Telling them you don’t want them “pounding nails like their old man” could be robbing them of a future working with you and becoming the new face of single family modular construction.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant. Contact modcoach@gmail.com

1 comment:

Erin R said...

I'm a successful Realtor in Virginia. One day my daughter asked what I did at work. I told her she could do better than be a real estate agent and I sent her to college. She now has a degree that's useless and today she's studying to get her Real Estate license.

I read your blog quite often and today's story hit close to home. Why wouldn't you want your children sharing the joy you have in doing what you do?

My mistake cost me over $100,000 in tuition.