For the past year or so I’ve been reading the ‘Modular Home Builder‘ blog. The blog is written by Gary Fleisher, aka Mod Coach. His blog has been a great source of information for what’s happening in our industry, but it’s also made me realize something. We’re a different bird.
Lets start with some basics. Modular Manufacturers come in all shapes and sizes. There are only 6 major manufacturers in New England (we’re one of them). There are a whole bunch in Pennsylvania. Some companies (like us) are relatively small (50 – 100 houses a year). Some are big (500 houses a year). Some are family owned and operated (like us). Some are owned by Warren Buffet.
Below is a list of why we’re “strange”.
1) Builder / Dealer Networks:
Them: Most modular manufacturers sell only through their builder networks (ie, won’t sell directly to customers). You call the manufacturer, they ask you where you’re building, they give you the name and number of their builder / dealer in your area, end of the conversation with the folks that are building your house.
Huntington Homes: We have a couple of (fantastic) builders that we refer folks too. However, most of our sales are direct to customer. While we recognize the importance of the local builder, we also recognize that the customer relationship is more important. There is nobody that knows what we do better then “we”. Why wouldn’t you talk to us direct?
2) Sales Staff.
Them: See here for a recent post by ModCoach re: Sales Truths Facing Factory Management
What on earth is he talking about? Sales Reports? Recruitment? YTD Percent of Close to Quote ratio? Outside Sales Training? Prospecting Database? Territories? Sales Contests?
Huntington Homes: Last time I checked we were building houses. Customer wants one. Talks to builder. Builder builds one. . . . . Our Process is SIMPLE. You talk to Duane, Jason, Adam, or Larry. We build you a house.
3) Turnkey Projects
Them: They are owned by an investment group and run by hired guns. They couldn’t possibly be bothered with all the miscellaneous details needed to build you a house. . . . they run a factory.
Huntington Homes: If you’re located near us, we’ll General Contract your project (site improvements, foundation, modules, onsite contracting, heating, plumbing, etc). . . . . As far as I know, we’re the ONLY major manufacturer that does this.
4. Dealing with a down market
Them: Most of the other manufacturers are 1) shutting their doors, 2) being bought by bigger companies, or 3) changing their product lines (going commercial, or going “green”).
Huntington Homes. Down markets are nothing new. This one is bad, but we’ve been here before. Rather then throw out 33 years of experience, we’re focusing on what we do best. Build well built homes for normal people.
While the others are chasing multi-family and commercial structures, our experience tells us to continue focusing on our core / long-term residential customers. . . . . we’d rather “plant” 10 high quality residential seeds then 200 low cost / high volume apartment units. These “seeds” are a long term strategy.
Mark my words friends. 10 years from know you’ll still be able to call and talk to Jason, Adam, or Larry and we’ll build you a house. . . It’s that simple.