Monday, June 16, 2014

How Would You Answer These Modular Home Builder Rants?

On any given week I get one or two emails from builders either venting to me about the modular home factory they buy from and/or asking my advice on which factory to switch to.

Below are three recent emails I received and I would like to know how you would answer them:

The first modular home builder:
The factories give us absolutely no support with marketing and when the builder makes the initiative they want to latch on. I just always feel they ship it out the door and could care less what happens and leave it to the builder to make it look the way it needs to. Not to mention I had more than one house that came in with multiple issues and the amount of rework we had to do onsite to make it right doesn't deserve to have the factory name on it.
This seems to be a typical problem encountered in our industry. How would you answer him?

The second builder has two very similar problems. 
I built three modular homes from XXXXXXXXXX  in PA so far this year and I have had problems with all of them. I have the most problems with the Service Dept and my rep.
 The service manager is the rear end of a donkey. On my second home I had 6 service items that were clearly something the factory should correct. When I spoke to him about the problems, he said he would have someone there in 3 days to fix them. A week went by and no service. Called and he told me he had no record of me calling even though I spoke with him directly. Said he would have someone there in three days. Another week went by and work stopped on the house because nobody from the factory showed up. I called for the third time and was told to correct the problems and I would be reimbursed. I did the work and after 6 months I still don’t have a check.
 My rep has never built a house or even spent any time on the production floor and knows very little about the codes or requirements needed to build a house in XX. I asked the sales manager for a new rep, one that I don’t have to spoon feed and was told that I am in their territory and if I can’t work with my rep, his hands are tied by the factory owner. I’m still trying work with this person. I recently found out that my rep is  giving out leads to another builder close by and none for me.
 I’m ready to leave this dumb ass factory for another. Do you have any suggestions for which actually know what they are doing and can service my company.
How would you answer him?

The third builder is the most vocal and direct yet. This builder doesn't need an answer as much as he needs the factories to step up to the plate and start swinging. But for fun, how would you answer his email?
I hate to say it but it’s true: the PA modular industry is populated by morons. No that’s too nice… try retards. The definition of retardation is slow of mind and action. What I deal with on a daily basis is folks who don’t know anything else other than building a decent house indoors. Like it’s still 1985.

There is no progressive thinking in sales & marketing. No thought given to better design software from engineering. No desire to facilitate order processing through web-based portals, or to use CRM software to facilitate factory/builder lead management. Last year I suggested one factory switch to shipping with USPS instead of UPS their drawings to save substantial money – it was a tiny little no-brainer that they finally did and I heard directly that it saved them $hundreds/mo.

I suggest you put out a survey to BUILDERS only. Get feedback from them about their experience with the factories. Use Survey Monkey and you may well garnish a boatload of feedback that should be nothing less than stellar negative and positive criticism. In a democracy like ours (when it’s properly running) it is the voices of many that dictate the actions of few.

These are not little, one or two homes a year builders. Together they will build about 40 homes in 2014. If they are having problems, what is happening to the rest of you?


Unknown said...

Wow, I could have wrote any of those letters, and the industry wonders why market share is where it's at.

Anonymous said...


Terrific examples showing why the industry is its own worst enemy. Does QUALITY really matter to these modular factories?! Too many examples suggesting an answer in the negative.