Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bullshit and Outright Lies About Modular Housing

Yesterday I received an email from the GM at a large modular home factory in the Midwest telling me about an experience one of his builders while on the job. This is not something new but it sounds like a well programmed response by a site builder if asked about modular construction.

I deleted the modular factory and national builder’s names. Here is the email from the GM:
 I had an interesting conversation with a builder that competes directly with a big national site builder.  He was digging a basement in a sub-division recently right next to the national builder that was being built.  He overheard the foreman on the job, bad mouthing the modular product to his customer.  Referred to my builder’s product as “trailer stuff” and according to my builder the foreman proceeded to tell the customer outright lies pertaining to the specs of the modular.  My builder did not want to create a scene in front of the national’s customer, but did take the time to call their main office to voice his dismay.  Shame to have to sell in that manner and a double shame to put forth facts that are incorrect.

I shopped the same national builder a while back, intentionally asking the sales rep at the model center about modular (I told her I was thinking of going that route.) and I received the identical litany of reasons why modular was inferior.  They sure aren’t doing the industry any favors!!

It would be interesting if modular factory people would call local and national site builders in their area and tell them you are looking at building a modular home. If you do, let me know what happens.


Harris said...

Coach, what happens following calls to "shop" these rascals is this:

1. Callers report to you,
2. You publish their findings,
3. We all have yet another piss and moan session. Bitching and Moaning has stress relieving benefits, but, where is the follow-on action??

These bastards are entering the slander & libel arena. If you materially harm another business and it can be reasonably demonstrated, one must go for the jugular. This has 3 potential benefits:

1. You protect your business from harm.
2. You protect our industry.
3. If MHBA gets involved and fires off a Cease & Desist letter that gets picked up by the local press, we all really win.

I'm tired of 3%. It's time we grew a pair and got off the fence of complacency and mediocrity.

Coach said...


I am in complete agreement with you but until a factory or a builder allows me to post their name all I can do are articles like this one.

Taking these incidences to MHBA is the right thing to do.

Also, going from 3% market share to 4% is equal to adding 32 new factories. It can be done.

George R. said...

32 new factories. We can't even get houses out of the ones we have now without problems and delays. Let's hope that those factories are opened by new blood and new thinking.

Steve L said...


Would anyone expect differently when modular homes are a threat to their business?

Loan Officers and Real Estate Agents have prejudice against factory built!

Anonymous said...

For many years the mantra of the Modular industry has been to "educate the consumer". I call BS on that. I think the consumer can figure it out. The people who are the biggest hurdle to going from 3-4% is the AIA and GC industry. They fear loss of scope and do not have the clients best interest in mind.If I had a nickel for every time a AIA said "Modular won't work here" I could be retired. GCs in most cases can't mark up the Modular end of the job because the developer has contracted directly with the factory. Therefore we are battling a bigger headwind than consumer knowledge.

Anonymous said...

George R. All of the "new blood and new thinking" sell direct to owners. They don't use the old builder / dealer system because they recognize it might be exactly the thing that's in the way of the industry taking more than 3%.

Just read this blog for the last few days. Most posts are about the (terrible) factory / builder relationship. Maybe the factory should just become a "Building Company" and do it all their own. Look at Europe. And look at the smaller factories in the US. Some are moving toward this "Building Company" mentality, and they're capturing more than 3% in their local markets.