Monday, June 8, 2015

Whose Job to Improve Modular Housing’s Image?

I’ve sat back for years listening to builders and factory people ask the age old question “How do we improve our image?”

Over those same years I’ve also observed builders and factory people point their fingers at each other saying “It’s up to them!” Well those days are over!

It is not the factories responsibility to promote our industry’s image. There, I’ve said it and let the chips fall where they may.

“Coach, that’s outrageous!” Yes it is but now let’s look at the image modular housing has gained over the years. We’ve been called modulars, systems built, prefabricated, double wides, affordable housing, cheap and unacceptable in good neighborhoods.

Who’s fault is that? Certainly not the factories. They simply build what is ordered by their builders and developers. I know few factories where management wakes up in the morning and builds nothing but ranch modules, stockpiles them and waits for someone to order a home.

The only responsibility of factories is build high quality modules and stand behind them with service.

We all look to the auto industry as a comparable. Every car manufacturer puts up ads for their brand but it’s the local car dealer that spends a fortune on advertising their dealership. There is a flaw in thinking that modular housing is like the auto industry. Nobody has to explain what a car is to buyers. They already know.

Housing is exactly the same way, nobody has to explain what a home is. Buyers know that a home is built at the job site, Realtors know a home is built at the job site and Bankers know a home is built at the job site. What is missing is someone telling the prospective new home buyer what a modular home is.

People that want a new Ford may go to the Ford website for information about Ford cars and dealers but they search locally. The same thing should happen with modular housing but here is the one flaw that builders want corrected. It would be better for factories to invest in a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) person or company than to put up a website and hope people stumble upon it.

Modular factory websites should also list their builder’s website and email. Builders may buy from multiple factories but that is OK as long as there is a link to Builder’s website. Factories should help the builder design a link to their site that identifies which factory the person linked from.

Two simple steps needed at the factory level. Great SEO and list the builder’s website.

So who is responsible for improving modular’s image? BUILDERS!

The job of improving modular’s image falls squarely on the shoulders of the people that should be best at it - the modular home builder. Who better to improve our image than the person that is sitting across the table from the prospective new home buyer?

A recent article by Andy Gianino sums up what is needed by modular home builders to accomplish more sales, a better relationship with the factory and a smart way to show the advantages of modular over site-built homes.

CLICK HERE to reserve a seat and join Andy at the June Builder Breakfast to learn first hand what you, the builder, can do to begin creating a better modular home industry.


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think of the last time I went to the auto plant in Detroit and demanded answers of a line worker assembling my vehicle. And I can't recall ever having done this.

Gee - could it be that in our vertical market - our food chain - they don't talk to the customers?

Damn Coach - why'd it take so long? Factories need to produce the best product possible at the best price and deliver.

As far as SEO goes, they don't have the economies or the wherewithal... they should not be spending insignificant budget $ and effort on crappy websites and weak SEO.

They should join an association, pay their dues, and allow the power of economic scale aggregation to pay for major industry SEO.

Steve L said...

Image buster issue: The modular factory is ultimately responsible for it home product. The factories nationally are a fragmented business typically regional in scope. They must first impact their local Realtors/Developers/Planning Departments market to gain acceptance by Zip Code and then build from up from there. A website is only as good as the gallery of pictures of their completed home. Proposed Floor plans and artist renditions are old school. Show the beauty of the real thing and sprinkle homeowners testimonials.

Nationally, HUD is the government agency that must promote modular building with grant money for development. DOE is now promoting modular constructed homes using it Solar Decathlon format for 15 years.