Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Modular Industry Author Tired of Begging

For years I have found that no matter how hard I try, modular home factories and modular builders just don't want to send me pictures of the homes they have built and completed.

No special projects, no pictures of beautiful homes a builder has sold, no commercial buildings, dormitories, multifamily projects or modular retail buildings. It's not like these factories or builders aren't sharing with me and posting the pictures on social media. They are not sharing their homes and projects anywhere with anyone.

Today I received an email from Sheri Koones, who authors some of the best hard cover books on modular and systems built housing. She said that she is finished begging East Coast modular companies for homes to put in her books.

Here is her email in its entirety. Shame on you if you haven't taken the time to share your homes with her.
Hi Coach,
 I can't tell you how frustrating it is to hear builders complain about business and they don't do anything to promote it. I have very few modular builders on the east coast willing to cooperate with me to get their homes in the book, the reasons are - they don't have the time and/or the homeowners move in too quickly for them to get photos.
 Somehow many of the west coast builders are able to do this. Their homes are professionally staged and look beautiful.
 I give builders an ideal opportunity to promote their businesses and it's FREE. All they have to do is put in a little time and get their homes shot. None of these builders have homes that are stageable? I doubt that. As a result, I have no east coast modulars in this upcoming book.
 I started this series and had to run after builders to work with me. If not for Dave Wrocklage pushing everyone, I doubt I would have gotten the first "Modular Mansions" book written. At this point he and I are both getting tired of pushing east coast modular people to cooperate. So this next book will focus on other types of prefab and other than east coast modular houses - while companies here close their doors.
 For this I'm really sorry. I live on the east coast and would love to see these companies thrive. And I'm more than happy to help - but I get no cooperation from the mod builders here.
 Sheri Koones
 Author of:

  • From Sand Castles to Dream Houses
  • House About It
  • Modular Mansions  
  • Prefabulous: The house of your dreams, delivered fresh from the factory
  • Prefabulous + Sustainable: Building and Customizing an Affordable, Energy Efficient Home  
  • Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid: Your Path to Building an Energy-Independent Home
  • Prefabulous World


Eviscerate said...

Not surprised... marketing is a swear word for the modular company I work for here in New England...
Guess its not just our company

Anonymous said...


Harris - Finish Werks said...

Sheri is 100% correct in her frustration. The modular industry is overwhelmingly awful at marketing. Factories, with much larger revenues, should be doing a better job. But then I’ve always said that they should stay out of the marketing/PR business and stick to production perfection at wholesale prices. If only mod builders could do a better job of marketing...

I spoke with Sheri last week about staging and shooting a home, and it boils down to this: once you understand what's involved, it is not that difficult to do. The problem is that there is no template for doing so. What is a busy modular builder to do? This is my takeaway (and please correct me, Sheri):

1. People will work for free if they get something in return. In this case exposure: being in print is fantastic PR.
2. Identify the home – in the case of custom, will the owners cooperate? I believe so since their home is the very embodiment of the huge effort they just made to create it. Everyone has an ego to serve.
3. Staging – furniture companies will loan their products in return for exposure in the Book.
4. Shooting – photographers will loan their services in return for exposure in the Book.
5. Help – real estate agents, already experienced with documenting a home for sale, can bring together the furniture and photographer so the builder can keep building.

So aside from having to make the effort to convince the owners and assemble a team, there should be very little money out of anyone’s pocket. Is this correct, Sheri? And will you give credit to these players?

Sheri Koones said...

Much of what you are saying is correct. However, photographers will not work for nothing -nor should they. But this is a small price to pay for getting enormous exposure. Regarding the furnishings - often a stager can use the owners furniture and just clear away some items and bring in some details such as flowers, candles, a few large books, etc. Sometimes stores are willing to allow the builder to borrow some furniture for the exposure in a book. I am always happy to give credit to any company that loans furnishings, or accessories.

Builders that want to get photos done - find a way to do it - even on a small budget. I have gone on many photo shoots in the local area and have borrowed pots of flowers/trees (sometimes for a small fee), and have even bought muffins and the storekeeper loaned me a decorative dish to put them on to use in the shoot. If you are creative you can get this done. And I don't know any manufacturer or builder who has felt this was a waste of time in the end.

Anonymous said...

Instead of relying on Sherri for credits in her outstanding books why not consider the opportunity for publication or ads in local community magazines or realty magazines. Same principles. Besides Kitchens, Baths, and exterior design sell all of which cost little to stage plus consider offering a struggling interior designer the opportunity coupled with a $$ consulting gift to the owner for allowing the staging of photography. After all it is a cost of doing business.