Monday, October 29, 2018

Shortage of New Builders and Set Crews Could Cripple Modular Housing Industry

It’s no longer the job of the Sales Rep to find and court existing site builders to bring into the modular fold simply because that market is drying up also.
Becoming a new modular home builder is not very high on the scale of businesses younger people want to enter. There are as many reasons for that as there are nails in a house but it all boils down to one common theme. Nobody is trying to bring in either people that have never built houses before which works very well for modular or young builders and subcontractors that would like to give modular a shot. Even if a ‘wannabe’ modular home builder does buy a modular house or two, the path to success is traveled by the new builder alone. Absolutely no worthwhile training is available anywhere, no mentoring and very little follow up after the houses are delivered by anyone from the factory.
Home Depot’s new employees get a ton of training up front, mentoring and acknowledgement. All things that are disappearing from the modular housing industry. And even if there was great training for new builders and they all started to sell like the professionals they envision themselves to be there is no level of training for modular set crews. Crane operators do get trained but not the actual set crew members. Yes there are quite a few set crews but talk to any modular home builder and the stories they could tell about set crews not knowing what to do is rampant.
With the media extolling the benefits of modular housing and all those new conferences and seminars popping up on an almost daily basis pointing out the advantage of modular and offsite construction you would think that someone would be willing to train people to market and sell them and professional set crews waiting to put them together. Lots of luck with that! 


Veli A. Karvinen said...

Training is difficult as it comes down to money. Not every builder or modular can afford it. It is a tricky subject. Yes the market is also slowing down in some area., and this bring other business plans to a halt.

Karel Bietje said...

Totally a different situation in New Zealand. Nobody want to build modular. So there is people that can do it but no work.

cat5dog1 said...
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cat5dog1 said...

Part of the problem is there are people who think setting a modular is easy and anyone can do it and make big bucks. They get the sets but don't bother to supervise to make sure things are being done properly. Even factories are guilty of this. How many can't get a set crew so they just send some guys off the line to do the set? It takes experience to know how to go over wires, how to line up the boxes, how to correct the factory's mistakes, how many days to schedule for a set, how to make a home weather tight. There are still people who join a set crew to learn how to do things and the owner is very willing to teach so they can either take over a crew or take over the business when the owner retires. It is becoming too hard to remain in business with the inability to find help willing to actually learn their job and work. Gone are the days when people actually have any type of construction experience let alone modular. Set crews have to compete with cash paying crews causing their profit to go down. Many builders/home owners just look at the quote and don't realize you get what you pay for. Then add on top of that insurances don't want to write general liability and worker comp policies to set crews. Add to that the guys who only want to get a job so they can get hurt and go out on permanent worker comp causing the set crews worker comp to become unaffordable. I could go on and on.

Al Grust said...

AMEN It may cost the mod companies money to train builders and set crews in the beginning, but in the long run it will pay off. Something as simple "how do I price your homes?" goes unanswered.