Sunday, March 17, 2019

Modular Home Factories Should Start Using Labor Problems to Their Advantage

Last evening I talked with a friend about his adventure in building a new home and to say he and his wife were disappointed would be an understatement.

John and Anne decided about 18 months ago their beautiful ‘gentleman’s farm’ was too much for them to maintain in their second decade of retirement. They bought a lot in an upscale gated retirement community five miles from the farm and contracted with the exclusive builder for a nice ranch home built to their specifications. Whthin 2 days of putting their farm on the market it sold at 120% of asking price.

Here it is, a year and half later, and they still won’t be in their home for a least another 2 months. All this time they’ve been renting a home within the community and watching the slow progress of their new home.

The builder will build about 30 homes in his community this year but is facing a huge labor problem. He is down to two electricians and one plumber all of whom are about to retire and he can’t find anyone to fill their positions. There simply aren't enough skilled trades around to complete the work within the time frame promised to his buyers.

Nearly 200,000 construction jobs each month go unfilled, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor shortage is so acute that 91 percent of more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders and trade contractors surveyed in the latest Commercial Construction Index reported having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers.

Those new home builders that are struggling to find those elusive plumbers and electricians to finish their homes might want to take another hard look at becoming modular home builders.

Modular homes are delivered to the jobsite with approximately 80% of all electrical and plumbing installed, tested and approved. Each individual module is finished almost to completion and the thermal integrity of a modular home is inherently built into each home. They are also greener and more energy efficient than almost any other type of site built home.

I simply can’t believe there are still independent and regional site builders that would rather risk losing and irritating customers rather than even give modular housing a chance.

Just doesn’t make sense to me.


Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for a modular home since releasing the house for production in late December. I won't get it till next week. That's almost a 3 month wait time. Where's the advantage?

Anonymous said...

seems to me almost 15 months !!

VM said...

90 days is better than 300 days.
Building Modular is still the better way. Lumber is Lumber and Skilled Labor is Skilled Labor.

We have a shortage of skilled labor in this world.
Modular or ground up construction has the same situation.
If I was picking the better source in the long run, it would be
Go Modular!

Anonymous said...

"struggling to find those elusive plumbers and electricians"........ and you think the people installing the plumbing and electrical systems in many modular factories are skilled? Take no offense. Clearly you are very experienced in modular sales and management but, perhaps not so much in the manufacturing process. Many are hired, given a set of tools and off to the production line they go. Training is extraordinarily lacking in the industry. Your blog is probably a wonderful tool for the aspiring salesperson but, if you or others in the industry want to see real progress in the modular industry, address training of the production employee. Train them, then pay accordingly. Then, accept nothing but the highest quality product and, of course, price the product to fit that high level of quality. It certainly isn't a good fit for all but if you want a Cadillac, you can't expect to pay cobalt prices. Bottom line is factories expect high quality, for low pay from individuals with little training working in what are normally considered skilled positions. Please take my comments with a grain of salt. I have zero experience in the sales end of things. I'm sure there's alot more to it than simply paying more and raising prices. Also, my apologies to those working in the factory. Not your fault if you haven't been properly trained. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts, albeit anonymously.