Sunday, August 11, 2019

Inside a Unique California Prefab Housing Company

A lot of press is given to those quirky small modular and prefab housing companies by Curbed, Fast Company, Dwell and other media sources that think the best new ideas come from the West Coast.

Startups like Factory OS, Entekra and even Blu Homes were started there, funded by West Coast investors and in some cases they almost died there.

The West Coast entrepreneurial cauldron keeps spewing out and funding some of the quirkiest housing ideas ever seen.

The other day I saw yet another new prefab company, Cover Custom Backyard Homes, that looked headed for the same birth, growth and bust scenario so many others have done on the West Coast.

Cover's Current Manufacturing Plant
Born in a garage slightly bigger than Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who rented a garage from a friend, Susan Wojcicki, in September of 1998 and then worked day and night for a number of months and developed what would be known forever as Google.

This garage was the birthplace of Google
Cover is a technology company founded in 2014 that designs and builds quality custom homes. That technology is helping them create one of the most unique marketing and sales programs I have ever seen.

They are focusing on building flat pack homes that can be erected in certain areas of California where zoning and local governments allow backyard homes. It’s not as easy to find and market to the homeowners in those areas as one would think.

The company's algorithms, developed over several years, can identify the exact lots that their backyard homes can be located. When someone visits their website looking for one of their homes, Cover asks a few questions and can decide in a short time if the viewer’s lot allows their backyard home, if any other existing structure like a garage or shed will have to be removed and then allow the visitor to create their own backyard rental, in-law suite or simply one of the best offices any backyard could have.

If this company catches fire and becomes a success, it will not become a national or an affordable housing company. No, it should be able to build thousands of their Cover Custom Backyard Homes within the finite space of CA. If others throughout the US want to buy one, well as they old saying goes, “that’s the icing on the cake.”

Watch this video and you’ll understand why I think this is one of the brightest ideas for a boutique housing business in the US.

Gary Fleisher (the Modcoach) is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant.

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