Friday, December 6, 2019

7 Things Every New Home Builder Must Do

Being a successful modular home builder can be tough. Customers can turn on a dime from being nice to angry within the blink of an eye and there you are wondering “What the heck did I do?”

There are many books, videos and articles explaining how to defuse the builder/customer confrontation that is almost inevitable. What all of them don’t tell you are the 7 things you should do every single day that may help you never getting into that situation in the first place. These 7 things work just a well in your personal life.

Simply Be On Time When you make a promise you are going to meet someone in person to go over something about their new home, keep that promise. They are making an effort to be there and if you forget about it or don’t let them know you may be a few minutes late, don’t expect a warm welcome the next time you meet. You broke a trust and that is hard to repair.

Have a Full Time Work Ethic
When I was a modular sales rep I remember walking into one of my builder’s offices and found him playing solitaire on his computer. It was 10:00 AM! I knew he had several houses in various stages that probably needed his attention but there he was playing computer games. His work ethic sucked and I saw it first hand. I was working, his people in the field were working and his receptionist was working. The only one not working was him.

Put Some Effort into It Don’t let yourself become that lazy guy nobody can depend on. You’re in the home building business and even when you have nothing to do in the field, find something to help improve your business. One of the best things to do when you can’t find something to do is pick up a trade magazine, Google something to help your marketing efforts but do something. You’re the owner and if you can’t find some way to improve your business, who else will do it?

Have a Good Attitude Why don’t builders have good attitudes? It might be that they work with customers, their customer’s parents and in-laws. Being yelled at a couple times a week wouldn’t give many of us a good sunny attitude. Smile. Fake it until you can do it without thinking about it and your life will improve.

Go the Extra Mile Doing more than what is expected of you rarely hurts. Anticipate problems. You are an experienced builder after all. But here’s the key thing to remember. Don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. It will soon become obvious to the customer, your employees, your factory and your family you went above and beyond and most times it won’t cost you a single dime.

Always be Prepared Just like the Boy Scout slogan of old, you need to have everything in place before your first meeting. Then you need to be on top of your factory to get you a quote and drawings. Next, organize the delivery, set and finish. Keep track of each step of the project’s progress and be ready to show your customer where their house is at each stage. Being prepared often goes hand in hand with going that extra mile.

Show Your Fallibility There has never been a perfect house built by anyone in history and your customer actually knows that even if they believe their home will be the first. If a problem arises, and they always seem to arrive at the worst possible time, you need to own up to it immediately. Having the customer learn that you knew about a problem 3 days before they did is not going to make things go well for you. Include them in the problem. If it’s a delay from the factory, tell them. If one of the subs can’t get to their house for another week, tell them. Please don’t try fixing the situation for a few days before you tell them. It will not be pleasant when you do.

Being a builder is not easy. Many times during the build, things happen that might make you wonder why you ever got into the new home business but at the end of the day, isn’t it a great feeling when you hand the keys to the new home owners and they are all smiles.

Use these 7 things to make good things happen more often.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good list Gary. Being prepared is my toughest challenge.