Becoming A Custom Home Builder: Success 101

Posted by Jamie Kline on Apr 28, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Jamie Kline

Becoming a custom home builder

You’ve come up with the perfect name. Filled out all the paperwork. And found a great location. 

Now comes the fun part: getting your custom home building career underway. Whether you’re working as a home dealer,  project manager, or putting hammer to nail as a custom home builder, your new venture is a business and it does have a bottom line. 

You’re probably not looking to work for free. 

Establishing a custom home dealership poised for growth isn’t a one-time undertaking -- it’s not going to generate new leads and revenue on its own. Any responsible business owner is always looking to improve and expand their company. That said, there are some things you can do that keep the stage set for long-term success. 

Becoming a Custom Home Builder That Has Plenty of Business   

Running a successful company goes beyond finding a decent office space and printing business cards. Positioning your custom home dealership for prosperity takes a strategic approach involving careful positioning and learning as much you can.  

So what are the how to’s of becoming a custom home builder that’s always busy with new customers and projects? As we’ve seen with our successful Barden home dealers -- even ones new to the custom home building industry -- you’ll want to: 

  • Find a niche 
  • Play to your strengths
  • Hire a team that complements you 
  • Understand all sides of your business 
  • Build your company’s presence
  • Hone your people & sales skills 

Find a Niche & Fill It 

Panelized construction offers limitless possibilities for custom home design and layout -- a big benefit for helping clients create the home of their dreams. 

While it’s good to offer clients options, businesses find a hard time being everything to everyone. Appealing to a targeted client base helps you establish your business as the expert in a specific style of home. 

Who’s the right client type? It’s not as simple as saying “I’d like to work with this kind of future homeowner.” 

Researching market and housing trends coupled with local demographics provides insights for which direction to take your custom home dealership. For instance, modern farmhouse-style homes might not work in cottage country, just as contemporary log cabins may not be a client’s first choice in suburbia. 

A little bit of homework goes a long way to chart your dealership’s course.

Play to Your Strengths 

Not every great baseball pitcher is a standout hitter. They throw a ball toward home plate for a reason. 

The most successful custom home dealers structure their business around their fortes. Barden Independent Dealers fill one of two roles: consulting or building. 

Consultants act as a guide through the entire custom home-building process. From day 1, they work with a client to design their next home. As the project gets underway, a consultant dealer oversees construction and handles other behind-the-scenes work, e.g. obtaining permits or monitoring progress. 

Builders have a much more focused role. While many do have a hand in the initial stages of a custom home project, their main job is to complete the actual construction. They’ll also work with any subcontractors brought in to complete specialized jobs.  

With a custom home dealership centered around what you do best -- be it sales and project management or construction -- you’ll avoid the headache of trying to be something you’re not. 

Hire a Team That Complements You 

To our last point, what about the other half of your business? Custom home consultants still need builders and vice versa. Floor plans don’t develop themselves, just as fully customized homes don’t suddenly appear. 

Successful custom home dealerships have both project management and construction arms. With both sides of the business working together, clients have a cohesive and efficient custom home building experience.

From a managerial perspective, life’s a lot easier -- there’s no outsourcing major parts of the home-building process, and your team is on the same page throughout the entire project. 

Less time spent cobbling together resources means more time helping new clients and building new homes. 

Understand All Sides of Your Business 

Prospective homeowners come to your dealership for expertise on one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make. Nothing pushes a prospective homeowner out the door faster than a conversation with too many “I don’t know’s” and “Let me get back to you on that.” 

A working knowledge of construction and project management -- regardless of which part of your company you’re primarily working in -- reduces your chance of driving clients away by ignorance. The more you can speak to all aspects of the custom home-building process, the easier it is to be seen as a reputable and helpful custom home company. 

Build & Maintain a Company Presence

Developing and maintaining visibility is critical to drumming up new business. Custom home dealers who see a high volume of new customers and projects usually: 

  • Attend home or trade shows
  • Become active members of their local chamber of commerce
  • Join area builders’ associations 
  • Launch a secure website
  • Create social media accounts & regularly post 
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise 

One of the easiest ways to get a head start on making your custom home company recognizable is to partner with a custom home building materials supplier. An affiliation with an established partner jump-starts your brand awareness and advertising efforts. 

Hone Your Sales & People Skills

Not every prospective homeowner walks into your office knowing exactly what they want. Some aren’t completely sold on building a home. Most potential clients are “window shopping” at first and doing some research. 

Sometimes they need a little push in the right direction. 

That’s where sales acumen and real estate savvy come in handy. For clients on the fence, working with a salesperson who can understand and respond to their concerns goes a long way to ease their apprehensions. If you can quickly explain the value of building a custom home coupled with market conditions, you’ll make their decision more informed and less stressful.

Panelized construction takes some of the heavy lifting out of getting customers to sign on the dotted line with your company. Barden panelized homes are 100% customizable and they’re efficiently built. A client will never have to make compromises as they would with purchasing an existing home. They’ll also move into their next home a lot sooner than they would with other construction methods. 

Houses Aren’t Built Overnight; Neither Are Successful Custom Home Building Companies 

What sets the most successful businesses apart isn’t a flashy logo or upscale office. It’s an active commitment to learning what works and improving upon what doesn’t. 

With a careful approach and dedication, your company will be an example for others in how to become a manufactured home dealer with a pipeline of steady leads and new projects to match. 

Get a leg up in starting your custom home building business.

Barden Building Products is always looking to add new custom home companies to its network of independent dealers. Learn about the Barden advantage for your business:

Learn More About Becoming a Barden Independent Dealer

Topics: Insider, Resources, Barden Independent Dealers

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