Patrick L. O’Toole is editorial director and publisher of Professional Builder, a 77-year-old publication that is read by 112,000 builders each month. In this capacity, he is also responsible for the editorial direction of Professional Remodeler magazine and HousingZone.com. Previously, O’Toole served as editor and publisher of Qualified Remodeler magazine. He started his career as a reporter for the Associated Press in Chicago. He holds a B.A. from Miami University and a masters degree in journalism from Columbia College.
In home building, experience counts for a lot. It takes years and, in some cases, hard lessons learned to move forward in profitable new directions.
Late last month the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, more commonly known as builder confidence, fell by 10 points from 56 to 46.
The volume of technology news from the Consumer Electronics Show held last month in Las Vegas was enormous.
Business often is equated to card games like poker, where minimum bets are required so a player can keep a seat at the table.
New projections from Freddie Mac suggest a sea-change in housing in 2014.
There is a veritable geyser of data tracking housing today. From existing-home sales, to house prices, to new-home permits, to starts—housing metrics abound.
Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, the SpaceX project, and the promising new Tesla Motor Company, is the kind of entrepreneur you want to have in your neighborhood. He is the Bill Gates of his generation, creating good, high-paying jobs that will likely last for years.
Not so long ago basements were merely utility space, but those days are gone. Two projects presented in the September edition of Custom Builder include basements that figure prominently in their respective plans.
In the fall of 1998, I attended my first Benchmark Conference as a new senior editor on Professional Builder magazine. What struck me about the gathering was the camaraderie among industry competitors. It was a large group, about 300 attendees, and yet it felt like a small reunion of old friends. And, as our columnist Scott Sedam told me when I met him there, not only was it a reunion of old friends, but it was also a continuation of the same conversation—how to sell more, build better, build faster and drop more money to the bottom line.
Remodeling and custom home building are similar in that both are ‘high touch’ relationships. Not to say that production home building is not high touch; but there is a gap. People who build one-of-a-kind custom houses expect a lot of your time when they commission you to design and/or build their next home. Nobody wants to feel like they are ‘owned’ for any period of time, but if you were somehow able to crawl into the mindset of most clients, they feel like they ‘own’ a good portion of your time during the building process.