Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Best in Class Winners Give Builders What They Need
We sent top builders a survey that asked them to rate the qualities that draw them in and keep them with a manufacturer and their products. Here's how they responded.
Professional Builder's 2006 Best in Class Survey covers a wide swath of the home building industry, from toilets to housewrap and windows to floorboards. We sent top builders a survey that asked them to rate the qualities that draw them in and keep them with a manufacturer and their products.
Though most of the responses are a veritable who's who of the manufacturing industry it is important to note that brand recognition, an obvious first guess, was farther down the list than you might think. Quality (43 percent) was overwhelmingly named as most important with builders when it came to choosing a product, suggesting that it's not all in the name — or in the price. The rest of the categories aren't as dramatic in their differences but still tell where builders' priorities' lie.
Customer service (16.6 percent) ranks a clear second. This category includes product support and knowledgeable sales people. Excellent warranties are a close third with 14 percent of the responses. Rounding out the top five, are all elements related to customer service, such as a wide range of products from the manufacturer (10.9 percent) and finally, at number five, prices (9.8 percent). Rounding out the bottom were advertising and trade-off contacts; training and support; and all other mentions.
The survey, which was conducted over the summer, ran the gamut of company sizes and specialties. Out of those 400-plus builder responses we compiled a list of the products most often mentioned, and out of that list we chose the winners of the 2006 Best in Class Survey.
|Exterior Moulding and Trim||Fypon|
|Manufactured Stone||Cultured Stone|
|Fiber Cement Siding||James Hardie|
|Overall Exterior Products Winner||CertainTeed|
|Appliances - Kitchen||General Electric|
|Appliances - Laundry||Maytag|
|HVAC Systems||Trane Residential|
|Locksets & Hardware||Schlage|
|Interior Moulding & Trim||Georgia-Pacific|
|Plumbing Fixtures (sinks, tubs)||Kohler|
|Water Heaters||A.O. Smith|
|Overall Interior Products Winner||Kohler|
|NOTE: Cabinets No. 1 was "Custom"|
|NOTE: Countertops No. 1 was "Granite"|
|NOTE: Interior trim No. 1 was "Custom made"|
|BEHIND THE WALL|
|Insulation: Fiberglass||Owens Corning|
|Insulation: Foam||Owens Corning|
|Insulation: Rigid||Owens Corning|
|Radiant Floor Heating||Uponor (formerly Wirsbo)|
|Gypsum Wallboard||U.S. Gypsum|
|Wet Area Wallboard||U.S. Gypsum|
|Overall Behind the Wall Winner||Owens Corning|
|National Lending Firm||Wells Fargo|
|Wide/Great Selection/Product Line||10.9|
|Timely Shipping and Delivery||7.2|
|Quick Response Time||2.6|
|Excellent Training and Support||2.3|
|Research and Product Development||1.9|
|There When We Need It||1.9|
|All Other Mentions||18.5|