Suburbia: It has been a panacea and an expletive. Touted for affordability and maligned for automobile dependence, suburbia is a fact of life in the U.S.
Home building is unique because it is the only industry that strives for customer satisfaction without expecting to profit from repeat sales.
Home building is unique because it is the only industry that strives for customer satisfaction without expecting to profit from repeat sales. Builders fail to realize important potential benefits of their most valuable commodity -- the goodwill of satisfied customers. Look beyond the traditional view of home building and leverage satisfied homeowners into repeat sales, not of another home, but for services after they move in.
|Edward Caldeira, Builder Quality Programs Manager, NAHB Research Center|
Home building is a service business. Builders don’t swing the hammers that produce the product; they sell a service that manages the conversion of sticks and bricks into a home that fulfills a home buyer’s dreams. They provide architectural design services, manage trade contractors and ensure quality. Homeowner services do not need to end when the home is built.
"There is a kind of a phenomenon that takes place in our business that doesn’t happen any other time in a person’s life," says Paul Estridge, president of The Estridge Cos., Carmel, Ind., 1998 NHQ winner. "When a person buys a house, it’s the one time in their lives that they are willing to completely reboot so many other aspects of their lives."
Internet access, home maintenance, remodeling, lawn mowing, house cleaning and homeowner insurance are just a few examples in an endless array of services that are purchased from new suppliers. Why not you?
New horizons are open to builders who recognize services home buyers need as they "reboot" their lives. Develop strategies for listening to the voice of the customer. Survey customers from the last few years about their home-related services, purchases and upgrades. Examine established neighborhoods for problems you can solve and unfilled needs.
Review NAHB Research Center survey data to validate your findings. Request a free fax, "Homeowner Upgrades of New Homes," by calling the NAHB Research Center’s HomeBase Hotline, 800/898-2842.
It is important to offer services under your name that take advantage of your unique relationship with satisfied homeowners. Your position as a quality home builder can open doors for remodeling and home maintenance services.
Consider partnering with an insurance company that provides lower homeowner insurance rates because you are a quality builder. Or form an alliance with a telecommunications company that installs high-speed Internet lines throughout the communities you build. The possibilities are endless.
Quality-oriented builders already have many of the systems in place to deliver special services. Trade contractor partnering and quality control principles apply equally well to an extended network of trade contractors and business associates. Service skills exhibited by warranty service personnel apply directly to long-term relationships with customers.
Even design centers can serve double duty for selling remodeling upgrades.
Recognize the value of your access to satisfied homeowners. See the potential of your company as a portal for services to new homeowners. Find new horizons for homeowner services and profit by delivering services your home buyers need.