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David Drees: Best Practices for Managing a Private Home Building Operation  

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Business Management

David Drees: Best Practices for Managing a Private Home Building Operation  

Recognized as one of the nation’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, Kentucky-based Drees Homes offers a management model for other privately held home builders to follow


August 15, 2022
Drees Homes' executive team
Drees Homes' executive team. | All photos: courtesy Drees Homes

At Drees Homes, our family legacy runs four generations deep. We pride ourselves on quality and integrity because when it comes to the largest financial investment our customers can make, experience and commitment to excellence matter. 

Although we’ve been building homes for nearly 95 years, this is Drees Homes’ first time being recognized as one of the nation’s Best Managed Companies, a program sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal. As a 2022 designee, Drees was spotlighted for excellence in strategic planning and execution, a commitment to our people and fostering a dynamic, resilient culture, as well as strong financials.   

Drees Homes' principles and expertise make building a custom home an easy and fulfilling experience. Our strategy of “Custom Homes Made Easy” differentiates us from production builders by offering personalization and choice in home design, finish, color, and selections. 


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Home Building With a Customer-First Approach

Despite the ever-changing home building climate, our primary focus is always our customer. Drees designs homes that cater to the modern lifestyle, and we build them with quality materials that will last. 

Using our unique, in-house architecture team and technology platforms, we’re able to design custom-crafted homes (see some of our work, below) on a production platform. These resources help us bring the homebuyer’s unique vision of home to life in an efficient manner. We make it easy for homebuyers to get the home they want ... at a price they can afford. 

Kitchen in Drees Homes' Marabelle B model home

 

Rear covered porch at Drees Homes' Marabelle B home design

 

Home exterior of Drees Homes' Brennan D

 

Home exterior of Drees Homes' Brookdale II B

 

This exceptional customer experience, the quality of our homes, and our core values of integrity, excellence, opportunity, stability, and success create an industry-leading reputation. 

The Importance of a Strategic Plan for Home Builders

In addition to our customer-first approach, we also implement a five-year strategic plan to help position the company for future growth and profitability. As part of our current plan, we are focused on five key strategies: 

  1. Offer a better experience for our customers by investing in the processes, people, and technologies that make buying, designing, building, and financing a home easy.
  2. Facilitate the acquisition of the right lots, at the right price, in the right markets through strong in-market relationships and analytics. 
  3. Invest in technology to mine, engage, and inform prospects at various touchpoints, compelling them to buy a Drees home.
  4. Utilize physical model homes and design centers in combination with virtual visualization and pricing tools to make the process of designing a custom home easy, fast, and fun.
  5. Use market research and data analytics to ensure the homes and features we offer match what our prospects value. 

Our ability to execute our strategic goals hinges on the company’s long-standing relationships with its employees and trade partners. One in three Drees employees have chosen to spend more than 10 years of their career at the company, and many of our trade partners have been with us for decades, too. We aspire to be the builder of choice for our trades and have a dedicated program focused to do just that.


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The Most Prized Company Resource: Our People

Drees recognizes that people are our most prized resource. We work diligently to hire, develop, and retain great talent. We have a strong preference for internal promotions, as evidenced by the great number of leaders who have come up through our Management Development Program. 

Each year, high-performing employees are nominated by their managers to be considered for the Management Development Program. The candidates are then carefully evaluated for potential growth. Only the top 10 are accepted into the multiyear development program, which consists of enhanced leadership and cross-training education. 

At Drees, we invest in our people by supporting them, developing their skills, and showing them we care. We focus on extending simple gestures of appreciation, expressing recognition and gratitude publicly, and providing all employees with bonus compensation and a profit-sharing retirement plan. 

We listen to our employees and value their feedback. Formally surveying our team through an annual engagement survey and other short surveys throughout the year helps us take the pulse on overall morale within the organization. Having the right people in the right jobs means we can consistently deliver our brand promise of “Custom Homes Made Easy.” 

Drees Homes’ Guiding Principle

Integrity is at the core of our company’s culture. We operate under the motto “Always do what’s right,” which allows us to stand out from the pack. The leadership team empowers employees with the ability to make decisions that support customer satisfaction and validate the solidity of our work. 

This philosophy, combined with our unique skills, has led to an exceptional customer experience, which in turn has driven more than 25% of our sales from referrals and previous homebuyers.

 

David Drees, president and CEO Drees Homes

David Drees is the president and CEO of Drees Homes. Headquartered in Fort Mitchell, Ky., Drees Homes operates in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., Raleigh, N.C., Washington D.C., and Austin, Dallas, and Houston in Texas. The company operates as Drees Custom Homes in Texas. For more information, visit dreeshomes.com.
 

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