This month’s issue includes stories about three unfilled market niches that are significant opportunities for builders: culturally aware housing, live-work housing, and Missing Middle Housing.
Most home builders are seeing their worst margins in 15 years. Thus builders in America now face the acid test on quality and customer satisfaction, when you can no longer afford to give away.
Robert S. Mann's "Defect-Free Buildings: A Construction Manual for Quality Control and Conflict Resolution" defines physical and legal defects, tells builders how to prevent them and trains builders on what to do when disaster strikes.
As the home building industry becomes increasingly competitive, our attitude toward customer satisfaction will need to change. Whereas it used to be a major advantage to have satisfied customers, it is now a requirement. The best home builders create avid customers — a source of differentiation you need to thrive in the competitive market.
Excellent performance is the result of an excellent process. Take a look at great sports teams. They are hailed for executing the basics at levels higher than the competition, and the best teams always seek ways to get better. They also have leaders who use process improvement to push the team to higher performance levels.
T.W. Lewis' excellent customer loyalty ranking helps make it No. 3 out of 41 on the list of top performing builders in the Phoenix market as a higher-end luxury production builder. Homes range between $500,000 and $850,000. The builder delivered 350 homes in 2005 and another 330 are expected by 2006's end.
Farnsworth Development has truly set itself apart as a company that uses customer service to thrive in a hyper-sensitive market. The secret of the company's success is a caring and customer-focused company culture.
Bob and Karen Schroeder, owners of Mayberry Homes in Lansing, Mich., have only been in business since 2002, yet they have garnered more awards for customer satisfaction than most veteran builders. Mayberry Homes caters to first-time home buyers and those moving up from starter homes, as well as higher-end empty nesters.
At The Green Company, 97.5 percent of customers would recommend it to others and 55 percent of the company's actual sales come from buyer referrals, thanks to a unique brand of customer care. This fact, in combination with the excellent customer experience surveys, puts this builder No. 1 in North America in customer satisfaction.
Shea Homes ranks number four on the list of top performing builders in the Phoenix market. Shea builds homes in a variety of price points, ranging from $200,000 entry-level homes to $1 million luxury houses.
With a presence in 54 markets throughout the U.S., Pulte is the largest home builder in North America. In Arizona alone the company operates four divisions: one in Tucson and three in Phoenix, under the direction of John Chadwick, Arizona division president.