Self-Taught MBA: Homebuilder Resolutions–What Will Builders Do Differently in 2014?
As 2014 approaches, many builders feel confident that a real recovery is underway and that it’s time to start planning for the year ahead and beyond. The market has changed to an extent, high-performance homes have become the norm for many builders, consumers have shown a marked preference for slightly smaller homes with significantly upgraded interiors, and buyer profiles have become more diverse, with singles now a big buyer constituent, as well as large extended families at the other extreme, and everything in between. No longer one-size-fits-all, the market offers a lot more opportunity for the small builder to find his or her niche.
Here’s what your colleagues across America are resolving to do for 2014:
Bob Hampton, a builder from Omaha, Neb., resolves to “make the most out of the market turnaround and build on opportunities that started in 2013 and will mature in 2014.”
Joe Rongisch, also of Omaha, says he plans to “focus more on the company as a whole.” He would like for everyone in his company to have a more integrated sense of what everyone is responsible for and to “look out for each other.”
Michael Blend, in Kalispell, Mont., has a more personal resolution. He hopes to “design and build a life with more balance.” He plans to devote more time to his family and friends, and at work, he wants to “practice the fundamentals of life in my business: to be of service, to be gracious, to be thankful for every opportunity and for every challenge that is placed before me.”
Dan Kolbert, of Portland, Maine, says that he, like many other builders, has lived through a lot of ups and downs in the past few years. “One resolution is to try to make things in the business more predictable again, financially as well as workflow.” The good news is that he’s in a hiring mood, but he has found some challenges: “We need to hire, and have already discovered how hard it is to find young people who want to enter the trades. I’m on the advisory board for our vocational high school’s carpentry program, and another resolution is to get more involved in trying to present the trades as a good career option, especially for kids who are smart and creative but don’t necessarily do well in the classroom.”
Jay Crandell of ARES Consulting, a residential engineering firm in Virginia, resolves to “persevere, be thankful, discover new things, get better at old things, stop and smell the roses more often, and look at my business each day as a new adventure.”
Sam Rashkin, the storied architect and homebuilder behind the EPA’s Energy Star for Homes program and now director of the Department of Energy’s Builder’s Challenge, offered us a litany of resolutions, all of which would make for a perfect mission statement, but they can be summed up with this little gem: “I resolve to be a builder that focuses on exceeding customer expectations rather than minimizing initial construction costs … And then along the way, I’ll figure out how to put up with all the extra profit!”
Tell us your resolutions for 2014, and have a very happy New Year!
"I want to see how many more areas of construction we can get into in 2014. We are a very diverse company. We do new homes, remodels, additions, condos, 'rescues,' and some light commercial work. I am sure there are other avenues--and I will find them." Joe Rongisch
"I resolve to make my customers my best sales force by constructing zero-energy-ready Challenge Homes … The experience is like owning a car that gets hundreds of miles per gallon, and who wouldn't tell their family, friends, and any stranger on the street that would listen about that!" Samuel Rashkin