Building Rockets Isn’t the Same as Building Homes

Filed in Business Management, Membership by on August 8, 2017 0 Comments

Huntsville, Ala. is nicknamed the “Rocket City” because it’s a hotbed for the military and aerospace industries, as well as home to several of the world’s leading technology and engineering companies.

So chances are, prospective new-home buyers in markets like Huntsville may already know quite a bit about building things. But building rockets is a lot different than building homes.

“We recognize that for most of our clients, they’re up there on the level of working on space ships and satellites. So naturally they want to be very involved in the process of building their home, even more so than many of our other clients,” said Mark Rovere, founder and president of Action Builders Inc. in Huntsville.

“They’re very intelligent, but most aren’t all that familiar with how to build a home, and that’s what I do best,” Rovere said. “We’ve got lots of ‘gear head’-minded people who want to know every technical aspect, and as long as I’m up front with them and give them good, common sense answers to their questions, they’re happy.”

That might be easier said than done, but Rovere has spent more than 15 years refining his approach to client communications. He says the biggest impacts on his business have come as the results of extensive networking — not just with other builders at his local HBA, but also with his fellow members of his Builder 20 Club.

“All of the members want to help each other’s companies grow and become more profitable, and that’s been a huge benefit to us as a result of our membership,” Rovere said.

“Our gross profits have increased because we’ve learned how to do things differently. Now, we’re managing our financials much better and refining our exit strategy for when it’s time to sell the business. Our membership [in the 20 Clubs] has helped us in so many ways that I hadn’t even thought about before.”

A custom home recently built by Action Builders Inc. features Southern living design with a large wrap-around covered porch to a detached garage, an arched entryway, swooping rafter tails, cedar brackets and high-definition shingles.

And it’s not just about financial reports and communication strategies. 20 Club members are based in non-competing markets from across the country and are instinctively compelled to help each other find solutions to any problems that pop up.

“Outside of our regular meetings, I know I can always email them if I have an issue with a particular client or project, and within hours or sometimes even minutes, I’ll typically hear from at least six or seven of them saying, ‘Yeah, we had that problem too, and here’s what we did,'” Rovere said. “That’s been extremely helpful.”

For example, Rovere said that in the past some clients had withheld the last payment on a project until a last-minute request that was not previously agreed upon was completed. The advice he got from a fellow 20 Club member was to consider charging a retainer fee upfront which can then be applied toward the final payment.

“Sometimes clients will want to drive you through the mill before they send that last payment. We always get the job done, but some have wanted to drag the process out for as long as they could.”

For more information about the Builder 20 Clubs, visit nahb.org/why20clubs.

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