From Parade App to Recruiting Tool

Filed in Business Management, Membership by on October 17, 2014 0 Comments

promographicJaren Davis is getting ready to launch what he hopes may be the next great thing in HBA recruitment and retention and a source of non-dues revenue: a new home directory smart phone app that home builders will clamor to be part of – but will only be available to them through their membership.

It’s based on the wildly successful Parade of Homes app that Davis, EO of the Salt Lake City Home Builders Association, launched for this year’s event. Potential home buyers downloaded the app to create driving directions, view photo galleries and a list of home features, and visit each participating builder’s website to learn more about their businesses.

Those names represent a gold mine of leads and only HBA members have them, said Davis, who took the reins of the HBA in February. “I can say to prospective members, ‘I have people driving around with this information. Don’t you want to be part of this?’”

Davis shopped available, customizable mapping apps before deciding to take the plunge and work with a developer to create one from scratch that would serve the needs specific to HBA parades.

He wanted the content to be rich. For example, he wanted participating builders to be able to enter their contact information, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a more detailed description of their parade homes, including the products used. That way, a potential home buyer could drill down by neighborhood and home size in addition to price, features and style – and participating suppliers and vendors would get more exposure.

Given a limited staff and a desire to minimize data entry mistakes, Davis also wanted the content to be manageable. Using their own login information, each participating builder typed in the information they wanted and the data automatically populated the parade app and website, and was made available for the parade magazine, eliminating multiple entry forms.

And given the expense of building a custom app, he wanted to recoup his money as quickly as possible. To do so, he added a ticketing function to the app so consumers could purchase a parade ticket online. Home buyers paid a $1.50 fee for the convenience atop the $15 parade ticket and the HBA sold over 28,000 tickets. “The consumer never complained,” Davis said.

Now, Davis is expanding the app to give all his members more value, including associate members interested in reaching the public with their products and services.  “Right now, only 17% of new homes [in the Salt Lake market area] are available through the MLS,” Davis said. “For someone to reach our members’ homes, they have to drive through the neighborhoods or visit the builder’s website. It’s hit or miss.”

By building awareness for the app among Salt Lake consumers, Davis thinks his members will get more visibility and that membership in the HBA will become increasingly valuable.

“Owning our app has given us complete control and promotes our brand,” said Davis. Now with the backend created, this tool can be effectively used throughout all NAHB organizations.

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