Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

Volume 44,  Issue 4                                        May 2005

     Publisher's Notes
         IN THE NEWS

Adding Value to a New Home

The latest project I have taken on is buying some land and building a house. Now, in my area of Eastern Pennsylvania, the real estate market has been going crazy. I realized prices were going through the ceiling, but as I haven’t been in the market for a new house for the past couple of years, I never really paid attention to the land prices. Well, it turns out I am probably going to pay more for the parcel of land than I am going to have to pay to build a house! Sorry, I had to get that off my chest!!

However, I did find a lot that we are going to consider putting an offer on, so my next step was to contact builders and look at some plans. I thought looking for land was the fun part … it gets better. I picked up the phone and started calling on builders, asking for information and home plans and requesting brochures to review. Since I am looking to build a custom home, I had to leave a number of voice mail messages on machines asking for this information, since the builder was generally out on a job site.

What I came across was rather interesting—customer service, people and value-added options really make a difference. 

Who I wanted to work with and who I did not want to work with became apparent almost from the very first phone call. Some of these builders never even returned a call, or sent out a brochure to be at least considered for the project. Even then, I tried again—still nothing. 

That made it really easy to reduce the list of who was going to be in the running for this project. As you can tell, customer service wasn’t the greatest. However, the people that did take the time to return my call were certainly adding value to their company with the knowledge they offered me and the suggestions they made. 

A builder’s brochure has plenty of pretty pictures that helped sell my wife pretty quickly on their plans, but unfortunately I had to break the news to her that while yes, it looks nice, it doesn’t come with the house. It is considered an option to upgrade, or a value-added product. Other builders just came right out and said you can build a basic house, or you can add value by adding crown mouldings, entryways and staircases. Many times they were referring to the options or the value-added products that are shown in the pages of this issue. Their options were adding value to the houses they built, and therefore increasing the sale price as well.

As far as options to add to your product lines, our Annual Guide to Moulding & Specialty Millwork Companies on page 26, as well as the special feature on the members of the Wood Moulding & Millwork Producers Association on page 41, should offer some ideas. 

With regard to the customer service aspect of business, you will have to make sure that, no matter what part of the supply chain you are in, your customer service is outstanding. If one part is missing, it could mean the loss of a sale.

Make it a great day!

Brian Welsh, publisher

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