Their challenge: Trying to compete without a builder network
The construction industry is competitive. Trade secrets and recipes for success are held tight within companies and not typically shared with anyone else.
But trying to compete this way without any level of support is like being on a hamster wheel – constantly running without ever getting anywhere.
So, what’s the secret?
That’s the thing: There is no secret. However, there is a solution. A solution that’s led a group of 25-plus home builders in the Raleigh, North Carolina area to business growth. They’ve figured out that striking a balance between competing and collaborating with access to a network like CBUSA is how real growth happens.
“It’s because I’m a part of this group that I have the opportunity to sit down with people like David Kohler, head of Kohler, and have a discussion,” said Jon Showalter, chief operating officer at Homes by Dickerson. “The doors are open to so much more networking than any one business.”
Without CBUSA’s network, these three companies wouldn’t have access to the support, opportunities and cost savings that have led to their accomplishments.
Homes by Dickerson, Triple A Homes and Revolution Homes
Raleigh, North Carolina
Their solution: Leveraging relationships and cost savings
CBUSA’s Raleigh chapter is the top performing group in the network. Why? Because the builders understand what it takes to succeed.
“There are a lot of builders out there, but not every builder is running a good business,” said Gerry Felton, vice president of construction at Triple A Homes. “I’d say by and large, CBUSA builders are quality businessmen who happen to build homes and are passionate about it.”
And who better to learn from than your peers? Sharing successes, failures and learning opportunities with like-minded industry professionals seems like a no-brainer.
“There are lots of smart people in that room, and if we’re smart, we’re listening to what everybody’s saying and taking what we need to take from each other,” Jon said. “It’s very unique and something we probably take for granted.”
There are also pressures of the job that leave builders with little time to actually work on the daily job requirements. With CBUSA’s help, they’re able to let go of that responsibility and focus on other important aspects of their businesses like visiting job sites and managing client relationships.
“I like that I have CBUSA as my big brother watching my back because building houses is a mentally demanding job,” said Ryan Johnson, owner of Revolution Homes. “I’m not sure I’d have the bandwidth to work on all these programs. With CBUSA, we feel confident we’re getting the right price for what we’re doing.”
CBUSA’s brand partnerships and supplier programs ensure builders can offer the high-end products their clients want at the best price.
Their success story: Gaining access to opportunity
“The key word is access,” Ryan said. “It’s not just access to executives and higher management of the companies – it’s access to products. Even as a small company, we have the same amount of pull as a production builder.”
All three companies have more power than they would on their own and are paying the same prices or better than the big national builders. And the returns they’re seeing with rebates are substantial as well.
Having access to some of the huge lumber yards allows this group of builders in Raleigh to buy lumber at a better price than the big publicly traded companies over time.
“$1.7 million – that’s just our company’s rebate dollars,” Jon said. “There are other dollars that are much harder to track like what you’re saving in committed buys compared to what you’d pay on the market.”
But it’s not just access to savings that has led to their success – it’s the networking and relationships they’ve gained. The home building industry is often siloed and lacking in opportunities for business owners to collaborate.
“It’s priceless in some respects because of the people in the group. It’s not just the dollar amount you get from rebates – it’s the knowledge you gain.”– Ryan Johnson, president, Revolution Homes
CBUSA is making the change.
“It’s priceless in some respects because of the people in the group,” Ryan said. “It’s not just the dollar amount you get from rebates, it’s the knowledge you gain.”
“It’s like a brother and sisterhood – where you don’t want your sibling to do better than you do, but at the same time, you don’t want anybody messing with your sibling,” Jon said. “That’s the kind of attitude the majority of our group feels toward each other.”
This sentiment is evident in the way the Raleigh chapter helps each other and shares information. It’s not uncommon for these builders to call each other to ask questions, chat about the market or discuss what they’re seeing from the inspections department. They even collaborate on potential developer deals.
“We look around the room in a meeting, and we realize we’re in a room full of friends,” Jon said. “There’s just a lot of comradery inside the group.”
And when asked why the Raleigh chapter has seen so much success, there was no debate. It has everything to do with each builder’s commitment to the group’s overall success. Each member understands that some decisions aren’t going to be the best for the individual businesses at first, but in the long run, it’ll lead to the betterment of everyone.
“I’ve had to cut ties with trades I’ve used for a long time because it’s what needed to happen for the group to be successful and to get me where I needed to be,” Gerry said. “We come together and decide on what we can do collectively to make the group better and will ultimately make us better individually.”
“What makes our group different is the mutual respect,” Ryan said. “There’s a respect and trust between builders that you don’t typically find in our industry. It’s a group where you can talk and share information without feeling like someone’s going to stab you in the back.”
Another big advantage of having an accessible network of fellow builders in your area is being able to vet clients before taking on a job.
“It’s those kinds of questions we can ask each other that’s helpful,” Ryan said. “The foundation of our group has nothing to do with committed purchases or how many houses we build, but it’s the relationship that all the builders have.”
So, what does it take to become a top performing CBUSA member with access to endless opportunity?
“If you’re joining a team, you need to come in with the commitment that you’re going to join, and you’re going to participate at a high level right away,” Jon said. “By the end of your first twelve months, you should be participating at a pretty significant level.”
“If you’re just in it for the rebate dollars, this isn’t for you,” Ryan said. “You don’t join a team to ride the bench. You have to contribute and put yourself out there.”
The Raleigh chapter is seeing
success with CBUSA – it’s your turn.
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