What makes a professional builder stand out from the rest?
One question I get asked a lot is ‘What is the difference between a professional builder and a normal builder’?
And ‘How do I know when I’m talking to a professional building company rather than just a professional sales person?’
Here’s what separates the top 20% of builders in Adelaide from the rest of the pack…
First of all, it is important to be aware of the different business models that builders operate and what that tells you about the company.
They are design & construct, and build only.
Design & construct is exactly what it sounds like, it is a building company that will take you from concept to completion.
Beware of Build-Only Companies
A lot of people still believe that in order to build a new home you have to decide on a building designer or architect, and then take the finished plans to multiple builders that do build only - which is the most common type of building company in Adelaide - who will then price those plans.
The problem with that approach is that you are simply hoping the price will meet your expectations rather than designing a home that can be built within your budget.
When the price comes in over budget - and it always does for consumers that take this approach - you have two choices…
You can pay the increased price and sign a contract, or if your budget is capped, you can involve the builder who will advise you on modifications that will bring down the cost of construction.
The problem here is that you are now trying to amend an existing design to fit a budget which is always a lot harder than getting the design right the first time.
Professional Builders understand this and always work with clients through the design stage rather than joining the conversation when the home has already been designed and it's too late to make changes that impact the structure.
Which is why Professional Builders always operate design & construct companies.
No display home… no worries!
Another indicator that you are dealing with a professional is the display home…or lack thereof.
As you know, Adelaide is a tight-knit friendly community. Everyone seems to know everyone, or at least, everyone is connected through just two degrees of separation!
Therefore, not only do I know most of the professional custom home builders in the area, I also meet up with them on a regular basis.
And I can tell you, not one of them has a display home.
The reason is simple.
A custom home is completely unique and never replicated. Therefore, a builder with a display home is not a custom home builder at all, they are a mass production builder showcasing cookie-cutter designs.
Communication is key
However, the #1 thing that separates a truly successful building company that cares about its clients is its communication.
And that is never more true than in the residential construction industry where timely client communication is of paramount importance to both sides.
Unfortunately, although every builder sets out with good intentions, only around 20% have the systems and processes in place to make good communication possible.
Construction unfortunately is one of the worst performing industries when it comes to the adoption of technology.
This is good in some ways because it makes it easier for the best building companies to stand out, however, it's not good for the industry as a whole as it leads to low levels of customer satisfaction from the consumers dealing with the 80%.
An indication of how much a building company values good communication with their clients can be seen in the tools they use to manage both the pre-construction contract and the actual building contract.
A company that relies on emails, phone calls and meetings without having an online client-facing portal that documents every communication in a timeline is unlikely to have a high customer satisfaction score.
This is because when you design and build a new home there are many conversations and decisions that need to be made over a long period of time.
If those decisions are not recorded correctly and systematically, things will get missed leading to frustration and disappointment on both sides.
When you decide on a building company, ask them about their client portal. If you get a blank stare, that’s a sure sign you are dealing with an average builder rather than an experienced company that is at the top of their game.
Choosing the Right Building Company
If you’re looking for cheap, then that’s fine, a professional building company is not for you.
However, if you value your time - and your sanity! - choose wisely, and get the professionals involved.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many times you have built before…
Designing a new home can be very overwhelming and when you hear new things for the first time, it's not easy to remember everything.
What I’ve covered here is just a small sample of the information I need to share with you to ensure you are well-informed when you get started on the design process...
Which is why I put together a quick guide for you to download.
It’s completely free, and it will help you to avoid any nasty surprises that can sneak up on you when building a custom home.