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Leadership

Always deliver value

Your custom building clients come from all walks of life. But they have one thing in common: They are successful, and they have money. And more often than not, your clients are wealthy because they spend wisely.


By Patrick L. O’Toole, Editorial Director and Publisher April 2, 2013
This article first appeared in the CB March 2013 issue of Custom Builder.

Your custom building clients come from all walks of life. But they have one thing in common: They are successful, and they have money. And more often than not, your clients are wealthy because they spend wisely. 

There are exceptions, but you should embark on every new client relationship with an abundance of caution about your assumptions of how they want to spend their money, as well as plenty of prudence regarding the price they are willing to pay.
 
Working with custom building clients, you know that real value offers the most tantalizing incentive to buy. Succeeding in custom home building today means delivering real value. Quality construction, sturdiness, thoughtful and useful design ideas, perfect proportions, tight seams, squareness—these are the elements of value from the perspective of a custom home client. 
 
Oftentimes we get sidetracked and focus too much on bling finishes: granite, high-end appliances, and designer sinks and faucets. Your clients certainly want that stuff, too. But focus on making the house tight, sturdy, and functional. Overcommunicate your precision in these areas. Eventually, the point will sink in and warm your clients’ value-loving souls. 
 
Real value commands premium prices. Buyers know they cannot get that quality from every builder. So the equation is simple. Deliver value. Communicate this attribute effectively and build a reputation for it. Charge a fair markup. Lastly, hold your ground on that price. They want what you’ve got, and there’s no use filling your dance card with marginally profitable jobs. 
 
If anything, the recent downturn has increased your clients’ focus on design and construction quality elements as a basis of value. Witness the small but growing PassivHaus movement. There are many aspects to the PassivHaus guidelines, but they revolve around careful siting, excellent fenestration, and tight joints, well sealed and insulated. What custom home buyer doesn’t want these things? Value is certainly in energy efficiency and comfort. So whether it be through a local or national green building standard, Energy Star, or PassivHaus, move in this direction. Your clients will see the value and, more importantly, many will pay for it.

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