Logan Homes

Since 1986, Logan Homes has been building in the Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina areas, with nearly 80 base plans and 275,000 options & model combinations. www.LoganHomes.com

Logan Homes Uses Specitup to Achieve 10 - 12% Margins on Annual 120 Starts

Logan Homes, based in North Carolina, is among the most successful homebuilding companies, larger or small, in the U.S. today. The company will start approximately 150 homes in 2012, solidly placing it on the list of top-200 American homebuilders. But that alone is not what makes Logan Homes so remarkable and the recent winner of a notable “gold” Vision Award in 2012 for technology innovation. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Logan Homes is that the company consistently achieves 10-12% net margins on its sale price. With a $300,000 average sale price and 150 starts, it doesn’t take much math skill to calculate that Logan Homes is one of the most profitable builders in the U.S. today on a per-start basis.

ACHIEVING HIGH PROFITABILITY

How does Logan Homes achieve such high profitability, when industry averages are around one quarter of what Logan achieves?
First, it’s a given that Logan Homes has adapted the latest technology for workflow (BuilderMT) and sales (Sales Simplicity). But a primary driver of Logan Homes’ success is how the company manages options. D Logan, the marketing and operational mastermind behind Logan Homes, has taken a remarkably innovative approach to organizing options. The Company uses Specitup, created and implemented by Rick Cosgrove. With Specitup, D Logan has so much flexibility in his option configuration that he can wake up with a new home design in his mind, and be able to offer that new model – fully priced out as a base model, with Community and Series options – by the end of the day… without even having to rely on his CAD or estimating departments to get involved.

Before we get into the specifics of the Specitup approach, let’s look at some basics about Logan Homes.

 

PROFITABLE OPERATIONS

Logan Homes TestimonialLogan Homes has found success in letting customers freely option out its 78 base home plans, as they navigate through the options-selection process. Through Logan Homes’ web-based systems and a showroom, which offers traditional samples of tiles, trim, carpet, etc., Logan delivers high-quality products to an ever-larger base of satisfied customers. (Although Logan Homes runs a physical design center and a sophisticated web-site, the Company also builds and maintains as many as 40 model homes over the course of the year, all of which are eventually sold as communities close out.) Logan Homes builds in seven communities, and consistently starts around 12 homes each month. Logan Homes’ average home size is 2,200 to 2,400 square feet, and house prices vary, depending on the community, ranging from $125,000 to $500,000. The average sale price is $300,000.

With a staff of three superintendents and a sales team of 12 – which works with area realtors – Logan Homes has base plans and option packages (with “options on options”) that allow for a grand total of 275,000 possible options, across all operations, a stunningly large number.

 

HOW OPTIONS WORK: THE INNOVATION

Logan Homes implemented Specitup approach to do what every other production builder wants to do: Get control of his options, while offering a highly customizable home. But in addition to that, D Logan has also found that changing market dynamics have forced him to compete at a very intense and detailed level for new buyers.

D Logan wanted to be able to fine-tune his sale price, and have such control that he can pack as many standard options into a model as possible, while preserving an optimum and competitive square foot cost. That’s why he brought in Rick Cosgrove’s team and Specitup, because it’s an ideal tool for just this type of competitive market options management. Here’s why: Specitup can be used to manage option tiers and configurations to an extremely granular level, adjusting and optimizing the home to the lot-specific level, to make sure the house is extremely competitive in pricing, and in the options it offers as standard…and as upgrades.

D Logan can manipulate Specitup so quickly that he regularly creates a “spec’d up” house on the fly when he is deciding what he should pay for lots. And he doesn’t have to pick up the phone to call in his estimators or CAD team to create BIM models.

Logan Homes TestimonialD Logan explains Specitup this way: “You have to understand that I can take the same 1,700 square foot base model – which we know the precise cost of delivering – and place it on three different lots in three different subdivisions. But in subdivision A, it’s vinyl sided with no sun porch, in subdivision B it’s Hardie sided with a sun porch, and in subdivision C it’s brick sided with a sun porch and a third bay in the garage. (We know all the costs of those options as well.) So, we have created a base model for each home we sell, and the house exists at its lowest common denominator. Then, I can add the options and see the prices recalculated on the fly, as I add or remove options to manage the price and achieve the optimum square foot prices for the lot where I am selling that specific home. For pricing, I just use the worse-case price for the option, and use that for my calculation, knowing that I will always make a profit installing that option. Let’s say one of my houses is listed at $300,000. With Specitup, I can very quickly option out that house with the standard options that my competitor is offering for his $300,000. If I find I can pack in more standard options, and still make a profit (Specitup will tell me), then I’ve got a real advantage, because the customers notice that stuff. If I can’t compete, Spec It Up has told me that ahead of time, and I wouldn’t have even bought the lot. I do all of this without having the new house drawn up in CAD.”

 

HOW SPECITUP CAN WORK FOR YOU

Specitup Community and Series Optioning. Rick Cosgrove picks up the description of what Spec It Up can do for any homebuilder: “The foundation of Specitup is to start with a true Base House, just as D Logan describes. From there, you will be able to Specitup as needed per Community and Series, creating a correctly spec’d house with a complete list of standard options. You also have a correctly priced upgrade or downgrade list of options.

Pricing the Home. With Specitup, Cosgrove explains,the house selling price is a calculation of the (true base cost) + (% markup for that Series in that Community) + (the community option selling price) + (all the spec’d options selling prices). As you calculate this, fine-tuning the house so it has the optimum “mix” of price and options, Specitup, can adjust the “mix” to meet marketing requirements on the fly, without having any impact on the rest of the company, especially estimating and CAD services.

Prep is Required. “To make Specitup work, option selling prices are needed in advance, but these can be adjusted once actual costing data is available. These selling prices are set at a Master or Series level. With the option selling prices set, the sales team can really learn them,” Cosgrove explained.

Logan Homes TestimonialMoving Up, or Down. “The sales team can even credit buyers with option credits if they move up and down in the Series,” Cosgrove added. “You have to be prepared for the client that wants to downgrade to save money. Given the way Specitup calculates option-selling prices, the sales team can downgrade an option to make a sale. Here’s how. Say you have a Series B house with a $5,000 granite counter top as a standard option, and the buyer wants to go to a laminate countertop which is standard in a Series A house, then there is a $5,000 credit against the sale price. That’s a great selling tool. And isn’t that what’s it’s all about? Specitup gives the builder enormous flexibility to configure and competitively price his homes, and it works very quickly. Logan Homes achieves record profits with the tool, and so can you.”

 

LOGAN HOMES’ TECHNOLOGY

Logan Homes runs a complement of best-of-breed software to drive operations forward. The company has implemented Sales Simplicity for customer relationship management, sales workflow and dynamic website content. A cloud-based solution, Sales Simplicity offers dashboard-based reporting that can parse out status updates at any level, from a lot-specific options report and contract analysis, all the way up to eMarketing that’s based on individual prospect’s website visitations.

For its operations workflow, Logan Homes uses every module available from BuilderMT, collectively called the Workflow Management Suite (WMS). BuilderMT manages Logan Homes purchase orders and scheduling (plus mobile scheduling). Logan Homes also uses BuilderMT’s Trade Portal for managing subs, as well as the Superintendent Portal, for allowing Logan Homes’ supers to have on-demand, at-a-glance status updates on any project in the Company’s portfolio.

 

ABOUT LOGAN HOMES

At Logan Homes, we believe that you deserve a well-built home, one perfectly designed to reflect your unique personality. For over 20 years, we’ve specialized in building quality homes in Wilmington and along North Carolina’s coast. And with our straightforward process and straight-talking team of professionals, having your dream home has never been easier.

Building dreams since 1986, Logan Homes has earned the reputation for exquisite home design, attention to detail, and the commitment to superior craftsmanship and service. Through the unprecedented combination of genuine integrity, exceptional quality, excellent customer service and unparalleled value, Logan Homes is consistently raising marketplace standards.

Each home we build within our masterfully planned communities is designed and constructed by creative, skilled professionals to perfectly suit your desire for a carefree coastal lifestyle. Logan Homes uses the latest building technology to ensure that every home is completed on time and within budget. We listen carefully to our customers and offer a wide variety of customization options through our accessible, responsive Design Center.

At Logan Homes, our philosophy is simple: We value and take care of our people…so our people will value and take care of our customers.

Kent Homes

Kent Homes builds homes with uncompromising value and luxury from the $200’s. From Wilmington to Southport, on your lot or in one of the beautiful communities where we’re recognized as a builder of choice, you’ll find that attainable luxury is wherever you want it to be. Kent Homes is an On Your Site Builder. www.KentHomes.net

Kent Homes Implements Specitup Cloud Solution to Manage Features and Determine Profitable Selling Prices for Its Homes

For the last 26 years, home buyers in the Wilmington, Southport, and South Wilmington areas of North Carolina have come to know Kent Homes as the go-to provider of affordable luxury homes. The company will start 65 homes in 2015, with an average price of $380,000 for their homes, which average 2,800 square feet. Kent Homes is family owned, and Dan Kent oversees operations, while working with a loyal team that includes his daughter, who is carrying on the family tradition of fine home building.

Executive Summary

  • Established 1989
  • Builds in: Wilmington, Southport, NC
  • 2015 Starts: 65
  • Average price/size: $380,000 / 2,800 sq. ft.
  • Base plans: 40
  • Software:

    • Specitup
    • BuilderMT
    • Sales Simplicity
    • CG Visions
    • Punchlist Manager

Feature Set Pricing

When Kent Homes sells a home, its base price includes a pre-determined feature set. Then, like most home builders, Kent allows for a buyer to add options on top of the base features.

“We often have people adding $10,000 in options to our base models,” said Dan Kent, “and some buyers will add as much as $45,000 in options. But we also have some buyers who purchase the base model for the selling price, and accept the feature set we have designated for that model.”

“Before we had the right software in place, I always had two nagging questions after each sale: 1) Did we ‘give away’ too many features in the base model prices? In other words, was the base model feature set richer than it needed to be to make the sale? And 2) are we losing sales because a competitor is offering a better feature set of ‘goodies’ for the same price as our homes, making us look bad by comparison?”

Kent Homes Testimonial“If I know the answers to those two questions,” Dan Kent said, “I can more accurately determine a competitive selling price, and rest assured that I am not giving away options that people might otherwise pay for in the option process.”

Those are two common concerns for every home builder. But Dan Kent was able to find a software solution to put him at ease.

Specitup to the Rescue

Over the years, Kent Homes has always run top-shelf software: For workflow management, the company runs BuilderMT, with Sage accounting in the background. For CRM and sales automation, Kent Homes runs Sales Simplicity, along with CG Visions and Punchlist Manager.

But there was a clear gap in the existing software solutions when it came to determining:

  1. A) how a Kent Homes base model feature set stacked up against comparable homes sold by competitors for the retail prices Kent Homes was charging,
  2. B) what features Kent Homes could add in – or take away! – and still maintain competitive pricing with a competitive product, and
  3. C) Kent Homes wanted to shorten the time it took to bring a new plan into his sales lineup.

To address these challenges, Kent Homes turned to Specitup.

Already pre-integrated into BuilderMT, Sales Simplicity, and CG Visions, Specitup allows Kent Homes to engage in pro forma analysis of various feature sets, to see how to optimize its new home offering, determine accurate (guaranteed profitable) selling prices, and engage in what if scenarios, so Kent can “fine tune” its offering, and extract the maximum profit for the competitive sale price.

Four Key Functions Specitup Offers Kent Homes

“With Specitup implemented, it performs in four key areas for us, and we couldn’t be happier with the results,” said Dan Kent.

“For starters, we have always been looking for a way to bring new home plans into production with greater speed. Specitup lets us add a new plan in a very short time. It used to be that we had to involve our estimating team to add a new plan,” Kent said, “and we would determine the price of all the new home’s features, before we could price it for sale. Now we use Spec It Up’s unit of measure approach to determine that price. I can add a new plan in a matter of hours, whereas it used to take four to five weeks, and involved lots of labor from my estimators. Now, we don’t engage estimating until the house is actually sold. The degree of accuracy that Specitup offers in the base model pricing process is more than adequate for arriving at the selling price that we know is profitable.”Kent Homes Testimonial

“Secondly, if we are getting beat up on sales, with a competitor offering a $380,000 product that is winning sales away from our $380,000 product, Specitup allows us to do a pro forma analysis of the two products to see what goodies we have to add for the $300,000 base price to start winning those sales,” Kent explained. “That’s invaluable to us and keeps us competitive.”

“Third, sometimes we are actually winning sales so readily that I wonder if I am giving away too many goodies in the base model feature set. Specitup lets me go in and see if I can remove some goodies, still get the sale, and remain profitable. That’s happened more than a few times with us, so I was leaving money on the table and I didn’t need to! Specitup showed me why and how to prevent it.”

“Fourth, if we are looking at a lot draw in a new neighborhood, I have to determine if there is money to be made there with the products we well at our price point. Specitup lets me do a pro forma, with our base model and our typical feature sets to see if there is money to be made. If the land is too rich, or the competitors too competitive on the feature set and retail prices, we won’t even draw for the land.”

In short, Specitup works in tandem with the data and database structures of BuilderMT, Sales Simplicity, and CG Visions to add a layer of pro forma capability that is otherwise unavailable to home builders…and it’s a pro forma capability that ensures and protects profitability not through guesswork and intuition, but through an empirical approach to the process of offering and pricing features.

Implementing Specitup: What it Takes

Kent Homes Testimonial“Implementing Specitup forced us to really look at our plans and all the features and options in each base model, so we could build a database in CG Visions’ Pipeline software. We have 40 base plans, and the Specitup approach required us to calculate the square footage of each room in each plan, and that’s what took up most of our prep time,” Kent explained.

“When that work was done, working with the Specitup team was a great experience. We worked directly with Rick Cosgrove, the inventor of Specitup. Rick is a brilliant software guy. Best of all, he can think like a builder, and he’s always accessible,” Kent added. “He’s been building databases and configuring software for builders for decades, and there is no one better at it than Rick.”

“Once Specitup was implemented, we found it very easy to use; it’s dashboard driven and honestly didn’t take much training to master. It’s already paid for itself many times over. Now that we have it, we are never going back.”

About Specitup

  • Kent Homes TestimonialDesigned exclusively for production home builders (50+ home annual starts), Specitup automates and makes more precise the error-prone process of setting selling prices for new homes that guarantees a profit for the builder.
  • The basis of Specitup functionality is its ability to manage, price, and determine the margins for various features contained in the “base home” that builders offer to their buyers. By knowing the combined price of the features, the builder can determine his square foot selling price, apply his desired margins, and set a home price that maximizes profits.
  • Additionally, with Specitup, home builders can quickly determine if they are offering too many features in a base home…or not enough. Then, they can quickly adjust their feature offerings across their entire home plan archive.
  • When feature pricing needs adjustment, Specitup can change pricing universally throughout the builder’s database (by dollar amount or by margin percentage) working across the entire inventory of home plans, features, and options. Specitup even allows builders to set up “test communities,” so they can examine the profitability of different home plan series on a what-if basis.

About Kent Homes

At Kent Homes, we’re big enough to serve you well, but small enough to give you the personalized attention and choices you deserve in your home. We’re a small company, big on personalized service so you get more you in your home with one of our homes. We’ve been building homes and friendships since 1989 and with us, you’re a name, not a number. You’re part of the family, not part of a transaction. We’re local, not regional. We’re personal, not corporate. Yes, we’re small, but we’re the right size to build great, affordable luxury homes. Learn more: www.KentHomes.net

Shea Homes

At Shea Homes, you’ll discover that we do things a little differently. We’re a family-owned builder of homes and communities, so we share a personal commitment to our customers. You’ll notice it inside our new homes, where thoughtful design and quality are our hallmarks. You’ll notice it in our communities that are designed for the way you live. And you’ll experience it through our people, who strive to create a great experience for you at every turn. We invite you to raise your expectations, and live the difference at any Shea Homes community. www.SheaHomes.com

Shea Homes Uses Specitup To Manage and Price Features and Options

Dashboard-Driven Specitup Saves Thousands of Hours that Would Be Required to Maintain and Price Shea Homes 40,000 Options

Executive Summary

  • 160 Closings in 2015
  • 57 Employees
  • 43 Base Plans
  • 40,000 Options
  • Software:

    • Specitup
    • Sales Simplicity
    • BuilderMT
    • Sage Accounting

With 57 employees and 160 home closing scheduled for 2015, Shea Homes has its hands full, but they are building furiously to take advantage of today’s strong market and low interest rates.

Shea Homes has an average house price that is slightly higher than national averages, as the Company caters to demanding upper-mid-market buyers in multiple Carolina markets. The average Shea home sells for $425,000 and is between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet in size.

For each of these homes, Shea Homes accommodates a wide range of options.

Shea Testimonial“All totaled, we offer 43 base Plans, and 40,000 options, when you count up all the features (which we call attributes), elective options, and the mix and match possibilities,” said James Nelson, Shea Homes Director of Purchasing.

“Make no mistake: Tracking those options is one of our major challenges, and we’ve brought in some great software to handle the task.”

New Software Brings Order

Until 3 years ago, Shea Homes had been running Constellation’s FAST software system, but in an effort modernize its technology, Shea removed FAST and switched to a widely proven best-of-breed approach, installing BuilderMT, Sales Simplicity, CG Visions, Punchlist Manager, and Sage accounting.

Specitup Fixes A Flaw. “Those new software packages solved many problems for us, and brought us powerful workflow management capabilities. But during implementation, there were inefficiencies in functionality based on our business model, and we brought in another program on top of the best-of-breed packages to solve them. That solution is called Specitup.”

Shea Testimonial“Here’s what was happening,” Nelson explained. “With BuilderMT and Sales Simplicity, it was a challenge to price options in an efficient manner. We couldn’t make wholesale ‘gang’ changes, and each option had to be opened, priced, saved, and closed, at every level in our database. Across 40,000 options that would have been quite a task. Then, even after setting the options pricing – like any builder – we often found a need to change and update the pricing, if we found we were not getting our margins, or if we felt we could extract more for the option sets for our various models.”

“For instance,” Nelson added, “the way we work is that we group our Plans into Series, and we have one price for, say, a Sunroom. Ideally, all the options associated with the sunroom are the same or similar costs. So, we set one retail price for that Series. A Series G Sunroom gets priced at $6,000. Now, there may be five Plans that can accept a Series G Sunroom into their structures. In FAST, I could enter the $6,000 price five times, for each of the five Plans, and I’d be done. But with BuilderMT, that price had to be set in every Plan and Community, not just a few times at the Plan level. So, options pricing management took 50 times what it took in FAST,” Nelson explained. “It was a genuine problem.”

Specitup Steps In

“To solve the problem we turned to a new software solution called Specitup,” Nelson explained, “it was recommended to us by BuilderMT. We use Specitup as an options, attributes, and pricing management dashboard. It’s fully integrated into BuilderMT, Sales Simplicity, and CG Visions – it can round-trip data to all three systems, no problem – so making a change in Specitup makes changes in all the other software systems we use.”

Manage pricing just once. “The great thing about Specitup,” Nelson added, “is that I manage the option or attribute pricing just once, and it makes the change at the home Plan, Series, and Community levels in all our systems. That’s a vast improvement over the labor-intensive practice that was demanded of our team by the BuilderMT software, and by the FAST software. In fact, we couldn’t really use BuilderMT or Sales Simplicity without Specitup.”

Shea Testimonial“Here’s how we use it specifically,” Nelson said. “Specitup gives me dashboard control of our options and attributes. I can associate attributes that I want included with designated Plans for the sales price. (Some builders call this a base feature set.) Then I can associate options available to that Plan on a rule-in / rule-out basis, just by clicking the Specitup dashboard. I can also set pricing for the options, at the Plan, Series, or Master levels, since some options are differently priced depending on their Series. So, we have supreme control, with minimum labor. I just click to create an attribute and options set for each Plan.”

Mix and match options. “Here’s another example of how we use Specitup,” Nelson added. “If we have a Plan in a certain Series in a certain Community, we use Specitup to set the attribute level for that Community at the Series level. So, I go into Specitup and assign level 4 hardwood in three of the rooms. Anyone who purchases that Plan in that Community will get level 4 hardwood as an attribute. But in another Community for that same Plan, you may not need level 4 hardwood to sell the home, and vinyl can be set at the default attribute. Of course, the buyer can upgrade to level 4 hardwood if they want, and if we have made level 4 hardwood an available option in their Plan and Community. All of this is maintained in Specitup.”

Shea Testimonial“Specitup is not hard to learn, and the integrations are smooth as silk, honestly. It’s key to our operations and it brings much greater utility to the other software packages we have purchased.”

About Specitup

  • Designed exclusively for production home builders (50+ home annual starts), Specitup automates and makes more precise the error-prone process of setting selling prices for new homes that guarantees a profit for the builder.
  • The basis of Specitup functionality is its ability to manage, price, and determine the margins for various features contained in the “base home” that builders offer to their buyers. By knowing the combined price of the features, the builder can determine his square foot selling price, apply his desired margins, and set a home price that maximizes profits.
  • With Specitup, home builders can quickly determine if they are offering too many features in a base home…or not enough. Then, they can quickly adjust their feature offerings across their entire home plan archive.
  • When feature pricing needs adjustment, Specitup can change pricing universally throughout the builder’s database (by dollar amount or by margin percentage) working across the entire inventory of home plans, features, and options. Specitup even allows builders to set up “test communities,” so they can examine the profitability of different home plan series on a what-if
  • Specitup is pre-integrated into BuilderMT, CG Visions, and Sales Simplicity.

About Shea Homes

At Shea Homes, you’ll discover that we do things a little differently. We’re a family-owned builder of homes and communities, so we share a personal commitment to our customers. You’ll notice it inside our new homes, where thoughtful design and quality are our hallmarks. You’ll notice it in our communities that are designed for the way you live. And you’ll experience it through our people, who strive to create a great experience for you at every turn. We invite you to raise your expectations, and live the difference at any Shea Homes community.

Finer Homes

Finer Homes is a family owned and operated building company with a simple mission: To build high quality, affordable, dream homes. To deliver every day, year in and year out, the absolute best home at the absolute lowest price possible. And very importantly, to do business in a way that creates a joyful and exciting life experience for every family we serve. www.FinerHomesInc.net

With Help From Specitup, Finer Homes Steps Up with Optimized Software Programs

In the busy Chesterfield County Virginia / Richmond Virginia markets, you won’t find a more stable builder than Finer Homes. The Company is the fourth largest builder in the County and the eight largest in Richmond. Finer Homes has been successfully in business since 1981, and it has been family-owned and operated the entire time.

Today, the company is thriving and taking full advantage of the upturn in housing. In 2013, Finer Homes will start 50 homes, building in 12 communities, where they have set up four fully furnished model homes. (In 2004, at the height of the market, Finer Homes started 155 homes.) Finer Homes prices range from $150,000 to $450,000, and home sizes are between 2,000 to 4,000 square feet.

Finer Homes Testimonial“You could very accurately call Finer Homes a ‘production custom’ builder,” said Debbie Stoddard, VP for Finer Homes; her parents started the company many years ago, and she’s been working for Finer Homes for more than twenty years.

“We work from 20 base plans, and we can accommodate decorative options like most builders; we have a core of around 300 popular options. But we can easily modify our base plans with structural options, depending on the buyer’s wishes. That’s why we use the term ‘production custom’ to describe ourselves.”

“No matter how you look at our operations, we have a great deal of data to manage. When you count up all our options – and options on options –our option combinations easily run in the many thousands,” Stoddard explains.

“Underlying our options-selection and plan-configuration process,” Stoddard continues, “we do a great deal of work to allow our prospects to imagine themselves in one of our homes. We have four fully furnished models homes, and we want people to have an emotional buy-in when they engage with us. That’s a hallmark of Finer Homes. Buying a home is an emotional experience,” Debbie Stoddard said, “and we do all we can to help people imagine themselves living in one of our homes through our willingness to accommodate options. That’s half the battle of sales, and maybe this approach is partly what makes us so successful.”

FINER HOMES STAFFING

To manage operations, Finer Homes subs out the vast majority of its trade work, but the Company carries 16 employees.

“We have one supervisor,” Debbie Stoddard explains, “and five more employees in sales. We have three employees in purchasing and estimating, and the rest are field workers, who work with managing our subs, prepping our homes for closings, and providing customer service. There’s never a dull moment, and believe me, we keep everybody busy.”

SOFTWARE IS A KEY TO SUCCESS

Finer Homes TestimonialManaging operations for the construction of 50 homes is no small task. “With twenty base plans – all customizable – and all our options, we brought in software solutions early on to help manage operations. We were one of the early adopters of BuilderMT’s Workflow Management Suite (WMS), which creates our purchase orders and drives our workflow processes forward. We also run BuilderMT’s Trade Portal, which is great for controlling the growth of our back office. We have used it to go entirely paperless in all our communication and scheduling with our subs. And we also run Sage Timberline Accounting and Estimating,” Debbie Stoddard explains.

RICK COSGROVE STEPS IN

“When the economy was showing signs of stress, we realized that we unfortunately had to cut staff. We had two people who were doing the estimating and CAD work. That team would review the sales contract and make sure that everything in the contract was in the lot-specific plans. But we realized that we had to consolidate those two functions, and to do that – and to streamline other functions in our company operations – we turned to Rick Cosgrove at Specitup,” Stoddard explains.

Rick Cosgrove is the nation’s leading options-selection management consultant for residential homebuilders, and his award-winning efforts have brought order to databases and processes of some of the nation’s most forward-thinking home builders, boosting margins and allowing companies to scale up, while controlling staff loading.

Finer Homes Testimonial“Rick Cosgrove came to our site and worked with us for a four-week period, and it was a very successful engagement,” Stoddard said. “He initially integrated our estimating and CAD functions, so they could be run by one person. So, right off the bat, we saved one full time equivalent. Rick also served as the staff trainer, who brought in the new person and trained him in BuilderMT and Sage Timberline, so our workflow and accounting were in harmony,” Debbie Stoddard explained.

“As we engaged Rick, we realized the full depth of his knowledge of BuilderMT and the Sage software solutions,” Stoddard continued, “He then went to work on our Sage Estimating, and he focused on tying them to Sage Accounting. So, now, those systems are working seamlessly for us, together as one.”

“Next, Rick got our BuilderMT Trade Portal running, and I can’t even begin to estimate what those savings were,” Stoddard said. “The Trade Portal took a great deal of paperwork processing out of our office, and it has been a huge help. Before we had Trade Portal, all our POs were mailed, and you can only imagine the time we save by not doing that each week. It was a huge help for us.”

“Next, Rick stepped in with a vast understanding of BuilderMT and Sage software to help us navigate and rationalize our processes. He really got all our computer systems to work for us. Moreover, his work with our options was fantastic, because he rationalized the database, and really cleaned it up, streamlining our processes,” Stoddard continued. “Now, our options database isn’t a ‘silo’ of data; it’s thoroughly and tightly integrated into our estimating and purchasing.”

Would Finer Homes have Rick Cosgrove back?

“In a heartbeat!” Debbie Stoddard said, “Rick was fantastic, and he saved us a bundle.”

ABOUT FINER HOMES

Finer Homes is a family owned and operated building company. Founded by Clay and Sue Holt in 1981, all four children have worked in the family business. We have a simple mission: To build dream homes. High quality, affordable, dream homes. To deliver every day, year in and year out, the absolute best home at the absolute lowest price possible. And very importantly, to do business in a way that creates a joyful and exciting life experience for every family we serve. This is our calling. It is a great responsibility and privilege to do this important work. Learn more: www.FinerHomesInc.net

Saratoga Homes

Since 1983, Saratoga Homes has partnered old school core values with cutting edge technology. Our staff champions a process driven method for providing quality built homes and vibrant neighborhoods. Our history reflects our attention to detail and the earned satisfaction of over 7,000 Home Owners. Our legacy will shine a brighter path in meeting our exacting standards in a way that all in the Saratoga community will remain proud. www.SaratogaHomesTexas.com

Specitup Engages "Top 100" Builder Saratoga Homes of Texas, Bringing Big Savings and Fewer Headaches

The various divisions of Saratoga Homes of Texas have built more than 7,000 homes since the Company’s inception. In 2012, even against economic headwinds, Saratoga started 355 homes, making it the 91st largest home building company in the U.S., grossing nearly $70 million dollars, according to the definitive Builder 100 list from Hanley Wood.

Saratoga Homes TestimonialWhat’s more, Saratoga Homes of Texas will likely move up that Builder 100 list in 2013, because the Company is growing stronger. Across all three of its divisions, in Houston, Austin, and El Paso, Saratoga will start between 380 and 420 homes this year.

Jack Bombach, Division President for Houston, and the Company’s overall Chief Compliance Officer, explained the products that have made the Company so successful: “It’s very simple. We are a straight production builder that offers great value. Our houses average 2,600 sq. ft. and sell for around $200,000. For options, we issue a standard features sheet for each model,” Jack Bombach explains. “With the choices available from Saratoga, a buyer could move the purchase price of the home up by another $10,000 to $15,000 dollars.”

Jack Bombach runs the busy Houston office for Saratoga, but he also handles many of the centralized functions that stretch across a wide expanse of Texas.

“In the Houston office, we have a staff of 12, of which eight are in sales,” Jack explains. “We carry one construction manager, a foreman, a field tech, an office administration person, and myself. That’s it. We run really lean, and we can do that because of the software we have in place.”

SOFTWARE KEEPS ORDER

For all of its multi-division operations, Saratoga Homes of Texas runs its workflow with BuilderMT. For estimating and accounting, Saratoga runs Sage Estimating and Sage Accounting, and for sales and CRM, the Company uses B1440. For warranty management, Saratoga runs Punchlist Manager.Saratoga Homes Testimonial

All of these software systems are allied together, and each vendor has gone to a great deal of effort to pre-integrate their software with other packages. Still, every home building company is idiosyncratic, and Saratoga recently needed some assistance in getting its databases and workflows in order. That’s when the Company turned to Rick Cosgrove. Rick is widely regarded as the nation’s leading database and options-selection management consultant for residential homebuilders. Rick’s efforts, which has won awards on a national scale, have brought order to databases and processes of some of the nation’s most forward-thinking home builders, boosting margins and allowing companies to scale up, while controlling staff loading.

Purchase order systems. “Rick actually came in to work with us years ago, when we had a division in Illinois, so we go way back,” Jack explained. “Recently, here in Texas, Rick came in and streamlined our processes, which required that he fix our databases. He did that in short order, and as a result, we finally had purchase orders (POs) coming out of our system with the right prices on them,” Jack explains. “That accomplished a number of things for us, because once you have the correct POs, then the sub know exactly what they’re doing, and most importantly, they won’t overcharge you.”

“Just with Rick’s work on POs, we went from four estimators and two purchasing agents, down to one estimator and one purchasing agent, saving us four full time equivalents,” Jack Bombach said. “In fact, what’s even more amazing, with our systems working so well, we were able to expand operations to two other new cities, without expanding the estimating staff.”

Saratoga Homes TestimonialCycle Time Reductions. “After Rick straightened out our PO system, we got him to work on our scheduling,” Jack explained. “We use to build in 120 days, and with Rick’s help on the workflows, we brought that down 90, saving a full month on the building cycle. Then we got it down to 75 days.”

WORKING WITH RICK COSGROVE

“Rick Cosgrove is a stickler for details and he’s very disciplined,” Jack explained. “He knows how the software systems are supposed to run, and how they are supposed to be integrated, including BuilderMT, Sage, B1440, Punchlist Manager…all of them. He really optimized them for us. At the same time that Rick is disciplined, he’s also very flexible too. You present him with a problem – that you’ve got to manage certain options in specific communities – and Rick will fix that right up for you. What’s more, he never stops. We were often in the office until 11 or 12 at night, and Rick wouldn’t leave until the systems were working properly. He’s a real hard worker.”

“Rick is also strong on reports,” Jack explained. “He created reports for us that we still use years later. One reason he’s so strong in this regard is that he really knows home building; he’s not just a database expert,” Jack said. “In fact, when Rick showed up he got everything fixed up, and we cut staff overtime to nothing. From 2008 to 2010, it dropped from an average of three people working overtime every night, to zero.”

WORKING ACROSS DIVISIONS

“To get our software systems to work across all of our divisions, even though they are spread across Texas, we had used another consultant a long time ago, and they didn’t set up the databases right. The numbering didn’t work, the options were all funky, and I can’t tell you how many nights I was in the office until midnight trying to get stuff figured out,” Jack said. “Rick fixed that all up for us. He did that by centralizing our databases, which allows us to Saratoga Homes Testimonialcentralize our training, and that further lowers costs. We have multiple divisions, but we wanted a centralized estimating system that would allow us to work in any community, in any city, without having to set everything up again from scratch. Rick set us up so our Precision Estimating database would work with multiple communities, no matter where we were building, but it could be run from a centralized location by a small staff. That saved the money we were spending to proliferate estimating activities across multiple cities, so now we can keep track of job costing by community, all from one location.”

Would you work with Rick Cosgrove again?

“Oh sure. Rick’s great, a real hard worker, and very organized,” Jack said. “We’ve had him back already on multiple jobs, and I’m sure we’ll have him in again. We really enjoyed working with Rick and we recommend him highly.”

ABOUT SARATOGA HOMES OF TEXAS

Since 1983, Saratoga Homes has partnered old school core values with cutting edge technology. Our staff champions a process driven method for providing quality built homes and vibrant neighborhoods.

We strive to give our Saratoga homeowner the best value for their dollar on what may very well be the biggest financial investment in their life journey. Now that we have been in business 30 years we offer a credibility to our Home Owner that says we stand shoulder-shoulder with you and the peace of mind that says we will be there as you grow your Family.

Our commitment means much more than building houses; it means building homes where memories are created. It means building neighborhoods and fostering communities. Most importantly, it means building lasting dependable relationships.

Our history reflects our attention to detail and the earned satisfaction of over 7,000 Home Owners. Our legacy will shine a brighter path in meeting our exacting standards in a way that all in the Saratoga community will remain proud. Learn more: saratogahomestexas.com

Advanced Model and Option Management