Archive for February, 2008

Differentiate Yourself – A Homebuilder’s Perspective

Friday, February 29th, 2008
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Chuck Miller

In one of my early Institute of Residential Marketing courses, the instructor said something that really hit home with me as a builder. He pointed out that marketing is about differentiating yourself in the marketplace and stated that you can differentiate yourself by product or you can differentiate yourself by process and procedure. He then pointed out that if you differentiate yourself by product and you have a great product – great floor plans, unique trim details, energy-efficient building practices – eventually everyone is going to copy what you’re doing. Thus, you constantly struggle to find new ways to differentiate yourself. But then he emphasized that if you differentiate yourself by process and procedure, others are far less likely to copy what you do.

Previously featured authors have discussed the value of best management practices like using purchase orders and work orders and eliminating billing errors to save money and improve your bottom line. But there are a number of best management practices and implementing any or all of them will save you money and improve your bottom line. More importantly, implementing best management practices will increase your sales. I believe that everything we do is marketing and the best, most cost-effective marketing is referral marketing. I emphasize that our customers include not only the people who hire us to build their homes but also our trade contractors, vendors, and service providers. Particularly in today’s market, buyers are hesitant. They have read and heard all the news stories about builders facing financial problems or filing bankruptcy. But people are still buying new homes. If you follow best management practices in your business, it can go along way toward reassuring them that you are not like all the others.

Differentiate yourself by implementing best management practices like creating critical path schedules for all of your jobs and updating those schedules at least weekly; using work orders and purchase orders that not only set the price but that are also tied to your job schedule; having a system in place to notify your trade contractors and suppliers when they are expected to be on your job and when they are expected to complete their work; ensuring that your jobs are ready for them when they show up as scheduled; managing your accounts receivable and accounts payable so that trade contractors, vendors, and service providers are paid in a timely manner; and providing your lenders with accurate financial statements on a monthly basis. Not only will you receive preferential service and pricing from you trade contractor and vendor partners, but I guarantee that if you do all of these things, the word will spread. Your trade contractors, vendors, service providers, and lenders will become some of your best sales people. You will become the builder of choice in your market.

Integrated software programs make it relatively easy to implement most of these best management practices. But like any good tool, you have to take it out of your tool box and learn how to use it. I encourage you to do so.

About the Featured Author:
Chuck Miller is a Graduate Master Builder (GMB), a Member of the Institute of Residential Marketing (MIRM), a Certified New Home Marketing Professional (CMP), a Master New Home Sales Professional (MCSP), and a Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP). In addition to his role as President and CEO of Chuck Miller Construction Inc. Chuck is an instructor for the National Association of Home Builders University of Housing Graduate Builder, Graduate Remodeler, and Institute of Residential Marketing programs. Chuck has been a Buildsoft user since 1992. You can learn more about Chuck and his company at www.chuckmillerconstruction.com.

About Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
As the largest homebuilding software company in the industry, Constellation has helped more than 1,400 homebuilding companies manage their information technology costs with integrated software solutions to run their business from dirt to warranty. From planning to homeowner services, we have land development software, new home sales and marketing software, production, purchasing, scheduling, accounting, warranty and homebuilding vendor portal solutions designed exclusively for the homebuilding industry.

Media Inquiries
Cathy Kotsopoulos
ckotsopoulos@constellationhb.com
(888) 723-2222

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Constellation HomeBuilder Systems Wins Progress Software Corporation’s Visionary Award

Monday, February 11th, 2008
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Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, the largest provider of homebuilding software in the industry, wins the Visionary Award at Progress Software Corporation’s 2008 application partner conference in Las Vegas.

The Progress Visionary Award is presented to a company that delivers successful products and services utilizing Progress Software’s application platform and foundation technology. As an integrated solution for production homebuilders, Constellation’s NEWSTAR Enterprise system and add-on products demonstrate the originality and technical vision necessary to be selected for this award. Supporting homebuilders during all phases of the building process, Constellation continues to invest in new technology to help homebuilders become more efficient with innovative software solutions. From project planning to homeowner referral, Constellation can help homebuilders improve their accounting, estimating, purchasing, reporting, scheduling, warranty, and service processes. With a single database design and an easy to use application, every homebuilder can access the information they need with the comfort of knowing that their data is up-to-date and consistent.

“Progress Software Corporation is committed to the success of our partners and their customers. Each year Progress honors Application Partners that provide their customers with innovative products and solutions,” said Bob Palumbo, vice president, Progress Software Corporation’s Worldwide Partner Program. “The recipients of this year’s awards have developed products and solutions that help solve complex business issues for their customers worldwide. Their dedication to the development of problem solving business applications is part of what makes the Progress Application Partner Community so strong.”

“We are pleased to receive this recognition from Progress Software,” says Dexter Salna, President of Constellation HomeBuilder Systems. “The innovations we have brought to market, would not be possible without dedicated customers and their participation in product design. With the largest number of employees dedicated to developing and supporting homebuilding software products, we are able to work closely with customers and make these innovations a reality.”

About Progress Software Corporation
Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) provides application infrastructure software for the development, deployment, integration and management of business applications. Our goal is to maximize the benefits of information technology while minimizing its complexity and total cost of ownership. Today the company has over 1,600 employees in over 90 countries. Progress is headquartered in Massachusetts, USA, and is a worldwide leader in application infrastructure software.

About Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
As the largest homebuilding software company in the industry, Constellation has helped more than 1,400 homebuilding companies manage their information technology costs with integrated software solutions to run their business from dirt to warranty. From planning to homeowner services, we have land development software, new home sales and marketing software, production, purchasing, scheduling, accounting, warranty and homebuilding vendor portal solutions designed exclusively for the homebuilding industry.

Progress Software is a registered trademark of Progress Software Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Any other trademarks or service marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Media Inquiries
Cathy Kotsopoulos
ckotsopoulos@constellationhb.com
(888) 723-2222

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Constellation’s OnLocation-Schedule Wins Another Industry Award

Monday, February 4th, 2008
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Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, the largest provider of homebuilding software in the industry, is pleased to announce that Constellation OnLocation-Schedule has won the Constructech Top Products 2008 award.

Constructech selected Constellation OnLocation-Schedule for its ease of use and extremely powerful field scheduling functionality. Designed for both superintendents and construction managers, OnLocation-Schedule ensures that everyone is up-to-date and that building progress is closely monitored.

“We congratulate Constellation HomeBuilder Systems for winning a Constructech Top Products award,” said Mike Carrozzo, editor, Constructech magazine. “Customers using this product have had great success managing construction schedules and payment processes from the field.” This is yet another benefit that Constellation provides to its customers. With an unsurpassed dedication to the homebuilding industry and continued investment in new technologies, Constellation is positioned to lead the industry for many years to come.

As part of the OnLocation suite of mobile device applications, OnLocation-Schedule is one piece of the big picture. Coupled with NEWSTAR Enterprise and Constellation Focus, OnLocation is the basis for a powerful system of schedule management, supplier and trade performance measurement, and timely report generation and distribution. Many builders have used this system to achieve better supplier and trade relationships, while increasing customer satisfaction with fewer mistakes and improved cycle times. Using OnLocation-Schedule’s “Complete with Exceptions” feature has allowed builders to withhold payments for work that was done incorrectly, while allowing the building schedule to proceed in many cases. In addition, the use of Constellation Focus allows suppliers to be given a statement that identifies all the tasks for which payment is being held, reducing the number of phone calls and providing a clear incentive for completing the work as soon as possible.

“We are very excited about OnLocation-Schedule being selected for another homebuilding industry award,” exclaims Dexter Salna, President of Constellation HomeBuilder Systems. “Constellation listens to its customers and develops the solutions that will improve their businesses. We have a strong group of early adopter customers that deserve a lot of credit for helping us develop award winning applications. These relationships improve product quality and ultimately improve the solutions that we can offer to other homebuilders.”

About Constructech
A division of Specialty Publishing Co., Constructech advises 40,000 unique builders and contractors in all trades within the homebuilding market on the technology, services, and automated home technology that help improve business and increase margins. With a specialized focused in the homebuilding space, Constructech uncovers the solutions that are shaping the way homes are built.

About Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
As the largest homebuilding software company in the industry, Constellation has helped more than 1,400 homebuilding companies manage their information technology costs with integrated software solutions to run their business from dirt to warranty. From planning to homeowner services, we have land development software, new home sales and marketing software, production, purchasing, scheduling, accounting, warranty and homebuilding vendor portal solutions designed exclusively for the homebuilding industry.

Media Contact
Cathy Kotsopoulos
Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
Phone: (888) 723-2222
E-mail: ckotsopoulos@constellationhb.com

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