Tartan Homes is a “production builder” or a “tract home builder”. We are not a “small builder” or a “custom builder”. A prospective customer might well observe: “The houses look more or less the same. What’s the difference? And why does it matter to me?”
Size and Scale:
The first and most obvious difference is size. Production builders will typically close more that 150 homes per year, whereas a custom builder will close anywhere from 5 to 35. There are very few in the 50-125 closings per year range, and there are numerous reasons for this.
The primary reason is related to economies of scale. A custom builder will have a small team of multi-tasking employees. The salesperson will do all the upgrade sales, all the related paperwork, and probably looks after all the Tarion warranty items, plus conducts numerous site inspections with the buyer.
The site super is probably the owner. He likely has one or two assistants and site employees. They will look after buying building lots, the permit application process, hiring the sub-trades, processing customer changes, building the home, and after-sales service work.
The custom builder will likely use outside consultants for drafting and accounting, and will perhaps use a resale agent for sales.
The custom builder does not have a head office, and their extended-cab truck or van often serves as the site trailer.
For a buyer, working with a small or custom builder means working with all the key players in the business. These people will have all the details at their fingertips, and will rely on their memory and multitasking abilities, rather than extensive paper trails, to get things done right. And they usually do. They are nimble, and can work with the buyer right through the building process, making small customized changes along the way.
Call it boutique building if you like. Personalized, but expensive. Why expensive? That will be the subject of a future blog. Up next: How a tract builder operates, and why there are very few 50 – 125 a year builders.