Todd McKinney, owner of New Era Homes.
How has your business been impacted by the economic downturn?
Our business is focused on building semi-custom homes on our customer’s property. The downturn was devastating to most everyone involved in real estate. Our company began in January of 2007 right at the peak of the bubble. Of course we rode the wave to the bottom like everyone else but the silver lining was that we were not overleveraged and survived the downturn with our creditworthiness intact. Many of my colleagues were caught with large inventories of finished homes and lots and raw land at inflated prices. For the last several years they have been working to reduce debt and expenses while we have been able to focus on growing our business. They have been forced to focus almost exclusively on the bottom line while we have been able to focus on the top line. I think that gives New Era Homes an advantage as the economy picks up.
How have you reinvented yourselves to stay in business?
The word “no” is not in our vocabulary. We operate with the singular purpose of earning the sale. Our clients have asked us to build homes all over Oregon and Washington. We have built as far away as Florence, Roseburg, Sprague River, Monmouth, Hood River, Battle Ground, Tri-Cities and all over Central Oregon. Our local subcontractor and supplier base has been groomed to travel where the sale takes us, we have weeded out subs and suppliers that did not have the same mindset. This has allowed us to produce a very consistent, high quality home. Before the recession our emphasis was on operations – since the recession our top three priorities are sales, sales and sales, in that order. The downturn caused us to hone our sales process and become better listeners. This has helped to identify a niche and develop our product to fit that niche.
What are your goals going forward in our present economic climate?
We have steadily grown from our inception. About a year ago we started to see a significant rise in prospects interested in building a home. For 2012 our sales and production has increased 65 percent over 2011. Based upon what we are currently experiencing in leads and inquiries I expect to double our sales in 2013. Of course that will depend an awful lot on the political environment going forward.
What have been the keys to your continued success?
The number one key to our current and future success is the ability to focus on sales including prospect follow-up, structured communication, moving prospects to the next step in the sales process and a genuine interest in working for the best interests of the prospect. From time to time we discover that the prospect is better served buying an existing home or maybe considering a builder that can meet specific price points that we cannot. We are truthful with the prospect and they respect that. We develop an uncommon level of trust with our customers by focusing on their needs and presenting solutions that are in their interest – rather than focusing on solutions that serve our interest. Also our superintendents demand exceptional quality from our subcontractors. The superior fit and finish in our homes is evident the moment you walk inside. We rarely lose a prospect to another builder once they experience the quality of construction at an extremely affordable price.
64682 Cook Ave., #39, Bend, 541-330-5463. www.newerahomes.com.