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Manufactured homes are pre-built in the corporate factory, and assembled at the home dealership or at the customer’s home site. Manufactured homes built since 1976 reflect higher construction standards that conform to federal laws.
Single-section homes are built in one piece and trucked to the dealership or home site. Multi-section homes consist of factory-built sections that are assembled on site. Because manufactured homes are factory built with standard materials and techniques, the homes are frequently priced lower than similarly sized conventional homes.
Define your business structure. Meet with a Certified Public Accountant with dealership experience. Consult with a commercial insurance agent with similar background. Visit your city or county clerk’s office to obtain a business license, and to inquire about other applicable permits. Finally, ask your state’s Department of Revenue if you will need a sales tax number.
Select a convenient location. Choose a dealership site convenient to major highways and main roads. Ensure that your location has sufficient acreage to display several manufactured homes, and to allow customers to stroll landscaped grounds between the homes. Remember that a spaciously displayed selection of attractive homes is your best advertising.
Choose your manufactured home brand. Several large manufactured home companies operate sales centers in different regions. Examine each company’s model homes on its website, and speak to the corporate sales and dealer service departments.
Select the manufactured home company that matches your business philosophy, and that provides the best home values. Execute the sales agreements that allow your dealership to represent the company’s products.
Obtain your state dealer’s license. There is no definitive manufactured home license that applies to all fifty states. Contact your state’s Department of Commerce and Department of Motor Vehicles to learn which agency handles manufactured home dealer licensing.
As an example, the state of North Carolina licenses its dealers yearly through the state’s Department of Commerce. A surety bond is required, along with a formal dealer application.
Purchase your manufactured homes. Place an order that includes several home models with varied layouts and finish packages. Select homes with different price points designed to meet market segments’ needs. Plan to expand on popular models in the future.
Decorate and furnish your models. Work with an interior designer to create a welcoming environment within each model home. Use furniture, accent pieces, carpet and décor that reflect your region’s character. Decide whether the furnishings are included in the price of the home. Find a local interior designer through the American Society of Interior Designers: http://www.asid.org/custom/Referral/referral.htm.
Hire knowledgeable sales staff. Recruit sales professionals with demonstrated success in other high-dollar sales fields. Educate your staff about your homes’ construction and value, and about the company’s philosophy and core business values. Finally, conduct role-playing exercises to simulate different sales scenarios.
Hold a Grand Opening celebration. Schedule a Grand Opening Week rather than a one-day event. Create daily themes to keep customers coming back each day (e.g. different uses for spare rooms or low cost interior design touches). Book animated characters to attract families with children.
Schedule a live remote radio broadcast, and place ads in regional newspapers’ real estate sections. Finally, attract browsers interested in the company’s products by advertising your event on the corporate website.
Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.