What a year 2020 was. It was unprecedented in so many ways, and for those of us in the real estate industry, we are all very thankful for the amazing year we had. While many businesses and friends were presented with very difficult challenges, I am so grateful to have been in an industry that saw incredible growth. While I am aware of how fortunate we are, quick growth also presents is own challenges. I thought this month’s newsletter would be a great opportunity to share a few of the solutions we have been working on to do what we strive to do best ... serve you.
Our incoming sq ft (metric we use for all incoming projects) began to explode last spring/summer, and in hindsight we could have done a better job of controlling how much was coming in. Very quickly we exceeded our capacity, and our turn times, (which we pride ourselves on), began to suffer. Because of the overcapacity, our team was doing the work of not just one person, but at times 1.5 or even 2 people. They worked long hours to try and meet the expectations we set for our builders and clients. While we were not perfect, I am extremely proud of what they accomplished. To solve for the influx of incoming sq ft, we hired new folks and continue to do so. But, we have also learned as well. The reality is our industry is extremely busy right now, and all of us need to communicate and work together to set the proper expectations for our clients. By controlling our incoming sq ft to align with our capacity, we can continue to service our builders and clients with the same quality, timelines, and experience that has allowed us to and deliver a quality product and client experience. We are working to solve for quicker meeting dates. We don’t want builders and clients waiting 3-4 weeks to schedule the start of their designs with us. We will get this back down to 1-2 weeks and are hiring, training, and improving our processes to do so.
Recognition of Business Needs for Builders by Creating Focused Departments:
We started our company by being intentional about being very process driven to best serve custom home builders and custom home clients. I am very proud of what we have accomplished. However, as we worked with our builders, it became apparent that we needed to adjust some of our processes to align with builder’s products separate needs. I classify our builders into roughly 3 categories: Custom, Semi-Custom, and Volume. Each of these business models have specific needs. While we had our Custom process down, our Semi-Custom and Volume Builders needed quicker turn times to meet the needs for those higher volume business models. These builders needed moderate modifications to a plan on their specs/models and expected quicker turn times.
We set out to solve for this.
We have segmented our drafting department in to 3 specific “mini-departments.”
We now have a Volume Department, a Remodel/Addition/Basement Department,
and a Design Support Department full of drafters.
1.) Our Volume Dept can turn minor mods to a spec or model plan in 2-4 business days.
Our Voume Dept services modifications of plans, conversions of plans, site plans and
RESchecks. It has been created to serve those specific business models that require
small revisions and quick turn times.
2.) Our Remodel/Addition/Basement Department support builders and clients hiring us to design plans for those specific projects. This team will meet on-site to discuss the scope/vision of the project and take measurements so we can complete the plans/design for those projects.
3.) Our Design Support Department supports our Designers on the custom side. They will assist with certain prelims, and complete all the construction documents/working drawings for our Designers.
In addition to these segmented Drafting Departments, we have a Design Department and a 3D Department. Our Design Dept handles all custom designs, and our 3D Dept does the visual for all residential projects. Our 3D Dept is also hired to do visuals and conceptual projects for commercial clients. To assist and serve our builders and clients, we also have a Sales Department and a Marketing Department. Our Sales Dept supports onboarding of builders and clients and the prospecting of new builders and clients. Our Marketing Dept promotes and advertises for VirtuActive, our builders, and our industry partners through the spend and presence on our social media and digital platforms. Our Marketing Dept also helps builders and partners with marketing materials they may need assistance with.