Holiday Builders has a simple mission: provide homeowners with quality-built homes of lasting value for the best possible price. And clearly they are successful in fulfilling that mission. In Holiday Builders’ first year of business, the goal was to sell 12 homes, instead they sold 76. Nearly 30 years and 30,000 single-family homes later, Holiday is still making the dream of homeownership come true in communities in Florida, Alabama, Texas and South Carolina. By constantly adapting designs and materials selections, Holiday Builders is able to withstand market fluctuations while delivering customers the options that make a house a dream home.
In response to the downturn in the market, Holiday Builders revamped their product offering based on customer feedback and new product availability. The company also focused on building communities for specific buyers, including younger people moving up, and retiring families looking to downsize. “When selecting products for our communities we like to be on the cutting edge,” says DiAnne Mangis, Purchasing Agent for the Florida Region of Holiday Builders.
“For example, we just started offering Wilsonart integrated sinks which are brand new. In fact, I think we are the first builder to show them. Customers like the idea of having an under-mounted stainless sink.”
All of Holiday Builder’s communities have standard features that are dictated by the type of community and the location, with options, like pools, for upgrading. Holiday Builders generally builds a few spec homes in a location, and the rest are built to the buyers’ custom specifications within available plans.
Quality Built Homes
Our goal is to provide value in what we are selling,” says Michelle Smallwood, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Holiday Builders. “We recognize that there are thousands of home builders in operation. There are tens of thousands of home plans that are four bedrooms and two and a half baths, so at the end of the day we need to offer something different. From our perspective, we’re looking to really provide value in what we’re selling.”
To do this, Holiday Builders specifies products based on quality. “ I don’t want to be the cheapest, I want to be the best,” says Smallwood. “We take a lot of care in selecting the products we use to build our homes. Our great purchasing folks always have their eyes open for products that will keep us on the leading edge of home style.” One of the company’s latest offerings is Wilsonart integrated sinks. “People who come through the models rave about them,” says Smallwood. “Because the countertop and sink are one piece, there is no opportunity for moisture intrusion. And clean up is easy because there is no channel behind the faucet where water can collect.
Plus, Wilsonart HD integrated sinks have the more contemporary rectangular shape, as opposed to just oval or round sinks. Rectangular sinks are absolutely an upcoming trend.”
The sinks are integrated into Wilsonart HD Laminate Countertops, which is an established standard option in most of Holiday Builders’ communities. “One of the things we really like about Wilsonart HD Laminate is the wide variety of choices. They have something for everyone, from plain white to designs that look like marble and highly figured granite,” says Smallwood. “The HD Laminate also has the AEON ™ Enhanced Performance finish, which is fabulous.” Wilsonart’s AEON enhances the fidelity of the design and makes the surface measurably more wear resistant. Not only does the surface look better when new, it looks new longer. This is particularly important because Holiday Builders offers customers a 2-year warranty from front porch to back porch on everything inside the home. Most builders offer a 1-year warranty. This is in addition to Holiday Builders’ standard 10-year structural warranty.
Holiday Builders’ warranty is another thing that sets them apart from the competition, and in order to live up to that guarantee, the products the company selects have to be easy to maintain. “The integrated sinks are so easy to keep clean, and the HD Laminate countertops are easier to take care of than granite,” says Smallwood. “You don’t have to worry about staining or pitting or anything like that. It is very durable and has that look of a really high-end designer kitchen.” Holiday Builders does offer other countertop options, including granite and solid surfacing, but Smallwood explains that customers are generally not interested in solid surfacing. “We offer it, but we find that customers want granite or Wilsonart HD Laminate. Solid Surface costs almost as much as granite these days, and both require much more maintenance than laminate. In the end, the homeowner is going to have to live with their choice, and laminate is way easier to live with than granite.”
Best Possible Price
According to Mangis, “The housing market has changed a lot in the past few years. Not only is there generally more than one builder in a community, but buyers do not have as much discretionary income. That means we have to be more flexible in how we purchase land, and the options we offer customers, while at the same time being more precise in efficiently completing the building process. I spend a lot of time researching upfront so I can suggest what we need to have in order to be competitive.”
Holiday Builders uses an economy of scale to keep costs low. To do this the company relies on a quick turn around from the time a lot is purchased to the time the home closes, usually less than 90 days, to minimize unproductive assets. “I know of builders who have had problems with vendors who deal with things overseas and run into difficulty on delivery. I don’t want any part of that. We’re a production builder. When we’re building houses, we can’t stop the cycle. We can’t afford to hold up for two or three weeks if somebody has a delivery problem from China,” says Smallwood. “We’ve never had a problem with Wilsonart, and that helps us to keep the process moving forward. We’re an employee-owned company, nobody makes any money until we get the homes closed.”
Consistency and efficiency is what allows Holiday Builders to continue to build quality homes of lasting value at the best possible price. “Take the Wilsonart HD Laminate for example,” says Smallwood. “The granite designs look just like granite, with tiny pits randomly interspersed on the surface so it has a very authentic look at a much more affordable price. Being able to offer that allows buyers who are in the middle price range to have the fabulous look and feel of a designer kitchen without the huge price. They can have great countertops with an integrated sink, and still afford to upgrade the cabinets. It gives them the opportunity to get the whole look. And that is what makes a house a home.”