THE DEVELOPER'S DILEMMA
There are easier ways to make a living than as a property developer, particularly in today’s climate. The rewards can be significant, but the risks are high too. And there is a significant number of variables, any one of which can turn a potential triumph into an unmitigated disaster.
So difficult is the environment today that there is an ever-present challenge to business owners to find financial corners that can be cut (without affecting the finished product). All projects regardless of size and thoroughness of preparation have been knocked sideways by the increase in cost of materials, and scarcity of the same.
It is hardly a surprise that when it comes to any overhead, the first question that pops into even the most inexperienced of minds is, “do I really need this? Can I do without it?” It’s all a tricky balancing act … materials, well you need them, but can we save money on a lesser product without it diminishing the finished article? Labour – clearly, we need that too, but we must be careful not to pick a contractor based too much on price only to find they go bust mid-project.
And then there are other costs, apparently less critical to the success of any scheme and, aftercare is probably the best example of this. Aftercare has been the sacrificial lamb of the new homes industry since … ‘ever!’ If a developer needed to cut costs (or just speed things up) aftercare would be the first thing to go, with the justification …. “We can manage without that - it’ll be fine!”
Here are the top 5 Developer Dilemmas:
Dilemma # 1. How can we manage defects without a suitable system? The short answer is you can’t. But there are plenty of developers who try. Predictably they will get into a confused mess quite quickly. Popular amongst those companies trying to save money at this juncture is Microsoft Excel, which is NOT a database, so you cannot manage data and that means updating, finding, reporting, and analysing is impossible.
Dilemma # 2. Managing emergencies out of hours will be impossible! Correct, it is. Being organised and equipped to take calls between close of office and the wee small hours, plus every weekend and all bank holidays is just not possible for any developer.
Dilemma # 3. What now? My plumber has just gone bust! In the current climate this is becoming a regular occurrence and one that can truly de-rail a development if it happens to be a main contractor.
Dilemma # 4. None of my staff are trained to handle after care! Do they need training? What is there to know? How hard can it be? Well, the short answers are:
· A great deal
Times have progressed and the average consumer expects a great deal more than they ever did – and they know how to complain in ways that will cause your business significant reputational damage if you fail to acknowledge this.
Dilemma # 5. We know nothing about the New Homes Quality Code! And you will need to – or find someone who can keep you on the straight and narrow because this is a new industry code that will govern every private for sale new homes developer.
The conclusion is, don’t try and save money here! It simply isn’t worth it. The cost of aftercare and associated defects cost around 1% of the construction costs of the average property. So, on a good day, doing it your way, i.e.,
1. Excel spreadsheets to capture defects
2. Handing round a mobile phone to share the management of emergencies
3. Flicking through the yellow pages to find another plumber
4. Hoping your secretary or receptionist can handle customer defects
5. Keeping fingers crossed that you don’t trip over the Quality Code
… IS FALSE ECONOMY!
And the reason why is down to how you value your time as a businessman. When something goes wrong with aftercare you can spend hours - days - weeks - months even, trying to resolve it. Not necessarily just you, but often several others within the business. And it doesn’t always stop there!
A disappointed, angry customer can easily rubbish your good name with a few well aimed social media articles. All this to save a few hundred pounds.
What’s the alternative? Well call us and we’ll talk you through it. After Build has been providing fixed price, cost effective aftercare for 20 years. We have a fabulous system, designed for this application, everything is on the Cloud and customers can access it via our App. Our service manages your obligations (to your builder’s warranty and NHQC) for 2 years, including out of hours emergencies. We handle all the calls, manage your contractors (and help you find new ones if needs press), organise and instruct works and report everything to you 24/7.
Would like to know more? Call Mark Fawcitt, Director of Customer Development 07342 037810, or email: email@example.com