Bay to Beach Builders completes about 50 homes a year in southern Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Photo: Jeff Murphy
Deric Parker’s home building business was just getting its feet wet when it was slammed with a tidal wave.
Launched in 2003, Parker’s Bay to Beach Builders in Greenwood, Del. was scrambling to keep itself together as the Great Recession hit. He was a good builder, he said, “but we realized that there was a lot we didn’t know about our business.”
While he was a member of the HBA of Delaware, Parker said he hadn’t really availed himself of any member benefits and services. “We started looking for resources,” Parker said. “Most guys like me start out working for someone else, and when you start your own business, it doesn’t come with an owner’s guide or a manual.”
Through his HBA, Parker learned about NAHB and the annual International Builders’ Show® (IBS). He scanned through the IBS education offerings. Maybe going to a few sessions could help?
Parker took the plunge. “My wife and I and two of our team members went,” he remembered. They enjoyed the exhibits and seeing the new products on display, but their focus, he said, was on education.
“We knew how to build homes, but there were a lot of aspects of the business we didn’t really do the way we needed to,” he said.
He needed a better hold of process. Taking IBS business management sessions and having the opportunity to talk later with the instructors was eye-opening, Parker said.
Before, “We’d get a contract and as quickly as we could we’d get a permit and we tried to get construction started,” Parker said. Through one IBS class, “One of the simplest things we learned how to do was to slot all our starts on a calendar and have the sales team fill each slot. We aren’t going to build more homes than we can efficiently handle. It’s very much controlled and our trade partners love it. Instead of operating out of chaos it’s a much, much more orderly process. We aren’t scrambling like we had been.”
He brought his sales team to the marketing classes. He joined roundtables facilitated by IBS instructors to trade ideas and learn new skills. Now, focusing on IBS education is part of the Bay to Beach Builders business plan.
“We take different team members each year — someone from sales, a project manager — four or five of us go,” Parker said. “We go through the education schedule pretty thoroughly so we can get a lot of coverage, and we take a lot of notes.” And even though Bay to Beach has been attending classes for 10 years now, “There’s always a couple little things that you can come up with,” Parker said. “We’re fine tuning — and we can make small gains here and there.”
From a company that grossed $2-3 million a year 10 years ago, Parker’s business now has 18 employees, does about 50 starts a year, and brings in $16-17 million annually. He credits hard work, faith and the International Builders’ Show.
Registration opens today for the 2018 Show. The best registration discounts are in August, but Parker said there are bigger reasons to sign up.
“IBS introduced us to people who could dig deep into our situation and help us a lot. I encourage anybody to go and learn something. It really did transform our company,” Parker said. “It’s part of the reason why we are still here, and our competitors are not.”