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When building a custom home or renovating your current home, you’ll have tough choices to make. From choosing the floor-plan and building materials down to picking the perfect design elements, every decision has a lasting effect on the look and feel of your new home, and choosing the right builder is no different. Your choice of custom home builder impacts both the end result of your building project and the overall design/construction experience.

In finding the perfect builder, there are many factors to consider and a surprising number of options available in the current marketplace. Have you considered the size of the company and its impact on quality craftsmanship, service and availability? Let's explore the advantages and possible drawbacks among the spectrum of home builders by size: large, small, and mid-sized.

Large Home Builders
Large home builders (such as Toll Brothers and Orleans) are characterized by a national or regional presence, multi-home development projects, and high work efficiency. They typically purchase sizable tracts of land on which they build entire housing communities, and they may work on several of such projects at any given time.

Because their projects are so expansive, large home builders are able to capitalize on economies of scale and work with great efficiency. Herein lay the benefits of working with a large home builder:

So what does this mean to you? In the end, you will probably end up with the “most home for your money” if you work with a large home builder, and your home will be built in a short period of time.

Unfortunately, the speed and affordability that makes working with large home builders so attractive to some leads to major concerns for others. Large home builders often have portions of homes built in a factory and shipped to the job site, which negatively affects the quality of craftsmanship and materials. Furthermore, large home builders pre-determine most design elements and choose building materials in advance. And they are on a schedule, so don’t expect them to make the little changes you’d like to see as the project progresses. It’s also important to note that the location of your home is limited to the piece of land the building company has already purchased.

Bottom Line: If time and/or money are major concerns, you should consider a large home builder because they work quickly and can provide bigger homes for smaller price tags. However, you should avoid big building companies if you want a highly personalized home, personalized service or if craftsmanship is of great importance.

Small Home Builders
Small home builders consist of 1-2 design/construction professionals working with a team of specialized sub-contractors. Oftentimes, they serve a small geographic area, accept just one project at a time, and work from their home or a small workshop.

Small home builders have a lot more “skin in the game” than large companies do. The owner of a small building company often works in the same community he lives in, and his livelihood depends on his professional reputation. Therefore, many small home builders want to ensure every project is a thing of beauty. That’s why you can expect high-quality craftsmanship when you work with a small home builder.

You can also expect total customization of your home if you work with a small builder. Because he/she has few (if any) employees, the leader of a small building company will be on the job every day. This provides you the opportunity to speak directly with the builders about things you like, dislike, or want to change.

 

What smaller companies lack, however, are the resources that can make your project run ultra-smoothly. Small builders don’t have a large pool of employees, so if one person gets sick or can’t work the whole project can stall. They can’t afford to hold inventory either, which can lead to seemingly interminable delays while you wait for new resources to arrive. Most importantly, the owner of a small home builder often plays the role of foreman, laborer, marketer, bookkeeper, and customer service associates.

Bottom Line: You should hire a small home builder if you require exceptional quality, customization, and attention to detail. However, you should be prepared for a longer time until completion, and your customer-service experience may be frustrating at times.

Mid-sized Home Builders
Mid-sized home builders, such as Jarrett Vaughan Builders, encompass some of the best characteristics of both large and small building companies. They’re big enough to carry inventory and a team of full-time employees, so their projects keep moving forward smoothly. They’re small enough to give each project and customer the personal attention that ensures quality craftsmanship and the option to personalize their home.

One of the greatest benefits of working with a mid-sized home builder is their commitment to customer service. Mid-sized builders are large enough to hire a full-time staff of in-house professionals but small enough to know you by name. Some of our employees at Jarrett Vaughan have been with us for decades and understand our firm’s core values and commitment to our customers.

Unlike big home builders, who may force you to speak with a customer service associate that knows nothing about your project, mid-sized builders usually allow customers to speak directly with the owner and project manager. When beginning a project at Jarrett Vaughan, we provide our customers with a book containing the names and office and cell phone numbers of the project team and the back office staff. And unlike small companies that have no office space or showroom, mid-sized companies often allow you the opportunity to shop, discuss and compare materials before buying.

One potential drawback of working with a mid-sized builder could be the price of their services. Large home builders slash prices by buying in bulk and finishing projects quickly. Smaller companies eliminate the overhead costs associated with full-time employees, office space, inventory, etc. Mid-sized builders, however, cannot buy in bulk and typically don’t cut corners on materials. We also invest in long-term employees that have the experience to ultimately satisfy discerning customers.

Bottom Line: Mid-sized companies marry the speed and efficiency of large building companies with the customization and craftsmanship of small home builders. They also offer superior customer service as compared to larger or small homebuilders. However, you may have to invest a little more for these benefits!

With a home building company of any size, there are benefits and drawbacks that must be considered, and there’s no such thing as a one-size fits all solution. It’s important that you, the (future) homeowner, know what factors are important to you and choose a builder whose strengths match your desires.