Indiana Association Takes On Seminars and Factory Tours Program
From Elkhart, Indiana, where manufactured home factories dot the landscape, the state association and industry leaders are issuing an invite to manufactured housing professionals to take part in two days of sales seminars and factory tours.
“It’s a unique combination of being able to attend professional seminars and then having access to the factories,” said Ron Breymier, executive director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council. “There aren’t many other places that could make this type of program work.”
Indeed, approximately 200 manufactured housing industry professionals will get a day of sales seminars, and then a day of visiting and touring factories where homes are built.
A collection of industry experts has been brought together to lead MH community owners, managers and retailers through the best practices involved with picking out the right home, as well as getting the financing, siting and finishes that work best.
The immediate Elkhart area has three factories open to visitors, and a fourth is just down the road in Garrett, Ind.
- Adventure Homes, Garrett, Ind.
- Champion Homes, Elkhart, Ind.
- Clayton Homes, Elkhart, Ind.
- Fairmont, Elkhart, Ind.
The seminars will be held May 8, and the openings for factory tours will be on May 9. The factory tour schedule will be handed out during the day of seminars.
All of the manufacturers will have exhibitor booths at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Event Center, the venue for seminars and networking opportunities. Joining the manufacturer exhibitors at the Hall of Fame Event Center is All-American modular, which builds its homes in Pennsylvania.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame is located at 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart, Ind., 46514
Indiana Association Adopts Seminar and Factory Tour Experience
The two days of seminars and factory tours was originated in 2016 by George Allen, a consultant to the factory-built housing industry. With full intent to continue the event, Allen took a year off and reconvened the seminars and factory tours with IMHA-RVIA taking the lead this year and for future events.
Allen said there is a notable difference between the inaugural event and this year’s incantation.
“In 2016, we were just beginning to see orders in the industry picking up in volume. And when I phoned manufacturers to be involved, they were jumping through the phone to volunteer time and efforts,” Allen said.
“There’s a second tier of smaller properties that have a problem with vacancies in many cases, and there are fewer street retailers than there used to be. So this helps community owners begin to understand how to buy directly from factories.
“Only two years later, the factories are 30-, 50-, 60-days out in orders now. So, It’s different circumstances. The manufacturers are doing a better business, but there’s still the overwhelming need from community owners, particularly the smaller to midsize owners.”
Fewer Street Retailers Selling Homes Today
Fortunately, the Indiana factories continue to welcome manufactured housing professionals with open doors and open arms. Where in years past community owners commonly bought new homes to place in their communities from traditional street retailers, factory-direct is a growing trend.
With far fewer retailers in the market today, community owners have felt compelled to buy directly from the factory, often for their own community retail operation.
“The parks need homes, and the non-portfolio managers and owners need help figuring out how to buy,” Allen said. “They don’t necessarily know how solve the problem. Those are the people I am looking to contact, and provide some help to them in a tactical way.
“The two days of seminars and factory tours is a first-hand and live look-in to where, how and why homes are built the way they are, and how they’re sold from the factory. Combine this with seminars on “Getting Ready for Home Sales”, “Buying Right Homes Homes to Sell”, “Selling New Homes On-Site”, “Four Types of Home Finance”, as well as “Installation In-Community & Wholesale Finance”, and community owners will have a new foundation for buying community homes.
Among the research and data provided by Allen’s collaborative Community Owners Business Alliance – Part 7 (COBA7) is a look at how new homes sold directly to communities has increased in recent years. The COBA7 research shows new HUD-Code home shipments have increased from a low of 49,789 units in 2009 to 92,902 in 2017, an increase of more than 86 percent in eight years.
The much talked about industry goal is to reach 100,000 shipments in 2018, and potentially double that by 2022.
How to Attend Two Days of Seminars and Factory Tours in Indiana
All of this feeds into the intent of providing awareness and training for some of those buyers, including those industry professionals already registered from as far off as Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa in addition to attendees from Indiana.
“Not only will attendees be able to see homes being made, but manufacturers are setting up some of the finished product for owners and retailers to tour completed homes on site,” Breymier said.
If people have a lot of older homes in their community, and that’s what they’re used to seeing, their eyes will pop out when they see the new product,” he said. “There are a lot of people who understand the quality of the new homes, but this is a valuable experience for anyone to stay up to date on the latest trends and practices, not just in the factories but during our professional seminars.”
MH professionals interested in the seminars and factory tours can register for the event for as little as $179, which includes lunch and a networking reception. For those traveling to northwest Indiana, event-rate rooms can be booked through the local Hilton Garden Inn as well as the Fairfield Inn & Suites.