Texas Swimming Pool Construction Update – November 2017

A closer look at numbers behind new swimming pool construction in Texas during November.

As with every HBW report on Texas, we took a monthly view of construction activity from the four major metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.  When focusing on new pool permit activity from the HBW database, we found approximately 400 new swimming pool construction permits with a total construction value of nearly $20M were added during the month of November.  And while more than half of all swimming pool starts originated from the Dallas area, the highest average value of construction took place in Austin.

Here is a closer look at Texas swimming pool starts during the month of November:

Texas Swimming Pool Construction by Numbers – November 2017

Information utilized for Texas swimming pool construction reports was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

A View From the Top – Texas Residential Construction in November

From home builders with the most housing starts to areas with the highest concentration of new home construction, here is look at the top builders and areas in Texas last month.

Texas Housing Starts by Area – November 2017

While November wasn’t a record-breaking month for new residential construction in Texas, there were 3,700 new residential construction permits added to the HBW database with a total construction value in excess of $926M.  Out of the hundreds of active builders on file throughout the four major metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, D.R. Horton dominated in three out of four areas and maintained its spot at the top for Texas housing starts.  Houston continues to lead for new residential construction activity (~1,470 permits), while Dallas continues to drive higher construction value at an average of $319k last month.

Here is a closer look at the top areas and builders by area for November:

Houston

For the month of November, Houston took top spot for total housing starts out of the four major metro areas reviewed, having approximately 1,470 new residential construction permits with a total value in excess of $282M added to the HBW database.  More than half of all new construction took place in Harris County (876 permits), and out of the 180 builders on file for the month, the following ranked at the top for total housing starts:

Company Total Permits
D.R. Horton Inc. 223
Perry Homes 87
Lennar Homes 62

 

Dallas

In Dallas, there were 1,350 housing starts with a total construction value of nearly $431M during November.  More than half of all new construction took place in the counties of Collin (393 permits) and Tarrant (370 permits).  Out of the approximately 250 active builders in the area for the month, the following took top spot for total new permits:

Company Total Permits
D.R. Horton Inc 259
First Texas Homes 57
Pulte Homes 49

 

Austin

Last month, there were nearly 520 housing starts totaling nearly $131M in Austin.  The bulk of new home construction took place in Travis County (>320 permits), and out of the 85+ active builders in the area, the following took top spot for total housing starts within the one-month period:

Company Total Permits
D.R. Horton Inc 68
Lennar Homes 42
K B Homes 38

 

San Antonio

In San Antonio there were nearly 360 housing starts with a total construction value nearing $83M last month.  The highest concentration of new residential construction could be found in Bexar County (153 permits), and out of the 95 active builders on file, the following builders were positioned at the top for total new permits for the one-month period:

Company Total Permits
Continental Homes Of Texas 45
KB Homes 33
M/I Homes 21

 

Information utilized for Texas residential construction reports was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Tips for Increasing Sales in 2018

If you are like most businesses, you are planning, reviewing and approving budgets and projections for 2018.  No matter how busy you may be with home building and remodeling projects, this time of year is crucial to your success next year and in the years to come.  Sure, you could just run through the steps and increase your expected revenue based on your sales from last year, but if you do that, you simply won’t be maximizing this opportunity for growth.

To put a solid and comprehensive plan into place, it will take collaboration from your team and an honest review of your business activity over the last 12 months.  Here are some easy ways to make the most of your planning sessions:

  1. Review Your Successes (and Failures) of 2017 – It’s easy to celebrate our successes, but very few of us want to revisit painful projects that closed in the “red”. Nonetheless, such setbacks that may have transpired during the year should be used as opportunities.  Take time to revisit jobs where you fell short on profit margins, as well as those where you came in on time and under budget; assess the weaknesses and the strengths of each project.  Determine the factors that were within your control and can be improved upon and those that were out of your control and you can watch for in future projects.  To truly be successful, your business and practices must evolve in a way that reinforces the players, departments and practices that work and eliminates or navigates the obstacles that have interfered with progress.
  2. Listen to Your Customers – Not all customers are created equal, and chances are you have had a smooth ride with some and challenges with others in the past year. In order to nurture current client relationships and better handle challenges with future customers, review feedback (positive and negative) from your customers. From your sales team to your site supervisors, have your team compile a list of frequent or common requests, issues and noteworthy feedback that were received over the last year.  You may be surprised by what you learn, and more importantly, your team can learn from each other through the eyes and ears of those you serve.
  3. Listen to Your Team – Your sales teams are the ones with their finger on the pulse of your target market. While you may hold regular sales team meetings, the end-of-the year meeting should focus on reviewing your products and services and exploring possibilities for expanding your reach.  Your team can provide valuable insight on customer interests, popular requests that you may or may not have been able to meet, trends and tools and resources they may be lacking to close the sale.  This is also a good time to update and review prospect status reports, determine leads that are still viable and refresh the list with new leads such as those provided through HBW’s permit reports.  Use this time to equip your team with everything they need to be confident and prepared to meet their sales goals in 2018.

When looking to grow and increase sales, you will want to cut away some time to review your current business patterns, apply customer input and team feedback to improve your offerings, project management and marketing efforts.  Before the holiday parties begin and employees catch flights to their vacation destinations, make time for sales and team meetings and honest evaluations that will enable you and your business to extend the celebration in the year to come.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

How to Make the Holidays Productive

Tips for making the holiday season productive for your team and business.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and along with holiday parties and gift giving, there will most likely be a lot of vacation time too.  Just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean that your business needs to shut down.  As a home builder or remodeler, projects don’t stop for the month just because shopping and decorating takes over during December.  While you will want to make sure your employees get the holiday and vacation time they deserve, you should also take a few steps to ensure that you won’t lose too much valuable time on the job site.  Here are five tips for making this holiday season a productive time for your business:

  1. Schedule It – Even though every employee may already be aware of their approved time/dates off during the holidays, the schedule of days off should be visible to all employees. By providing guidelines and limitations on the number of employees that can be on vacation on any given day, it provides a chance for your own team to coordinate, swap and follow a clear schedule.
  2. Black Out – If there are certain days that are essential for employees and workers to be on site, make sure to institute blackout dates for days off. The notice for blackout dates should be provided well in advance, and if they take place at the same time each year, they should be incorporated in the employee manual.
  3. Offer Holiday Pay – Just as you offer overtime, additional holiday pay can motivate employees to work some of the less popular hours or dates of the season. Holiday pay differential can be incorporated in your pay structure and may be perfect for those team members who are interested in gaining more time on the job this season.
  4. Offer Flexibility – This time of year is a demanding time for families, and as an employer, it is important to recognize your team’s needs. For this reason, offer flexible hours when and where possible, as well as the ability to work from home or remotely should they need to travel.
  5. Be Fair – Even if you have a first come, first served policy, the same employees may be reaping the reward of holiday vacation year after year. Keep track of those team members taking off for the holidays so that they can fairly share the responsibility and rotate holiday vacation time.

By having a clear schedule, guidelines and fair rotation of the holiday vacation schedule, your employees will be better prepared to keep your business on track throughout the holiday season.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Preventing Employee Burnout

With the holidays, your team has most likely scheduled well-deserved breaks and vacation time throughout December.  And while they may become temporarily refreshed over the holidays, in order to retain employees, it is important to take proper steps to ensure they are refreshed throughout the year.  With technology, we are in constant contact with work by email, text and social media, and although this can be great for improving communication, it is also a great way to burn out your top performers.

Employee burnout and stress are on the rise and can be costly to individual health and healthcare in general.  According to Harvard Business School, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees costs an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the U.S. The cost for your business can be far greater as high stress can lead to lower productivity and increased turnover. In order to reduce stress and prevent burnout, here are a few basic steps you can take to help employees find a work-life balance:

  1. Time Management – Time management is one of the keys to success and productivity. That being stated, not everyone has the tools for properly managing their time which can lead to employees feeling overwhelmed and overworked.  Rather than pinpointing team members who are experiencing challenges with time management, be proactive by providing tools and guidelines for managing projects and office time.  This can be done through useful technology and training, as well as providing schedules for certain projects and meetings.  Your business and team should run on time and have realistic expectations for how long each project or daily task should require.  Don’t allow meetings to run over, and don’t accept habitual tardiness.
  2. Use Your Talent – Using your top talent does not mean overusing them. It is easy to take those who are most capable and continuously task them with the most weighted priorities.  While this is usually done with the best intentions, it can chase your top performers out the door.  For this reason, be sure to use ALL of your employees and spread the tasks and priorities fairly across the team.  If you find that you have a small percentage of your team that you can trust to complete projects accurately and on time, then it may be time to reassess your players, provide training or bring new talent onboard.
  3. Designate Decision Makers – Open and collaborative work environments are gaining in popularity and with good reason.  Teamwork is one of the building blocks of a strong team and company culture; at the same time, it can also lead to confusion when it comes to making final decisions or executing action items.  In any company model, it is essential that there be a few key decision makers.  Collaboration and group participation are valuable, but just be sure to assign leaders and decision makers within groups.  It is important that everyone contributes, but ultimately, there should be one leader in charge of the final decision and keeping projects and meetings on task and on time.

By providing guidelines for time management, designating leaders and ensuring equal distribution of tasks, your team will have a clear understanding of workflow within your business.  With clear and realistic expectations, employees will be able to achieve their goals and complete tasks in a way that reduces stress and provides balance both in and out of the office.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

HBW Report: Florida Swimming Pool Construction – October 2017

From top builders to total permits, here is the latest on new pool construction in Florida

In October, there were more than 1,900 new swimming pool permits added to the HBW database for the Sunshine State.  From the five major regions reviewed (Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Southwest, Southeast), the southwest region (678 permits) ranked #1 for total permits, while Jacksonville led for highest average value of construction at $46,363.  Here is a closer look at new pool construction by area last month:

FL Pool Permits by Area – October 2017

Southwest

New pool construction activity was highest in the southwest region last month.  Construction value remains stable in the area, and Aragon Pools and Spas continues to be an active and leading builder.

Total # of Permits: 678

Average Value of Construction: $41,652

Top Counties for Total Permits: Lee (197 permits); Collier (149)

Top Builders for Total Starts: Aragon Pools and Spas (78 permits); Pinnacle USA (36 permits); Coast to Coast Pools (29 permits)

Orlando

Central Florida and the Orlando area ranked second highest for swimming pool starts (429 permits) last month.  The city-central and most populous county of Orange had the greatest amount of new construction, and All Seasons Pools continued to hold its position as the leading builder in the area.

Total # of Permits: 429

Average Value of Construction: $42,164

Top Counties for Total Permits: Orange (161 permits); Osceola (83 permits)

Top Builders for Total Starts: All Seasons (68 permits); Holland Pools (30 permits); American Pools and Spas (29 permits)

Tampa

The Tampa area ranked in the middle of the pack for total new pool construction last month with nearly 320 new permits added to the HBW database.  Tampa Bay Pools took top spot for total starts and the city-central county of Hillsborough was #1 for new pool construction.

Total # of Permits: 319

Average Value of Construction: $45,546

Top Counties for Total Permits: Hillsborough (106 permits); Pasco (73 permits)

Top Builders for Total Starts: Tampa Bay Pools (23 permits); Olympus Pools (19 permits); Challenger Pools (18 permits)

Southeast

While the southeast region usually ranks on the higher end for average value when it comes to residential construction, the area held the lowest average value for new pool construction (~$39k) last month.  The popular counties of Miami and Palm Beach held the highest concentration of swimming pool starts, and Parkwood Pools took the lead for total permits on file (13 permits).

Total # of Permits: 308

Average Value of Construction: $39,163

Top Counties for Total Permits: Palm Beach (102 permits); Miami-Dade (77 permits)

Top Builders for Total Starts: Parkwood Pools (13 permits); A&G Concrete Pools (12 permits); Sunsational Pools and Spa (10 permits)

Jacksonville

In Jacksonville, there were nearly 200 swimming pool starts with a total construction value of nearly $8.9M.  While Jacksonville had the fewest total permits on file for the month, it ranked #1 for highest average value of construction ($46,363).  Duval County had the greatest concentration of new pool construction, and Blue Haven Pools was the leading builder in the area for total starts.

Total # of Permits: 191

Average Value of Construction: $46,363

Top Counties for Total Permits: Duval (62 permits); St. Johns (54 permits)

Top Builders for Total Starts: Blue Heron Pools (13 permits); Stanley Pools (11 permits); Surfside Pools and Spas (10 permits)

To gain more information on the builders, homeowners and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Giving Back this Holiday Season

Make the holiday season more than a time of giving by providing opportunities for you and your team to give back to the community.

With Thanksgiving just less than one day away, it allows us the perfect opportunity to reflect on our gifts and ways we can give back.  The holiday season will entail plenty of gift giving, from family to employees, but some of the greatest gifts are less obvious than the holiday parties, ornately wrapped packages and annual bonuses.  As a business, being a member of and giving back to the community is not just a part of your social responsibility or another way to market your business; rather, giving back is simply the right thing to do, and the return is immeasurable.  According to a report by Cleveland Clinic, giving back provides great health benefits including: reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, lessening depression and extending life.

Not sure where to begin?  Here are a few ways you and your employees can share in “feel good” activities that give back to your community:

  1. Volunteer – Every community has nonprofit organizations that are seeking volunteers year-round. While the food banks and soup kitchens are in need of donation sorting and meal serving, there are groups that are also looking for office and event volunteers.  Take the time to find the right partner and cause where your team can be most effective.
  2. Sponsor a Fundraiser – Whether you choose a local 5k or a Holiday Gala, there are numerous local groups already holding fundraisers that your business can support. In addition to providing sponsorship, be sure to have your employees participate and volunteer to help before, during or after the event.
  3. Get Hands-On – As a home builder, you are in a unique position to play a powerful role in a home building project. From Habitat for Humanity to leading a donated rebuilding project through you local builders’ association, there are plenty of ways to bring your field and office staff off your job site and on to one that will change the lives of families in need.
  4. Hold a Drive – From canned goods to clothes and toys, you can easily hold a collection at your place of business. Consider partnering with a local food bank for a canned food drive to collect goods they need most.  Additionally, Toys for Tots is always looking for new toys for children each year, and along with your team bringing in toys, your business can register to be an official donation/collection site.

By employees being part of a company with a purpose, they not only unite as a team – they unite with their community.  And while giving back can boost their sense of value and self-esteem, it can also give your business a boost of purpose that gives back well beyond the holiday season.

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Florida Residential Construction Update – October 2017

In Florida, permit data for more than 5,800 housing starts were added to HBW’s database last month.  Out of the five major regions (Orlando, Tampa, SW, SE and Jacksonville) reviewed, Orlando ranked #1 and highest for total housing starts (1,470 permits) and average value ($306,279) of construction.  Out of the hundreds of active builders for the one-month period, D.R. Horton ranked top for total permits in Orlando and Jacksonville, and Lennar Homes had the greatest amount of starts in Tampa, and the southern portion of the state.  Here is a closer look at Florida’s new residential construction activity by area:

FL Residential Permits by Area – October 2017

Orlando

Total Permits: 1,470 (ranked #1 for total housing starts in October)

Total Construction Value: ~$450M

Average Value of Construction: $306,279 (ranked #1 for highest average value)

Top Counties for Total Permits: Orange (641 housing starts); Volusia (260 housing starts)

Top Builders for Total Permits: D.R. Horton (209 Permits); Meritage Homes (111 Permits); Lennar Homes (110 Permits)

Tampa

Total Permits: 1,353

Total Construction Value: ~$362M

Average Value of Construction: $267,406

Top Counties for Total Permits: Hillsborough (472 housing starts); Polk (374 housing starts)

Top Builders for Total Permits: Lennar Homes (172 Permits); D.R. Horton (165 Permits); The Villages of Lake Sumter (102 Permits)

Southwest Florida

Total Permits: 1,328

Total Construction Value: $341M+

Average Value of Construction: $257,143

Top Counties for Total Permits: Lee (501 housing starts); Collier (267 housing starts)

Top Builders for Total Permits: Lennar Homes (167 Permits); D.R. Horton (131 Permits); Pulte Homes (125 Permits)

Jacksonville

Total Permits: 1,000

Total Construction Value: $240M+

Average Value of Construction: $240,351

Top Counties for Total Permits: St. Johns (416 housing starts); Duval (308 housing starts)

Top Builders for Total Permits:  D.R. Horton (208 Permits); Lennar Homes (61 Permits); KB Homes (48 Permits)

Southeast Florida

Total Permits: 671

Total Construction Value: ~$200M

Average Value of Construction: $296,605

Top Counties for Total Permits: Miami-Dade (235 housing starts); St. Lucie (205 housing starts)

Top Builders for Total Permits: Lennar Homes (98 Permits); D.R. Horton (78 Permits); GL Building Corp. (51 Permits)

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for Florida residential construction was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

5 Tips for an Effective Holiday Marketing Campaign

Just in time for the holidays, here are five tips for giving your customers something to celebrate this season.

Holiday marketing seems to be earlier and earlier each year.  Walk into any big-box store and Christmas trees and stockings are already adorning the aisles within hours of Halloween’s last trick-or-treaters.  While launching holiday marketing campaigns earlier may spark the holiday spirit sooner, it is not necessarily the key to engaging more prospects.  Timing is important, but developing the right message and knowing how to reach your audience are also vital components of your holiday marketing efforts.  Here are five tips to keep in mind as you launch your holiday marketing campaign:

  1. Get into Giving – Thanksgiving and the holidays are a perfect time to give back to customers and the community. Ignite your own giving spirit with a holiday specific giveaway. Whether it is something as large as a project with Habitat for Humanity or a customer targeted giveaway for a new remodel or design service, holiday giveaways are a great way to gain new customers and engage social media followers.  Make sure to encourage viewers to share content, and don’t forget cross-marketing if partnering up with another organization.
  2. Cash in on Limited Time – The holidays only last for one fast and furious season, and so should your holiday offerings. By putting a time limit on your discounts or complimentary services, you are creating a sense of urgency and motivating customers to “act now” while being aligned with the timing of the holidays.
  3. Use Holiday Keywords – You use keywords to optimize your website and social posts, and your holiday marketing campaign should do the same. During the holidays there are a number of popular keywords that are searched, and for the purpose of SEO you can and should incorporate them in your content. Terms such as “Holiday Gift Guide”, “Gift Ideas” and “Black Friday Deals” are just some of the keywords that have the potential for increasing traffic to your holiday landing page.
  4. Get Visual – We all know ‘tis the season for shopping, and that means there will be a lot of browsing and image viewing online. For this reason, up your game on image-heavy social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. While users are posting holiday selfies and searching for decorating ideas, your ad can be strategically placed to display your top landscaping ideas for the season or feature your latest remodel and most requested design and build services.
  5. Host a Party – In addition to your own office party, consider hosting an open house, meet and greet or other holiday party where you invite your warmest leads or most loyal customers. The party doesn’t have to be lavish or break the bank, rather it can be a cocktail social at your showroom or local restaurant looking to attract new customers and increase dining traffic.

While many holiday marketing efforts can easily get lost in the mix and holiday hoopla, your business can still be a standout; from giveaways and holiday parties to keywords and targeted social media ads, you too will have something to celebrate this holiday season.

HBW Report: New Swimming Pool Construction in Texas through Q3

Through the third quarter of this year, Texas has experienced a 3% year-over-year increase in swimming pool construction.

With close to 6,100 swimming pool starts through the third quarter of 2017, Texas is gaining on last year’s pool construction figures by 3%.  Out of the four major metro areas reviewed (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio), there were increases in new pool construction in all areas with the exception of San Antonio (-1%).  Dallas is currently leading for total new permits (3,213 permits) as more than half of all permits originate from there, while Houston is leading for growth (+9%).

TX New Pool Permits by Area thru Q3 (2016 vs. 2017)

While the Austin area has seen a decline in pool construction over the last couple of years, as of the third quarter of this year it is climbing out of its slumber to currently be 3% ahead of last year with 580 new permits on file.  In San Antonio, pool construction remains somewhat steady with a slight decline (-1%) so far this year, and every quarter has been more active than the last; if this pattern remains through Q4, there is a high likelihood that San Antonio will chart on or ahead of last year.

When reviewing pool construction by major counties across the Lone Star State, there were higher concentrations in Houston and Dallas area counties.  With Harris County (Houston) being the most populous county of Texas, it is no surprise that a large amount of new construction activity can always be found there.  Through Q3 Harris ranked #1 for total pool starts (1,018 permits), reflecting a slight 1% year-over-year increase.  In the Dallas area, Collin County ranked second highest for new pool construction having 933 new permits through the third quarter of this year.  Tarrant County (Dallas) is also tracking ahead of last year with a 6% year-over-year increase and approximately 780 swimming pool starts through Q3 of this year.

TX Top 5 Counties for Total New Pool Permits Q3-2017

Information utilized for Texas swimming pool construction reports was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.