Newsletter Archive

Latest Comments

The Masthead
Daily Business News
Industry Voices
INspirations
Words of Wisdom
The Cutting Edge
Powered by Disqus
Find the perfect job or hire the perfect employee

Sell or Buy using our Classifieds

Upcoming Events

Submit your news and events

by Chad Carr

Chad Carr photoThere's been a lot written lately about the decline of our Industry. Many experts have pointed out that the ongoing reduction in new home shipments, the shrinking number of Independent Retailers and the lack of support from the banking sector are all signs that our road will be difficult to travel for some time to come. Some have even predicted we are on a road to oblivion.

While these opinions are certainly based on reliable facts, and the experience and knowledge of these opinion makers are beyond question, I have not yet been convinced that retailers and community owners of our industry are in a hopeless or, frankly, even a desperate situation.

I believe it is still possible to sell and finance homes at a profit. I believe owners can continue to build long-term wealth and stability in this market. I believe this industry still presents a great opportunity for Independent Retailers and Community Owners alike.

I believe these things are possible because I see them actually happening in this industry every day!

At Rainmaker, we call on retailers and community owners of every shape and size in every region of the country – every day. And while it's true that the majority of those we talk with are tired, beat-up, frustrated, hopeless and "Retired-In-Place," we also talk to people every day that are doing very well.

I know retailers who are making record profits. I know community owners with 99% occupancy rates. I know people with private portfolios of MH Loans that are performing very well and have been for a long time.

That's not to say that everyone is or even can be successful. But I am absolutely convinced that a much greater percentage of Retailers and Community Owners could be doing much better than they are.

I have written on this site before about the Best Practices that people need to employ during these times in order to be successful. A quick search of the Archives should produce several pieces on these Best Practices, but let me list 10 that we actively teach and promote:

Strategy #1 – Reduce your Overhead
Strategy #2 – Convert Fixed Expenses to Variable Expenses
Strategy #3 - Turn your P&L into a profit generating check-list
Strategy #4 – Learn and Implement Variable Gross Profit Strategies
Strategy #5 – Get Aggressive in Used, Repo's and Consignments
Strategy #6 – Develop Retail Finance Alternatives
Strategy #7 – Increase your Variable Sales Penetration
Strategy #8 – Move your Marketing and Prospecting Efforts to the Internet
Strategy #9 – Capture Market Share with aggressive Marketing and Follow-up
Strategy #10 – Upgrade your Sales Process and Retrain your Sales Team

We know many people who have used these strategies to not only survive, but to thrive in this current market.

Unfortunately, despite our efforts to help teach dealers these strategies, and the efforts of others like the staff of MHSMH.com to help spread the word about opportunities for dealers to improve their business, I am amazed at how few people actually want to do the work it takes to make something positive happen.

Don't get me wrong; I know owners are busy working. In fact, they are probably busier than they have been at any other point in the last 20 years. But they are busy working harder at the same things they have always done. They are busy because they have let their staffs go, not because their activities are making things better.

Every month, our company offers at least six free education seminars through the Internet focusing on how Retailers and Community Owners can implement the various strategies listed above to improve their sales and bottom line. We are lucky if we get four or five people from this industry to attend these webinars.

For those who do attend, when I follow-up to ask what changes they are considering to help improve their business, most tell me none. Just to be sure I'll ask if business is already good for them and almost always they tell me no.

Why is it that we can have so many smart, hard working people in this industry who are incapable of taking action or making changes? From my conversations with Dealers and other Industry Professionals, I have come up with a list of four reasons:

#1 – Fear

Many people are just plain scared. They feel the problems they face are so big, and their ability to fix these problems so limited, that they are just scared into trying nothing.

We all know how opossums play dead when they are afraid, even if it increases the chance that they will end up dead. Many people are so stressed about their situation that they just "play dead," try nothing different, and hope that they don't get hit by the one last problem that will finally put them over the edge.

#2 – Fatigue

I was recently talking to a dealer about changes he could make to grow his business and he said, "The problem, Chad, is that I'm just tired of working this hard. I spent twenty years working my tail off to build this business, five years working to save it, and I don't want to have to work that hard again at this point in my life."

This was about as honest an answer as I have received from anyone in the last three years. He knew he could do better, but he was tired and instead of getting back to work, he had decided to lower his expectations and adjust his lifestyle so he could meet his needs without having to re-grow his business.

#3 – Fairy Tale Thinking

I can't tell you the number of times I finish up a speaking engagement where I am trying to show people how they can turn around their businesses only to have someone come up to me and talk about how everything would be better if someone would just start sending again, fix the appraisal problem, put together an image campaign, enforce the duty to serve, etc.

There is no white knight coming to save this industry. This industry is going to have to save itself. Or at least each Retailer and Community Owner is going to have to save themselves.

We have always had to fight harder than other segments of the housing market. We have always had powerful enemies who do not want to see our industry grow. We have always had to overcome a stigma about our product.

And there have always been people making money in this industry despite all these issues.

#4 - Fatalism

As evidenced in some of the recent discussion on this and other sites, there are many who have finally given up on this industry. I talk to lots of people who say they would love to sell out and be done if someone would just make them a decent offer. I talk to many more who are just hoping to outlive the business.

This fatalism is understandable; it has been a very hard 12 years for this industry. However, it makes no sense to sit by and watch your life savings go back into a business that you are not going to make successful. Those who are "Retired in Place" really do need to cut their losses and move on.

Each of these four reasons for inaction can be excused on an individual basis. Each Retailer or Community Owner is allowed to do what they wish to do; and each can tell themselves what ever they need to in order to make themselves feel comfortable about their decisions.

I worry though, that we are collectively reaching some point of negative critical mass where we spend more time talking about the reasons things are bad than we do trying to make positive things happen.

There are plenty of people working hard as individuals, trying new things and being very successful in this business today. But we need more of them.

I'm not talking about working to solve big industry-wide problems (not that people shouldn't do this). I'm talking about working on your own business.

I don't think there is one magic solution to solve the industry's problems, but there are concrete steps that can be worked on each day to grow your individual business and be profitable. When we each do that individually, the industry will begin to improve collectively.

I am not ready to give up on this industry because I know many people who have overcome the challenges of this industry to be very successful. If some businesses are actually successful, then it must be possible for others to be successful.

For those who wish/want to break out of the cycle of negativity, there are plenty of resources to help. There are many people out there offering help in the form of articles, webinars, training sessions, consulting services and more.

You can find many of those resources right here on the pages of this site. As I mentioned before, our company hosts free webinars (on-line seminars) each month that go into detail on the ten strategies I listed above and many more Best Practices that we have learned from successful dealers through our 35 years in this industry.

If you want help figuring out where to start, you can give me a call and I would be happy to get you pointed in the right direction. But it doesn't matter so much where you go to find something new to try. What matters is that you make the conscious decision to seek out something you believe could help your business and then invest some time and energy in making it happen.

###

Chad Carr is the President of Rainmaker Software, a second-generation family business that provides Retail Management Software and Consulting Services for the Housing, RV and Trailer markets.

Rainmaker works with dealers ranging in size from five to six people up to some of the biggest and most well recognized names in the industry. Register for their free monthly newsletter at http://visitor.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?m=110294633464five&p=oi.

If you would be interested in learning how to look at these and other ratios for your company, call Rainmaker Consulting for a free business analysis. We will look at your financial statements, analyze them and provide you with both the results and our feedback, all at no charge. For more information, visit their website at www.getRain.com or contact Chad at (800) 336-0339 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Daily Business News Briefs

Skyline Trades Down as Nasdaq Moves up Modestly; Dow and S&P Slip

Skyline Trades Down as Nasdaq Moves up Modestly; Dow and S&P Slip

In today’s trading on Wall Street following the Labor Day holiday, the Dow and S&P slipped modestly, while the Nasdaq made a minor advance, and tracked stocks closed mixed. However, Skyline Corp. (SKY) dropped -9.17 percent to 3.17, a decline of -0.32 points in the largest fall of stocks we follow, while UMH Properties, Inc. […]...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

Capital Square Realty Acquires three MHCs

Capital Square Realty Acquires three MHCs

MHProNews has been informed by virtual-strategy.com an affiliate of Capital Square Realty Advisors, LLC has acquired three manufactured housing communities consisting of 1,141 home sites in Indiana and Ohio. The largest community is Timberbrook in Bristol, Indiana with 567 homesites set on 103 acres. Woodlake-Summerdale, located in Yoder, IN is...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

Work Stops on Massive Modular Housing Project in Big Apple; Ratner, Skanska…

Work Stops on Massive Modular Housing Project in Big Apple; Ratner, Skanska at Odds

Following a series of stories MHProNews  posted regarding the development of the 32-story, modular housing project by Forest City Ratner and construction partner Skanska intended for Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, work has come to a halt in a bitter dispute over tens of millions of dollars in cost overruns. Skanska idled 157 workers in the ...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

Michigan MH Residents Prepare for Summer Storms

Michigan MH Residents Prepare for Summer Storms

The Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) reminds occupants of system-built homes that potentially damaging summer wind and rain storms are at their peak and residents should ensure that roofs are in good condition and rainwater is directed away from the foundations. While manufactured homes (MH) are built to strict federal standards...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

New Home Sales Fall Second Consecutive Month

New Home Sales Fall Second Consecutive Month

According to numbers released by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U. S. Census Bureau, sales of newly-built single-family homes dropped 2.4 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 412,000 units in July. Initially, according to the National Association of Home builders (NAHB), sales fell 8.1 percent in...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

Modular Multifamily to Rise in Michigan

Modular Multifamily to Rise in Michigan

The Lansing (Mich.) City Council has approved plans for developer Harry Hepler to build 200 modular apartments on the city’s northside, as lansingstatejournal.com informs MHProNews. Summit Street Development LLC has received a conditional use permit to build housing on the property that is zoned heavy industrial. Mr. Hepler says Metro Flats...

02 Sep 2014

Read more

Modular Workforce Housing Planned in Mississippi

Modular Workforce Housing Planned in Mississippi

The possibility of up to seven billion barrels of oil in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation in southwest Mississippi and central Louisiana has led the McComb (Miss.) Board of Selectmen to vote in favor of annexing 40 acres for the construction of a 535-unit modular workforce community. Shale Lodge will include a cafeteria, laundry and […]...

01 Sep 2014

Read more

Hoarding along with dozens of cats found at home in MHC

Hoarding along with dozens of cats found at home in MHC

“Is there an unwritten rule that every third MHCommunity has someone who hoards and/or has a bunch of cats?” quipped manufactured home industry consultant and publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach. The comment flowed from the discovery of dozens of cats seized from the Niagara Mobile Home Park in Newfane, NY. “The stench coming from a […]...

01 Sep 2014

Read more

Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day 2014

Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day 2014

Wikipedia says: “Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and […]...

01 Sep 2014

Read more

William ‘Bill’ Steenberg, Award winning Steenberg Homes founder, Passage

William ‘Bill’ Steenberg, Award winning Steenberg Homes founder, Passage

William “Bill” Steenberg died Sunday, August 24, 2014, in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, after a short, courageous battle with cancer. His fiance Wendy was by his side when he passed away. Bill’s children, Julie, Shelly, and Jeffrey and his granddaughter, Miranda, visited a couple weeks earlier in Florida.  Bill founded and owned ...

01 Sep 2014

Read more

Equity LifeStyle’s stock hit record high as August ends

Equity LifeStyle’s stock hit record high as August ends

The glow of investors and commentary for Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (NYSE:ELS) hit a peak as August drew to a close. ELS witnessed the stock hitting a record high on Friday. The stock traded as high as $45.81, up 39 cents from yesterday’s record closing price of $45.42. The Street, Trade-Ideas  and Chicago Business  were among […]...

31 Aug 2014

Read more

Featured Articles and Reports - September 2014 Vol. 5 No. 12

Prev Next Page:

UnBranding - a Key to Unlocking the Door to more MH Sales?

UnBranding - a Key to Unlocking the Door to more MH Sales?

by L.A. "Tony" Kovach Years before Palm Harbor Homes went into bankruptcy and eventually ended up with Cavco Industries, Palm Harbor ran TV ads showing beautiful, “residential style” manufactured homes. Read more

MARKETING

“Should We Be a More Aggressive Breed?”

“Should We Be a More Aggressive Breed?”

by Nadeen Green, JD Many if not most manufactured housing folks truly make the effort to be compliant with the Fair Housing Act and are well aware of the need to... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Earthquakes & Other Disasters: Are you Prepared?

Earthquakes & Other Disasters: Are you Prepared?

by C. William Dahlin, JD  As reported by major media outlets, a 6.0 earthquake hit Northern California  in late August on a Sunday. Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Pool and Spa Safety

Pool and Spa Safety

by Kathleen Bianculli While the end of summer is drawing near and pools in some areas will be closed for the season, in many areas of the country the pool never... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

“How Sweet the Rose” - Senior Housing Communities - Advertising Do's and Do…

“How Sweet the Rose” - Senior Housing Communities - Advertising Do's and Don'ts

by Nadeen Green, JD While a rose may smell sweet no matter what it may be called, names are in fact labels. Using the wrong label when you market your senior... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

A Breakthrough in Manufactured Home Loan Financing! Discover the One Step P…

A Breakthrough in Manufactured Home Loan Financing! Discover the One Step Program!

by Jerry Bretton In our previous report on SUN, we mentioned that Mountainside Financial has been making loans on manufactured and mobile homes for 14 years. Read more

FINANCING

Are HUD Practices Making Manufactured Homes Less Affordable?

Are HUD Practices Making Manufactured Homes Less Affordable?

by Ron D'Ambra Let's start by saying that, from a business perspective, MORE government involvement is not always viewed as a good thing. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

3rd Annual Open Space Pace - September 20th, 2014 – Freehold New Jersey

3rd Annual Open Space Pace - September 20th, 2014 – Freehold New Jersey

by Sam Landy Dear Friends, UMH Properties and Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corporation (MNR) sponsor The Open Space Pace at Freehold Raceway September 20, 2014. The event begins with a 10:00 am parade of... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at organization or firm and where you are based.) Sheila S. Dey, JDExecutive DirectorWestern Manufactured Housing Communities Association Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

5 Reasons for MHPros to Attend the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Sho…

5 Reasons for MHPros to Attend the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

by Dennis Hill We could name more than 5 reasons why manufacturers and exhibiting companies as well 5 reasons why attendees from the ranks of retailers, communities, builder developers, installers and... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales for Retailers, Communities, Factories …

The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales for Retailers, Communities, Factories and others

by L. A. “Tony' Kovach We will demonstrate that the cost of not selling more homes is always high.  Capital is tied up in your inventory, location, general overhead, personnel, marketing,... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Lead, manage or get out of the way

Lead, manage or get out of the way

by Tim Connor, CSP The world is changing at the speed of light. Everything is being touched by this accelerated pace of change. No person, entity, industry, profession, and no part... Read more

MANAGEMENT

Knowledge is Potential Power - 4 Steps and 91 words = Enhanced Manufacture…

Knowledge is Potential Power - 4 Steps and 91 words =  Enhanced Manufactured Housing  Professional Success Infographic

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach We'll share an infographic that explains in 4 easy steps how any MH Industry professional can learn more to earn more. Here is the infographic... Read more

MANAGEMENT

ZigOn Qualities of Success

ZigOn Qualities of Success

by Zig Ziglar Dr. William "Bill" Ross was truly one of a kind and was known for his sense of humor and his zest for life. He had exuberance for... Read more

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

Four Ingredients for MH Sales Success

Four Ingredients for MH Sales Success

by Tim Connor, CSP There are four significant areas when it comes to consistent high sales performance. They are: Self-image and self-esteem. Read more

SALES

Upcoming Events

ben-franklin-held-ipad-credit-wikicommons-animation-mhmsm-

MHLIVINGNEWS.COM FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK

Classifieds

Press Releases

2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Sho…

2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is filling up fast and early!

Attendees, mark your calanders now, pre-registration will open on October 1, 2014. Exhibitors, Reserve your space now.  See download linked here.

the MHMSM Team 02 Sep 2014 Corporate Press Releases

Read more

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Cl…

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Class of 2014 into RV/MH Hall of Fame

(Back row l-r) Thomas "Tom" L. Kern, Style Crest Enterprises; Ed Evans, EPM; Gary McDaniel, YES! Communities ; Richard "Dick" King, King Insurance (second row row l-r) Barry Cole, Manufactured Housing Insurance Services; Bob Livingston, Good Sam; John D Roba, Roba and Associates (front row l-r) Mrs. James F Shields. accepting on behalf of her husband,James F Shields (deceased), Pan Pacific RV Centers; Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices and Peter B Orthwein, Thor Industries. ELKHART, Ind., August 5. 2014 -- The Class of 2014 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) last night in Elkhart, Indiana, in a gala ceremony before a record breaking crowd of more than 440 family members, friends, and colleagues from across the country. The Class of 2014 includes: Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices;...

the MHMSM Team 05 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

Read more

Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Ne…

Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Newport Pacific – Successfully Gaining Acceptance for Super Energy Saving, Green Manufactured Homes

Learn more at the article linked here, or by calling Steve Lefler, Vice President of Modular Lifestyles, Inc., a division of Newport Pacific Family of Companies at Ph. (888) 437-4587. Email steve@modularlifestyles.com. Steve is a Dual DRE and HCD Salesperson. Advanced Green Building Professional. CEC Solar Wind Retailer/Installer. http://www.modularlifestyles.com ##

the MHMSM Team 01 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

Read more

Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire America…

Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire American Land Lease Manufactured Housing Portfolio from Green Courte Partners for $1.32 Billion

Increases Sun Communities' portfolio to 245 communities totaling nearly 90,000 sites in 29 states with a combined enterprise value of approximately $5.1 billion Southfield, MI, July 30, 2014 - Sun Communities, Inc. (NYSE: SUI) (the "Company") today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a portfolio (the "ALL portfolio") from Green Courte Partners, LLC ("GCP") sponsored funds. The ALL portfolio consists of 59 manufactured home communities, including those acquired from American Land Lease, Inc. by GCP in 2009. The communities comprise over 19,000 sites in eleven states, including nearly 11,000 sites located in Florida. Over 14,000 sites, or 73%, of the ALL portfolio are age-restricted.  In connection with this transaction, the Company will assume GCP's right to acquire an additional manufactured home community pursuant to a binding purchase...

the MHMSM Team 31 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

Read more

Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Fra…

Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Frank compliant non-MLO, MLO SUN Manufactured/Mobile Home Direct Loans and Refinancing

Using online articles, banner ads and video, Mountainside Financial is announcing the launch of the evolution of their direct lending platform promotion. As a division of San Antonio Credit Union (SACU), Mountainside has a unique 14 year history of making direct to consumer loans on manufactured and mobile homes. Direct loans are often done in "partnership" with brokers, communities, Realtors ®, other housing professionals and manufactured home retailers who refer consumers to them. Anthony Ducharme, Direct Channel Manager for Mountainside, explained how they created their new SUN System with Manufactured Home Professionals in mind who needed a compliant process to navigate SAFE Act and Dodd-Frank regulations enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). "If you've been originating your own loans, talk to us. If you want to have a legally complaint...

the MHMSM Team 08 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

Read more

Jobs