Three central Iowa builders recognized on the 2017 list.
To be named to the Builder 100 or Next 100, companies must submit an extensive application profiling their work and providing financial data for the year. Applicants are ranked according to several factors, including gross revenue and closings.
Many of the firms ranking highest nationally from year to year are massive companies that build and develop multifamily and single-family communities in multiple regions of the country. In fact, to just break into the top 100 this year, a firm would have had to close on over 400 homes in 2016.
Considering the size of some markets in the most populated areas of the U.S., it’s even more impressive that central Iowa can boast three builders in the Next 100.
Each of the Iowa builders on the 2017 Next 100 list is proud to be recognized by Builder magazine. They all recognize that achieving the sales necessary to make that list requires two things—an incredible team and happy customers. That’s the recognition they strive for every day.
Check out the Iowa representatives on the 2017 Builder Next 100.
#133 Hubbell Homes
West Des Moines
Although Hubbell Homes dropped in ranking slightly on the Builder Next 100 list from 2016 to 2017, the company closed on more homes this past year. Its position on the 2016 list was the result of 242 closings. To make the 2017 list, the West Des Moines builder closed 266 sales.
The home building side of Hubbell companies opened in 1998 and now divides its construction sales evenly between single-family homes and townhomes, with a small division operating in Florida and the primary business taking place in the Des Moines metro area.
According to Vice President Rachel Flint, the company’s consistent growth is the result of consistent customer service. “We’ve really focused on improving our processes and our customer experience,” she says. “That increases referrals, and that’s what keeps us growing.”
The largest custom home builder in Iowa, Hubbell builds everything from multifamily communities to move-up custom homes. But despite being the biggest, the Hubbell team prides itself more on its customer satisfaction scores.
Like the other Iowa builders on this year’s Next 100 list, Flint says the Builder list shows others what the builders themselves already know—their hard work gets results. “What we’re proudest of at Hubbell is our customer service scores,” she says. “We use a third-party provider to survey our customers, and we consistently surpass the national average.”
The average customer satisfaction score for builders is 84%, according to Flint. Hubbell rates a 92% customer service score.
#143 Classic Builders
Classic Builders first appeared on the Builder Next 100 two years ago, the only Iowa builder on the list in 2015, less than 10 years after brothers Josh and Seth Moulton started the business. Since then, the company has risen steadily up the rankings, this year landing at #143.
“We’ve been reading Builder magazine and following this list since we started our business,” says Seth. “So it’s gratifying to make the list three years in a row.”
Classic Builders got its start building starter homes and has grown from there. “The majority of our homes in 2016 were move-up homes,” Seth says. “For 2017, we’re continuing to build move-ups but also emphasizing our great starter homes again.”
In addition, he says, Classic hopes to reach even more of the first-time buyer market by doing more townhome projects.
No matter what type of projects Classic has going, Moulton believes it’s the company’s emphasis on processes and mentoring new team members that helps make the customers’ experience better every year.
“We’ve fine-tuned our process so well that our build times are down to 75 to 100 days,” Seth explains. “Because our schedules are so precise, we can schedule our subs out four weeks, so we have fewer delays.”
Moulton adds that a primary reason Classic Builders continues to apply for the Builder 100 honor is the recognition it earns for its employees and subcontractors.
“Making this list doesn’t really change how we do anything. But it demonstrates what a great team we have, and that helps demonstrate our value to customers.”
#188 Greenland Homes
Greenland Homes of Ankeny makes its first appearance on the Builder Next 100 list this year at #188. According to owner Corey Kautz, Greenland applied for the list this year because “I’d seen other area builders making the list, and I wanted to show our employees that their hard work didn’t go unnoticed.”
Kautz started Greenland Homes in 2008, building just 10 homes that first year. Now, less than a decade later, the company is currently building homes across the metro area in developments from Waukee to Bondurant and most communities in between.
Greenland has earned a reputation for both quality homes and exceptional customer service in the past eight years, which resulted in 170 closings in 2016.
In addition, “Greenland was ranked third in the nation for employee productivity out of 200 builders,” Kautz says. “That’s the number I’m most proud of, and that’s something I want our staff to be proud of.”
Kautz says making the Builder list is really just a motivation for the Greenland team to continue those efforts. He adds, “Des Moines is an amazing place that offers an environment that allows our industry to thrive. I think three Des Moines builders making the list is something everyone should be proud of, considering how small our market is in comparison.”
Greenland builds homes in the $200,000 to $400,000 range for first-time and move-up home buyers. Most of the customers come from referrals. “Our staff and sales team are the reason we’ve grown so quickly,” Kautz believes. “Hiring more staff has never been the answer for us. Working smarter and working together has been.”