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Homeward Bound

October 2011

Lucky Seven

 
We don't believe in advertising…at least not in the big budget Madison Avenue sense. We just do the basics, the ubiquitous Yellow Pages ad, and, you are reading from a web site blog so we must have paid our monthly hosting fee. But beyond those marketing methods, since 1958 we have adhered to the philosophy that our customers will tell our story for us and so we advertise every time we build a home. Friends will recommend to friends and neighbors to neighbors and business folk to business folk. And so the wheel of commerce turns whether or not we pay for fancy advertising on the radio or slick photographed brochures. Who would believe us anyway if we advertised that we've built seven unique homes for one customer since 1973.
 
Most folk would want to confirm that by going straight to the horses mouth or at least a man who once built and sold horse trailers. JackWheeler started out as a welder at Reda Pump, an oil field services manufacturer in Bartlesville, OK. Through his skill in welding, he learned how to fabricate horse trailers and that's how Jack made a living for many years. Jack is a stickler for details, he's demanding, expects a lot from those he hires and wants the best price he can get…all traits you learn around horse traders and trailer buyers. Jack and his wife, Dean Wheeler, live in a Taylor Homes Group home just off Highway 99 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. It's their seventh Taylor home.  We hear they've referred a few customers to us while living in seven custom built THG homes during the past forty years.
 
 We built Jack and Dean Wheeler's first home west of Pawhuska in 1973 for $24,000. Their second home was in the Timber Hill area west of Pawhuska. Their third near the old drive in theater and fairgrounds in Pawhuska. Their fourth on the crest of a hill east of Pawhuska overlooking the rolling Osage hills. The fifth home…Willow Creek in Bartlesville, OK. Then they purchased twenty acres ten years ago and we built home six north of Dewey, Oklahoma. Yearning to return to their roots,we built them home seven, a classic three bedroom Taylor plan on acreage near highway 99 & Pawhuska in 2007 where they currently reside. Jack and Dean have entrusted their seven homebuilding projects from 1973-2007 to our homebuilding group. Looking back, Jack says he was originally referred to us by a car dealer named Doc Brown. After that, I guess the Wheeler's just came back on their own…self-referred as it were. Jack and Dean are retired and living a quiet pastoral life in home #7 near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Give a wave sometime if you are traveling on highway 99. Their house is just off the highway next to a metal shop in which Jack still likes to tinker sometimes getting out the Lincoln arc welder and making sure the gooseneck on the trailer is stout…because that's how Jack likes things built. They seem content and settled in their Taylor home which is appropriate…after all…seven is Jack's lucky number.
 
 
 

Build a Better House and the World Will Beat a Path...

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door is a phrase I first learned in a Harding University Marketing class. The phrase apparently originated with Ralph Waldo Emerson although Mr. Emerson's original statement was just a bit different. Here it is:
"If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."
 
In 1889 the modern mousetrap was created and patented and even though Emerson had died seven years previous, Emerson was quoted as saying: "If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor..."
 
And so the catchy phrase has turned into a metaphor about the power of innovation and how people will buy something as long as it is attractive (form) and useful (function).
 
I recently read in Professional Builder magazine about how the "best companies have mastered the best form and function with an attainable consumer price. Many of these great companies do not represent the lowest price in their class. Apple is a model example of mastering this strategy. The company has flourished in a down economy, not by offering cheaper products, but by offering design and innovation that cannot be found elsewhere.
 
The same solutions apply in our business. In a recent survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting the question was asked, "What would it take to get you off the fence and buy a home in the near future?"
The three factors most prevalent in responses:
1. Price  2. Location  3. Home Design
 
Most homebuyers today know that rates are at historic lows and pricing has gone about as low as it can go and that generally they know in theory that it is a great time to buy. What is keeping them from buying? The third piece of the puzzle…design.  Can consumers find better design today in locations they want and at prices they can afford? As Meatloaf once sang, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad".
 
We want to go three out of three and find our path in the wood to our homes broad and hard-beaten. Design matters more today than it ever has…and so the Taylor Homes Group strives to innovate in ways that don't increase costs. We focus on the best form, function and price because we know that, "If you build it they will come", is a great movie line, but it doesn't always work in home design.
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