May 30, 2023

#40 – Ken Semler – Transcript

Bricks and Bytes
Bricks and Bytes
#40 - Ken Semler - Transcript
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Show Notes

So my family does mostly electrical construction and I was the first guy, actually I’m a, leaving out a certified public accountant also, that’s my official training. But on the side, as I was at the treasury department in Citibank, I would do basically rehab remodels and flips or rehab remodel and rent. And so I would just do that. And then there was a class of home called a manufactured home here that they had kind of the financial meltdown about eight years before the rest of the meltdown. So I started buying those. I was buying three to 15 homes a month and rehab them and flipping them. And that was my hobby. That wasn’t even my day job. And then in Citibank, they decided they wanted me to move to New York City from Washington. I didn’t want to do it. And so that became my opportunity to make my side gig, my main gig. What is up everyone? And thank you for tuning into another episode of the Bricks and Bytes podcast. Your go-to for all things construction and property technology.

On today’s episode we have Ken Semler, CEO and President of Impreza Modular and President of the Modular Home Builders Association in the USA. This episode is a true masterclass in modular construction. Ken has over 20 years experience in the modular construction industry and has worked in 42 of the 50 states in the US. If you want to learn more about modular construction, from simple uses through to more complex cases, the challenges it faces and the business case, This is a must listen. If you’re enjoying the bricks and bites podcast, please subscribe. This helps us get the most amazing guests to give you guys the most informative content on technology in the built world. And shout out to our sponsor, Beta. If you want to connect with some of the best minds in the construction tech space, including venture capitalists, advisors, tier one contractors and other innovators in construction, please check them out by visiting www.the-beta.com. You are listening to Bricks and Bikes podcast, where we take you on a journey in construction, technology, and business. All right, let’s get this episode started.

Okay, so Ken, a passion for construction and technology. That’s why we are on this show and podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your journey? So I looked you up on LinkedIn and you started from U.S. Department of Treasury through VP role and the city group now to running Impressa modular. How did it happen? Well, by accident, basically. Yeah, it was a… Good answer. So my family does mostly electrical construction and I was the first guy, actually I’m a certified public accountant also, that’s my official training. But on the side as I was at the treasury department in Citibank, I would do basically rehab remodels and flips or rehab remodel and rent. And so I would just do that. And then there was a class of home called a manufactured home here that they had kind of the financial meltdown about eight years before the rest of the meltdown. So I started buying those. I was buying three to 15 homes a month and rehab them and flipping them. And that was my hobby. That wasn’t even my day job. And then Citibank, they decided they wanted me to move to New York City from Washington. I didn’t want to do it. And so that became my opportunity to make my side gig, my main gig. But that was when the boom was starting, 2003, 2004, leading up. And so somebody asked me to build a new home and the skill set of my rehab guys fit perfectly with modular construction. So there we are. I went to work with him. Back in eight months, I was their third largest builder. So we took off and then I got to be nationwide and licensed and here we are. I’ve worked in 42 out of the 50 states in the US and have franchise locations. Was it 40, 48? 42 states. 42 states.

Was that always the plan to grow on such a scale or did it kind of just happen? Well. Actually here, I’m sure the same thing you felt, 2008 was the year that everything, the boom went bust. And by the end of 2008, I’m sitting here in 2009 looking at my crystal ball and it’s basically black. And we were thinking, gonna be six months or six years. And it turned out to be about a six year process to really work its way out. But in that time is, wherever there’s issues, I basically looked up and said, I wanna be the first nationwide modular builder. that had never been done in the US. So I created a website called, back then it was Express Modular, word would grow, and really for Express meaning, quick, the product type. And I used that brand and I grew across the country. It took me about five years because every one of our states has a licensing or a certification or registration process, and which involves testing, bonding and all of that. So it took a while.

I did about five dates, dates a year. And then I… came back across to get that done. So that was the plan after 2009, just trying to do something that hadn’t been done. And I really, in all honesty, I knew being big would bring opportunities. I didn’t know exactly what those opportunities would be. And it’s actually been amazing the opportunities that come when you’re a nationwide company. It gives you such credibility. It brings in lots of knowledge. You just get tremendous contacts. And so it’s been an amazing. opportunity right now that we’re nationwide. So would you say that for entrepreneurs the path is to go big, think big and don’t limit yourself to local markets? Well, yeah, that goes back to one of the business books about thinking big or whatever. It’s funny, every time I do something and I think I thought big when I get done, it’s like, you know, I wasn’t thinking big enough. Yeah. I could once you get there, it was like, man, I could have done more if I would have known, but you don’t know that till you get started.

Yeah. And it’s crazy when you like, when you’re in a position where you’re not, shall we say big and you’re looking at that thinking, how the hell do I get to that level? And then when you get there, you look back and think like, like you just said, Oh, why was I not thinking bigger? So, um, moving on. Yeah. It’s just, so like, um, we’ll move on to modular construction, um, more specifically now. So. What’s your modular construction? Obviously, you’ve developed and adapted quite a bit over the years and sounds like you are an early adopter, early mover, whatever you want to call it. What was your definition of modular construction? So basically, everybody has a very different or a slightly different definition. I do what we call volumetric modular. So I am not doing a module like a single wall panel or a- dormer or something like that. Volumetric modular means that it’s a six sided box or assembly that we’re finishing as much as we can in the factory. So that’s what I work in. I don’t do prefab because you know prefab is taking pieces of it and doing it modular is just a subset of prefab. I’m just doing a more completed version of the assembly that I’m providing in the field. And how long does it take to finish things off on site once you bring this element, this module onto the site? So that can be all over the place in the United States based on inspections required and level of completion that can be done in the factory. But I would tell you the goal is from the time a typical product is delivered to the field and installed on a foundation. You know, our goal is about six weeks. Now could it be… We’ve done in two to four weeks, we’ve done in 18 weeks, just because of the complexity and how much had to be done on site. But I would say the goal’s about six to get finished. I was talking about like a detached home. Single family home. Single family home, yeah. And these are presumably mostly new build works.

Oh yeah, now we do do additions. And an interesting thing is you get into the larger cities like New York and. Washington, you get locations where people have those edge neighborhoods that they go to church, have their community, their kids go to school and they need more room. And it’s a 1200 square foot home and they have three feet on either side of the home so there’s no room to go out but they can go up. So you can literally take the roof off of a house, do all the structural modifications, install stairs and now drop two modules on top with the new roof and now you just double their square footage with a modular addition. Is it like a concept of rear extension popular in the US like addition to the rear of the house like extending to the rear and then knocking the wall? So you have that in a concept in the US and I don’t know if you’re familiar with accessory dwelling units, ADUs. Yeah, that’s been really that seems to be the big fad or the big play now is especially in California to get population density. If you’ve got a backyard, you can just build the cottage and just drop it in with a crane in the backyard. And now you have an in-law suite, a rental property or whatever that is in your backyard.

Yeah, cool. Cause so like what you were saying is, is the situation really here in London, whereby there’s not a lot of space to extend. So as you were saying, where you punch basically a huge hole in the roof, do some structural work. and then drop some modules on top. We don’t really use modules for that. We use, it’s all like, yeah, traditional construction. The guys are on site there with the timber and putting it on. But wood, can we say wood? It’s not timber, right? No, lumber, lumber you guys use as a word. That’s the other thing, you know, terminology sometimes. Timber framing here is large, you know, six, six, we will go back to one inches, you know. six by eight inch or larger beam, not dimensional lumber. So, the different concept here. Yeah, that’s interesting though, mine, personally, I haven’t seen any kind of a loft extension as modular, have you? No, but I was thinking about it. The reason is that we don’t have the infrastructure ready for that. You can’t just put the crane on the street in London and close it for a day. It’s just so difficult, so expensive to… impossible to do it, you know, to close the street for a day, to put the crane and install the rear extension or loft. I think that’s the problem mainly. And we’ve done things in the US where we put houses on infill lots. And so we have power lines we have to deal with. And so there’s, you know, we got to be careful with cranes. But the cost in some of the cities, I mean, what would it cost to do a 2400 square foot, you know, or, you know, an addition, you know, for us in the US, you know, in dollars, is that a $250,000 or more addition or maybe even a $500,000 addition that I can do in days because think about if I’m gonna make it larger on top, my whole house is exposed to weather and it might take me three months to do this.

That means for three months, I’m hoping to park it next week where here I can literally take the roof off in one day and the next day put modules on. And in some cases the people never even leave the home. Yeah. People wait that one night while it’s exposed, other than that, they can actually do this remodeling and live in it. Yeah, that’s making me wonder. Yeah, I think that would be great in the UK to have something like that. Yeah, Ken, you need to see what we do here. It’s so very slow and like has not changed for I don’t know how many ever many years. But like Martin says, the logistics are different. And I wonder if you actually have any like thoughts about that. It’s like obviously London typical place. It’s like very tight streets. There’s lots of cars around it’s very like any busy city like New York or something you’re trying to like the deliver a module until the song house there. It always tell people I mean we you’re just recently we did to duplex units outside of the Bronx in New York. And so we had three blocks of side Street that we had to go back. It took a community leader. and we did two of them on two different days. And so they did like one on a Wednesday and one on a Friday. And we, so we had the clear three blocks of parking on both sides of the street in New York city. And so it was literally knocking on doors. You know, we had to get permits to do it, but it was knocking on doors, telling people, you’ve got to do this. Your car will be towed if you don’t. But we went through and we did two of them. And we’ve done them in Washington, DC too. I mean, I thought the president was coming every time a module came because we literally gave to the police, they gave us four motorcycle police so that at the corner of every module, four policemen escorted the module to the site for safety. And is it expensive?

Well, the definition is relative. If we still did it at the price that doing it on site was, well, it just requires hyper coordination and that’s what it is, hyper project management. So in terms of you touched on the cost, so how does the cost compare to traditional construction of the modular units? We’re not asking about like exact fees, but percentage-wise where we are. And again, it comes down as they like to say the words in real estate here, what are the top three things in real estate? Location, location, location. Same thing regionally. is a central location for modular manufacturing, large number of factories. They’re taking lower cost labor in Pennsylvania and shipping it to high concentration areas like Washington, DC, New York, Boston. And those situations modular could probably say 35 percentage off of what you would be doing if you were doing it on site. But if you’re also building in Pennsylvania and selling in rural Pennsylvania, the cost of labor’s relatively the same. You know, building sees every all things being equal, it’ll probably cost them out the same to do it. You’ll just get it done faster, hopefully higher quality, but you’re not going to get a lot of savings because you’re not exporting. I get the questions a lot of conferences, as you know, when people are site building, they ask me what I do and I tell them modular and they look at me a little funny. And then they say, well, how can you ship all that air cost effectively, you know, in volumetric construction and I’ll just tell them it’s finished air. And then I kind of get that perplexed look and what they don’t realize is I’m shipping the labor with the materials. I mean fundamentally that $18 an hour labor in Pennsylvania I’m shipping for that $120 to $120 an hour carpenter location and I just saved all that labor. I just had to ship it with the product. Location arbitrage.

Yeah. Yeah. I have a lot. is always a funny thing. So like here in the UK the biggest blockers for us, I don’t know if I’m jumping ahead a little bit, but like we have a lot of resistance from like banks willing to fund and lend to do these projects because they’re high risk. And there’s many other things as well, maybe we’ll get into those later. So in terms of the banks, I think the reason is that there is that you get for a new built, you need to get a 10 year structural warranty from a proof provider so that the banks know the provider and then they know that the house you’re building or the technology you’re using is checked by someone for the structural warranty provider so they can lend you money. Is there anything like that in the US? Yeah, actually, it’s funny, I work for Citibank, I know banks are about mitigating risk or eliminating risk as possible. but you can’t eliminate, you have to mitigate. But I would actually submit that modular construction is actually safer to do because construction loans are risky anyway. I mean, think about a bank, if it’s a site builder and it took him six months to get the house maybe under roof or three months or whatever the timeframe is, what if he goes bankrupt? So now I’ve got a house exposed, maybe the weather, to the elements, the theft, crime, whatever, and it’s sitting there. I don’t have… I’m not in the business of building houses if I’m a bank. That house is gonna take another three or six months to complete. What if I’m using modular? Well, the foundation comes in, that house comes in 85% complete, 75, 95. Pick a number based on its design.

And guess what? It was up and under roofs. Now it’s safe from the weather. I don’t have to worry about that. I would submit that a modular construction is less risky from a banker’s view. But then we do the same thing. When you were mentioning warranties, there’s a number of warranty corporations here. And depending on the state is how long the warranty has to last. But we typically do one year builder warranties and then it might be eight years or 10 years, like you’re saying. And it’s a warranty program that like, basically like an insurance program, the builder buys it and it transmits to the homeowner. And so it covers the structural issues of the house. Just the same, you know, sounds like what you’re talking. Yeah. So, You said there’s a better quality of the build. It’s faster and less risk for the whole process really. So why modular construction is not majority of the construction happening in the US, for example, or in other places? What is preventing from this being developed further? I wish I knew that answer exactly, but I’ll guess at it for you. No, I think it’s welcome. Yeah, the big, we’ll take, we have big builders here. I mean, our biggest builder in the United States is D.R. Horton. He built like 87,000 houses a year, one builder. And so the top 10 builders build about, I think the top 10 builders in the United States built 38% of all homes. And there’s not a lot left for the small guys. And I think of the statistic, the last statistic I heard, excuse me, was, there’s like 30,000 bonafide builders that only have 13% of the business left to do after all the big builders do what they do.

So that means our average builder in the United States is only building five homes a year. He’s gotta get educated, he’s gotta learn a new way to build because he’s always done it the way he’s always done it. And Modular is different, it’s a new process. And I’ll even blame, I’m the president of the Modular Home Builders Association. And I’ll tell you, I can take blame when the industry is. We do a horrible job of training new to modular builders. There’s just not a good place because you can’t go to the factory that builds it because also don’t lose sight of the fact. A factory is term construction into manufacturing. They’re not building a home in a factory, they’re manufacturing a home in the factory. They don’t understand site work and what it takes to get it together. And there’s nobody training for that transition for scoping subcontractors, project managing it. staffing the project, there’s just not a good way to learn. And it may be hard to build your five homes the old way, but you know how to build it. Yeah. So you don’t change. And hopefully you can retire before you have to change. Hey, yes. Erase the retirement. And that’s why we started franchising in all honesty.

There was no training. And because of our footprint across the country and our systems we had to develop to do that. I actually describe it as a builder in a box. You know, you come to us, you get the website, the branding, the, not to do an advertisement, but you know, you get all the, you get everything to be successful, access to factories and a big brother, you know, a mentor through our company. There’s always somebody to call to ask a question. Like I tell people, you don’t call me to ask me a question when everything’s going right. You know, you’re gonna call me and ask me when something’s wrong and you need an answer now, you want the least expensive answer that it’s gonna cost to fix whatever’s going wrong that you’re looking at. Yeah, so I guess one way to tackle with the people’s lack of knowledge around Installing modular is the franchise model like you say can but is that do you think there’s? Apart from convincing someone perhaps to take one year out of their business or however long it takes and train up on Modular is there any other ways or would you would you speak? Would you say something to people with two people that had that mindset that? I’ve done this for years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, first of all, you’ve got to learn about it. I’m still amazed. I’m going to say the ignorance of even understanding that it’s available.

We actually did a model home with the International Builder Show in Las Vegas about two months ago. We had 20,000 people go through that model in three days. It’s amazing how many people… One, we’re just seeing Modular for the first time, and didn’t even know it really existed. And then they didn’t understand the capabilities when they walked into our house with the large open ceilings and all the way we did it, which we did it as a showcase house that nobody would look at it and think you could even do this with Modular. And so it was eye-opening for a lot of people, literally. And I think so education is a big thing that’s available. And I would say right now it’s a… It’s the school of hard knocks. You gotta try one, learn from it, but make, get flesh wounds, no fatal mistakes, and go from there. And again, having somebody like, that’s experienced or a mentor, builders tend not to wanna help their competitors, but it’s a point where, hey, we gotta help each other out to lift the offsite construction industry upward. Absolutely. Yeah. I also think that… like construction is one of these industries that doesn’t do too many things offsite yet. Like every other industry feels like have factory process production and it works very well. You know what the profit is out of the product that you’re producing. When you are building like in a traditional way on site, it takes months and there is like there’s cost implications because of problems with materials, et cetera, et cetera. So I think it’s just a matter of time that there will be more and more adoption of offsite solutions. That’s just my gut feeling.

Would you agree? Yeah. I mean, one of the things that I’m not sure if you’re using in the UK, but the, I mean, floor trusses and roof trusses, you know, were pre-built in a factory and delivered. And if you think in the, you know, previously they were all rafters and lumber that somebody had to build and put together. Well, now you can do that in a factory where it’s engineered. So you’re using less material, it’s cheaper, it’s faster. It installs more quickly on site. So builders are doing things using prefabricated pieces of the house now. We’re just delivering a bigger section. More of those pieces are put together. The floor truss is connected to the roof truss with the walls assembly that we actually did. It’s just getting people under, and the reason they select trusses is because they are better, stronger, and cheaper than building that rafter on site. So it’s just, we gotta get them to understand the larger opportunity. Okay. All right. So obviously, Ken, you’ve been in industry since, was it 2003? 2003 is when I jumped out. I’m 20 years now, fully in the… Oh, wow. Yeah. Congrats. 20 year anniversary.

How have you seen the technology adoption change over the last 20 years or so? When you say technology adoption, you mean like BIM and building… Yeah, the software people use. Until recently, it’s been a slow slog. Most of the factories are using CAD systems, older CAD systems. Once they develop and implement it, it’s hard because of the effort to change or upgrade. So even though we’re in an industry, I was just taking, again, two franchise prospects to a couple of the factories earlier this week. And I tell them it’s… don’t expect to see the Ford assembly line when you walk in. Many of the factories are still doing, there’s jig tables, there’s assemblies and there’s cranes, so there’s things that make things better, faster, and have better quality control, more ergonomic for the workers and they’re indoors and it doesn’t rain, but it’s not robots in most of the factories. And robots are expensive, it creates a high hurdle barrier to entry, so most factories get started out with jig tables, cranes and assembly lines. And yeah, it’s just, it’s a, but the BIM technology is just starting. I mean, it’s, it’s been a, a big uphill slog for the, the industry that I, it’s going to get there, obviously it will, but it’s not going to get there as fast as anybody would like it. And the software for manufacturing is still developing. There’s a number of companies trying to develop just, you know, factory floor production line software that’s still developing and it’ll evolve, but it’s. Not never as fast as we went. Yeah. Um, yeah, I’m, I’m, yeah, go on mine. I was gonna say, I’m not overly familiar with like the software applied particularly to modular construction, but I think there is one company and I think they might be coming on the podcast soon called modulus. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them. I think they work on this, this kind of, um, initiative modulus. Modulus. I think I’ve heard of their name. Um, you know, in the U S there’s. companies like Modjicor and Allsight, Manufact and there’s a couple, you know, there’s several out there, they’re still developing, and they’re working in factories, but it’s just, it’s getting there. Sure. Yes. So my question would be like, is there any one thing, for example, that you could see, or you see that it’s missing in the construction landscape that could get us in the construction to the next level? I’m saying next level. which whatever that would be for you. Is there anything that we waiting for but it still hasn’t happened in terms of technology or? Well, I’ll tell you and it’s something you don’t really think about often, but so in the US we call it drywall.

I’m not sure if that’s what you call it. Dry lining, yeah. And so. It’s built in safe, or four by eight sheets, and it still takes time to finish. And most factories, the single biggest bottleneck is waiting for drywall to dry. So the questions, don’t make it, you know, the old Ford quote they attribute, if I ask people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. They didn’t know even about cars. Well, I think drywall is in that situation. If we could come up with a wall covering that could bypass… all of that finish and that time that looked like drywall. I mean, I think, you know, what I see in the modular industry that’s really different between Europe and Japan, Americans don’t want to see seams and houses and obvious places where in the modular manufacturing industry that I see in Europe or Japan, people are willing to accept things that Americans won’t accept. Just the way you know. our paths have been over the years. So it makes it a higher hurdle in the US, the expectation. And drywall is probably, I’d say, the single biggest hassle. If we can have a manufacturing-friendly material to produce our homes, that actually would probably be the biggest forward.

To speed up the process of assembly. And I think on the technology point as well, I actually see some crossovers between what we’ve discussed so far between like advanced technology that people use in construction and modular in that it’s very hard to incorporate into workflows. Like you were saying earlier, Ken, like people have to re-skill and learn, move away from something they’re perhaps used to. And it’s the same with incorporating technology. You have to somehow put that into your workflow. And again, you have something that works. You just happy to tick along like that. Why would you come and introduce something that will disrupt you for a little while, um, and make it a little bit more difficult. Interesting. It’s a, it’s a resilient industry. From all fronts. Yeah. And, and, and their software, I mean, I know here in the, in the U S there’s a companies, one of our large suppliers, they’ve created a product and they’ve piggybacked on some other software companies, but, um, like my tech has a product Sapphire that will take and feed saws. So you have something like say a hornet saw that you can draw something in Revit and that wall assembly passes down through the product Sapphire. And now you take the hack of two by fours or two by sixes, it calculates waste and it spins it out and then prints the exact location on that piece of lumber, not timber, lumber. And so now you can put a big screen TV up and it tells that a person assembling that wall exactly where. piece goes and they can fasten it.

And so it’s a little different than like Wyman or Randek who are taking big wall assembly machines that are 1.2, $1.8 million, and then you have to wait a year to get it. And then that’s even, in the US we have, I would say very poor lumber. I mean, it’s got lots of, it’s bowed, it’s twisted, it’s got lots of waning. And so the machines, when you’re building an automated, they don’t deal with that well. They can crown the lumber but they can’t tell, oh that’s a bad piece or it’s split. And so now upon inspection you’re tearing apart walls because of our poor lumber. We don’t have the quality lumber that sometimes I think is necessary to efficiently use those machines. That’s interesting. Where is the lumber coming from? From Canada? Well, it’s always fun with our trade wars and tariffs and everything but… The US produces about two thirds of the lumber it needs each year and the other third comes from Canada. Then of course we have tariff on the lumber from Canada making it more expensive. They just add it to the price so it doesn’t punish Canada. It punishes the American consumer. It’s lumber. It’s where we’re at. Can you mention something about… You mentioned Japan as well. I know you’re in the game of like manufacturing. Do you do you?

I’m not gonna pretend I know loads, but obviously there’s a lot of like good things to be learned from Japanese manufacturing and the concept of Kaizen and I think was maybe lean lean or something thing manufacturing Everything yeah. Yeah, do you like do you incorporate any of these things? Is it is it even a thing that you can do? I mean, it’s um There are lots of opportunities. I was actually working with another factory owner as he was starting his factory and he brought in one of the, a GIMBA instructor basically to help in some of the ideas and the concepts. And his family comes from a strong manufacturing background though the person starting this factory. And yeah, there’s lots of opportunities just to do, I mean, there’s so much waste even in a manufacturing, a modular manufacturing factory, just the placement of tools and the staffing of. stocking of supplies and assembly lines and where you create waste and inventory is the enemy. How do you work and process inventory as money that’s not working? There’s all the ways you stage and create a line.

If you can use the Toyota Way type concepts, there’s tremendous opportunities to take that mindset and implement US manufacturing. I wanted to touch on playing Davils Advocate a little bit. I’m obviously in favor of offsite and modular, but if we were to set that, what are the things against modular and offsite? What are the limitations that wouldn’t allow broad adoption of modular construction to take place? Well, I guess a couple of things. One is location. As we said earlier, there are opportunities. in her in her in fill in fill properties like with power lines narrow streets where you just can’t get modules to now you could do a fabricated system with like say panels and pods but you’re not going to do volumetric modular because you truly can’t get the modules there or the cost just doesn’t make the isn’t worth it as you know we say in the US the But there are sometimes, depending on the design, I always tell people, if you’re going to design a modular project, don’t let a project go all the way as a site-built design, and then you decide to convert it, because you’re going to try to force modular to do things that are going to make it more expensive and really just be dumb not to do it. So start from the beginning designing. Use the discipline of modular construction to create your design and make it more efficient. So. Is it like a particular spans or the height of the floors? It’s everything. I mean, you know, like in the US, if you so we have with us, we were controlled by shipping.

I mean, literally Department of Transportation rules here dictate how can we get that module to the location? And it might be we have overpasses bridges that are only 14 feet tall and I’ve got to be able to get a module that’s got a carrier that’s got it’s got to have the… the module and a roof assembly maybe and can I make it under those bridges and then it’s the width. We have widths here in the United States. Fourteen feet wide is an oversized load. Sixteen feet wide is a super load. So I’ve got to know the widths. I’ve got escort drivers we call, flag car drivers for safety and all that’s cost that goes into determining can I safely, can I even get it to the site and can I safely and cost effectively get those modules to the site. So there’s a lot that goes into, it’s amazing how much transportation dictates our construction. Yeah, that sounds like a very hard to limit, right? Because you can’t really do anything about it unless you transport it to like helicopters or something like that. Which is driving the cost exponentially, I guess.

But yeah, it’s what we… because then we were transferring weight differently than site building where again, we were talking about trusses. I could get a large span over with a large truss and transfer weight to the outside walls. But in modular, I’m transferring weight everywhere two modules meet. So I’m transferring weight at intermediate points. And now I have structure there that can have large openings. People, they tend to want large open living spaces. So you’ve got to design in cost effectively. How do I attain those large open spaces? It’s possible to do, but now I’ve got to do it and transport it with temporary support because structurally, like we said earlier, it’s a volumetric modular. It’s got to have six sides, and I’ve got to be able to lift them with a crane and put it into place. I’ve said earlier for real estate, the big key thing is location, location, location. When you’re working with modular, the key things are design, design, design. all starts with design. I gotta design it for manufacturing, I gotta design it for transportation, design for installation and design for completion. How can I make it cheaper, better quality and faster? Okay, so from the design onto the factory, is that any like indication or can you say like, for example, 20% of the work is being done by automation and 80% is done by humans or most of it is done by humans in the factory or? Is there any sophisticated automation there? That answer I would say is completely all over the place. When you’re determining the cost of a module in the United States and the way that it works, about 50 to 55% of the cost is in the bill of materials for that project or that module. Probably anywhere from about 11 to 19% is in labor for that module and the rest is in GNA and profit. And so with that labor rate in the middle, most of the factories are at human labor. There are some levels of automation and there are factories that are doing, that have introduced a lot of like say Wyman or Randek, they’re doing walls or floor assemblies. How it machines if you’re doing light gauge still that you can go ahead and create your own by the plan kind of the same thing with the hornets all you’re doing it with light gauge still studying.

But it’s still except for certain factories once the floor in the box is made. it really becomes a manual process. Again, it goes back to the drywall, finishing the drywall, installing kitchen cabinets, installing tile, that’s still not a robotic function right now. That’s still human, we’re doing all of that. Go on. Come on. Okay, so like looking at the future, like there is obviously tendency to replace humans with robots for these repetitive tasks. So in like five, 10, 15 years time, would you say there will be more robots doing some repetitive work in the factories? Or the technology advancement and adoption will go more to the process management of the production or it will go to the design? How do you see this? I wish I had that crystal ball. I just, nothing happens in construction fast. That’s the one thing that typically it’s not. We have probably the slowest adoptive industry of any change. And so I see lots of industries, or lots of factories trying to change processes. I see a lot of money trying to find its way into our industry right now. And some of it’s dumb money and some of it’s smart. But some of that money is going to go out and try to create very automated factories that may be ahead of their time. And when they’re doing things that, you know, we just had a big popular or well-known failure for a company called Katera. And I know the person, Von Buckley, that bought that factory and has redone it. And Helene Lidlöck came from Sweden. And he brought her over, hired her, and she’s really reworked. because they spent I think upwards of 120 million, 180 million putting in robots and commissioning everything and it never worked. But there was no load balancing, no forethought really.

It was a big experiment that ultimately failed and Vaughn took advantage of that, but they ended up ripping out much of what Katara had done to build a true production line with what Helena has done. And I think she’s done a great job and they’re finally getting it started. It’s good. Did you say from Sweden? Yes. Oh, nothing to do with IKEA then, similar kind of concept. Maybe it’s just a mindset there, something that they put in the breakfast. She worked for a company there that had done a lot of automation on that front end. She and her son had actually worked there and helped develop it. So Vaughn tempted her away to go do the same thing she had done there in California. That just means that we are, I think, so early also with tech adoption, especially to this physical world of construction. Yeah, it’s so true. We see it all the time, Martin, when we talk with people about tech. It’s just very slow and resilient. Can you hit the net on the head, really? Excuse the pun when you said that construction moves slow. It’s just the fact. It’s just the nature of the industry.

Ken, how does payment terms work for modular construction? Because payment is always a contentious issue in construction. Do you do people pay in percentages, like upfront, and then on manufacture, and then delivery? Or is it all upfront? How does it work? So I will tell you, it can be very by region or area of the US and the factories that are there. But I’m going to say the average factory. For investors, we work with a group of investors, and they’re like, oh, the factory’s actually helping finance this, and the factory’s not really looking at it that way, and actually they are, is the factory typically takes anywhere from 10 to 25% down to take an order, and then usually, depending on the size of that order, there may be interim payment points that upon, so many modules completed or at certain stages, they’ll do it, and if it’s a simple, consumer construction, a single family home, most of the time it’s 10 to 25% down in the balance due on delivery or the balance due on offline at the factory. And it’s as simple as that. Now, the contractor on site doing all of the work, typically he gets his deposit, then he usually gets a foundation and he gets paid for that. He gets the house delivered, he gets paid for that. There’s some other interim point that there’s a payment. and the lenders then pay off the final upon a certificate of occupancy is what we have here. So usually we’re working with a five draw schedule from a bank.

The banks will fund construction loans for modular and it’s not, you know, we’ve come a long way in the last several years. I’d say the last 10 years that a lot of lenders now understand modular is where offsite modular construction is where the housing industry is going and they have to develop products to support it. What is the typical customer’s journey from, hello, I would like you to manufacture a house for me, or here are your keys, you can move in. Okay, yeah. So, we have a design center where we’re at right now, customer walks in the door, says they wanna buy a house, if they literally, we build snowflakes, we build everything that’s different, we build completely custom homes, and… So if they literally walk in with a house plan, they sketch on their dining room table and said, here’s the house I would like you to build for me. That happens, that’s the way we start with a lot of customers. I have like 3,000 house plans on our website, but we still probably have built five of those in the whole existence, every way we do custom homes. And so that probably from the time we can take that from, it’s literally a sketch from their table. We can do that in days, we can modularize it and get them an initial sketch back, but they’re gonna make decisions, they’re gonna see the plan now, proportions are out. Just people take probably six weeks or eight weeks or longer of iterations and adjustments. If they need financing, it typically takes about eight weeks from the time we have a contract, the plan and the specification.

So that financing takes about eight weeks. Most factories right now are running about eight to… 14 weeks, eight to 12 weeks from the time they get in order to delivery. So during that time, we’re pulling what we call our building permits, doing the site work, getting a foundation in, and then it gets delivered to the site, we finish it, and then we say that’s six weeks or eight weeks or whatever that timeframe is. So you’re two months, four months, six months. So you’re probably eight months, eight or nine months timeframe from the time you walk in the door, taking the normal path where you’re gonna waste some time. just going through the iterations and so yeah custom home from walking in the door to finish yeah nine months. That’s like what it takes to get planning permission here Martin yeah. All right yeah if you if you don’t get any rejections yeah we have some like local authorities here Ken that say like so I think the normal time is eight weeks is it eight minimum eight weeks? I think it’s 12 weeks. Minimum 12 weeks and some local councils as we call them here are like do not chase us unless it’s at least it’s been at least nine months. Wow. Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s all over the place. There’s places here in the US where I can walk in and walk out the same day with a building permit and there’s Seattle that we’ve been waiting for two years. Okay. So it all depends on where you’re building. And again, when I, you know, we before we started this, you know, the United States is really 50 countries that just don’t require. every place is different with their requirements.

Okay. So I’ve got a very interesting one. So I heard someone saying that actually recently on the podcast that modular factories they are very… it costs a lot to keep the factory running. So if there is a some break in orders and there is some stop with production then it’s very easy for these to go bust really, because there’s huge cost of running it. Thinking about it, if the modular offsite would have to be more adopted, is there any way for people who run these factories can prevent from these higher costs, or how do you guys deal with it? Sales is the tail that wags the dog. It’s the factories need to have a pipeline. And it is, I mean, a factory is a, we turn construction into manufacturing. And when manufacturing isn’t happening, costs keep getting incurred at the factory. So, and the day’s labor environment, a lot of people look at it, you don’t want to lay anybody off because they might not come back. So, it’s capital intensive. We’re building houses. building small trinkets. So the key is to get a pipeline going and having a team selling and keeping that pipeline, keeping that line always full. I mean, one of the factories is a partner factory I worked with, I was having a discussion with their operations manager last week and they’re getting an issue is we still have supply chain issues from COVID and their supplier for Windows is now like eight weeks. Well. don’t have a pipeline that’s greater than 10 weeks because they always want to get the order in, check it for inventory damage, schedule production for the house. So if their pipeline comes in two weeks or less than two weeks from what their longest lead time item is, they have to gauge or they have to throttle their production. So that means they have to lay people off orders.

They’ve got to lay people off match production with their longest lead time item right now. And so they’re getting close to that number of, and they don’t want to lay anybody off because they might not come back. It’s hard to acquire people to begin with. Okay. Yeah, I’d love to know more about the franchise stuff, but before we get to that, Ken, obviously you are a very successful person, very well decorated. What’s your secret sauce? It’s not the smartest man that gets there. It’s the persistent one. Persistence. That’s it. Just, uh, you know, hard work every day and not stopping or slowing down. That’s, that’s the secret. Love it. I like it. Um, okay. So let’s talk about, um, franchising. So this is something that you said you launched in early 2020. If I’m correct. And you, it’s obviously like something. that you, I don’t know if you had familiarity with it beforehand or it’s just something like new that you’re a new initiative that you’re testing out. But what is the process of setting up a business to make it franchisable? Is that a word? I’m not sure. Well, I mean, for us, yeah, that was because it’s never been done before in this industry. And I got to the point where I was nationwide. It was 2015.

And 2015, I was But I say I was wide, but I wasn’t deep. And what I mean by that is I was licensed and registered. I was a builder in 42 states. The only way I could do that was doing a part of this. I was doing design, order, delivery, and set of a project. But I couldn’t go do the site work, put that foundation in, and I couldn’t do the finish work because I just couldn’t project people anywhere in the United States to do that. The cost would be prohibitive to have teams go wherever that house was. other than having local or set crews and cranes. So in 2015, I was trying, how do I get deeper? How can I do that? And we had developed a brand that pretty much, if you look up modular construction in the United States, you find us, and that’s really what franchising is, it’s branding, so we accomplished that. And instead of licensing it, we chose to franchise. And that allowed us then to get our brand, our name, and the reputation we had with the factories to use that and help builders that were trying to find their way to Modular, but couldn’t find any, that mentor, that shoulder to lean on, and we really became that. And so, like you said, in 2020, it’s a lot of legal process, and it’s a document this thick, and you have to do it again. The United States is 50 countries. You have to do it in every one of those states for rules for franchising. And so we had to develop the document, the legal, the processes, because then that’s the other thing. I always told people that franchising made us a better company, because you think you have that process written down, you think you have that documented, you think you have this, and when you franchise, you have to produce it, because you have to program.

A franchise is a system, and you have to provide it to your franchisor or franchisee. And so it made us a better company, actually putting it together in 2019. so that when we rolled this out, both legally and process wise, we hit the market. And, you know, 2020, we went to the International Builder Show, introduced it, and two weeks later, COVID hit. And so it slowed us down for that year, but we started signing franchises 2021, and then we doubled it in 2022 with four, and hopefully we’ll double it again here this first quarter. So, I mean, it’s people like the franchise process, I think, and I think it’s going to be a way we… Explode hopefully I’m of course optimistic but of course Modular construction with custom home builders and actually it’s morphing into a developer franchise There’s a lot of developers now that are trying to use modular They don’t understand how to do it and they have subdivisions and they only make money They put houses on on their land to sell their dirt and that’s what we need to do and we can help them you met you mentioned a lot about the processes inside of it. And obviously that is a key. Like when you read anything on franchise, it’s almost like you have to have a manual. McDonald’s is the perfect example because anyone can get they’ve got like a there’s like here’s a book, go and read that and you can run a McDonald’s shop. Is it you actually have to go to hamburger university to be a man. Is that a similar similar process you guys went through literally creating this manual? Yeah. So we have an operations manual, of course, nowadays it’s electronic. We use a product called train eel. So videos and have that embedded in certain areas because obviously in construction of video is worth a thousand words on how to do something or look at something. And so, yeah, so we have the manuals, we have the train eel, but just like anything, I mean, it’s the, um, it’s actually doing it and wanted the job training. And, and so we really try to, uh, As much as we have it documented, there’s always just that on the job process that we have to help you. We actually bring you, before you do any houses, we’ll bring you to a minimum of three sets and we call installations. And then we go to a minimum of three of yours to support once you get started because we want to be there to make sure that, you know, these are days, the house set is the most expensive time. I tell our guys. You don’t have to do anything but watch.

If you’ve got a good team together, it’s gonna happen, but you’re gonna have to make a decision and it’s gonna make your cost you thousands of dollars. You gotta make the right decision when it comes up that day. And based on a placement, something lining up, whatever, and working it out. And so that’s what we’re here to try to do is I tell our franchisees, we have a fee obviously to start, but I will save you that first three houses, that fee will have already paid for itself and things you would have got wrong or messed up. On the franchisee note, I read a book a few years back by Gary Keller. I think it’s called One Thing. Yeah. And he does real estate. Yeah, Keller Williams. Yeah, the largest in the US, I think. At that time it was. So he said that he paid around, at that time, I don’t know how many years it was there, he paid $100,000 for the legal documents for this. franchisee documents manual to prepare. He said that it was the best spent $100,000 on the legal fees in his life because of this document which allowed them to scale in the right way, just allowed this business to grow. So, yeah, it sounds interesting. Yeah, it is. It’s a different process. And obviously, Keller Williams, I know them, they have offices in my town. You know, they’ve grown and there are there several real estate brands in our area that it’s just a It’s an amazing system lots of real estate agents.

Yeah for sure Um, mine you wrote a question here about um number of households increasing Like just yeah, go for it. Maybe let’s let’s let’s read this out. So Um, so in the usa the number of households households increased by 10.1 million from 2010 to 2020 fewer than any other decade between 1950 and 2010. So the question is, why do you think that is the case? And other sources would say that there is still five and a half million shortage of single multifamily homes in the US. And another question would be like, is modular offsite a remedy for this problem? Well. I’m very familiar with the chart that basically shows if you look at the exactly where the drop was in that graph following 2008, we had overshot it before that. So if you would look at the medium building of the homes built, single family homes, we actually overshot the demand in 2007, 2008 and we had gone above it on the medium. And then 2008 there was no funding. I mean I remember in 2009. Appraisals have dropped, home values have dropped in the US. I couldn’t build a house for what, I couldn’t just buy the materials for a house that I would appraise for. That’s no labor or profit. I couldn’t get into appraise for just what I would pay for the materials. So builders stopped building. I mean, there was an overabundance of houses and it stopped and builders left the industry and we had all the older builders just decide to retire. And so as you got into like 2012, 2013, 14, we were still at the bottom. We were in that trough, which created, like you say, that deficit over that time. We started building what, 600,000 homes instead of the one million that we shouldn’t be building. And so now we have this makeup time and now interest rates have gone up again. So now we have people who wanted housing. I think the strange twist right now is, you know, I don’t know if you have this in your area, but we call it the build the rent market that a lot of capital firms, a lot of money who… in the past have put it into when they’re trying to manage large projects, they build apartment buildings. Well, they’ve actually found, you know, at least Americans want to have a single family home detached. And so it’s harder for them to manage and maintain. But there’s a market there and they’re out there buying hundreds of homes and rehabbing them and they can’t buy them and rehab them and rent them fast enough. So they’ve got to build them. And I think that’s going to be an opportunity for modular offsite is to actually deal with those REITs and those big capital firms that supply their homes. They’re going to buy subdivision land, set it up, but they’re never going to sell a home in it. Every home in a community will be a rental.

That’s interesting. That’s a great income for them. I have heard I think BlackRock is it this… BlackRock is one. There’s like a number of those firms that literally with billions. Yeah, like trillion dollars of, I think, family house they bought in the last few years. I mean, I know what we work with one is they’ve got like 67,000 homes they manage right now. That’s crazy. Okay, one topic that comes up on here, Ken, is quite bad. I’m not sure what your direct involvement is with it. I’m sure it’s some way you are. But what do you think can be done to engage younger generation into the industry? So there’s some like scary, I don’t know if you can call them statistics, but claims that less than a third of the next generation coming through said they would consider a job in construction. The real figures probably weigh less. So any thoughts? Well, again, I wish I had the magic wand for this one too. I am seeing in the US. push and you know we have some personalities out there that really do you know try to promote the trades uh… because not everybody’s meant for college i mean that the reality is you know as you grow up in here in the US you get out of high school but it’s pushed all the guidance counselors that’s what you’re supposed to do is you know high school and go to college same here i really think if you start looking at the numbers which is always interesting here in the US, that person who goes to college spends maybe $200,000 plus in tuition and everything to get there, comes out with debt, mom and dad couldn’t pay for it, and their first job makes 35 or 40,000 a year. If I’m the welder who goes to a trade school and I come out, I go to a two-year trade school that probably has some scholarships or has some things where I come out with no debt or was such a low price I could afford to pay as I went.

And now my first job is $60,000 a year. And you see that a lot, that if these young people just could, guidance counselors would just explain option A and option B, I think, you know, because I’ve seen people, they go to college, they spend $100,000, they drop out, you know. My daughter played volleyball. She played volleyball in college. And here we have the NCAA that has rules that says, hey, we have a 75% retention or graduation rate. I was thinking, well, that sucks. That’s a poor graduation rate for athletes and it turns out only 55% of non-athletes graduate. We have a horrible graduation rate from our colleges. It seems like the right, I totally agree. It seems like the perfect place to intersect that and make sure people make. or at least are aware of that decision because I think that’s half the problem. And it’s very much similar situation here. It’s like pushing you to go to university. That’s what usually happens after school here. And then you rack up X tens of thousands of pounds of debt and you’re paying it off for the rest of your life, increases as your income increases, et cetera. And the jobs are not necessarily better in any case. Yeah, and it’s just a perception. It’s, you know, it’s. You can be a proud electrician and not go to college. I mean, it’s really is, especially with the salaries that you can command.

I know people, just like you say, they can’t buy a house because their debt payment for their education is as much as a house payment. It’s great. Yeah, you’re saying. Yeah, well, at some point it has to flip and then more people would have to be attracted to construction really because… Not everyone, as you said, not everyone is born to go to university and these jobs in construction, they are paying the bills quite well. Oh yeah, I better pay some guys some nice salaries to get them to work for me. You see it. I see it. Okay, so are there any misconceptions when it comes to modular construction that you can think of? Actually, one of the biggest ones I see a lot is modular construction has to be boxy. It’s there’s limited design capability. And if you watch me on LinkedIn or put things up, I actually try to put pictures up of houses we’re doing now and then that break that. misconception is we can build practically anything in a factory, deliver it, ship it, finish it. Now, it’s a discipline and I tell people if you’re doing a Victorian house or a mid-century modern California style house, you’re not going to put a turret from a Victorian on a mid-century modern. That’s within the discipline. You don’t do that. Modular is just another discipline. You’ve got to learn where the structural walls are at. You’ve got to learn where the… where the constraints are at, but that’s what makes you creative within that discipline by understanding it.

And so I think if people understood, you can have very sexy, beautiful homes with modular. It’s not limiting. It just demands creativity, just like any other industry. So I think that’s probably the single biggest misconception I see. And then in the US, we have this problem with there’s a manufactured home, which is an affordable home. A lot of people commonly refer to as a trailer. And a lot of people here we call modular and manufactured and mobile and they get confused. And so I think that’s a big limiting thing is they, because we chose something with the M word for our thing with mobile and think we’re that cheap product and don’t realize that we build multimillion dollar homes in Long Island, New York. So it’s just education. Yeah, 100%. Quality of housing. So I try to travel quite a lot. Whenever whenever I can and wherever I can as well. So I see there is a trend that is quite obvious. But in Asia there is a lot of housing being built out of reinforced concrete. Same in the UAE where I am now. And. The concept of modular construction kind of doesn’t exist, I would say. In Europe, there is quite a lot of happening in terms of modular construction, especially in Poland where I’m from. People do these modular homes and then transport it to Western Europe and sell it then. UK, I see there is a lot of trial and error happening in terms of trying to tap into the industry. Mostly error. You asked what is the percentage of people of the modular construction comparing to other types of construction, if you know? So, I mean, the number has been all over the place years ago. They said it got up to about seven or eight percent of overall construction. Real statistics I see after several recessions and the great recession, as we call it here, seems like every time we were making progress, it would kind of… It’s the process we were making. I think it’s regional again, I’ll go back in the US to the Northeast. There’s probably 20% of the houses built in the Northeast could be modular, but nationwide, that number is like the 3% overall, not a large number. And again, I think it’s the things we’ve been talking about here, education, understanding, design, and I think we’ll get a bigger, bigger part of that pie. Yeah. And is it also driven by like local sourcing of materials or not that much? I don’t think it’s driven by that. I think it’s, you know, again, education. And we have, you know, back to what I said earlier, the biggest home builders. I mean, in the United States, the top 10 home builders build 38% of the homes and they don’t change the way they build them. That’s a significant number of homes. You know, the one largest builder builds 87,000 homes a year. the airport. So I mean, that’s a lot of homes and it’s concentrated. We are a hyper fragmented industry. It’s not like the car industry where there’s like eight probably manufacturers in the U.S. that build cars. You know, there’s 30,000 builders in the United States all building five homes a year. So it’s hard to educate that fragmented industry that’s just busy doing their work. They’re working in their job, they’re a company, they’re not working on their company.

They’re not trying to… use better systems, get educated to do different things. All right. And I also found fact I’ve found that in the best quality of public housing is happening in Austria, in Europe. That’s what the internet said. I don’t know how, how, how truthful that is. The internet is always true. Well, come on, it looked like a legit article. So what would you say is the quality of the housing in the US? And how would you assess the quality of modular houses? Overall, I would say that in the US, the production builders, again, those big builders, they’re trying to build a house as cheaply as they can. And one of the things that surprises me is they’re taking base trim. and expensive, you know, half a million dollar, million dollar homes. And if you look at the base trim in the home, it’s actually particle board has been covered by paper that’s painted or white paper. That’s really, I mean, poor quality. They’re not even using, you know, and we’re using wood base. They’re actually putting cardboard on the exterior of the house and putting siding over it. It’s a structural cardboard, but I always tell people I can take a utility knife and I can cut through your house. push the insulation aside the drywall and be in your house without making a sound. And I never went through your door or window. I mean, that’s what we’re seeing now for these production builders who are trying to save every nickel they can on a hound. Modular construction, and I think it’s because it’s tended to focus on, so far it’s focused on the, I would say single family homes, some apartment type sizes.

Now we’ve got places like that, you know, VBC and a number of manufacturers who are doing hotels. they’re doing multi-family type projects, but they’re usually using higher quality products. And maybe it’s just the market they’re serving, but the quality of products is part of it, but then the quality of finish is second. In a factory, you’re not really inspecting for code, you’re inspecting for quality. Out in the field, quality gets dropped a lot. They’re in a hurry, getting the house done. Big punch, we call punch list, when the customer moves in. You know, you’ve got to send people back. It’s expensive to redo the work twice. And so I think there is a lot of quality issues in site construction right now. Mm-hmm. OK. One last question, then, before we go into the off-topic. Do you have plans, Ken, given that you’re in 48 of the 50? 42. 42, sorry, I get that number wrong all the time, of the 50 so-called countries in the US? Could you add one more being the UK to the list? If somebody wants to partner with me, I’m sure we can talk about it. I love it. There may be a listener here that might fancy it. So, yeah. Do you know like what would be the better market like Europe or UK? Well, I mean, it’s interesting. It doesn’t matter. Well. If you what are people in most of Europe, it’s a it’s a concrete based construction. There’s not a lot of wood. I mean, you’re like the northern, you know, the Sweden where they had a lot of wood based or timber frame construction that’s common. You know, the UK is what? Probably 50 50 or maybe even more slanted towards a concrete base than a timber frame. And so I think you’ve got to go where the lift is lighter. And it’s easier to go where people are used to a timber frame or a lumber construction. So that’s where you start at. I wouldn’t try to create more artificial hurdles than we already have. Yeah. Started.

Okay. What is the cost of setting up a factory for the good standards? I can show you, you don’t have to show it. If you know, obviously this is location dependent as well. Yeah, right. And it can be, you know, Factories that I see getting started on the low end are about 10 million dollars today for the u.s. 10 to 15 I see factories that um, you know Autoval which is a factory that started up outside of Boise, Idaho And I think they’re about 120 million dollars into and they’re a heavily automated facility about a 400,000 square foot So it’s all it’s all over the place. But again, it goes back to how many robots? What kind of technology are you willing to pay and where you want to start? So 10 million dollars sounds not too bad. I want to, should we do a franchisee? If you invest first. I’m giving 10 grand. Only money. Okay. All right, Ken. So we usually do some fun off topic questions at the end of the podcast. Nothing too challenging, hopefully. But what does the day in the life, or even maybe the week in the life of Ken, because I know you do a hell of a lot of things. So how does that look? Well, a typical day is you see me on LinkedIn. So every morning I get up and I do all my own postings. I don’t pay anybody. So I get up and the authentic voice is important to me.

I typically write at least an article or a blog post a week in article length. So it’s something on the industry. And during the day, depending on, and I can be everywhere. I could be at the factory. I travel quite a lot myself. So I could be at a factory in South Carolina. I could be visiting a job site. I could be working with prospective franchisees and touring factories. You know, in the office, I do end up being, I’m gonna say the central source for, with questions. So as we have people building our franchisees, when they get their stumpers, when they can’t figure out something, it’ll float up sometimes to me. And a lot of it’s the day to day, I’m still probably in the operation side of my business more than I want to. And that’s just part of the, you know, I tell people, I said, yes, way too much in 2021. And now I’m paying for it for all the things I have to do. But we started that magazine, it’s called All Site Builder. And the magazine’s taking off. There was, you know, people thought I was crazy when I started to pay for Mac will be But keep in mind, most of the people in our industry are like me, 50 plus year old white guys who like to have paper and read it and there’s no way to get into our, you know, being hyper fragmented. How do you get to the people in our industry? There’s no single source right now and that’s what we really want to become is, you know, we run a website, modularhomesource.com with the blogging and then we have Offsite Builder with the magazine and it really becomes that focus point for people who want to learn about offsite. And I think we’re about the only source to do it right now. Nice. Yeah, creating awareness is the thing to spread the off-site message. So you said earlier that to become successful, one has to be very persistent. But to be persistent, I guess there is a need for a vision to keep doing these things, what one is doing.

What keeps you persistent? What is the thing that holds you there? You know, people always ask you what your why is and I really, I enjoy, I’m gonna say educating and helping people and believe it or not, I mean, I think I am helping a lot of people get their dream, get houses. You know, I’m furthering the cause for a lot of builders and helping them create businesses that they wouldn’t otherwise have. And so I think, you know, my why is just being productive and helping people and if I can monetarily benefit from that, that’s great and you know, try to make the two walk hand in hand. But I enjoy things like we’re doing here. I enjoy educating and talking with people. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Bricks and Bytes Podcast. If you are enjoying the show, please feel free to rate, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. We really appreciate it, and we’ll catch you in the next episode.

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