Ashley Homes LLC
Most contractors hire subcontractors to complete their projects and are in effect middlemen and project managers. But instead, Ashley Homes LLC completes nearly 90 percent of its projects using its own in-house crew. This allows the company to save its customers both time and money.
“We’ve changed with the times,” owner John Hommel says, noting that in the past, the company completed many stick-built homes. “[But] over the last five years, we’ve seen a huge increase in modular construction [projects].”
This is “because the scope of what is possible in a custom designed modular home is now virtually unlimited and the cost to produce it is significantly reduced,” he says, adding that more homebuyers are choosing a custom modular home over stick built.
Hommel co-founded Ashley Homes with his father, Joseph Hommel. Today, it not only builds homes, but also provides design, engineering, site surveying and development, and excavation services.
Ashley Homes ability to rely on its own resources and equipment fleet sets it apart. Unlike other contractors, “We’re not subcontracting out and making a big profit on it,” John Hommel says.
This approach allows Ashley Homes to keep a closer eye on the budget and schedule, Hommel says. “It translates into savings for the homeowner,” he states.
“We have strong customer service, as well,” he continues. “We want to be known for being on time and on budget.”
What Clients Want
Currently, Ashley Homes is enjoying a recovery within its markets. However, the contractor’s customers are still keeping a tight grip over their wallets, Hommel says. Today, “Everyone just wants more for their dollar,” he explains.
Customers also want to be more energy conscious. For instance, although Ashley Homes once did many poured foundations, “We’re doing a lot of ICF [insulated concrete form] construction,” he says.
“They cost 15 to 20 percent more to build that way, but the energy savings you get are phenomenal,” he says. “Our ICF walls [have a rating of] R45,” compared to a conventional foundation with a rating of R9.
Ashley Homes also is a dealer of modular units for Excel Homes, the largest manufacturer in the country with locations in Liverpool, Pa., and Rocky Mount, Va. Each of the units is built indoors by skilled craftsmen and away from the elements. This allows Excel to keep materials clean and dry.
It also allows Excel to have workstations for quality and reliability. “Tools are of the highest caliber and are kept maintained by a specialty maintenance staff,” Ashley Homes says.
Excel also maintains quality requirements on incoming materials. For instance, wood always needs to arrive covered and protected from the weather. “Upon delivery, they are tested for moisture content,” Ashley Homes says. “If moisture is higher than our strict limits, the delivery is rejected and sent back to the supplier.”
Hommel sees growth ahead in Ashley Homes’ future. “Our sales are already up from what they were last year,” Hommel says, noting that the contractor is now hoping to enjoy a boost from television advertising, which it just recently started. “We owe a lot of our success to Internet marketing and pay-per-click advertising, which has broadened our market base.”
Additionally, “We’re trying to get in on more municipal and industrial jobs,” Hommel says. “I would definitely hope to see more growth not just in residential but in public and commercial construction.”