Prodigy Homes lives up to its name by staying at the forefront of the homebuilding industry with new technology and keeping on top of design trends. By Eric Slack
Originally from Dallas, Jason Wilkinson has been in the homebuilding industry for decades. Having worked with one of the largest builders in that market, Wilkinson established himself as something of a prodigy in his younger days. That reputation and ability ultimately led him to start Prodigy Homes in 2007 after moving to the Pacific Northwest.
“A lot of people go through construction management or homebuilding schools, but I’ve been working on job sites since I was 16,” Wilkinson says. “That was the best onsite training you can possibly get, and we’ve taken the communication, documentation and scheduling lessons from those experiences and made them a part of our company.”
The prodigy name was certainly well earned and a logical moniker for Wilkinson’s company. While in Dallas, he was the youngest employee hired by the large builder, working in 600-lot subdivisions and being christened a prodigy by one of the company’s vice presidents. Wilkinson and his family moved to Washington 12 years ago, where he worked for a production builder in the market before branching out on his own.
“Since then, we’ve done 75 homes and are now doing more custom projects and fewer production homes,” he says. “The more custom work we do, the more people see the quality, style, layouts and functionality of our homes, and the more people love our work.”
Based in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, Prodigy builds in Richland, West Richland, Kennewick and Pasco. Wilkinson says his mantra is “every house, every room, every day,” meaning he personally visits every jobsite daily.
“Our projects needs to be within a 45-minute drive for me to do that,” he says. “Right now, we have 18 jobs in progress and I visit them every day. I have no superintendent, and I have more of a buck-stops-here kind of attitude.”
Wilkinson says homes running between $250,000 and $350,000 tend to sell fairly quickly in this market. The company has a number of spec homes in that range, and it also does custom projects ranging anywhere from $375,000 to $1.3 million.
Many of the company’s buyers are looking for customization. Prodigy tries to make it easy for buyers to customize elements like floor plans to meet their needs. Essentially, Prodigy has carved out a niche for itself between the higher-end production builders and fully custom homebuilders.
Although Prodigy is a small, six-person company, it has invested in the most important business tools. One of them is its software system. During his time in Dallas, Wilkinson learned the importance of documentation and communication.
Prodigy uses the Buildertrend homebuilding software system that can connect with subcontractors and includes updated real-time information on all of Prodigy’s projects.
The systems Prodigy has put in place allow for linkage to all of the different tasks on a job, connecting that information with contractors and schedules. The company is also able to take and upload daily images of work taking place on each of its projects so homeowners can see constant daily progress. It has a two-week color-coded overview of what is scheduled to take place on projects to help everyone stay in the loop.
“We work in a just-in-time fashion, so one contractor walks in as another walks out,” Wilkinson says. “It was a complex process to set up our systems to help manage that workflow, and we will always look to constantly improve and make our systems easier for everyone.”
Talent is another element contributing to Prodigy’s success. Wilkinson praises his co-owner/wife Jasmine’s abilities, both financial and design. “Her style is amazing and she has incredible interior design sense,” he says. “She helps with picking colors and fixtures, staying on top of the trends and helping our projects to earn accolades.”
Additionally, the company has worked hard to hire the right people and believes in promoting from within. “We have three people in the field and three in the office, and our entire team knows our systems and understands everything that has to happen on each job site,” Wilkinson says.
Prodigy also recognizes the importance of the subcontractor element. When Wilkinson was in Dallas, he had access to a giant list of approved subcontractors. Now in a smaller market, it is a bigger challenge to find the right partners.
“We like to stick with established partners in the long run, but we examine subcontractors based on everything from price and quality to their portfolio and their understanding of technology. They need to do good work and be able to schedule appropriately. Our subs love our software because they can pull up floor plans and selections, get constant notifications on changes and access all information on billing.”
As Prodigy moves forward, it is not concerned about being the biggest homebuilder in its market. Instead, Prodigy is committed to being the best, with Wilkinson getting out to each of his sites every day. To continue on that journey, the company knows it must have the best systems and people while learning from its experiences on every job. “That helps us find ways to get better every day so we can be the best,” Wilkinson says.