DURING THE PAST FEW YEARS, IT HASN'T BEEN TOUGH to score big in the housing industry. Smart builders have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by strong demand, coupled with buyers' tolerance for substantially higher-priced homes.
But America's Best Builders for 2005 went further. They used the boom to strengthen their bottom lines, yes, but they also created innovative marketing campaigns to reach beyond obvious customers. They improved their building processes to offer better customer service. They took the time to reach out to others in their communities who hadn't benefited from the same good times.
Jim McVaugh, of Houston-based McVaugh Custom Homes, turned a side gig building moderately priced homes into a full-time career delivering high-end custom designs. Keystone Custom Homes, of Willow Street, Pa., built off earlier accomplishments and realized increased success through the use of new technology. John Wieland tweaked his own role within the company he founded 34 years ago to redouble its efforts to create compelling neighborhoods, and Shea Homes capitalized on opportunities to expand.
What's more, these winners were driven by more than the interest in short-term gains. Each company has proven it can set—and achieve—goals, and they're all well-positioned to continue that trend for years to come.