Ron Betenbough built his first home in 1964 and after building on his own for seven years he left Texas and moved to California where he worked in the commercial real estate business. In 1991 he decided he missed Texas, so he returned and partnered up with his son Rick, who was working for a software company.
The next year, they built five homes and sold them from a card table set up in a cul-de-sac. Since then, Betenbough Homes has completed nearly 9,000 homes in west Texas–a real estate market that’s now hotter than three-alarm chili.
The father-and-son team play to each other’s strengths as Ron handles sales and marketing while Rick sticks to operations. Since the company’s founding, the pair have promoted non-Betenboughs to leadership positions while staying focused on remaining nimble.
“We have always been flexible about the decisions and changes we make and the opportunities that come to us,” says Jeanna Roach, vice president of sales and marketing at the firm, which is No. 61 on this year’s Builder 100 list. “We are a group of entrepreneurial-minded individuals, and we are not afraid to fail or take risks.”
The company’s unique approach to home building includes Kingdom at Work, its Christian ministry organization. “It is the foundation for every decision we make for our home buyers, our employees, and the communities we call home,” says Roach. “It’s a movement that seeks to inspire, equip, and ignite leaders to advance God’s kingdom through their influence in the marketplace.”
WHAT’S NEWBetenbough employs an in-house closing system to help make the transition to homeownership more seamless. Its in-house closing specialists work with buyers and their lenders to gather and complete the necessary paperwork, acting as representatives for buyers and working hand-in-hand with them to ensure they close on time.
The latest wrinkle to the business is last month’s opening of a 5,400-square-foot sales center and adjacent model home –a long way from a card table set up in the cul-de-sac. The sales center has an area where buyers can view interior selections grouped together on sliding displays, allowing them to narrow down product selections. It also includes a virtual reality room that helps showcase the more than 30 floor plans offered by Betenbough.
While some firms are getting away from model homes in favor of VR setups, Roach likes having both. “We’re very excited about the opportunities that virtual reality has presented to our home buyers,” she says, “but it’s difficult to replicate the sensory experience a model home provides.”
As a new oil boom rocks west Texas, Betenbough is seeing new challenges in the marketplace. “The cost of materials have grown to numbers we have never experienced before,” says Roach. “We have had to get creative and create stronger relationships with our trade partners in order to keep our homes high quality and affordable for our buyers.”
Despite the hardships, company leadership maintains a positive outlook and its employees love their role in the community. “We recently worked with home buyers that came to Lubbock from Puerto Rico after the hurricane when buying a home in Puerto Rico seemed impossible,” says Roach. “When they found out that they were approved to build their Betenbough home, they couldn’t believe it. That is exactly why we love what we do. Not only do we get to make the intangible, tangible, but we get to meet people where they are, grow relationships with them, and walk through one of the most amazing moments in their lives with them.”