Get the answers directly from Doug Moran, Chief Operation Officer at Dream Finders Homes. In a conversation with Bob Swainhart from their technology partners at Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, get insights on Dream Finders Homes’ growth, scaling, data management, Jacksonville Jaguars partnership and more!
Bob Swainhart, General Manager, Enterprise Solutions at Constellation HomeBuilder Systems: Doug, I remember visiting your office in 2015 shortly after you had been hired. We were working together to ensure that Dream Finders Homes could scale to 500+ homes per year while maximizing the value of your technology platform. Did you envision transforming from that point, to an expanded regional builder, to a publicly traded company?
Doug Moran, Chief Operating Officer at Dream Finders Homes: Bob, great to visit with you again. Back in the early days with the company, I certainly felt confident in our product, land positions and the team we were building that we could continue to grow and expand. We took the approach to concentrate on the demographics and the relationships we built over the years to find the right locations to expand.
Bob: What variables did you see in the market that gave you and the leadership team the confidence to expand at this level?
Doug: Our approach to expansion was based on reviewing the economic data and customer demographics in each market. As well as reviewing the competition in the markets. We believed that with our product, which focuses on first-time and first-time move-up buyers along with a superior sales process, we could be very successful.
Bob: As you’ve grown, how does it change your mindset in how you manage the business day-to-day? What’s more important now than ever?
Doug: The challenges vary across all our markets but being proactive to address them as soon as they arise has become increasingly important. Good communication from our division leaders has been key along with reliable reporting systems.
Bob: The further you are from the divisions, the more important it is that you have good technology, access to mission-critical data in real time, and perhaps, most importantly, confidence in the data you are looking at. As an organization, what processes have you implemented to ensure effective user adoption and confidence in the quality of your data?
Doug: We have now completed three acquisitions. As we have worked on diligence with each of them, the migration to the NEWSTAR system has been a significant consideration. For us, it was important to minimize the time we operated on multiple platforms, so we took a methodical approach to make sure we got everyone on the same system as soon as possible. This allowed us to compare costs in the same format, operational reporting consistency, and to cross train to support employees that were new to the system. For all our divisions, we have ongoing training for all functional areas. We also have an open dialogue for feedback from our divisions about what tools they need to manage their business better.
Bob: COVID-19 has changed the technology landscape for the homebuilding industry. How has your digital footprint changed and now that the “cat is out of the bag”, do you see technology playing a bigger role in the homebuying process going forward?
Doug: We have expanded our online presence and have provided additional opportunities for buyers to “buy from home” via virtual appointments. We are continuing to enhance our online presence and provide our customers a great online experience.
Bob: On a recent bike ride, I met an investor of yours and he mentioned what you are doing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said you’ve built a house next to the stadium and use it to host events and more. How is that working out for you and what does that look like logistically? It sounds fun!
Doug: That’s true! This is now our second model we have built at the stadium through our partnership with the Jaguars. We utilize the home to host events and bring fans through to see our home. After a few years, the home is donated to a deserving veteran. We learned a lot after the first house and invested significantly in the engineering of the second home to allow it to be disassembled and relocated to its new location.
Bob: And finally, what’s the plan going forward for Dream Finders – what are the areas of focus for the rest of 2021 and going into 2022?
Doug: Dream Finders is focused on delivering on our promise to our customers, growing our employees and the business. We have new shareholders that we want to provide value to as well.
Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is proud to partner with Dream Finders Homes as they continue to reach new heights. As a leading software & services provider to builders, developers and trades, Constellation is dedicated to the homebuilding industry, its customers, and to helping homebuilders achieve their goals no matter if you build 10 or 10,000 homes. Constellation powers nearly half of the top 200 builders in the United States. To learn more about the systems supporting Dream Finders Homes and many other incredible builders, please visit ConstellationHB.com.