For more than 35 years Hoebeke Builders, Inc. (HBI) has been a “build-to-suit,” contract-only residential construction company specializing in luxury private homes across North Texas. Run by one of the straightest-talking home builders to have ever lifted a hammer, Bob Hoebeke based his company on a time-tested, client-based system of project administration. And he was doing it before technology knew the name Alexa.
“We collect our customer’s wishes and dreams, translate them into practical and elegant living spaces,” says Bob. “And that’s where real life happens!”
HBI’s philosophy could be a five second “elevator statement”: HBI is in the “tailor made suit” business for homes: nothing off the rack which needs alteration to fit, because our homes are all tailor-made.
Working with clients closely, HBI builds a “project team” comprised of architect, contractor, interior designer, and landscape architects. HBI assembles all of the disciplines necessary to maximize the project’s potential, while minimizing cost and inefficiency. Bob’s even written a book about it! UnHinged: a Homebuilder’s Secrets for Saving Time and Money which outlines his common sense approach to building your greatest asset.
“Ideally, 80 percent of the project should be planned around our client’s table, just 20 percent finalized in the field,” says Bob. “Not the other way around!”
Each HBI custom client is presented with a Project Manual, that puts every piece of the house puzzle at the client’s fingertips, from cost information to specifications, selection data to building guidelines. Everything the homeowner needs to know about their project is gathered and compiled in one clean document, that can serve as a reference throughout the life of the home.
But the company doesn’t stop there.
HBI clients get weekly “Flash Reports” that update the homeowner on building site progress and also maintain team accountability.
“The worst worst thing that a builder can do, in my opinion, is not communicate with his client,” says Bob. “There are days, weeks even when it seems nothing is getting done or accomplished. It really is, but for the homeowner, those days can be painful.”
There is another component to custom home building, or to any home building, from tract homes to back yard playhouses: skilled labor. Labor is where many a home builder suffers, and its where you can always tell a beginner from a pro: quality of work. North Texas, like the rest of the nation, is undergoing a terrific shortage of skilled labor, the very ones who build, plumb, and paint our homes.
“Quite simply, over time, we have found the best labor in Dallas, and we have KEPT them,” says Bob.
What is the secret labor sauce?
“We carefully define the scope of the project for our skilled labor; and then we accurately price that scope of work,” says Bob. “We make sure that materials and information are at their fingertips. We create their place in the schedule. And most vitally, we pay them on time.”
That’s the only way, says Bob, to attract and maintain the BEST labor, keep them, and make darn sure they are available when you need them.
Dallas, says Bob, is experiencing a tough shortage of labor, but great, well-managed labor is always available to HBI.
So how does HBI cut costs to get the very best cost per square foot price for his clients while maintaining high quality?
“Easy,” says Bob. “We vigorously bid commodities, not labor!”
Don’t touch that labor! Maintaining a static labor force, and focusing on competitively bidding building materials, is what ensures HBI’s ability to deliver a high-quality product at the best possible price every time. And it is that consistency of delivery that clients have cherished over the years. Many of HBI’s clients are repeat customers, some on their third or fourth home with HBI. One even took HBI down to Grand Cayman Island to help supervise the building of a vacation home.
“You just minimize risk when you really know the people you are putting inside a client’s house to work.” says Bob. “That could almost be our theme, if we had a theme song at HBI: no subs are going to step foot in our clients’ home(s) and build a resume “experimenting”. A house is the most expensive investment most of us make in a lifetime. No time for amateurs.”
It’s only the best at HBI, regardless of price point. Which is why we cannot wait to see what Bob Hoebeke and HBI is going to build on Danny Lane in Branch Crossing over in Farmers Branch: given this company’s history, it will be nothing short of spectacular!