ames George, custom home builder and founder of Highlife Homes, was once just a young man with a dream.
A dream to build the most beautiful homes that people loved wholeheartedly. But like all heroes, he would come across challenges on his journey to become the most well-respected custom home builder in his community.
After spending nearly a decade as a highly sought after carpenter with an incredible attention to detail, James met his heroine Elyse. Being a young businesswoman, she was keen to realise James’ dream with him. Together in 2011 they started the custom home building company Highlife Homes and so began a wonderful journey into the big wide world of building.
It wasn’t long however, before James noticed many frustrations in the industry, frustrations he was determined to find solutions to…
Frustrations In The Bulding Industry and How Highlife Homes Seeks to Solve Them
Frustration #1 – Extra Costs Throughout Construction
Many custom home builders don’t quote all-inclusive, making it impossible for clients to know what their home is really going to cost them until it is too late. Clients would receive quotes that were filled with prime costs and provisional sums but then once construction began, these costs would go over and the clients would have to pay more and more.
Solution #1 – All-Inclusive Quoting
James makes sure that his clients know what their home is going to cost them BEFORE signing the contract, so they can be sure it’s within their budget. That’s why Highlife Homes provides all-inclusive quotes. Our clients know exactly what they are getting and for what price. If prime costs or provisional sums are required because of unknown pricing, we do our research and provide you with our best estimate to avoid any nasty surprises.
Frustration #2 – Unclear Quotes That Mislead Clients About Their Inclusions
Again and again James noticed that many of the custom home builders he was competing against would mislead client about their inclusions. This would make clients think they were getting more for their money than they were. By the time clients would realise they weren’t actually getting the home and the inclusions that they thought, it was too late! Not only would the client be disheartened, but they would likely end up spending even more money to get those things they wanted in the first place. They would also end up feeling deceived by their builder.
Solution #2 – Detailed Quotes & Upfront Honesty
James built his company on honesty and integrity, which means all quotes are heavily detailed about inclusions and exclusions so each and every client knows exactly what they’re getting. Clients are able to see all of their inclusions within their plans and on our online system that they can access anytime. Any questions about inclusions and selections are answered with complete honesty, ensuring clients are overjoyed with the end result.
Frustration #3 – Not Being Able to Make Design Changes or Build On A Sloping Block Without Enormous Cost
Every block, every home and every client is different. So shouldn’t their homes be too? This was James’ view, however many builders who have to make significant home design changes or build on a sloping block, choose to add enormous unjustifiable cost to the build to do so. This was a huge frustration for clients who had bought a sloping block or clients that just wanted to maximise the potential of their block.
Solution #3 – Specialise In Sloping Blocks & Custom Homes
Without even intending to become one, Highlife Homes has become a specialist in building sloping block homes, simply because James has always been committed to bringing his clients’ desired homes to life, as opposed to shutting them down. Highlife Homes designs exquisite custom homes for clients and amends them as much or as little as necessary until the client is happy.
Frustration #4 – No Communication During Construction
Often client had the same tale of woe with other cusotm home builders: plenty of contact until the contract was signed and building begun, then none at all! Clients would then be left wondering where things were up to and how to track down the builder.
Solution #4 – Regular On-Site Meetings & An Online Project Management System For Clients
With Highlife Homes, you always have someone you can contact, and who will happily respond to your emails and answer your calls. This applies all throughout construction where we will introduce you to your project manager, who you can contact at any time. We will also have regular on-site meetings together. Additionally, you will be kept up to date on construction progress via our awesome online program Buildertrend. On Buildertrend you can see photos of your home being built, send messages, access all of your selections, change orders and more.
Frustration #5 – Builder Not Coming Back And Fixing Any Defects
Many custom home builders have a reputation for not coming back and fixing any defects once the final invoice has been paid. They simply drop off the radar, become uncontactable, or lack motivation to complete the defects, leaving their clients exhausted. Client the have to chase the builder to repair defects, eventually paying someone else to tidy them up…very frustrating! If the defect is fair, it is the builder’s responsibility to ensure it is corrected.
Solution #5 – An Excellent Warranty Process
Highlife Homes has an excellent warranty process. Warranty issues are submitted online and directed immediately to the right staff member who then lets the client know it will be handled promptly. This staff member then follows the issue up with the right people until it is complete. Talk to any client of Highlife Homes and they will tell you Highlife Homes never hesitates in coming back and making sure everything is just right.
Clients continue to rave about James’ level of customer service and commitment to client satisfaction, just see our testimonials!
Along the way James expanded Highlife Homes’ heroic team to include an Excellent Estimator, a Super Site Supervisor, a Charismatic Client Liaison, and a Brilliant Bookkeeper. He also has some Clever Carpenters and Ambitious Apprentices. James and his heroic team are constantly updating their processes and systems to meet the growing demand for their home. They also work hard to ensure they can maintain their high quality and personal service long into the future.
James’ hard work and commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed by the industry either. In 2016 James received a Master Builders Building and Construction Award for being the 2016 Rising Star Builder (along with a winning home in the category of $651,000 – $750,000) for his amazing work and for being a truly great builder. James has not only built great homes (and continues to), but he has also built a great company.