The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
Up against a challenging marketplace, builders and remodelers have been reporting that participation in NAHB’s 20 Club program has provided their businesses a decisive edge over the competition and has enabled them to survive today’s difficult times for housing.
Steve Spanjer, president of Spanjer Homes and a custom home builder in Fort Collins, Colo., said that the program “has been the single most important benefit to my career.” He has been a 20 Club member for more than 15 years.
The 20 Clubs are small groups of builders, remodelers or other industry professionals from non-competing markets who are then paired according to their type of company (i.e., custom, production or small volume builder; remodeler; and land development); the number of units they produce annually; and their dollar volume.
Each club meets twice a year in a location determined by the group to review such key areas as cutting expenditures, instituting best-practice efficiencies and procedures and pinpointing areas needing particular attention.
One of those trouble areas for Spanjer’s 20 Club group — The Doors — was the heavy toll of the housing downturn on custom home building.
The knowledge and support he derived from interacting with his group members was a lifesaver for his company during the thick of the storm.
“Our group saw the wave hitting early,” Spanjer said. “We talked about what we would do to get through the hard times and it was the group participation that helped my company survive what could have been a devastating couple of years.”
Because all 20 Club members sign confidentiality agreements and hail from different markets, members are able to discuss their pressing business issues openly.
Survey research has found that 20 Club members perform better than non‐members in their operational systems and long-term success.
20 Club members are also frequently regarded as leaders in their markets and many are recipients of prestigious industry awards.
Although the 20 Club program is seen by those who are familiar with it as one of the most valuable resources NAHB offers its members, its availability is not as widely known throughout the membership as it should be, according to association staff members with expertise in business management.
Among the advantages afforded by 20 Clubs, members can:
- Get advice on how to control costs and increase margins
- See the results achieved by different management structures and styles
- Gain insights from discussions with builders or remodelers who have similar operations
- Select meeting topics that are important to the group
- Share new ideas that are helping builders make more money
- Establish benchmarks by comparing financial information with similar builders
- Discuss how to improve customer service and marketing strategies
- Access other club members throughout the year for advice or ideas
- Get away from the daily grind to work on long-term management goals with the group
- Identify new trends
- Learn about new business opportunities and how to profit from them