|What Exactly is a Log Home Dealer?
Chat with: Dana Delano of Ward Cedar Log Homes
To deal or not to deal? If that’s the question, Dana Delano, has the answer. Read on to find out why you might want to consider becoming a log home dealer.
What exactly is a log home dealer? A lot of times when you think of a “dealer,” you think of a car dealer. A car dealer actually buys car and then sells them directly to the customers. In the case of log home companies, a dealer is an independent representative for the company who they sell for.
What do you mean by “independent”? Ninety percent of the country’s log home companies have sales representatives, and it’s pretty much universal that we hire them as independent dealers. When they sell a home, that customer is technically a customer of the log home company’s, not of their independent business. Once the sale is complete, we pay the representative a commission.
So, do they have control over how they run their business? For the most part. Representatives take care of their own advertising and marketing, which includes working at local log home shows. Of course, we’ll help when we can. When we take on a new representative, we give them what’s called a “lead territory.” This means we’ll send them advertising leads for their area from our in-house sales department and our web site. From there, we expect them to follow up with those potential clients. It’s a lot of fun to do, but it takes persistence.
Sounds challenging. What are some of the benefits of becoming a dealer? Representing a log home company can provide excellent financial returns. Although individual company commission rates vary, it’s not uncommon to earn anywhere from ten percent commission to 15 percent or more. But one of the biggest benefits is that it can help pay for your own log home. A package selling for $100,000 will earn a sales representative between $10,000 and $15,000—or more. Those numbers will go a long way towards paying for your new home.
Now that we know what a dealer is, tell us about who can become one. Absolutely anyone can become a dealer. We have teachers, businessmen and women, mechanics—all kinds of people. Traditionally, we get the best representatives out of past customers. So many people build their own log home and completely fall in love with it. Those customers make the best representatives because they truly love the product they’re selling.
It’s also important to note that being a dealer can be a part- or full-time job. This makes it a great option for all of those Baby Boomers who are getting ready to retire or have just left the 9-to-5 work force, but don’t want to stop working altogether. When you work for yourself, you determine your hours and work schedule.
What about location? Can you set up your business anywhere? There are some companies that only want to sell in specific regions, but national companies want sales reps everywhere. As long as there isn’t already another dealer in close proximity to you, it’s pretty much free rein. And, since most log home companies require each representative to have a model, it makes sense for dealers to use the house they live in as their headquarters.
Sounds like the perfect job for any log home lover. Absolutely. It’s a great job, because it’s so natural. You’re talking to people just like you who love log homes and are excited to build their own. And it’s something that lots of husbands and wives do together. When you’re both supporting the business and working side by side, it can be a lot of fun.
So, once you’ve decided that you’d like to be a dealer, what’s the next step? Every company has its own application process. Once you apply, they’ll probably do a simple background check and have you go through training, which usually takes a couple of days. We want people who have a good reputation because you’ll be representing our company. One of things I always tell people is that we’re the manufacturer, but they’re the log home authority in their area. People don’t know me, but they do know them.
Are there any myths about becoming a log home dealer that you’d like to dispel? One of the big misconceptions is that you have to be a builder to be a dealer. There are a lot of people who do both, but it’s not necessary and it’s definitely not for everybody. If they’re already building homes, a lot of people like the idea of carrying a line of log homes, too. It’s great for some folks because it can be like a one-stop shop. They can sell a log home to a customer and then they can build it, too.
Other than helping to fund your log home, what are some benefits of becoming a log home representative? The benefits of becoming a log home dealer are numerous. Most importantly, it’s your own independent business. You determine the hours and time frame of your work schedule. It can be a full-time or a part-time position, working nights and weekends. Generally, the company support is unlike any other business. The corporate office provides technical support, engineering services, business management and marketing support, lead management training, sales training, and most importantly, sales leads. Many companies also offer CO-OP advertising programs, as well as company support at national log home shows and seminars.
What is the best part of the job? I’ve found that most dealers love their job. If you love log homes as much as our customers do, you’ll enjoy working with people that also love log homes. Log home enthusiast are down to earth, genuine people. They care about our environment, our renewable resources, and are consciously ‘green’ by nature. Log home salespeople make friends for life with their customers. This is a once in a lifetime investment for many of our customers and the log home sales person responsible for making that dream come true forges a lasting friendship.