Do I Go With a Larger Custom Builder or a Boutique Builder?

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Thinking of building or renovating your home?

Good, you’re reading the right article.

Choosing to build a house is a massive commitment. And you’ll be met with decisions at every turn. One of the earliest questions you’ll need to answer: Do I go with a larger building group or a more boutique builder?

For the sake of this article, a “boutique” building company refers to a company with less than 10 full-time staff and build less than 20 homes per year.

For the sake of contrast, let’s also assume that a “large” building company handles more than 50 homes a year, employs over 20 people, and does projects all over the city.

With that in mind, Your Next Home has put together some of the top reasons for and against using both types of builders.

Let’s dive in:

1. Small builders offer a more personalized touch

One of the top-selling points for small builders is personalized services. You’ll be dealing with one or two people throughout the building process. Taking you through every step and explaining the intricacies of building along the way.

In contrast, when you approach a large building company the first point of contact is with the customer care service representative or the sales consultant. You won’t sit with the actual decision-maker.

So if you ask for specific changes and revised pricing, the response is usually “I’ll get back to you.” And when they do finally come back to you with an answer, and you don’t like it, you have less recourse.

Compare that with sitting in front of the owner of a small building company. You’ll get straight forward answers. You’ll have the chance to negotiate. And you’ll have someone to explain why adding a wall increases the reverberation of sound inside and outside the home.

2. Large builders fix problems quicker

Few construction projects go from start to finish without a hitch. Supply of materials can be delayed because invoices weren’t processed on time. Construction work can be put on hold because of bad weather- something no builder can predict. But large building companies are great at handling problems.

Many usually have a whole department to handle “problems”, you may know them as customer care representatives or dedicated project managers. These guys work tirelessly to ensure materials reach sites on time. Everyone on site gets their paycheck, so they're motivated to continue working hard.

And if they could hold off the rain for one more week- they would do it. That’s how committed customer care representatives are to push your project to the next stage, completing it, and moving on to the next one- builders typically make all their profit in the last few stages of the project.

3. Boutique builders care more about the detail

More often than not, the boutique builder has a reputation to maintain within a community and thus pays even greater attention to the finished product. It's also due to using the same trusted tradies on every job to ensure the quality doesn't change on every job. The boutique builders value their reputation above all else, as most of their work is word of mouth and referral based - if your home is extremely custom and detail orientated, consider using this type of company.

4. Price - Who’s Cheaper?

This right here is the million-dollar question: Is using a large building company really cheaper than using a smaller one? The short answer - Not always.

Big builders may get discounted prices on a select range of materials and subcontractors they use. Small builders, on the other hand, have fewer overheads as they usually operate from a smaller office and have fewer people as full-time staff and can thus do the job at a lower margin.

At the end of the day - It all depends on the builders capacity and desire to take on your job at the present moment.

Another way to think about this is - how badly does the builder want to win your project? What will it do for their reputation, portfolio, financial position etc.? That's why people a lot of the time, you get such a contrast of quotes when getting your plans priced by different builders! YNH eliminate the uncertainty with our apples for apples tendering service 😊

Haven't found the right builder yet? Reach out to us.

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