Factory Direct vs Stick Built - Home Nation

Factory Direct vs Stick Built

Since everyone asks, here is how we save you money!

This is a building cost calculator for residential homes that is fairly accurate. We suggest you use it to understand costs for a typical site built (stick built) home. It quickly becomes obvious how much you will save with a Modular or Mobile Home. (this is just for the home, no driveways, wells, septic, etc.) The difference lies in how the home is manufactured. Since a mobile or modular home is built in a factory, the manufacturer has all their material ready to go, and is able to build homes at a much faster rate. Since material is purchased not by the truckload, but by the trainload, their cost of materials drops drastically and these savings are passed on to you.

a large amount of mobile homes

Online Cost Calculator

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind…

1. The foundation type does not include a crawl space. “No basement” means a concrete slab, not a crawl space, which is a typical foundation type in most of the USA. A crawl space would actually cost somewhere between a slab and an ‘Unfinished basement’. Remember to add a few thousand if you selected ‘No Basement’ in the calculator.

2. Set it for “Standard” construction. In truth our Modular homes are somewhere between ‘Standard’ and ‘Custom’ as we do offer a fairly high degree of customization on some of our homes compared to a tract builder who does not actually offer as much customization as we do.

3. We suggest you set the ‘Contractor’ cost at 15% (their default is 25%) for a realistic cost of hiring a General Contractor in most of the Midwest, although it certainly can be as high as 25%. Costs vary, so contact us to get a better idea of what this will be.

This is where we find the real savings over a site built home. Unless you’re going to handle all the subcontractors on your project (as the general contractor), you will have to hire someone to do it for you. We cut this cost out of our homes COMPLETELY because our homes are built almost entirely in the factory, no need to hire any sub contractors (framers, roofers, siders, HVAC, electricians, plumbers, insullation, drywallers, floorlayers, trim carpenters, etc etc…).

Each individual contractor in a site-build project represents another "premium" that is charged to you. Imagine hiring 50 people to build you a car, as opposed to hiring just 1. In the same way, having the manufacturer handle every step of the building process drastically reduces costs. Not to mention, we often will have an overstock of homes, that leads to lower prices for you down the road. All you need is a foundation built, and someone to set the home. We also coach you to oversee your own project, saving you thousands. We can even be your general contractor and handle it all if you’d like.

a mobile home factory

4. The ‘Contingency’ should be set at 5% or so (that would be true for a Modular also BTW) – that is for anything that comes up during construction over the known costs. The design fee will vary, but they default at 7% for a site built. (probably should be about 3%) While most of the uncertainty has been done away with since the home is built in a factory, there are often site conditions (mud, rain, snow) that can increase your budget unexpectedly, like when your home gets stuck in the mud.

Using the above you will see that a Modular Home can typically save you around $30,000 – $50,000 over a site built home.

Cost savings are even more for a Manufactured Home!

(we save our customers so much money, that they usually will spend anything left over on a wealth of options for their new home!)