The founders of Crimson Cove Homes launched a company that focuses on what customers want.
SINCE ITS INCEPTION, the executive team at Crimson Cove Homes has had to respond to the increased demands and expectations for great design, quality and service over the years. An unwavering devotion to delivering exactly what customers expect is the reason why Jon Schwartz and Wade Grabeldinger launched Crimson Cove Homes in the first place, so evolving alongside changing expectations from clients comes naturally to their firm.
“We make a concerted effort to get to know our customers, and we meet with our customers to create their plans,” says Grabeldinger, who serves as CFO for Crimson Cove. “We ensure our houses are constructed to a very high standard, and we listen to our customers.”
Schwartz and Grabeldinger developed their business philosophy after working together at the same production builder and developer in Edmonton. Schwartz, who serves as CEO of Crimson Cove, held the positions of general manager of land development, as well as general manager of multifamily development for over six years with this firm. Grabeldinger spent two years with the company as controller and then general manager of single-family development.
While with this builder/developer, Schwartz and Grabeldinger experienced firsthand the impersonal nature of production homebuilding. What they saw were operations where almost all decisions were based solely on profit, and customers were nothing more than numbers.
“There was no mantra to ‘do right by the customers,’” Schwartz comments. “We just felt that there had to be a better way to run a homebuilding company where the customer was the primary focus rather than profit.”
In order to get away from this business model, Schwartz and Grabeldinger launched Crimson Cove Homes in 2010 as a mid-sized semi-custom builder in Edmonton.
The company will deliver more than 60 houses in 2015, but it still maintains the feel of a smaller custom builder.
“We like to think our housing company is unique in that we truly have a different focus than your typical builder in our market,” Schwartz notes. “We are not building five to 15 houses that a small custom builder might, and we are also not building 100-plus homes that a large builder constructs.”
Crimson Cove Homes maintains that small-builder style by getting to know all of its customers’ names, even referring to files in that way.
“We make a concerted effort to get to know our customers, and we meet with our customers to create their plans,” Grabeldinger says.
“We focus on function of the house and the layout,” Schwartz says. “We source good-looking, quality product. We ensure our houses are constructed to a very high standard, and we listen to our customers.”
By operating as a mid-sized semi-custom homebuilder with the atmosphere of a smaller firm, Crimson Cove Homes relies heavily on presales for its operations.
Grabeldinger says while most mid- to large-volume builders hover between 20 to 25 percent for presales versus spec sale, Crimson Cove’s rate is between 90 to 95 percent.
“We do not advertise, because a lot of business has been generated through customer referrals, which reflect that our customers are very happy,” Grabeldinger indicates. “We have built numerous houses for our staff, the sisters or brothers of a prior customer and even the parents and children of prior customers.”
To show gratitude to customers for their loyalty, Crimson Cove Homes hosts a variety of events to thank them for their support.
“While some builders might cringe at the thought of meeting with past customers, let alone encouraging many of them to congregate and socialize in the same place together, we embrace it,” Schwartz says.
Crimson Cove Homes has earned numerous honors over the past five years at the industry’s annual awards gala, the Awards of Excellence in Housing in Edmonton, including awards for sales model and sales volumes.
However, the company’s goal is to win a custom satisfaction award.
“We feel we have been very close in the running, and we are striving to win this in the near future,” Grabeldinger says. “We have also been profiled in our local newspaper either for our modern designs or happy customers praising our company.”
In order to deliver the level of customer service and quality craftsmanship that reaches its lofty standards, Crimson Cove Homes partners with its trades to promote loyalty.
The company often hires many small, family owned trades, where it will serve as their only customer. Additionally, the company works with several large trades, as well.
“We have longstanding working relationships with many of our trades, and we hope to continue this working relationship with them as we grow,” Grabeldinger says.
Crimson Cove Homes extends this philosophy to its own workforce.
The company runs a flat organizational structure while maintaining an open-door policy that encourages employees to contact upper management with their ideas or concerns.
“We try to maintain a fun, lighthearted culture at work and plan regular casual work functions that get all our staff together,” Schwartz says.