During its’ six years in business, Pinnacle Mountain Homes of Breckenridge, Colo., has been one of the housing industry’s fastest-growing builders. It’s winning with customers, says owner Chris Renner, with a business model that emphasizes transparency throughout the sales and construction processes.
“When you’re building a $1.2 million house the risk factor rises for your clients, who almost expect us to be their financial advisor,” explains Renner, a former management consultant and dotcom entrepreneur. “What we tell them is that we’re a white-collar management company that happens to be in construction.”
Pinnacle’s “cost-plus” contracts typically pencil out to between 10 percent and 12 percent above expenses. To ensure the integrity of those contracts, the builder provides customers with copies of every receipt and invoice. These submissions often serve the dual purpose of showing clients where Pinnacle saves them money in materials and labor.
Pinnacle’s becoming one of America’s Best Builders was abetted by its scrupulous attention to customer service and marketing. It provides clients with weekly construction updates and posts photos showing that progress, which buyers can access through Google’s image-organizational site Picasa. Pinnacle uses Skype to communicate with out-of-state and -country buyers. Once a project begins, Pinnacle incentivizes its project managers based on how well they manage budgets and scheduling. (The company claims that it builds 25 percent to 40 percent faster than its competitors.)
The technologically savvy Renner says Pinnacle maintains a database of “a few hundred” sales prospects, ranked by priority and probability. This enables the company to stay connected with potential customers at different stages of the sales cycle. “I don’t want anyone choosing another builder because they didn’t know us,” says Renner.
There’s little chance of that happening, as Renner has established himself and his company as community leaders. In 2010, he founded the Summit Education Foundation, which in its first year raised more than $100 million for local schools. More recently, Renner started a middle school called The Peak School, because, he says, “there were no private, independent, charter schools outside of Vail,” 35 miles away.
Pinnacle Mountain Homes | Headquarters Breckenridge, Colo. | Year founded 2005 | Employees 14 | Company focus Custom | Home prices | $600,000 to $3.2 million | Home sizes 2,500 to 9,000 square feet | 2011 Closings 10 | 2011 Revenue $12.1 million