Fort Hood Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 32, No. 31, Ed. 1 Friday, October 5, 1973 Page: 1 of 22
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VOL. 32 NO. 31
Today three out of four buyers of single-family
residences under $15000 choose mobile homes. Some
of them however aren't getting what they expect or
may possibly be living in dangerous dwellings.
Because of the frequency of mobile home purchases
in the Ft. Hood area it is important to become
acquainted with the essential basics in choosing the
right mobile home for your use.
WHO TO BUY FROM
More than 60 per cent of all mobile homes sold are
manufactured by less than two dozen makers with
approximately ten times that number of small
manufacturers splitting up the remaining 40 per cent
of the business. Their methods of distribution in this
fragmented industry are as varied as their products.
The largest manufacturers sell through franchised
dealers. The mobile home industry varies from the
automobile industry in that the makers of mobile
homes do not cram inventories down a dealer's
throat. The factories do not hesitate to look for
another dealer fast in any territory where an existing
dealer does not sell as many models as the factory
thinks that particular market should be absorbing.
Some manufacturers give a dealer a protected
territory with all sales within defined boundaries
being credited to that franchised dealer. In return
they expect to have exclusive representation. Other
manufacturers will sell to any dealer with enough
money to finance a floor plan even if he's across the
street from one of their established dealers. In most
cases the dealers handle a number of different lines
some of them strictly competitive.
Even some of the most ethical dealers will
sometimes handle conflicting lines as when one of
the models being handled is made by a small
manufacturer with a limited production capacity. If
the dealer particularly likes that model whether
because of better quality or a bigger profit he will
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sell all he can get and when the supply runs out he
will then sell a competing brand in the same size
price and quality range.
Some manufacturers have wholly owned retail
outlets of their own in multi-state operations. Many of
the smaller manufacturers do not use dealers at all
but sell directly at "wholsesale" to anyone who
comes to their plant to buy.
The "average" dealer if indeed one exists sells
from $200 thousand to $300 thousand dollars worth of
mobile homes a year both new and used. He marks
up his base cost around 25 per cent and merchan
dises four lines most of which are sold off his lot
from inventory. He also maintains service facilities
for deliveries and set-ups as well as for field main
tenance. Between 60 and 70 per cent of conventional
mobile homes (12 and 14 wides not the double wides
or modular house-type units) are not delivered by
commercial carriers to the housing site but by the
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
What does all this mean to the potential mobile
home buyer? It means that he can save money by
buying from the right party and it means that it can
cost dearly in headaches and griefs if he buys from
the wrong party. There are advantages to be balan
ced against disadvantages in buying from almost
The big companies have branch plants with exten
sive dealer networks where service facilities and
replacement parts are readily available. The bigger
the company the bigger its purchasing power and
usually the more advanced its production techniques
will be resulting in lower costs. Most of the large
companies have large amounts of money invested in
developing their reputations and good will. Hence it
is important to be acquainted with the name of the
manufacturer when you are prospecting for a mobile
FORT HOOD SENTINEL
'PUBLISHED IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PERSONNEL OF FORT HOOD."
FORT HOOD FRIDAY OCTOBER 5 1973
in this publicai0n
saww?*-- -v -'*£. 'li
Quality buying makes a mobile castle
Often the production costs are calculated very
closely by the manufacturers of mobile homes and
the costs are honed to as close an edge as possible.
In this area it is further important to be sure that
the factory has not skimped on things like layers of
insulation which are not readily seen.
Many small companies have gone under because
they do not know how to price their product. The big
manufacturers do not make this mistake. They know
their true costs and you can generally get as good a
product as you want from a big company but the list
price is never cheap.
A dealer who is being pressured by the factory to
come up with more volume "or else" is often likely
to make concessions to his customers to increase tur
nover. One can never talk the dealer out of all his
profit but if the conditions are right a buy can
sometimes talk him out of a considerable portion of
DON'T BUY FOR
Most dealers with rigidly protected territories are
liable to be cautious about discounts as a rule
however. Highly competitive markets such as the
one in the Killeen-Ft. Hood area always have a lot of
aggressive dealers and this situation makes for a
very good shopping environment if only for making
comparisons. When a market is too lush however
the out-and-out price cutters move in and buying on
price for its own sake can be dangerous.
Theoretically a manufacturer who sells direct to
the consumer can afford to build a better product and
still sell it to the user for less than he could buy it
for from a dealer. But even a "direct from the fac
tory" manufacturer still has a selling cost and
eliminating the middleman's profit doesn't always
save the buyer as much as he might think.
Eliminating the dealer's profit also eliminates the
Change of Command
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dealer and if your housing site is several hundred
miles away from the factory where do you go for
service and replacement parts?
VALUE OF ADVERTISING
Advertising does cost money. But the dealers who
advertise the most heavily also do the most volume
and it is often volume that makes lower prices
possible. The dealer who turns over a $50 thousand
inventory six times a year makes three times as
much money on his investment as the dealer who
turns over his $50 thousand inventory only twice a
year. Local radio stations and newspapers adver
tising area dealers will tell you quickly which dealers
are out for volume trading.
One thing that is obvious about any dealer is the
extent of his service facilities. The best dealers will
have well equipped service shops experienced per
sonnel to man them and carry inventories of parts
and supplies. It is important to find out how long a
dealer has been in business as well as to talk to some
of his customers. Most dealers in the Killeen-Harker
Heights-Nolanville-Copperas Cove area will be most
happy to furnish references and names of satisfied
Almost every appliance furnace hot water heater
and many other items found in today's mobile home
are covered by warranties and-or guarantees. This is
particularly true if the item is a so-called "name
Legally a warranty is considered to be a manufac
turer's statement of liability for his product. A
guarantee on the other hand may be issued by
someone else along the production line. For example
the refrigerator may bear a warranty from the
manufacturer or assembler. The cooling unit may be
Continued on Page 8
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Fort Hood Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 32, No. 31, Ed. 1 Friday, October 5, 1973, newspaper, October 5, 1973; Temple, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth255212/m1/1/: accessed August 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Casey Memorial Library.