FAQS: Starting a Custom Home Building Independent Dealer Career

If you’re thinking about becoming an independent home dealer, you probably have a few questions about the big career change. Don’t worry -- most dealers were in your shoes and had the same concerns. 

We’ve rounded up the top FAQs we commonly field from those looking to start a custom home builder career.


How Do I Start a Custom Home Builder Career?

This is usually the first question we get from prospective home dealers. It’s a big question. And it has a big answer. We get into what it takes to get set up here: 

How To Start A Custom Home Building Business

In short, starting your own custom home building business is just like launching any other start-up. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to learn. By planning carefully, you’ll enjoy a long and successful career helping future homeowners realize their dreams. 

Are There Costs to Becoming an Independent Dealer?

Yes, but you’re largely in control of what they are.  

For those just starting a custom home building career, there are going to be standard start-up expenditures:

  • Buying office equipment
  • Purchasing or leasing office space
  • Permit and certification fees for establishing a new company
  • Hiring a staff  
  • Advertising costs 

The costs to become an independent dealer also depends on the type of dealership you’re starting. Some dealers act more as consultants, focused on developing customized floor plans for clients and helping them oversee their home’s construction. Other dealers are also builders. In addition to the design and planning work they’ll do with a client, a builder dealer also completes the actual construction of a home. Opening up a dealership as a builder from scratch also means purchasing construction equipment. 

At the very least, independent dealers -- whether a new or existing business -- do need to have a dedicated space to display material samples, as well as hold client meetings. 

Are There Franchise Fees Involved to Become an Independent Dealer?

At Barden at least, this answer is simple: No. 

What’s My Relationship With the Supplier?

As the “independent dealer” implies, your custom home company is independent. You’ll offer your material manufacturer’s products, you have the latitude to run your business as you see fit. 

Though independent, you’re hopefully not on your own. The best building product suppliers also support their sellers through:

  • Mentorship 
  • Production of marketing materials
  • Advertising co-op funding
  • Networking opportunities through a dealer network 
  • Training
  • Reports on market conditions and housing trends 

How Long Will It Take to Grow My Home Dealership?

Just like building a custom home, getting your independent dealership firing on all cylinders doesn’t happen overnight. As a new company, it’s going to take some time to establish a steady custom home sales pipeline. 

It usually takes 6-12 months for a new dealership to be fully up and running -- and that includes building awareness among your potential client base.

It’s worth repeating: As you get your feet on the ground, your supplier should provide you plenty of support. 


Resource: Learn how Barden helps you grow your custom home dealership. Download our e-book: 

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What’s Expected of Me as an Independent Dealer?

As a member of the family, you represent your material manufacturer’s brand. 

While your dealership is yours, your #1 priority is being helpful to future homeowners. Designing and building a custom home is an involved process, and clients are coming to you for expertise and guidance. 

In the case of Barden, every home is 100% customizable, so you’ll have plenty to go over with the client. Our panelized construction method makes it easy to come up with a floor plan the client will fall in love with. 

How Does the Building Materials Supplier Help Me Help Customers? 

Depending on the expertise level of your supplier, you should have access to: 

  • In-house drafting and design services
  • Precision manufactured panelized home framing
  • Marketing materials 
  • A full catalog of products from national name brand manufacturers
    • Windows
    • Doors
    • Siding
    • Roofing
    • Vanity cabinets
    • Kitchen cabinets
    • Kitchen countertops
    • Interior trim
    • Decking
    • Exterior trim
    • Door hardware
    • Garage doors
    • Stairs

What’s Barden’s Service Area?  

Barden services customers located in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New England. 

Insider’s Take: Paul Pare, owner of The Smart Home in Vermont, discusses his experience on becoming an independent home dealer.

How Do I Become a Barden Independent Dealer?

Your first step to becoming a home dealer with Barden is pretty easy: Get in touch with us! Just click the button below, and we’ll talk about your plans and vision for your own custom home building company.

Learn More About Becoming a Barden Independent Dealer

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