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Business is on the up-swing for venerable DL home manufacturer. Photo by - Brian Basham

Homes that live up to their name

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For many, building a home is a dream come true. At Dynamic Homes in Detroit Lakes, they're delivering dreams all year long.

The modular home-building business, located along Roosevelt Avenue, has been around since 1969.

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Throughout the years, the lakes region has become dotted with Dynamic-built houses, as new homeowners are escorted through the process that begins with their ideas and ends with their reality.

So, how does it work? The process has been mas-tered to a simple science.

The beginning

Dynamic customers are found not just in the local area, but throughout the upper Midwest, where the company's "builder deal-ers" are found -- there are dozens.

When a customer decides they want a house built, they work directly with that dealer, who then contacts Dynamic, which is essentially a sub-contractor for that dealer.

Just like a lumberyard would supply lumber for a home improvement store, Dynamic supplies homes to dealers.

"So a builder-dealer will sit down with a customer, who may or may not already have some design ideas, and we'll go through that," said Dynamic Senior Sales Manager Tim Olson, "We have a five-person draft and design team that comes up with designs, and then the customer and dealer can go through some different plans and massage them ... change it to what they want."

The soon-to-be homeowner will then select floor types, color of the stain on the cabinets, the plumbing fixtures, and carpet and whether there will be extras like fireplaces.

Dynamic and the dealer then work together to pro-duce a price and contract based on the custom-made plan.

Once this is complete, it's go-time.

Riding the line

Once materials are purchased and plans are in Dynamic's hands, building begins at the first station of its production line.

"It starts with what we call 'the rough end,'" said Olson. "Basically it's where the house is framed up -- walls, floors, ceiling..."

The next day, the frame will literally move to the next station on a large conveyor belt, where the next team of skilled contractors begins the next phase of the house.

Seventy-five to 80 plumbers, electricians, drywallers, painters and basic contractors all man their stations while the homes move in and out of their area.

"It's like Henry Ford, except we do more colors than just black," laughed Olson, who says there are usually about a dozen houses on the assembly line being worked on at one time.

Olson says about half of their builders have been with the company for over 20 years, so consistency and reliability are guaranteed with what he calls 'The A Team.'

He also says another significant advantage Dynamic has over on-site builders is the fact that weather is a non-issue, and in Minnesota, that's huge.

"It doesn't matter if there's a snow storm or if it's 100 degrees," said Olson. "We'll just shut those overhead doors and our builders can work in a controlled environment where it's comfortable and they're able to be more efficient."

Efficiency means kicking out a house in approximately two weeks from start to finish, which they do roughly 140-190 times a year.

The housing market crash a few years back had that number down, but a strong lakes-area market, combined with some new, plump contracts in the North Dakota oil patch and up in Canada, has Dynamic back on the upswing again.

Company leaders are also responding to environmental and market demands by becoming an energy-certified builder, which they did last year.

"We've had a number of our homes tested with infrared cameras, and they're performing 30 to 50 percent better than other stick-built homes," said Olson, who says energy star ratings stay with a house forever, which helps market a house for sale.

After a few years of a tough housing market, things are on the upswing for Dynamic Homes, a mainstay in the Detroit Lakes business community.

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