porter davis

Great prospects

Celebrating 20 years in business, the 2019 HIA Australian Major Builder winner continues to expand while doggedly pursuing a build experience second to none.

Author

Laura Valic

In the face of uncertain market fluctuations many would be discouraged and averse to the risk of setting up new business operations in unfamiliar territory. 

Not so for the directors of Victorian-based volume builder Porter Davis, who, with a long-term plan in mind, could see the opportunities of expanding into South-East Queensland (SEQ) to establish a credible brand in a new state with great prospects. 

‘We believe SEQ – Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast – are genuine hot spots for future population and economic growth, and the need for housing,’ explains Porter Davis CEO Adrian Hondros. 

‘[SEQ has] been through a few challenging years from a property point of view – so that doesn’t mean it’s always a booming market – but our long-term view is that it has enormous potential.’

The business opened its first display, the Marriott Grange, in Brisbane at the end of 2016, an impressive Hamptons-inspired family home designed to take advantage of Queensland’s seemingly perpetual sunny weather and lifestyle possibilities. Within two years Porter Davis had 11 displays stretching from the Sunshine Coast to the NSW border and dozens of builds underway, with a projection to build hundreds of homes by 2020. 

 
headshot
Porter Davis CEO Adrian Hondros

‘We think the Queensland market loves the look and feel of what we have to offer and we’ve had a lot of interest,’ Adrian says, adding the Marriott Grange also won a HIA Queensland Best Display Home award in 2017. The Porter Davis office and complementing World of Style showroom are also located in the high-traffic area of Fortitude Valley, Brisbane next to brand partner Coco Republic, which is the creative force behind the stylish interiors of its displays. 

‘It’s the perfect outcome for us. Hand on heart we would have the best showroom experience in the industry. It’s unique in the Queensland market and is really helping to set us apart.’

Capitalising on new market opportunities has been a major focus for Porter Davis in recent years. With the plan to diversify its core business of volume detached housing it launched into the medium density market in Victoria, a move that has captured the interest of investors and first home buyers in particular. 

Advertising mostly in digital and social channels – a key ingredient in today’s marketing mix to geotarget and engage with shifting consumer habits – one project sold two-thirds of the available townhouses on the first day.

Adrian says this is all part of the business’ strategic digital transformation.

‘People are operating their lives through their phones and tablets, and we need to ensure we’re front and centre, otherwise we’re going to [be left behind],’ Adrian says. ‘We really believe in our digital future so we’re investing heavily in our digital program.’ 

 
team

‘We think the Queensland market loves the look and feel of what we have to offer’

 

Primarily this has meant improving the customer experience. A few initiatives include: a new website with more functionality and content; new augmented and virtual reality experiences for prospective customers to get a sense for how their future home may look before entering into a contract; and a new portal allowing 24/7 accessibility to information relating to a customer’s build. 

Porter Davis has similarly invested in better digital tools for its staff to improve efficiencies in the office and onsite, while a digital house handover is now available, making the bulky sheaf of documents presented to new homeowners a relic of the past.

‘Digital brings convenience, 24/7 self-service and efficiencies,’ Adrian says. ‘It allows our people to spend more time on higher value tasks. But while digital is important to our future, it doesn’t replace the importance of the conversation with the customer – it just enables a better quality conversation.’

2019 marks 20 years in business and from its inception Porter Davis has concentrated on innovative house designs, growing a cohesive team (known internally as ‘the tribe’) and providing a standout customer experience, one that simplifies and alleviates the common challenges of building a new home.

Adrian says if you can provide peace of mind and reduce the anxiety that many people experience when building, then they’ll not only choose but advocate you to others. ‘Our founder and managing director Anthony Roberts knew and understood that when he started the business, and he’s gone about building a company and culture that recognises and respects that [concept].’ 

 

The ensuing company culture that has evolved is no doubt a big part of Porter Davis’ ongoing success. Regular ‘One Tribe’ staff development sessions, designed to inform, inspire and celebrate its people, are held each year and the company tagline ‘respect the dream’ is heavily imbedded in the business’ daily functions. It’s why when a continuous improvement (CI) program was introduced, which set up different levels of accreditation, staff were enthusiastically on board for the experience.

‘What has really impressed me is the number of people who have become engaged, it’s just been fantastic,’ Adrian explains. ‘What that tells me is that there was an appetite for it. Three years later hundreds of staff are CI-accredited… [they’re] now part of the solution rather than identifying the problem.’

Going from strength to strength, it’s not surprising then that Porter Davis took out the 2019 HIA Australian Major Builder award (partnered by Companion Systems). The 12-time major builder winner in Victoria has now also won the national title six times. 

Adrian says the awards have been instrumental in increasing the business’ brand reputation and the company relishes the opportunity to compete against its peers.

‘I’ve always believed in external recognition; it sends a powerful message into the organisation and into the marketplace,’ he says. ‘Awards help our people feel proud about being a part of the tribe and they help our customers feel good about deciding to build with us. 

‘It’s also good business discipline to go to the trouble, time and effort to document and bring to life what the organisation has done and plans to do. We really value the opportunity to go through that process, pitch our best ball and see if we’re the best in that year at pitching. It gets our competitive juices going, and it’s nice to win,’ he laughs.

 

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