OHBA’s Member Rebate Program kicks easy cash back to builders

By Jon Bell, for the HBA

Build a home. Tell someone about it. Get a check in the mail.

That’s the gist of the Oregon Home Builders Association Member Rebate Program, a relatively new, free benefit for all active HBA members across the state. Through the program, any builder or remodeler — from one home a year to hundreds — who uses products from a list of select manufacturers and then fills out a quick form is entitled to a quarterly rebate.

The average rebate for builders in Oregon so far: $632.44.

“We’ve basically combined the buying power of small and mid-sized builders in Oregon so that the large manufacturers know who they are and can reward them,” says program administrator Rich Robinson. “It’s basically a loyalty reward.”

Some of the largest homebuilders in the nation, companies like D.R. Horton and Pulte Homes, receive regular discounts from manufacturers because of the huge number of homes they build each year. Smaller builders don’t usually get the same kind of perks because they lack the volume.

Enter the MRP, which negotiates deals with about 30 different manufacturers who then offer rebates to active HBA members who provide information on the products they’ve used. A few examples of listed manufacturers include Delta, Mansfield Plumbing, TimberTech, Monarch Paints and C.H.I. Overhead Doors.

Robinson says builders aren’t required to submit receipts for any of the manufacturers except Progress Lighting. Instead, they fill out and fax in rebate claim forms that ask for information about which products were used and where. Builders also supply basic information about project completion.

“We hate paperwork as much as builders do, so we’ve simplified the program to make it as easy as possible,” Robinson says.

Since the OHBA Member Rebate Program came online in the fourth quarter of 2007, it has claimed a total of $10,751 for 17 members. Robinson says four builders received a total of $1,138 in the first quarter of 2009.

Steven Reed, director of operations for Derek L. Brown & Associates, says the Lake Oswego homebuilder started to participate in the program as a way to cut costs and bring in income. He says rebate programs haven’t always been the best way to do that because they’re often more complex than they are beneficial.

“I must admit that I find most rebate programs so difficult and time consuming that they’re hardly worth the effort,” he says. “Additionally, many rebates have so many requirements buried in the fine print that it is frustrating to take the time only to be informed later that you were missing something and have been disqualified.”

The OHBA program, he says, has been nothing like that. The forms are straightforward and are quick to fill out. In just a short amount of time — and by using just a small fraction of the materials on the manufacturer list — DLB has received $1,433.

“I look forward to continuing on in the program and increasing our savings,” Reed says.

In addition to builders getting money back, Robinson says the member rebate program is a boon to HBAs too. (Fifteen others across the country have the same program as well.) For starters, it’s another attractive benefit for members, and the rebates can also help recoup some if not all membership costs.

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