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PATH Case Study

From Stick-Built to Modular:

Saving Time, Money--and Knees


Printable Version [.pdf, 1.26 MB]

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Frank Dusick
Mustang Builders
Eau Claire, WI

Builder Type

Small Custom Modular Builder

The Technology:

Modular Construction

The Project:

A two-story, 4,000-square-foot home built with six modules and a stick-built great room.

"Picture this: If you were to take your house, and you were able to just load it onto a flatbed truck, and then start down the road at 60 mph, how would your home fare after a couple hours? How many shingles would you have left on the roof or siding on your home? Your stick-built home wouldn't fare too well, but your modular home would be intact. That's how strong modular homes are."

-- Frank Dusick



Frank Dusick started as a stick builder, but bad knees forced him to look for something different as a backup.

The casual observer can't tell the difference between a finished modular home and a stick-built house."I was getting close to turning 40, and I started realizing that I wasn't going to be able to go running up and down ladders and climbing around on roofs indefinitely," says Dusick.

When he found out that Stratford Homes, a modular homes producer based in Wisconsin, was looking for a builder/dealer in the Eau Claire area, he called right away. He's been building Stratford modular homes ever since.

"A long time ago when you said 'modular', the first picture many people had was the old doublewides. That was a hard mindset to get around. I essentially had to sell the home twice: first to the customer, and then to the financial institution that they were going through."

"I went to see some loan officers, and gave them pretty much the same presentation I gave the customers. I even offered to take a couple of them to the plant to show them how they were built."

"Fortunately, after a few years, the word got out about the benefits of modular homes. The financial institutions now are actually more receptive to modular homes than to some stick-built homes. With a modular home, they know what they're going to get. They also prefer modular because of the shortened construction schedule. The quicker the loan originators can sell off the loans, the quicker they can get their money."


It takes 10 to 12 weeks from the day a customer comes into Dusick's office to the day he turns over the keys.

"Once a customer decides on a floor plan, I e-mail the details to Stratford," says Dusick. "In six to seven weeks, the house will be completed and shipped from the plant. During that time, I'll get the permits, build the foundation, and do the site work. Once we get the home on site, it takes about three to six weeks, depending on the size. And that's it. This is much quicker than the three to six months it took me to produce a stick-built a home."

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Dusick has been in the building industry for over 40 years. He founded Mustang Builders in 1981 as a stick builder, but switched to modular construction in the late 1980s. He currently builds eight to ten homes a year, selling between $150,000 and $200,000.

Why he uses modular construction:

"It's faster, improves my profit margins, is built to higher standards, reduces callbacks, and is much less of a hassle to build with than stick-built construction."

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Content updated on 9/27/2006

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