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Never Say Never
By George Porter
Five years ago I wrote a book, I said I would never do it again!
It takes forever, it is more complicated than you could ever imagine,
and the time and expense involved is huge. And, unless the topic
involves money, sex, or weapons (preferably all three) it will
never ever be a best seller. Why would a sane person ever want
to do this again? There is just too much pain involved.
Well, by now you have probably guessed that I wrote another
book. But, I have found someone to share the pain! The Manufactured
Housing Institute (MHI) asked me to write a text solely on the
installation of manufactured homes. They would help with a lot
of the details like layout and publishing and add it to the publications
in their bookstore. My first book "Installation and Repair
of Manufactured Housing" had some installation topics but
it mainly dealt with repair. In fact it is the text for training
and testing repairers in two states at this time. I had intended
for it to be used as a textbook for training new people for the
industry in trade schools around the country; but the lack of
interest, as well as qualified instructors, has left the idea
somewhat flat. Outside the industry, the world can not imagine
why anybody would need any training to work on a "trailer."
Oh well, some day this understanding will happen and the book
will be there when it does.
The new book will be called "Manufactured Housing Installation"
and should be in print in a few months. The text is done and is
in the last stages of review by a score of nice folks around the
nation. In fact, by the time you read this I will be placing pictures
in it and maybe even have sent it to the publisher for layout.
The book deals with "how to" and "why" extensively.
At the present time it has 15 chapters and 4 megabytes of words
(that's a bunch). It is only a guess, but it should be around
200 pages after the pictures, but this can change depending on
how the publisher puts it together, type size, margins, etc.
The text will cover anchoring, basements, crawlspaces, rolling
and jacking, OSHA, home construction, reading a factory manual
and its charts, the standard equipment that an installation crew
should have; and everything else I could think of that had anything
to do with installation in the USA. It is very generic and should
apply to all homes in the industry. This is a text book that can
be used by anyone to understand manufactured homes and why we
have to do what we do.
If you think this book is for installers only, you are mistaken.
Quite to the contrary it may be the most useful to the people
who do not work under the home, such as retailers, government
agencies, inspectors, and manufacturers. On the subject of manufacturers,
let me share with you a conversation I recently had with the CEO
of a very successful home manufacturing company. He said, "Our
people need to know more about installation. We are wasting good
money on service costs when most of these troubles could have
been prevented by a proper installation." I said "Great!,
lets start with you, what do you know about installation?"
He looked at me for a few seconds with an expression of, "what
does this have to do with me?" I asked him whose money were
we really talking about anyway? While I had no idea of his compensation
package and it most certainly was none of my business, I figured
he must get some sort of bonus based on the profit of the company.
Profit means money left over after all the bills are paid and
service costs are certainly bills. So in reality, he was personally
losing more money due to bad installation than any salaried employee
in his company.
The employee not understanding installation could cost the
whole company money, but the "boss" not understanding
installation costs him his own money as well. Not only that, what
other person probably has more to do with the general focus and
direction taken by the entire industry. Who is on those big "high
level" committees that generate policy for many years to
come? Who has the resources of both time and money to participate
in "the big picture," and make the national decisions
that affect installation? Not the service manager and not the
installer, that's for sure.
Bless his heart, I think he became interested, and as soon
as I can, I am going to send him one of these books. He could
never attend a 15 hour seminar, but he might read this book on
a plane someday soon. His company will benefit and so will its
This is a lot to hope for from one little book, but this is
the first time a book of this kind has ever existed, and I hope
it makes a difference. Besides, I never ever plan to write another
book! Honest, this is it, I really mean it this time!