Floating Tiny Home Manufacturer Growing Fast; FSBDC at SSC Providing Assistance
January 17, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Moses Ayiku, Sub-Center Manager, FSBDC at SSC, 407.321.3495 or email@example.com
Orlando, FL – Great ideas for successful businesses can come from unexpected places. Cynthia and Warren Billings were surprised when their dream home project caught the attention of a huge audience. Then they had the good judgment to seek help with their new found opportunity from the Florida SBDC at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida.
The Billings are owners of Floating Bungalows LLC in Sanford, Florida, a manufacturer of luxurious, attractive and ground-breaking floating homes at the cutting edge of the Tiny House Movement. Their homes were recently featured on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters television show.
Built on a thermal plastic hull, these approximately 500 sq. ft. fully-appointed floating homes are technologically advanced, handcrafted using only the finest components and materials, and held to exacting standards. The result? A luxury home on the water built for simplifying life with hardwood floors, granite counter tops, full size kitchens and bathrooms, not to mention the porch at the water’s edge. Some say it’s better than a boat and needs less maintenance.
“In 2016 we were building a floating bungalow for ourselves, with no thoughts of making it a business. It was going to be our personal home,” recalls Cynthia Billings. “We put a Facebook page up for our friends to follow our progress and suddenly we had 49,000 hits. We realized we needed to think this through differently. Enter Moses Ayiku and the FSBDC at Seminole State College.”
Ayiku, a consultant and the manager of the FSBDC at SSC, met with Billings and provided her with no-cost consulting, business training and market research support customized to the specific needs of Floating Bungalows. “I cannot say enough about how much the FSBDC has impacted our business,” Cynthia Billings says today. “Moses has always been there to help me think things through and provided consulting on all areas of the business. He’s provided facilitated strategy discussions, offered training around marketing and finance, and found me the FSBDC experts I needed for issues like media relations, digital marketing and target market analysis.”
It wasn’t a cookie cutter approach by the FSBDC,” Cynthia Billings continued. “It was a collaborative process in which I got what I needed to grow the company.”
And grow the company has. In 2017, after deciding to go into business for themselves, the Billings sought assistance from the FSBDC. They started slowly with one person working half time, built one bungalow outdoors and earned revenues of just over $200,000. As of 2018, they have grown to three full time employees, moved into a 6000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, built two bungalows and more than doubled revenues to over $500,000. Looking ahead in 2019, the company is currently building its 4th Floating Bungalow with the 5th set to begin production February 2019, and positioned to build 6 – 8 bungalows annually. It’s that kind of success that has earned Floating Bungalows recognition as the FSBDC at SSC’s 2108 Seminole Success Story of the Year.
“The FSBDC has been an amazing support for us. Their assistance is what has made it possible to grow our business.” concluded Cynthia Billings. ”The fact that we are now taking pre-orders/deposits is an example of the enthusiasm surrounding Floating Bungalows and the floating lifestyle trend.”
For information about Floating Bungalows, please visit www.floatingbungalows.com .
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.
About the Florida SBDC Network
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.