Chris Jaussi, Founder of Zip Kit Homes has transformed his innovative idea to pre-build panelized home systems into a reality with a USTAR Technology and Commercialization Grant (TCG) made available thru the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Snow College. As a result of receiving the $30,000 award, Jaussi constructed a prototype that has since opened the door to a number of sales opportunities. Since designing and constructing prototypes, Jaussi has built an additional four units for customers in both Utah and North Dakota.
Zip Kit Homes offers high-quality affordable home purchasing options through an innovative system of constructing panels in a factory. “Zip Kit Homes are developed in a controlled manufacturing facility, using high-tech, automated equipment” said Jaussi. “Because of this we are able to have a better handle on quality control.” As a result of the efficient ways that the homes are produced, Zip Kit Homes are highly energy efficient, can be equipped with solar power and can be built in very remote areas that are off the grid.
The homes created in the facility include a number of pieces and panels that are pre-cut, shipped and constructed on site by contracted builders. The panels can be customized, with a variety of material and color choices for everything from carpet, tile, countertops and appliances to roofing, siding, and solar options. The homes range in size from 400 square feet to more than 2,000 square feet and come in a variety of models and styles.
Prior to launching Zip Kit Homes in March of 2011, Jaussi owned a construction business called Timberhawk. As a result of reduced projects in the construction industry and limited home building options in the small region of Sanpete County, Jaussi wanted to come up with a way to manufacture homes locally that could be sold everywhere.
After the idea was born, Jaussi was informed about the USTAR Grant, a resource that would enable him to construct a prototype. To package the grant application, Jaussi worked with Alan Christensen, Ephraim SBDC Director to meet the grant requirements and review related application documents. Jaussi also worked with Christensen for referrals to e-commerce and market research resources and received assistance with strategic planning. Through weekly and bi-weekly conference calls with the SBDC to define the company’s direction, market and goals, Juassi was able to submit a strong application and was awarded the funds. “Had I not gotten the grant, I don’t think I would have spent the money on a prototype knowing whether or not it would work,” Jaussi said.
By the end of the year, Jaussi’s goal is to sell at least 15 additional homes. In the next three years, Jaussi would like to see the company grow significantly to include larger quantity sales to government agencies and to international markets. Ultimately, Jaussi hopes to see Zip Kit Homes as a big business within Sanpete County that would employ at least 20-30 staff—an outcome that would dramatically improve the economic stability of the area.
“Jaussi has tremendous initiative and energy and is willing to try new things,” said Christensen. “He has already been to Chili and North Dakota to reach out to potential developers and recently put a bid in to deliver 200 homes to Turkey. It’s taken Jaussi a lot of hard work to make his innovative idea a reality.” To learn more about Zip Kit Homes or view the remarkable plans and pricing options, visit www.zipkithomes.com.