Scott Buescher

COO of Vintage Estate Homes and Mercedes Homes

Currently from Melbourne, Florida, Scott Buescher was born to parents Mercedes and Howard Buescher; he was a home builder for Ryan Homes, and she was a stay at home mother. He is the middle child of seven siblings with two older brothers, two younger brothers, an older sister and a younger sister. They would spend their life together between Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Together this family and their leadership would create an amazing home building empire inspired and named after the family matriarch, Mercedes Homes.

Scott earned his BS in Business and Economics from Edinboro University in Erie, PA. After college, Scott Buescher followed in his father’s footsteps and had several jobs in the homebuilding industry. Having grown up in the home building industry, it was a natural place to start and eventually lead to a position working in the new family business. Here he would learn hands-on the various disciplines along the way that would make him a future success and help him earn his many achievements in the industry.

Over his long tenure in the industry, Scott Buescher has had several notable accomplishments. He was the winner of the National Quality Awards 1996 and 2008. Scott was awarded with the Best Company to Work for. He was featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Scott Buescher worked on special projects innovating the industry with the University of Florida developing a Storm Intervention Home and Zero Energy Home. He also developed and designed homes with solid concrete walls that were marketed as stronger, safer and more energy efficient than other homes on the market.

Currently, Scott Buescher is the President of Land and Operations at Mercedes Premier Homes and VE Homes which continues the tradition of a family business, 100% privately owned. Scott Buescher and his family are currently living in Melbourne, Florida. While also currently working on selling his home in Vero Beach, Florida. VE Homes operates in multiple Florida markets including Jacksonville, Orlando, and Melbourne and in Texas markets in San Antonio and Austin.

Where did the idea for Vintage Estate Homes and Mercedes Homes come from?

Mercedes Homes and Mercedes Premier Homes came about because it is my mother’s name and it was used in her honor to create a legacy in her name.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Each morning I get my adrenaline and energy pumping for the day with some sort of exercise, running, walking, a bike-ride along with some weights and other exercises. I get in the office about eight am and prioritize all the major things that need to be accomplished that day.

During the week, each day usually has its own special level of focus. For example, on Mondays we focus on our starts and what we need to do to get homes out of the ground. Tuesdays we have discussions with each operational division to summarize their business plan, needs, challenges, and what we must do to move their business forward. Thursdays are focused on land development, reviewing our competition, making sure current development projects are on track and reviewing acquisitions that are up and coming. Fridays tend to revolve around operational needs and focused on purchasing, construction, and customer service. Wednesdays usually act as a day to focus more energy on other projects that need more attention and to get miscellaneous things done.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Many of our good ideas come about in various ways, but mostly from our meetings we have throughout the week. We have a pool of very talented people that come with such a diverse knowledgebase and set of backgrounds, that we get a lot of great ideas from the team through these collaborations. The execution of the idea is easy because we have a team passionate to make it a reality. We turn that idea into a goal that is clearly communicated across disciplines and our team works together to make that idea real.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Home building is an old industry that has been around for hundreds of years. The basics and fundamentals that provide the industry’s foundations never change; you always take construction one thing at a time – build one brick, one block, one stud at a time.

What makes it exciting is the new designs and how modern trends impact the look and feel of home life. On the east coast, builders may be a little slower to adopt more modern aesthetics, but they always find their way into our homes and we get to be local innovator adopting those visual cues before others. The home is still built one block at a time, but we are able to keep up with those modern visual trends.

I also get excited by the amazing trends that we see constantly developing to make homes more energy efficient and smart. I mean who wants to live in a dumb house anymore these days. We have always been innovators in this space too, adopting green building techniques years ago when working on our projects with the University of Florida. To see how that space has developed over the last 15 years has really been exciting.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

The habit that makes me most productive is making my tomorrow to-do list tonight. At the end of each day I write a list of things that I need to accomplish the next day along with a separate list of people I need to either email or call. I use this list to tackle work projects and personal things.

The habit that has made my business most successful are annual business plans. It is a detailed look at all aspects of our business built on a month to month basis that is reviewed weekly. It lays out goals for sales, starts, home closings, and all financials for each division and community. This document provides guidance for all teams on their daily activities and what they need to do to complete the company’s annual mission.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Well I certainly have a few pieces of advice ~

1. The first thing would be to always focus on the balance sheet. Don’t let high risk assets weigh down the balance sheet. Be disciplined to keep the balanced sheet “Balanced”. I would also advise a younger me to keep an eye on the company’s cash flow which is such an essential check to keep things “Balanced”.

2. Something we all learned from the credit crunch of the last decade was that cash is king. Credit can do amazing things to grow your business, but that debt can have escalating impacts if it is not carefully managed.

3. If I were guiding my younger self, I would also advise myself to hire an outside board of directors. I think the energy of ideas from people outside the organization can be really impactful but then as disciplinary leaders, they are able to focus like a laser on strategies to drive all the business forward efficiently. I would see an outside board really keeping all our managers accountable and on track but also be a great sounding board to make sure the company is always operating in a safe and financially stable manner.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Now, I have a personal theory about the weather in that the seasons always seem to have these shifts where seasons fall out of their normal patterns. You see snow in May when you would never see it or a cool day in Florida when it is totally unexpected. I think we see this more and more every year.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

It will always fall back on the strategic business plan to guide the company’s future. The business plan sets goals for all disciplines. We build bonus plans and special compensation programs on that business plan so that everyone is working hard to achieve the goals laid out for the year. That document is consistently what drives our business and helps establish our mission for everyone to succeed.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The real estate industry is always about location, location, location, and homebuilding has to follow that same mantra. We built a solid business in geographic markets that were poised for growth in jobs and homeownership. We have learned over the years how to build and maintain growth of home sales in a territory once we get started.

The fundamentals of the local economy must be in place to create the right environment for a successful homebuilder. Then that growth all starts with land. The right positions of land and being able to build desirable neighborhoods that a customer will want to live has driven us successfully in all our territories that we operate.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The big failure was when we went through bankruptcy and lost our business of 35 years. That was one of the hardest days of my life. To be walked out the doors of the company that we had built from nothing on December 23, 2011, it certainly was not a Merry Christmas for us. So, a moment that gut wrenching could have been paralyzing or after 35 years, it could have been easy to say, we accomplished a lot of great things and now it is time to do something different.

However, home building is a passion. It was easy to overcome because you have to decide you are not done, you are not ready to give up, you are going to continue to follow and deliver on your passion. We started a new company again within a month and once we started rolling, we focused on plans to grow the company smartly and efficiently. There was never a time that we needed to look back and feel sorry for ourselves. We knew we could continue to deliver the dream of homeownership and we were going to make it happen with a new company.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I will give you some advice and then a business idea. This advice goes for all kinds of things, but in whatever you do, you always must take care of the customer. If you don’t take care of the customer someone else will.

Now, as for a new business idea, we see the home buying process shift and change for many reasons. Yes, people want to purchase homes faster but there are still buyers that want to see it, feel it, and touch before they ever make a commitment to purchase. Now as a builder who allows customers to really personalize the home and make changes that other builders will not, sometimes it would be great of buyers could “see” it before it happens. So, if there is someone clever enough to make an app or device that gives customers a way to experience these physical changes in a model visually through Virtual Reality or some other clever play, will make a fortune.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 recently was on face coverings and safety gear for our team in the field. Our business was moving forward in a time of an unknown pandemic. We had to keep our people safe in every environment. Those masks, gloves and safety gear was the best money we spent recently.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

The software that keeps us most productive is a homegrown solution. There are other products on the market that might offer some of the same features, but our program ties in purchasing and scheduling in a nice, tight system all displayed on commonly understood excel spreadsheets making them very easy for everyone to adopt and use in their day to day activities.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Currently, these four powerhouse companies are the most influential on the planet. There is something everyone can learn from what they have done over the years. I think most readers would be surprised to learn about their paths to where they are today and the secrets to their success. I find it a good read for sure.

What is your favorite quote?

“Imagine that” – unknown. And that is it. Whether something is good or bad, it applies to so many things and I get to let the audience decide what I mean from that.

Key Learnings:

  • Once you start compiling thoughts like this in an abstract form, things like your life, your history, what you have done, and what you have learned it does open your eyes to your perceptions of things and gives you things to think about.
  • I have been building homes a very long time.
  • Business plans are critical to your development and the life of your business. Never move forward without one.
  • Customer satisfaction will always be a critical driver in your business. If you make any decision today about how you want to do anything, think about how it will impact your customer. You have to make sure, at the minimum, that you meet their expectations.