Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bush Shippping Part 1

We are frequently asked for shipping rates for our kit packages to rural Alaska. Shipping rates vary widely throughout the state. Barge shipping in the summer is generally the most cost effective if the service is available to your location. Since many towns and villages are on the coast or close to a river or other navigable waterway,  barge shipping is available to much of rural Alaska.
If your town or village is a regular stop for the barge, the cost is much less than if your location is a secondary town or village which means the freight has to be offloaded at another location to be lightered by a smaller barge to your location. These secondary locations may cost as much or more than the freight from Anchorage to the first location so air transportation may be a more feasible option for these areas although the cost for shipping by air is very expensive since it will generally require a charter and the village must have an airstrip suitable in length.
Yukon River villages are more reasonable in cost for shipping from Nenana but there is a substantial cost for trucking the Kit from Palmer to Nenana.
There are two main choices for barges to Western Alaska. Northland Services in Anchorage and Alaska Logistics in Seward. Northland Services is a larger company and services more locations. Alaska Logistics also services many locations and is slightly less expensive. It must be noted however, shipping to Seward by truck is going to be an added cost and needs to be figured into the equation.
Many other options exist for Kodiak and the Eastern side of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutians. The Alaska State Ferry is an option for Kodiak, Cordova and many towns in Southeast.
Since there are so many different shipping options for different areas, I can only cover a few in this blog. In Part 2 we will cover some of the more remote locations and methods of handling freight. Once we know what kit you want and the finish options you have selected, we can submit for a quote on the cost of freight to your location.

"Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses."
Dale Carnegie

Engrave this quote in Our Store! | Rate this Quote! | Tell a Friend

Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 Pricing

In the past four years we have had only one price increase and it was last year. Unfortunately, we are going to be forced to raise the price slightly for 2015.  Material pricing has remained fairly stable but the small increase we implemented last summer simply was not enough to cover the increased costs since our last increase in 2011.  The increase will be 7 to 8% and will be effective January 1, 2015. Naturally, all contracts before that time will be honored at the existing prices on the website.  No one likes the price increases, especially us, because it is a hardship on our clients. After spending 35 years in the business I know it is a necessary evil to remain viable and to continue to give quality service to our clients in the future and past clients as well.
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Start Dates for 2015

It is that time of year again! We start getting many requests for work for the next season during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years.  We still have start dates available for the 2015 Summer and Fall season. 2014 was one of our busiest years and 2015 looks like it will be busy as well.
Now is a good time to set up a time to meet to discuss your future project. If you need to apply for your construction financing it is a good idea to start early since it can take months to processs.
If you are interested in a DIY Kit, we usually have a two to three month backlog. If it is to be shipped to rural Alaska by barge it is best to have as much notice as possible for logistics.
We still don't have thick enough ice to drive safely in most places but we will soon. We still have a few start dates available for winter work as well, so don't hesitate to call.
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Word about Financing

We always receive many questions about financing options. While we have no in-house financing options outside of our Lay-a-Way program for our DIY kits, we normally refer our clients to First National Bank of Alaska for construction financing.
The process goes something like this.
  1. Meet with a mortgage specialist who will qualify you for your long term financing. They will refer you to a construction loan specialist for your construction financing or give you a 90% letter to give to a construction loan specialist of your own if you have already selected one.
  2. Meet with the construction loan specialist. They will give you a worksheet for your new home project. This worksheet will determine the budget for your new home.
  3. After you have this worksheet and you are pre-qualified, we can help you with the work sheet and drawings. An appraisal will be ordered on the drawings to determine if the home is going to be appraised at or above the amount of the loan.
  4. When the appraisal is finished and is sufficient for the loan, the final papers will be drafted for your construction loan.
The process can take two to six months depending on the variables so it is best to get started now for the spring and summer season. For more information and referrals to local loan specialists please give us a call at 1-888-909-8091

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."     W.T. Purkiser

Friday, November 21, 2014

New Start Dates!

With the warmer temperatures and lack of snow we have been able to open up a couple of new start dates for this season.  We are still able to excavate in many areas which is unusual for this time of year. If you have a project you wanted to start this year but thought it was too late, give us a call and we will see if we can get the ball rolling for you.

Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there's always something we could be grateful for. ~ Barry Neil Kaufman

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Our DIY Kits have become very popular.  We are now able to offer building assistance through some of our Sub-Contractors.  For those people who are nervous about tackling a DIY Kit themselves, we can send a crew member or two crew members to help organize and build the project.
This is a good option for remote projects. You can hire a crew member for a day or two or to help with the entire project. The crew member is trained in the construction of the kits so it will speed up the build considerably.
We are taking orders for spring and summer now so we can have them ready for the first barges in June. We are also still doing the lay-away program if you want to pay for it in monthly payments throughout the winter.
A Kit Seminar is being planned for the spring as well and we will post it on the blog and Facebook.
If you are interested in a Kit or a cabin built on your lot in 2015, let us know and we will get the process started for you.

“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
J.K. Rowling

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The 2015 Season

2014 was our busiest year yet and 2015 looks to be more of the same. We are booking now for the 2015 season and for the 2016 winter season. We still have a few start dates open for this winter season as well. With the warmer temperatures we are still able to excavate and pour concrete. I am confident we will have ice to drive on for the winter season.
We have seen warm winters before but we were always able to access our off road projects.
If you are looking to build in the next year, give us a call and we can set up a meeting to discuss.

We consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Email Address

For those of you who have been following our blog over the years, you may notice that it has been silent for a few months. It has been such a busy season that I just haven't had time to post lately.
I will now be trying to do a new blog post every week. We do have a new email address posted on our site. It is
We don't have enough ice yet to do our offroad work but I am confident I will come soon enough.
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" C. S. Lewis

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Season Updates!

The 2014 season has been extremely busy, it may turn out to be one of the busiest ever but that remains to be seen. We have had a lot of work on the Kenai this year as well as Valdez, Fairbanks and Talkeetna. We have sent kits to Galena, Willow, Skwentna, Wasilla, Nome, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor and Bethel so far with many more in line to ship to other areas of the state.
We had our first price increase last month which was the first in three years. The way material prices have been going, we may have another slight increase before the end of the season.
Kit prices have remained stable for a couple years but we will have to increase them as well next month.
We still have start dates available this season and we are scheduling off-road work for the winter season so don't hesitate to give us a holler with whatever construction needs you have.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

Monday, May 19, 2014

Scheduling for 2014

As it turns out, we were able to start many of our projects early this year which has opened some new start dates in July and August and possibly one in June. The road restrictions are off and the frost is out of the ground in most places. We have also finished some of our kits early this spring which has brought our lead time down so we can meet the barge schedules.
Let us know if you would like to build this year and we'll see what we can do.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kit Seminar Cancellation

Due to unforeseen circumstances and scheduling difficulties, our May 3rd. kit seminar has been cancelled and will be rescheduled later in the summer. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
We will be announcing the new schedule in the near future on facebook and the blog.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another Free Cabin To a Family in Need!

We got the idea for a Free Cabin to a family in need program in 2011 and announced the first recipient on Thanksgiving Day. We are now offering another free cabin to a “Family in Need” and we’ll announce it at the State Fair in August. We realize the need is great but we can only do our small part. Unfortunately this will create disappointment in those we cannot help so we ask for your understanding. The cabin for this year will be a 16 x 24 Plan 1 with 768 square feet. There will be one bedroom downstairs and a full loft upstairs. We will be building the complete dried-in shell and the new owner will be responsible for doing the finish work to make it liveable ie. Plumbing, electrical, insulation etc. The requirements are as follows: • Please describe your need in 200 words or less and email to us at • The applicant must hold title to a suitable building lot in the Mat-Su valley. • The lot must be accessible by road. • Applicant must show financial ability to complete the cabin and make it liveable. • This cabin is to be used as a full time residence for the owner. "To much is given, much is required." Luke 12:48


Our spring kit seminar date has been changed to May 3rd due to unexpected scheduling conflicts. Please email us at if you are planning on attending. The seminar is open to everyone and will be most beneficial to those that are planning on building one of our DIY kits in the future. Look forward to meeting you on May 3!

Monday, March 10, 2014


We are going to be doing at least two KIT seminars this season to familiarize current and future KIT builders with our process. The first one will be on April 22 at 10:00 AM. We will go through foundation, floor, wall and roof framing, window installation, stair building and metal roofing. The seminars typically take around four hours or so and we also have time afterwards for questions. The seminar is free for all. Please email or call us to let us know your coming so we know how many to expect. See you there! The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. –Chinese Proverb

Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY Kits for this Summer

Our DIY kits have become increasingly popular in Rural Alaska. When ordering your Kit, bear in mind that we need plenty of time to make sure we meet the barge deadlines. We strive to make sure we deliver two weeks prior to the cut-off date to make sure we don't miss anything. We recommend ordering your kit at least three to six months in advance to ensure your kit makes the barge. Some villages only get one barge per season so it is critical to get the order in with plenty of time to spare. "ife is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Duplex DIY KIT Plans

We are now offering two Duplex plans in DIY Kit form. The covered decks can easily be made into arctic entries. The cost for the 24 x 42 DIY Kit Plan runs $35,995 and the 28 x 42 runs $41,995. They are a great investment in the bush; you can live in one side and rent out the other. We will have more duplex and four-plex plans in the near future. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. George Bernard Shaw

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 in with a roar!

The 2014 season is shaping up to be very busy. Appraisals on homes are getting back up to normal levels and from what we hear, people want to build! Last year was the busiest year ever for our website with 84,000 visitors and our Facebook page has almost 16,000 likes so we are gearing up. We don't anticipate doing much more volume than normal because we are still a small company that can only handle so much. Our Kits have become very popular in Rural Alaska and we expect a lot of growth in that area. We still have a few start dates available for this season and we also have some starts available for winter work as well. If you are interested in building this year or next, now is the time to get the ball rolling. We look forward to hearing from you. "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." –Booker T. Washington