Thanks Hank, I totally agree. Yet, it's still difficult and time consuming wading through the builders. But, we are not in any hurry, we have a few years yet. I'm sure I'll find the right builder just as you have. Good luck.
Your original post didn't indicate if you were also in the market for a log home company, but if you are make sure they spell out all the details of the package. Some reps would only give me a total package price, but would not detail what was in the package. Some things are best bought locally. I've been fortunate to have a very patient rep who has been willing to show me what the package would look like with and without various components. If you've already selected a log home company, congratualtions!
Sometimes they do work with a specific log home company. There are some builders who build for several log home companies. Some builders build both stick homes as well as log homes. I would say that you're not likely to find a builder who is an employee of a log home company. It's not written in stone that one finds the builder first or the log home company first. We started looking at log home companies first, whittled it down to a handful, then started looking at builders. We settled on the log home company before we settled on the builder. One-third of the builders we looked at built for only one of the companies we were considering. The rest built for multiple companies, including all we were considering. The log home company we selected has a list of builders who have built for them in the past and have developed a good reputation.
We are dealers for Lincoln Logs International. They are located in North Carolina. Their website is http://lincolnlogsinternational.com. If you check them out, tell them that Fred Dillon of Branson sent you.
You can view our album of construction photos here to see how they to build one. Good luck and hope to hear from you in your new log home soon.