Survey: More bidding, more solo acts, more clients disappear

Preliminary results of our annual Market Trends Survey are coming in and I thought I’d share a few of the more interesting results in advance of the big report that appears in the January/February 2012 issue. We asked a few new questions this year to keep things interesting, and we hope you appreciate the information.

More of you than ever are running one-person operations. It’s unfortunate to see, but I wonder how you feel about it. Is it humbling, is it empowering, or both? How will this experience change the way you do business when you’re able to hire people again? What lessons will you learn?

Almost 75% of you are bidding on projects. This is interesting information but unfortunately we haven’t asked this question before so we don’t know how this compares historically. Anecdotally I can tell you this is a very high percentage. I think it’s the result of clients thinking they can squeeze builders for every penny these days. I’ve heard that even past clients are asking builders to bid on new projects. Yesterday I was in the office of a builder who said the time allotted for bidding is cut in half, too.

Sixty percent of you said up to 40% of your prospects disappeared without a trace. This is proof of what I’ve heard from many of you over and over again the past few years. It also suggests that the desire to build and improve homes remains strong, but the ability to fund it continues to elude many home owners. Or they don’t believe in the investment.

Eight-two percent of survey respondents said clients are more interested in products that save them money vs. products made with green components. Is anyone really surprised at this? We as editors hear this story for years as we travel around the country. Honestly I’m surprised the number of people interested in products with green components is as high as it is. It’s good news, though.

I’ll save the rest of the results for the big report in January/February. For now, let us know if you have any thoughts on the results I’ve shared, and stay strong.

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