Tag Archives: contractors

2018 Home Renovation Report: Homeowner Trends, Spending and Priority Projects

renovation

Just as fall signals football and cider mills, spring brings the home renovation projects that were set aside for the winter. QuestionPro Audience conducted a survey with 500 homeowners across the United States to gauge homeowner trends, future renovation plans and spending habits for spring 2018. To view our infographic with full report findings, click here.

CURRENT ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Overall, U.S. homeowners are optimistic about the next twelve months. 60% of homeowners take the state of the economy into consideration before making renovation plans, and 61% feel confident the economy is improving. Additionally, 55% of our respondents think home values will increase as well over the next year. While President Trump can be a controversial topic, only 28% report taking the presidential administration into consideration before making home improvement plans.

FUTURE HOME RENOVATION SPENDING

Homeowners look to be encouraged by today’s stronger housing market, and are making investments in their homes. 55% of homeowners plan to conduct at least one renovation over the next twelve months, up from the 38% who have previously performed improvements. 41% of respondents are initiating a home improvement project to improve their quality of living, while 17% are looking to increase the value of their home, but don’t have current plans to sell, and 16% want a “new look”.

Homeowners are also tackling bigger, more expensive projects this year—15% are planning to remodel their kitchen this year, 13% plan to update a bathroom, and 9% are looking to revamp the bedroom. 42% plan to spend between $3,000 and $10,000 on their upcoming renovation, up 6% from last year. A bit of good news for contractors: 61% plan to hire a professional for their upcoming project, compared to 59% who hired a professional for their past project. 49% of respondents plan to pay with cash or savings, 17% will put it on a credit card, 14% will use financing, 10% plan to use a home equity loan, and 8% are counting on their tax return to finance their project.

MILLENNIALS VS. BABY BOOMERS: WHO IS SPENDING ON HOME IMPROVEMENT?

Baby Boomers and millennials have at least one thing in common when it comes to conducting home projects: 61% of both baby boomers and millennials plan to perform at least one improvement over the next twelve months. That may be where the similarities end, however. The majority of millennials (35%) plan to spend between $1,000-$2,999, while 31% of baby boomers will be spending between $5,000-$9,999. Baby boomers will primarily be paying with cash (67%), financing (13%), or taking out a home equity loan (7%). Millennials will also be paying with cash (42%), but 19% plan to use one or more credit card.

Millennials are focused on renovating their kitchen (14%), bathroom (10%), and living room (9%), while 23% of baby boomers will be updating their bathroom, kitchen (19%), or replacing windows (9%). The majority of both age groups will be hiring a professional to do the work, but 39% of millennials plan to conduct the renovation themself, compared to 27% of baby boomers. Millennial respondents get a sense of satisfaction from performing the work themselves (40%), while baby boomers are more focused on keeping the project cost effective (59%). Baby boomer DIY-ers are also very specific about where they purchase their materials, with 85% shopping at building supply stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards, hardware stores like Ace Hardware or True Value (8%) or Walmart (8%). Millennials also shop at supply stores (64%), Walmart (14%), and hardware stores (7%), but they frequent warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club (7%) and high-end specialty stores like Kohler (4%) as well.

WOMEN TAKING CHARGE OF HOME PROJECTS

While home improvement has stereotypically been thought of as a male-dominated industry, women are picking up power tools and narrowing the margins. Of our respondents, 55% of women are planning to conduct a home improvement project over the next twelve months, compared to 57% of men. The majority of men (33%) intend to spend between $5,000 and $9,999, while 29% of women are looking to spend $1,000-$2,999. Cash is king for women funding their project; 54% of women are using cash, whereas men will be using cash (40%) or financing (21%). The genders are focused on improving different areas of the house as well; men will be remodeling the bathroom, while women plan to update the kitchen.

The majority of both sexes—63% of women and 58% of men—intend to hire a professional for their upcoming project. 56% of women feel they do not have the skills or equipment necessary for their planned project, while men value the expertise that comes with hiring a professional (47%). Another dissimilarity between the genders is how they find professionals to hire. Women prefer to ask a friend for a referral (40%), look on a review website such as Yelp.com (18%), or ask a contractor for a referral (17%). Men also ask friends for referrals (30%), but would rather use a search engine like Google.com (24%), or look on Yellowpages.com (21%).

The motivated women who plan to DIY prefer it because it gives them a sense of personal satisfaction (41%), whereas DIY men like that it’s more cost effective (53%). The majority of both men (74%) and women (75%) plan to purchase materials at a building supply store like Menards, Home Depot or Lowe’s, but that’s where the congruity ends. 10% of men intend to shop at Sears or IKEA (6%), while women will head to warehouse clubs like Costco (8%) or Walmart (8%).

THE YEAR AHEAD

The current housing market inventory is very competitive, so it is logical that many homeowners are choosing to invest in remodeling their current home, rather than get into a bidding war. Additionally, with the economy and housing market more stable, homeowners now have more income—and equity—so they’re making renovations to create their dream homes. Our study found that the majority of homeowners are focusing on discretionary projects such as kitchens and bathrooms, which may have been put off after the housing crisis. Judging from our report, it looks like 2018 will be a profitable year for homeowners, contractors, and material suppliers alike.

Download the full infographic report here.

How Content Marketing Can Supercharge The Construction Industry

 

Content marketing has become increasingly attractive to many businesses and brands seeking to expand their web presence. But what is content marketing and how does it work—beyond being a sleek buzzword in cyberspace? Can it work for those in the earthly construction industry?

In essence, content marketing is any marketing involving the creation and sharing of media content to help and inform customers—ultimately with the goal of acquiring and retaining them. It takes a variety of forms including news, videos, white papers, ebooks, infographics, how-to guides, and blog posts.

Content marketing is viewed as solely functioning on the internet, but that’s not necessarily the case. One of the primal forms of content marketing would be the famed Michelin Guide, published over a century ago.

And yes, content marketing can be beneficial to those in the construction industry seeking to expand their online branding and generate traffic.

One of the main reasons content marketing is beneficial is because it’s currently seen as an essential aspect of any internet marketing and its continual paradigm changes. After all, it was marketing guru, Seth Godin, who said, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”

Those are bold words, but these are bold online times. As examples, 88 percent of B2B marketers in North America already use some form of content marketing, while 76 percent of overall marketers are increasing investment in content marketing in 2016. All trends point to the financial rewards of content marketing.

Centering on the construction industry, a prime example of content marketing success can be found in a case study by Delta Marketing Group involving commercial contractor company, North Country Mechanical Insulators (NCMI). By using a sound inbound marketing strategy, NCMI increased its organic web traffic by an astounding 200 percent, as well as rank in the first page of Google under its preferred keyword (“mechanical insulation”). NCMI achieved this by optimizing its pages for local keyword search, rebranding its online persona via content as an “energy advocate,” and escalating its social media presence, among other strategies.

Adding to this, our research reveals that only 26 percent of general contractors utilize any form of online marketing. In other words, the internet is wide open to fill with traffic-generating content.

Content marketing is the future now, and construction companies should further pay heed for these three reasons:

 

1. CHANGING CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY

 

 

It’s no secret that everyone is flooded with more information than ever before. The average American is bombarded with five times more information than he or she saw 15 years ago. It is more of a secret, though, that consumers have become anesthetized to unwanted information. Furthermore, mobile technology has shrunk the space to advertise in and Ad block technology has made it easier to expel intrusive advertising from screens.

Look at it this way: Once banner ads were ubiquitous across the internet, and the investment paid off for many companies. That’s no longer the case. According to recent data from marketing company HubSpot, the average click-through rate of display ads is merely 0.1 percent.

Content marketing is the answer to this, bringing the buyer down the sales funnel by adding value, education, and entertainment in their purchasing journey.

 

2. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

 

 

Just as consumers have become more nimble at avoiding traditional marketing, they have also become more cynical as they navigate a vast field of brands wanting their attention on the internet. It’s just not enough for companies to explain how great they are—they have to show them.

This is where thought leadership comes in. Company heads can highlight their knowledge and expertise via articles, videos, infographics, and other elements of content marketing. This not only improves a brand, but it also assists and educates consumers—ultimately making them more grateful, trusting, and potentially closer to the contact form when it comes time to make a buying decision.

 

3. SEO

 

 

Search Engine Optimization remains key in any form of internet marketing. A good construction company craves the highest possible ranking on Google and other search engine providers (and the case study mentioned above made it a reality with NCMI). One way to rank is to spend inordinate amounts of money to remain on the first page of a search engine. The other is to utilize content marketing.

Content marketing is, at its core, about creating relevant content. The more valuable content created with relevant keywords, the higher the chance a website has of being indexed by search engines. Furthermore, more videos created can be noticed on YouTube, more infographics drawn can be shared on Social Media, and more guides published can be downloaded from a site into the hard drive of potential customers.

 

BEYOND THE CONTENT

 

 

Beyond the mentioned, content marketing is useful for branding, public relations, and even networking. This type of marketing is traditionally more cost-effective than other internet marketing, although distribution depends on a company’s needs (AdWords, Social Media displays, etc.). A construction company does not need an agency to successfully content market—simply a dedicated staff and owner that want to share their insights and passion with the industry.

At the end of the day, content marketing benefits consumer needs and forges a bond between brand and customer. That’s never a bad form of marketing …

 

Article originally appeared in Modern Contractor Solutions

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General Contractors and Mobile Technology

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8 Killer Apps For Moving Or Remodeling Your Home

 

Remodeling and selling homes is complicated enough as it is. Fortunately, technology is making it a whole lot easier. Here are some of qSample’s favorite apps for getting the job done (some feedback provided by our contractor and home buyer online panels).

 

1. Homeselfe

Homeselfe gives you a step-by-step walkthrough of your home to help you check its energy efficiency and search for problems. That new ultra-efficient furnace isn’t going to do you much good if all the heat is escaping out the walls, right? You don’t need to patch up anything you’re going to be replacing in the near future, but otherwise, patching up the house is a great first step for any major remodeling project. It might improve the sale value, too.

 

2. iHandy Carpenter Tools

There are a lot of tools needed to remodel a house, but many families don’t own a full toolkit. You could go out and buy all of them by yourself… or you could get a digital version of some of the most-used tools.

Note that this won’t replace physical tools (like hammers), just several of the most common measuring tools.

 

3. Homestyler

This handy app focuses on digitally redesigning rooms, allowing you to get a better sense of what an area would actually look like if you remodeled it in a certain way. This sort of “try before you buy” setup is extremely helpful for ensuring the final design is something you’re going to be happy with, and it’s currently available for free.

 

4. The Handyman Calculator

When you’re remodeling your home, there are a lot of different measurements you’ll need. For example, how much paint will you need to cover the walls, and how much carpet is going onto the floor? This calculator helps you answer those questions, and comes with some shopping list features to help make sure you buy everything you need for the project.

 

5. 360 Panorama

This useful application stitches images together to create a 360 panorama view of a given area. One shift we’ve seen in the housing market is that people want to quickly and easily take a look around the home – without necessarily having to go to the trouble of actually visiting the house. Apps like this can help you reach that particular crowd, and might just result in a faster, easier sale.

 

6. Zillow Mortgages

Really, the whole Zillow series is useful, but the Mortgages one is especially helpful when you’re talking price. Pulling this out in a meeting with a potential buyer helps you talk budget and see what they could reasonably afford to pay. If buyers know that a home is affordable, they’re more likely to follow through and seal the deal.

 

7. PDF Pen Pro

“But this has nothing to do with selling houses!” you say? That, my friend, is where you’re wrong. You’re going to be signing a lot of papers during the process of selling a home, and apps like this one give you the chance to do most of that signing digitally. This is especially helpful when documents need to be submitted by a given deadline and you’re busy dealing with other matters.

 

8. JotNot Scanner

Speaking of paperwork, there will also be times when you have to send it to others. JotNot Scanner is one of the most reliable scanning apps available, and it includes a variety of messaging systems (including fax) to get your paperwork where it needs to go.

 

Uma Campbell is a green loving yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys writing about natural living, health, and home design. For more information, please visit the Uma Campbell Blog.

 

Home Improvement Projects Infographic

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5 Remodeling Projects You’ll Want To Avoid

Home remodeling projects can be a great way to get more enjoyment out of your home. After all, this is a place you’ll be spending years and years in: why not make your home exactly the way you want it? Makes sense. However, while it’s certainly worthwhile to invest in the improvements that you’ll truly love, if you’re looking for a return on your investment or hassle-free upgrades, there are definitely a few projects you’ll want to avoid.

 

  1. The Opulent Home Office

If you work out of your home, then a cozy home office may seem like a great idea. The problem is when this project gets a little too out of hand it actually turns the room into an office copycat, with big built-ins, major tech equipment, and other very specific, single-use purchases. When selling your home, having a home office that can’t be easily converted into another type of room will likely detour potential buyers, and it certainly won’t add to your space’s overall value. So, while you should go ahead and invest in a nice desk and an ergonomic chair, keep the major construction to a minimum and make sure all of your additions can be easily undone.

 

  1. Pinching Pennies on the Basics

Over the years you’ll need to replace appliances, fix up the water heater, or make other basic improvements. Because these aren’t glamorous remodels, you may think about going with the cheapest, easiest upgrades, rather than energy-efficient options that have higher up-front costs.

 

This is a huge mistake. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in your home are extremely attractive to potential buyers, and you can often get tax credits to help defray the initial costs. Plus, not only can energy-efficient upgrades like Energy Star appliances, solar water heaters, low-flush toilets, and fiberglass windows help save you money on your energy bills, energy-efficient upgrades tend to have longer lifespans, so you shouldn’t have to replace your investments for a long, long time.

 

  1. The Luxe Garage

This one might be a surprise to some people. After all, won’t turning your garage into a recreation room, craft space, or other area increase the value of your home by increasing the livable space? Well, not really. For one, potential buyers would rather have a place to put their car than a playroom or another entertainment area. Plus, turning the garage into a very specific, single-purpose room can be a downright deterrent, because what may be a useful upgrade to you might very well be useless to most buyers. Plus, garage remodels can be extremely expensive and require major construction and contracting work, which can often become logistical nightmares. Save yourself the trouble and keep the garage a garage.

 

  1. Too Much Space

If you have a very small home, building an extra bedroom and bathroom might be a great investment. However, if your house is an average size for your area, then adding extra space can actually be a costly mistake. While few people want a home that feels too small, many people also don’t want a home that’s too big, as this leads to higher bills and higher overall living costs. Before you decide to make this major change, take stock of your neighborhood and get a sense for how your home fits in. If you’re on the smaller side, make the leap. If you’re already in line with the standard, then we suggest staying put.

 

  1. The Oversized Kitchen

While palatial kitchens used to be en vogue, this upgrade can be lost on potential buyers who don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as you do. If a kitchen upgrade is truly important to you, pick one feature you really want — like a professional stove, oversized island, or fancy appliances — and just focus on that rather than doing a total overhaul. If you go whole-hog, be prepared to see very little money back for this investment.

 

Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.

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Infographic of the Week: General Contractors & Mobile Technology

Many of us can surely hear the busy sounds of construction outside in these warm months. It’s certainly the sound of money to many. But what are the commercial habits of these hard-working contractors, especially in an age when commerce is vastly centered around mobile technology? Are they marketing online? Do they network on Facebook for bids?

These and more issues are dealt with in this week’s infographic. It’s based on our proprietary study, which you can also find in text at our article General Contractors and Mobile Technology.

Please also explore some of our other primary research on general contractors and homeowners found in our articles:

Shopping Habits of General Contractors

General Contractors and Brand Loyalty

Who Are Today’s First-Time Homebuyers?

This might be all you need for your market research, and if not, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can reach out to our general contractor panel. In any event, enjoy the weekly infographic and any outdoors sound you enjoy as we all enjoy the warm months.

General Contractors and Mobile Technology

 

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Infographic of the Week: Spring & General Contractor Trends

I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again now:

There are two seasons in Chicago—winter and construction (replace “Chicago” with your preferred upper Midwest or Northeast location).

To some, though, spring in these regions might seem like this meme:

Johnny Depp holding boy who is sad about spring in Chicago

Yet for many spring is here, and so is the season of construction, where general contractors recover from Jack Frost and make hay (and fix plumbing and replace drywalls and rewire electrical systems and all the other key tasks that keep society going).

Or is it?

We’ve retooled some of our past studies, and drilled them with some newer research from our proprietary general contractor panel. We hope you find this infographic insightful, regardless of your industry. The infographic can be shared, downloaded or copied to various mediums (instructions at the bottom).

Enjoy and enjoy the weather, or if not just remember the wise words of Mark Twain: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”

Replace “New England” with your preferred upper Midwest or Northeast location, during this spring.

Contractor Survey 2015
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Construction Trends that are Beyond Science Fiction

In Chicago, it is said there are only two seasons: winter and construction (and the saying is employed in other regions of the Midwest). Even if true, that certainly has not detained the many predictions for 2015 trends from general contractors and other sectors in the construction industry. All the forecasts are based on sound data, and some are so innovative and high-tech, they could be in the providence of the next James Cameron film.

In fact, some of these haven’t even made it to any science fiction blockbuster:

Bottled water…so why not bottled sunlight ?

The solar industry continues to boom, and the idea of sunlight assisting society is no longer even modern (if that even makes sense). The U.S. has even surpassed Germany as the world’s leading producer of solar power. Solar panels and other solar equipment are becoming more available, but the cost is often something along the lines of buying a star.

So why not just buy the solar energy itself? That’s what one company already does, with one million customers and growing.  Consumers don’t exactly purchase liquid plasma, but electrical energy from solar energy at a much affordable cost.

Your home will be in the clouds, at least at first

A blogger from Construction Monitor wrote last year:

Designing and managing construction projects in cloud-based technology will soon be the norm. Now’s the time to get on board with the fast, efficient collaboration cloud computing enables .

Society has come a long way from the late 90s resistance to the notion of handing over large amounts of information to third party companies for online storage. Efficiency overcame safety in society. When it comes to general contractors, though, safety will surely always come first, even as project management becomes effortless and cloudless.

Put a cork in it and open your doors

Cork has been used since the days of the ancient Greeks, but it is actually in demand as a high-tech construction solution. It is waterproof, fire resistant, flexible, sound proof, and completely organic. Using cork on floors and walls in construction makes perfect sense, and furthermore it has been utilized in car engines, airport runaways, and even space shuttles.

Some companies now offer cork in liquid form, basically transforming any construction into a green and safe building with a few sprays!

Buildings that recycle more than humans

As seen above, solar energy can be transported and sold. In addition, solar energy buildings are now able to send surplus solar energy back into a grid, thereby assisting other green facilities.

In addition, using the Seattle Bullitt Center building as a prime example, it is possible to have buildings that treat and recycle rainwater or even sewage water. At this rate, buildings and houses will even be able to take out the trash on a rainy day…

Screaming at your appliances no longer makes you crazy

Grid-aware appliances are growing in numbers, and it basically means your smartphone will soon no longer be the only smart object at home.  A fridge can now remind one that it is low on milk, while the washing machine can be controlled remotely with a smartphone or tablet. Even if some of the grid-aware technology borders on creepy, its real advantage is that its controls are in real-time—meaning owners know exactly how much energy they are using. This will make anyone’s wallet speak with a positive tone.

As mentioned, some of the above trends have yet to make it to any science fiction, and perhaps the latest Avengers or Star Wars flicks in 2015 will catch up with the inventiveness and determination of general contractors, engineers, tech gurus, and architects in the (seemingly) mundane world of reality.

Until then, may the Force be with those involved in construction.

 Solar Energy Usage Statistics Infographic

 

High Tech Solutions for Mobile Offices

Offices are traditionally a sedentary place where business is conducted and your clients come to you for services. But for general contractors and those who work on job sites rather than in a traditional office, it can be difficult to maintain efficient technology.

 

Apple Pay

Apple Pay launched this week and although it has some glitches, it allows people to pay for services and products with a few clicks on their iPhones, even at retail stores.  iPhones and other smartphones are now also handheld computers that perform almost as efficiently as a laptop or tablet. The new iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy 4 Note can be both phone and computer in industries with mobile job sites.

 

Using a Smartphone means draining the battery but there are new ways to combat the constant empty battery syndrome. Samsung Galaxy 5’s are offering interchangeable battery systems so phones don’t have to be plugged in constantly. For other phones, pre-charged power packs are available.

 

Handoff

Apple also created ease for Macs and iPhone owners with the new OS X Yosemite operating system. It allows an instant switch from iPad to Mac to iPhone using Handoff. Contractors can easily start a document or project on one device and finish it on another. The new operating system also features an updated format that makes it easier to send spreadsheets via services such as Google Docs or Dropbox. This means that documents can be worked on at home and then accessed on the road.

 

Pocket-sized projectors

Pocket Projectors are the answer to packing light and still being able to present high quality presentations to clients and subcontractors. Projectors run anywhere from under $100 to several hundred dollars. They work with Smartphones and one can access and control the projector through an app. Samsung, Philips, Epson, 3M, and GE are just a few big names that offer pocket projectors. There are wireless options, and those that offer superior picture quality, though of course that raises the price of the projector. Recently, our team attended a technology day at a local business and the presenters brought a mini projector as part of their technology display. The projector was small, and fit into an adult hand, but displayed the PowerPoint and worked just as efficiently as a full-sized projector.

 

Mobile job sites also need data and many phone companies offer Smartphones as hotspots. Smartphones, projectors and other technology can be used as a hotspot to share Wi-Fi for up to ten devices.

 

Agent

This is a new app free through the Google Play store that can help contractors keep tabs on the little things.

• Agent helps conserve phone battery

• Agent silences phone during meetings, based on one’s Google calendar

• Agent can remember details, such as where a car is parked

• Agent can auto-respond to calls when one is driving

• Agent only allows urgent calls and messages through when one wants to sleep

The advancement of technology provides many avenues of professionalism and efficiency. It also provides the ability to easily offer clients high quality work. Understanding how to best utilize this technology is easier in today’s world as well. Many companies not only provide a manual but have created hands-on ways to learn to use new technology. Companies like Apple offer classes for those buying new products, and many also post how-to videos on Youtube.

Upgrading a mobile job site may take some work but once completed, the technology and efficiency is easily moved to the next venue. It’s an investment in organization, saving time and banking on that bottom line.

Did you know? We have access to almost 80K contractors for your marketing research needs. Call us today!

 

 

 

 

Pulse Report: April Spotlight on General Contractors

Following the success of the first Pulse Report, qSample is proud to release its April infographic. This month it decided to highlight one of its specialty panels comprised of general contractors. During the beginning of April, 340 individuals were surveyed to gain insight into currents trends and ideas in this industry. The results of the study are displayed in the infographic below.

Contractors are reporting price increases across the board for supplies, most notably for lumber, hardware, and hand tools. These price increases are affecting the way contractors run their business, with the majority seeing affects to their pricing models. However, on a positive note, these contractors are reporting that business is beginning to pick back up. About 43% of respondents indicated that in light of the recent economic conditions, business is increasing and about 9% indicated that business has increased but in new areas.

Contractors are hopping on the mobile bandwagon, as they are pulling out their smart phones while purchasing supplies. Almost 60% of respondents use their smart phone in some way while making purchasing decisions regarding materials and supplies. The most popular use is to check to see if they can get better pricing elsewhere.

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by Rudly Raphael