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:
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.
It was Confucius who wisely said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Recent studies acknowledge that as a profession general contractors fall into the essence of the quote—to the point they are living in a Pharrell Williams song, always singing:
Because I’m happy!
Okay, where did you get this stuff?
The research is based on TINYpulse’s 2015 Best Industry Ranking report. It surveyed more than 30,000 employees across 500 organizations, amid 12 different industries—concluding that the happiest were “construction and facility service workers.”
Behind chirpy general contractors in the bliss scale were those in these industries:
2. Consumer products
3. Technology and software
4. Telecom and energy utilities
The question would be then: Why are general contractors happier than the other professions? It’s understandable why putting together iPhones in China isn’t exactly Prozac Nation, but building houses in Chicago at the apex of a Midwest winter doesn’t seem like the path to nirvana. One might think this secret is only found with Emmet in The Lego Movie, life an eternal Taco Tuesday. Yet there are answers that don’t require the understanding of Confucius.
Okay, why are they so happy?
An article in Fast Company adroitly deciphers the reason for happiness for general contractors and those in the construction business. An obvious reason has to do with economics:
It’s important to note that the construction industry—both residential and commercial—is bouncing back from a recession low of $716.9 billion, or 4.9% of GDP, in 2010. Three years later, it was up to $925.4 billion, or 5.8% of GDP. Likewise, 70% of what the U.S. produces is for personal consumption, making for a strong consumer product sector.
Having a steady job with rising pay always helps the mood, with or without Taco Tuesday. However, other industries are presently doing well, and many in the workforce would agree that salary is just not enough to make every Monday into a Fat Tuesday. The TINYpulse study does reveal other aspects of the construction industry that make its enjoyable:
– Supportive management. – Abundant tools to succeed. – Opportunity for professional growth.
Do these sound unfamiliar in your industry? They might because recent reports show that 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. On the other hand, the construction industry has been renewed by a sense of purpose and embracing a positive philosophical attitude, similar to the tech boom decades ago.
The Fast Company article gives further reasons:
In the construction industry, a variety of organizations offer coaching and career mentorship to students. Once they’re ready for the workforce, the industry has a long history of providing new workers with apprenticeships so they can learn the skills required to move on to tackle more challenging work.
Finally, add to the construction industry an atmosphere of comradery, and you’ve got some happy campers building concrete camps across an economically-recovering nation.
Okay, why should anyone be happy at work?
As with the tech industry and its mystic joy in Silicon Valley, other industries should take heed at general contractors and the construction industry in general. Maybe not everyone can have a beer with satisfied coworkers in a lot after long day of building, but stronger communication in transparent settings could make a world of difference. In a 2014 study from the University of Warwick on worker productivity, Professor Andrew Oswald commented:
“Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”
Are we happy here at qSample? Let me put it this way: in sales there is a saying that goes “always be closing.” At qSample the sales team motto is:
Always be connecting.
That is not only the key to success, we feel, but also the key to happiness. Humans are social animals, always seeking connection and intimacy, and this ought to be highly stressed in the workforce.
Money may not buy happiness, but happiness sure can make money for companies. Just ask general contractors, beyond Emmet.
A recent qSample study uncovered the intimate shopping habits of general contractors, including their usage of smartphones while in-store for purchases. This is a vital area to study for marketing, as it is no secret that consumers now use mobile devices more than PCs when it comes to online retail…and they are very engaged online while inside stores.
Yet to better understand general contractor in-store shopping behaviors with smartphones it is insightful to compare them to general shoppers with smartphones.
The general shopper statistics were gleaned from a 2013 Google study: Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices.
Here is some of the eye-catching breakdown:
– 84% of general shoppers use their smartphones in-store to assist purchasing.
– 66% of general contractors use their smartphones in-store to assist purchasing.
– 53% of general shoppers use smartphones to compare prices elsewhere while in-store.
– 17% general contractors use smart phones to compare prices elsewhere while in-store.
– 19% of general shoppers have used a QR Code in-store.
– 10% of general contractors have used a QR Code in-store.
This brief comparison reveals evident differences of in-store smartphone usage between general contractors and general shoppers. Why do general contractors rely less on smartphones, one would ask?
Here are two initial possibilities:
– General contractors shop 61% of the time at the big four stores (Home Depot, Menards, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware). With such cemented shopping habits, the idea of seeking other deals will be more limited than general shoppers.
– General contractors, in general, spend less time working behind a desk with a screen in the conventional office environment—as they are clearly in a more labor-intense industry. Thus, technology in more a universal sense has not translated to general contractors.
More research needs to be conducted, naturally, but market forces are certainly not ignoring general contractors in their use of mobile technology (as seen by the many contractor and builder apps available).
There are possible solutions to increase general contractor engagement with their smartphones while in-store—with the insights of the Google study:
– 64% of general shoppers in-store still use search engines to find product information. According to a study by Symantec, 71% of businesses employ mobile apps (although almost half of the respondents find it “extremely challenging”). This means there is a disconnect between consumers and business mobile apps; and therefore there is opportunity for companies that invest well in creating attractive yet useful online apps.
– Consumers are more educated than ever because of technology. This means they expect more out of a store while visiting. Beyond friendly service, they want informed, customized experiences that include exclusive in-store deals; personalized recommendations/choices while shopping (personal or online); and knowledgeable employees to engage with.
The above is certainly germane to businesses of any size or market share vying for general contractor dollars via smartphone avenues. After all, the average cost of a business app is a sensible $6,453. Furthermore and regardless of the consumer sector, the Google study stresses one key, universal rule when it comes to satisfying smartphone users: make buying a complete and involving experiencing the entire process.
In a way and good news for the future, customer service has not changed, except that information is always at the shopper’s grasp. Therefore, it is essential for marketers to continue gaining and giving data to general contractors—especially with a vastly improving housing and building economy.
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.
by Rudly Raphael
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