|The availability of skilled labor proved to be the top concern for Remodelers Show attendees. Sixty-one percent indicate that it will shape the industry’s future.
Responses to the survey of participants at the 2000 Remodelers’ Show in Detroit provided a revealing look at a national cross-section of the industry and expectations for the near future. Most of those surveyed (87 percent) were involved in single family remodeling operations, and the participants represented all four regions of the United States.
The Labor issue
The survey indicates that "availability of skilled labor" is the top issue that will shape the industry in the next five years. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed saw future challenges in finding skilled labor. The significance of the labor question was reinforced by the responses remodelers gave when asked to choose from a list of problems faced by their firms in 2000. Sixty-two percent named availability of skilled labor as a "significant problem," 42 percent identified "retention of employees," and 39 percent singled out labor costs as "problematic."
The Internet was thought to be the most important issue to shape the industry in the next five years by 15 percent of those polled. Just about all the participants - 94percent - reported owning a personal computer.
While 91 percent of respondents said they use their Internet access for e-mail, smaller but significant percentages reported utilizing it for marketing (36 percent), purchasing (36 percent), and lead generation (23 percent). More than half (54 percent) of the respondents have company Web sites.
Indicative of the growing importance of the senior market is the fact that 50 percent of the respondents reported that aging-in-place had increased somewhat to significantly in the past five years. The market is also becoming more mature in another sense - consumer savvy.
Fifty-six percent of those responding said that customers expect quicker turnaround on proposal and/or budget estimates. Forty-seven percent said that their clients are more informed about the remodeling process, and many (41 percent) request additional materials to help in their decision process. A significant number (31 percent) of the respondents find that customers request more products by brand name.
Finally, more than three-quarters of those responding feel that the public image of the remodeling industry has improved somewhat or significantly over the past five years.
For more information on the survey and other NAHB research, contact the Remodelors Council at (800) 368-5242, Ext. 216.