In a study conducted by the Caney Group for the Home Improvement Research Institute, contractors were asked what outlet they use most to purchase tools, supplies and building materials. Wholesale distributors were shopped by 13 percent of general remodeling contractors responding, up from 10 percent in 2001 and 4 percent in 1999. Specialty supply houses, which focus on a specific category, were shopped by 10 percent of the general contractors, vs. 7 percent in 2001 and 5 percent in 1999. The number of general remodeling contractors who said they shop at warehouse home centers also increased, while fewer said they shopped at lumber and building material dealers vs. the 1999 study.
Among remodeling specialists, 34 percent said they shop at wholesale distributors, vs. 40 percent in 2001; also, 31 percent said they shop at a specialty supply house, compared with 30 percent in 2001. Growth was also experienced by warehouse home centers.
When asked about their satisfaction with the various sources of product, 41 percent of general remodeling contractors and 44 percent of remodeling specialists said they were “very satisfied” with wholesaler/distributors. Warehouse home centers were rated very satisfactory by 24 percent of general remodeling contractors and by 30 percent of remodeling specialists.
While lumber and building material dealers declined in shopping preference with general contractors, they received the highest satisfaction ratings: 46 percent of general contractors and 50 percent of remodeling specialists said they were very satisfied with that source.
The study was conducted by phone with 1,503 full-time contractors: 500 general and 1,003 specialists. The report based on the study will be available only to HIRI members until June 2004, after which it will be available for sale. For information on HIRI, visit www.hiri.org or call 813/627-6750.
Pat Lenius is managing editor of Supply House Times and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.