Are You Serving More Small Builders?

Christina Lewellen
March 27, 2012
THE TALK...

I came across an article recently from a Delaware newspaper that points out that smaller builders are making a comeback with the housing market as it begins to show signs of life. While we still have a long path to travel in terms of the housing market’s recovery, the article notes that smaller builders are getting busier and reporting that business has picked up quite a bit this spring.

Not that the large builders have left the scene, but I’m curious to know from the window and door companies serving the new construction segment of the residential housing market—are your customer demographics changing? Are you serving more smaller builders and contracting companies than you have in years past? Are you seeing these customers gain traction as the market moves toward healthier levels?

Looking a little further out, do you think the recovery presents an opportunity for smaller companies to gain market share against the big builders, many of whom were decimated during the downturn? If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts, I’d love to know what you’re seeing happen among your customer make-up on the new construction side of the business. Post a comment or send me an email with your thoughts. 

 

Survey Results as of 04/3/2012 :

 

Compared to several years ago, has your mix of new construction customers changed?

We are seeing more small builders.

  

 

53%

We don't see much change.

  

 

29%

We're seeing fewer small builders.

  

 

18%

A slight majority of respondents see smaller builders playing a larger role in the market. I think this makes sense, to be honest with you. Our industry has just survived a fairly traumatic shake-up of our economy in general, and of the nature of the housing industry, specifically. Companies have had to change and remain nimble in order to simply survive during this recessionary period, which is why it makes sense that we're likely to see our customer base shifting in the window and door industry.

For those of you serving the new construction market, more than half are seeing the customer roster shift more toward smaller companies. This is not an overwhelming majority, by any means, but it could be a trend worth watching as we begin the slow path to recovery. Indeed, as pent-up demand in the new construction market begins to break free, perhaps there are additional business opportunities to be found in serving smaller builders. Something to keep a close eye on, for sure.

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.