Launch Slideshow

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Builders: Up Close and Personal

Builders: Up Close and Personal

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    Builders are socially responsible. Most participate in community and civic activities like voting, volunteering, and donating to charities. Health-related causes are the most popular among those who give to charities.

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    It's difficult to stereotype builders' attitudes on social issues. Fewer than half are in favor of developing more land. On core issues like the environment and healthcare, they are not as conservative as some might assume.

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    Builders are fairly technology savvy. These results support recent figures from Readex Research, which show 94% of builders researched building products online during the past six months, and 84% of professional builders use the Internet daily.

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    Builders spend their leisure time participating in a variety of recreational activities, just like the general population. Over the past year, their activities varied from baseball and bowling, to soccer and snowboarding. Golf leads the way.

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    Builders were asked to estimate their household net worth, including the estimated market value of equity in their companies, homes, other real estate, vehicles, personal and household possessions, as well as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and other investments. Forty percent have a net worth of $1 million or more.Above: Most builders work in small companies with fewer than 200 people. More than half of these firms have 20 or fewer employees. At the other end of the spectrum, some work in very large companies with staffs of more than 200 people.

Any good sales person will tell you how important it is to get to know customers. Really understanding a customer, beyond just knowing what they like to buy, helps build strong relationships. With this in mind, Hanley Wood hired Specpan, an Internet-based research group, to survey builders, one of the concrete producer's most important customers, to find out what makes them tick.

A profile of the modern building contractor emerged at Hanley Wood's American Housing Conference in September. Of the 451 builders who were surveyed, 29% were over the age of 45. Most were men; 13% were women. And 63% of builders had earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

On the home front, most builders were married (83%), and they strongly agreed that family is important (85%). A vast majority (94%) own their homes, and more than a third (35%) own two or more houses. Most agreed they enjoy entertaining guests in their homes (69%).

Off the clock, dining out is the builders' favorite way to relax and unwind. Going to the movies scored second, and going to sporting events was a close third. Not surprisingly, golf is their favorite outdoor activity. Builders also enjoy bicycling, boating or sailing, fishing, swimming and hiking.

However, builders are still business-minded. For example, they are three times more likely to read a business or trade magazine than a newsweekly or sports magazine. When they buy books, almost 60% are business-related.

Many are frequent travelers. In the three months before the survey, roughly half of them had taken a vacation (53%), and traveled for business (47%).

Nearly all (95%) said they had taken a vacation in the past three years; more than half (55%) had traveled outside the continental United States.

More insights into how builders spend their time and money follow. You may want to consider these responses the next time you plan a meeting or have an outing with a builder.

For a full copy of the presentation, “Off the Clock: The Secret Life of Building Contractors,” visit the American Housing Conference atwww.americanhousingconf.com. Click on Speaker Presentations in the left navigation bar.