Conducted via online surveys with 400 independent builders, remodelers and builders/remodelers in the United States in November 2010, the results showed that both builders and remodelers use lumber and building material dealers as their primary source for purchasing materials 70% of the time. Warehouse home centers serve as the primary source for nearly one-third of remodelers but just 12% of builders.
Specialty wholesale distributors were the primary source for about 10% of both builders and remodelers, while specialty wholesalers were a clear third choice for remodelers at 13%
Fewer than 20% of builders and remodelers anticipate purchasing more through different channels in the future.
Builders and remodelers cited somewhat different priorities for selecting suppliers, though for both, product availability reigned as the No. 1 factor. Price was nearly as important as availability for builders. For remodelers, availability was followed by quality products, customer service and price, which were all rated similarly. The importance of availability as the top factor in the decision-making process illustrates that in some cases remodelers are willing to pay a little more for the sake of having the product in stock and ready to install.
Both builders and remodelers were unequivocally certain about how they wanted to receive communications from manufacturers and suppliers: e-mail, followed by magazine advertising, Internet and websites. They similarly prioritized the type of information they were interested in: new products, technical specs, specials/offers/discounts and industry information.
The Farnsworth Group is an Indianapolis-based strategy, consulting and market research firm in the home improvement, construction and building supply industries.