News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Not Sure What’s Next for Your Business? Bring in a Consultant
Paul Winans / Remodeling / October 24, 2014
As a consultant to remodeling business owners, I spend a considerable amount of time on the phone. These hour-long calls, done with some regularity (ideally, monthly), can make a big difference in the success of a business. Anytime a business owner gets an informed outside perspective, there is the potential to speed up the progress of the company. It’s not unusual for me to have a business owner request that I speak with one or more of her employees. By listening carefully to both the owner and the employee, I can provide insight on how the pair can improve their working relationship. Generally,Read More
What’s Complex Isn’t Complicated Once You Draw a Process Map
Judith Miller / October 2014
Think of this summer’s rush of work as the meal conceived of and planned in the dreary light of February and March. Now that we’ve eaten it, our stomachs are full, and as the bright light of summer fades, reality once again sets in. If you’re like many remodelers I work with, you’re concerned about work in November and December; few of my clients have backlogs of contracted work that would last longer than 4 months or that would provide one-third of annual volume. So, what does 2015 look like? “Hard to tell” is the right answer, given the complexities involved in economic predictions.Read More
Brad Hunter / Builder / October 17, 2014
Housing starts rose by 6.3% in September, which places activity 17.8% above September of last year, according to the government report just released at 8:30.
Metrostudy’s view about the housing recovery remains unchanged. The total for 2014 will be little changed from 2013, but activity should increase in 2015.
The Top 4 Obstacles
There are still people who *should* be able to get mortgages who cannot (particularly those who work on commissions or bonuses, or are self-employed).
They have yet to help household formation rates, because those
The Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Confidence Index is reflecting growing optimism in our industry in sales, profit margins and staffing levels. As you will note in the chart below, scores across all three areas are now at post-recession highs. In 2014, increased optimism has not translated into strong growth in our industry, but our expectation is that 2015 will be better. What do we see in these tea leaves that gives us confidence?
The growing optimism on profit margins is likely the best indicator that 2015 is shaping up to be even more positive than the past year. Why?Read More
Jennifer Goodman / BUILDER / October 1, 2014
What’s old is new for many builders and home improvement companies, thanks to a trend toward retro branding that has taken hold in the advertising industry. These “Grandpa graphics” are modernized versions of vintage 1940s and 50s images that evoke a bygone era focused on handmade quality and business deals done on a handshake.
That old-school message works well for builders and home improvement firms eager to create a positive persona in the marketplace, says Dan Antonelli, CEO of Graphic D-Signs, an award-winning New Jersey advertising agency that works exclusively with small andRead More
Craig Webb / ProSales / August 13, 2014
Think of your LBM life for the past seven years as like being in a triathlon.
The housing crash tossed you into the swimming part of the race, forcing you to focus on not drowning. When at last you stagger onto dry land, you can see blue skies, but you know the race isn’t over. For this leg, you climb onto a bicycle and continue the race in a new way. But unlike the swimming or running sections of the event, this leg won’t be decided solely based on how hard you work. It also will hinge on how good your bicycle is.
In the building material supply triathlon, data is that bicycle, and it’s already helpingRead More
Brad Hunter / Builder / September 18, 2014
Today’s government data release on housing starts showed a 14.4% decline in the month of August, mostly driven by multifamily. Single-family detached home construction was only down 2.4% on the month. Total starts are still 8.0% higher than August of last year, and single-family starts are still 4.2% above the year-ago pace.
The apparent stagnation in national housing starts is not universal. Looking deeper, and using Metrostudy’s more granular detail, we see that certain markets have seen considerable strength. In our local-market tracking, we are still seeing significantRead More