Using Construction Data for Your Cabinet Business

construction data for your cabinet business

Basic building permit reports are public information. Anyone can access them. It takes time – a great deal of time – to fine-tune the construction data your organization needs and can use.

By the time you have sorted trends, projections, new housing starts, renovation requests, historical data… You may be too tired to structure a marketing plan. And that’s the primary purpose of identifying construction data found in building permit reports: to give companies a competitive edge in any kind of economic environment.

Trends in the Cabinet Industry

The U.S. market for kitchen cabinets is estimated at $9.5 billion and estimated to reach $17.1 billion globally by 2021. The growth is being driven by “showpiece” kitchens for new housing starts. Age-in-place renovations for single-story homes should include easy-access cabinets with pull-out shelving and racks.

Building Permits Give You Acess to What, When, and Where

If your business is focused on selling cabinets for kitchens and baths, you should know your customer base. Also know this: Your customer base changes and in this fast-paced economy, 5-year plans are ridiculous. Savvy organizations access construction data monthly and weekly.

Large companies use local retailers to market their brand. If your cabinetry demographics are national, building permit reports can tell you which areas of the country need nurturing. Which areas of our country are building-boomers? Your retailers need up-to-date, local construction industry data to develop marketing campaigns.

Strong Foundations for Future Success

If you pride yourself on creation and artistry – you are a cabinet-maker – your customer base can be national as well. “I’ve got more business than I can handle,” may work for you today, but your granddaughter crafting alongside you may feel differently someday. Provide the local, state, and national building permit information she can evaluate and use when the time comes.

Local Contracts, Cabinetry Jobs

Even though most cabinet remodeling does not require building permits, knowing which areas are aging and prime for renovation is important to your business. Also, keep in mind as more homeowners need wifi ports and charging stations in kitchens, the need for business permits may change as the need for cabinetry/countertop electrical installations increases.

The construction industry depends on special trades and subcontractors, including your cabinet business. If you want the jobs, use construction data customized for your area and your company. Contact Construction Monitor.

What Can I Learn from Building Permit Reports?

building permit reports

It’s difficult to think of any industry that isn’t impacted by housing starts and residential or commercial development. Business magazine Entrepreneur¹ says any organization that depends on a physical location needs to evaluate customer availability, accessibility, and proximity to other businesses/services. Building permit reports provide that information.

Location, Location, Location

Even internet-based companies target their audiences based on geographics. You can sell vacuum cleaners in dust storms if you target the right market. (Buy-online DIY swimming pool kits don’t sell well in Antarctica.)

Building permit reports give you information about which locales are developing, remodeling, or stagnant. You can drill down U.S. housing starts and building permits by region (East, Midwest, North, South), state, county, city, subdivision development… These analytics can lead to informed, up-to-date decision-making.

Do you want to grow your nail salon business? Look for up-and-coming commercial and residential development. Is it time to franchise your unique bakery? High-traffic communities might be the places to examine. Building permit reports are the foundation for business development.

Types of Building Permit Reports

January 2020 saw the strongest gain in building permits² since September 2012. This information offers insight into key economic indicators: jobs, income levels, and tax rates.  

Building permit reports give companies information to increase income and profits:

  • Develop sales leads
  • Discover potentials for partnering
  • Identify competitors
  • Plan marketing strategies/campaigns

Types of building permit reports you can use include:

  • Agricultural buildings/sheds
  • Arts/museums
  • Banks
  • Cabins (private)
  • Churches
  • Commercial
  • Entertainment venues
  • Footing/foundations (commercial, residential)
  • Garages/carports
  • Grading/dust (commercial/residential)
  • Hospitals/healthcare facilities
  • Industrial manufacturing sites
  • Mobile homes
  • Motels/hotels
  • Office complexes
  • Parks/recreation sites
  • Personal care (commercial)
  • Private/public schools
  • Professional buildings
  • Remodeling/additions (commercial/residential)
  • Reroofs (commercial/residential)
  • Residential (single-family, duplexes, apartments/condos)
  • RV parks
  • Solar/alternative energy provider sites (commercial/residential)
  • Storage buildings
  • Swimming pools/spas
  • Transportation-related structures
  • Utility provider sites
  • Vehicle (auto/truck) sites for sales/service
  • Warehouses
  • Wholesale facilities

Successful Businesses Use Building Permit Data

Spring 2020 will be filled with profitable opportunities. You can be the company others look to for ideas and inspiration. Information is your differential. 

Let Construction Monitor explain more about construction data and analytics customized for your business. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

9 Things You Can Learn from Construction Spending

construction spending

Data – information – is available to everyone. Even if you feel confident you know your business, its goals, and your industry, it’s difficult to know which information sources can deliver usable facts and figures. Construction data, including building permits information, is pertinent to our companies as well as our industry. But there’s another source of information you should investigate: construction spending.

Construction Data; Construction Spending Statistics

“Construction spending” measures the amount of investment in new construction. U.S. public and private sector new-construction spending information is used for economic forecasts and financial decision-making. The Census Bureau studies the construction value-in-place (VIP) every month.

Construction spending estimates include costs of:

  • Architectural and engineering work
  • Contractors’ profits
  • Interest and taxes
  • Labor and materials
  • Overhead/miscellaneous

FYI: Construction Spending 2020-2026

Construction spending data has led to good construction forecasts for this year and beyond. However, doubts surrounding steel and other building material costs continue to be driven by tariff and supply uncertainties.

How You Can Use Construction Spending Information

If you think you’re a “small-time” company, then don’t bother evaluating U.S. construction data, including spending. And forget about following the global construction industry. That’s one way to guarantee your growth and profits remain small.

The only limitations you have are the business decisions you make. Here are two things you need to know:

  1. Timely, relevant construction industry information pertinent to where you work (your geography) is critical to your business.
  2. Global and national trends impact your local business.

Construction spending data can give you the information you need to:

  1. Assess monthly fixed costs (rent, salaries, utilities, etc.) vs. comparable businesses
  2. Improve your budget and money management, which:
    • Keeps costs in-line with projections
    • Leads to better decision-making for profit
    • Captures a more realistic idea of revenue potential
  3. Compare industry trends with local economic projections and building permit data
  4. Determine if your rates are competitive and reasonable
  5. Develop a concise business plan
  6. Evaluate direct cost expenses (project-related labor, materials, subcontractors)
  7. Evaluate industry trends
  8. Identify cash flow variances based on time of year and competition
  9. Reinforce planning/financial goals (and adjust when necessary)

Our Success Depends on Yours

Construction Monitor believes data-driven decisions are shaping the global market for every industry, including construction. Our mission is to provide construction analytics and information you need for success. Call 800-925-6085 (International callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

10 Tips for Bidding on Construction Projects

bidding on construction projects

Subcontractors bidding for work on construction projects face a number of challenges to submit a winning proposal. Effective bidding requires confirming the client’s requirements and budget while also ensuring your costs and profit margin are fully covered. Overbidding risks losing the job to a low-balling competitor. Conversely, a bid that is below your actual expected costs eliminates profit potential.

Here are ten tips to increase your chances of a successful, profitable bid:

  1. Meet with or speak to the prospective client/contractor. Discuss requirements and what will be necessary to fulfill expectations.  
  2. If blueprints are available for the project, inspect them. If the job site is accessible, conduct a walk-through.
  3. Estimate the days involved to complete the work and look for special circumstances or complications that could impact the cost of getting the job done on schedule.
  4. Figure costs of materials and work hours involved as well as any other likely overhead. Allow for unexpected expenses. Estimate daily costs then multiply by the expected number of days to completion.
  5. Determine your preferred profit margin and add that figure into the total.
  6. The formal written bid must include name, business address, and other relevant contact info. Summarize the work to be done and state expected start and completion dates. Include payment terms as well as the terms of any warranty.
  7. Itemize all estimated costs for materials and labor. These figures may be subject to negotiation with the client, so allow for changes, if necessary. 
  8. Arrange for a meeting with the client to present the bid. Be prepared to verbally describe all details of your planned work. 
  9. Expect to negotiate terms, including completion time and costs, if required. Decide in advance what your negotiated limits will be.  
  10. Following the presentation, provide the prospective client with business cards. Arrange a follow-up call or other meeting to provide additional information or answer further questions.

Get an edge when bidding on construction projects by utilizing data from building permits. Contact the professionals at Construction Monitor for more information.

4 Ways to Use Building Permits

Building Permits

Few can predict the future, but economists try. U.S. economists watch building permit application trends very carefully. They review monthly statistics. Based on the number and types of building permits applied for by homeowners, land developers, and businesses, economists can reveal “economic indicators.”

Let’s say you’re considering expanding your flooring business. There has been a marked increase in single-family home building permits in one region just outside your service area.

You’ll cultivate the contractors and builders winning the new construction bids. But it might be worth your time and money to add a satellite center in an area that will be frequented by the new homeowners.

That’s one way to use building permits data to grow your business. Here are four more:

1. Competitive Analysis

If your business is doing more than it can handle, work that success and expand. If your competitor is getting the work you need, figure out why. Use building permits information to determine the relationships your competitors have with customers, builders, architects, and plumbing contractors. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Develop your marketing strategy to build upon your strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

2. Demand Generation

When building permits reports indicate remodeling business permits are dwindling (and your business depends on renovations and conversions), take advantage of the downtime to create demand. This is the time to educate buyers about what your business can do for them.

Substitute your product or service word in place of the word “it.”

One customer said, “I didn’t know I needed it until you told me how great it was. Then I wanted it.”

That’s demand generation.

3. Demographic Data

Where are your industry’s products/services most utilized in your locale, state, and in the country? Those areas are great places to be but using building permits information can give you the information edge: Where are the demographic areas that will soon need your services?

4. Opportunities and Risks

You may understand how building permits can reveal opportunities. With targeted analysis, you will also be able to pinpoint marked economic downturn and potential risks.

Call 800-925-6085 (international callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to discuss how up-to-date information can benefit your organization.

How to Find Construction Projects to Bid

construction projects to bid

If you haven’t read any horror stories lately, check out “The Successful Bid That Put the Contractor Out of Business.” You may need the cash flow and feel an obligation to keep good employees working, but if you don’t find the right construction projects to bid – and bid them the right way – you could be writing your own horror story. Or obituary.

Here are some ways to find construction projects to bid:

Double-Dip

“If you’re a general contractor (GC), you really should be pursuing jobs as a subcontractor,” says estimator pro Daniel Quindemil. He calls that double-dipping. He says you may not always get the job as a GC but you’ve got a good opportunity to get work through the bid-winning general contractor(s).

Get Out There and Look

You must either pound the pavement, hire your nephew, or use a lead-generation service. It is essential you get out there every week to find real-time leads. Which of your subcontractors have jobs in the pipeline? Find out what, where, and when.

Connect regularly with HOAs (homeowner associations) throughout your region. You want to be the first name they think of when renovations are needed. Some GCs calendar reminders to network with potential customers.

Fact: You should spend 80% of your time involved with sales and marketing and only 20% actually running your business.

Google It

You’d be surprised what you can learn from Monday-morning search-engine surfing. Let’s say you’re serving Marion and Hamilton counties in Indiana. You enter this search string:

New+real+estate+development+carmel+indiana+2020

Here are some leads you might generate:

…and more.

Lead-Generation Services

There are plenty of them out there and several are good. If your time and budget for resources are limited, utilize a low-cost comprehensive local information source.

You not only want up-to-date data, but you also want access to construction industry historical trends in your area. Building permit information is key to finding the right construction projects to bid.

Let us know how we can provide topical, relevant information customized for your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Using Construction Data to Improve Your Website

construction data to improve your website

Construction data can help make your website more relevant and informational to your most likely prospective clients. Research shows interested customers don’t linger long on sites where products and services are not specific to the customer’s needs or locale.

Effectively prioritizing the information on a website helps generate maximum exposure and amplify sales potential. Utilizing construction data from building permits provides the raw information to accurately aim website content and attract the most suitable prospects.

Target your marketing

Data from building permits offers the opportunity to more accurately match services on your website to specific demands and/or a particular season. For example, building permit data can indicate particular areas where renovations and remodels are trending upward this spring. This information gives you an edge by enabling you to synchronize the information on your site to the rising demand in that specific area.

Localize specific services

Construction data can also pinpoint particular areas where certain services are increasing in demand. With accurate data, you’re empowered to target the site accordingly by emphasizing closely related services and products.

A spike in recent permits issued for water damage recovery might indicate areas where a market for structural repair and rehab of flood damage also exists. Increases in permits for installation of high-efficiency HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and/or high-tech insulation retrofits could be a sign of increasing concern about local energy costs or environmental issues.

Track your competitors

Information about who’s getting what kind of work—and where—can be derived from permit data. If you learn contractors and other companies providing services similar to yours are thriving in a particular geographic zone or income level, that’s information you can use. For example, you can use such data to adjust your website content appropriately as well as localize your sales outreach to the most promising locale.   

Use construction data to effectively fine-tune your website content and engage potential customers in a targeted market.  Contact the professionals at Construction Monitor for more information.

Construction Data: What to Review This Spring

construction data

Construction data included in building permits changes with the seasons. Projects encountered in autumn, for example, are generally not the same as what’s happening in spring and early summer. Contractors and subcontractors can benefit from targeting their focus to fit the time of year.

Spring is the season for home improvements and remodeling. As the weather improves, houses open up and homeowners tend to start planning updates. Among the most popular are:

  • Kitchen renovation. Kitchen revamps typically appear in building permits as electrical alterations to accommodate the new appliances as well as replacement/expansion of kitchen plumbing. Cosmetic changes like installing new counters or cabinets, conversely, generally don’t require building permits in most locales.
  • Room additions. Adding a new room to a home or converting a garage is often not feasible during winter. As spring arrives, however, permit data shows that room additions spike. In addition to the general construction permit, there will be increases for specialty trades including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.
  • Roofing repairs. That leaky or snow-damaged roof homeowners put up with all winter requires a permanent fix now that the weather’s improving. Any roofing work more complex than a simple single patch shows up in building permit data, including new shingles and subroof repair.  
  • Window replacement. Cold drafts and heat loss due to aging single-pane windows have taken their toll this winter. As summer approaches, the installation of new energy-efficient windows is often on the agenda. Because installing dual-pane energy-efficient windows usually involves alterations to the window opening or other structural changes, it requires a permit.
  • HVAC and associated work. Residents ready to upgrade a central air conditioner or furnace often put it off until outdoor temperatures moderate in spring. Replacement of a central A/C or furnace—or associated work such as replacing or extending HVAC ductwork—requires permitting and appears in building permit data for that locale.

Reviewing construction data for season-specific projects helps keep work and profits consistent as the calendar changes. Contact Construction Monitor for more details.

Why Windows Require Building Permits

building permits for windows

Construction data included in building permits reveals that both window retrofits and new installations are more popular than ever. Homeowners who are getting these new windows, however, often have a question: Why is a building permit required in the first place for the usually simple process of installing new windows? 

County building departments actually do have valid reasons for ensuring that replacement windows are subject to the permit process. Here’s why certain specifics about window installations often appear in building permit data:

Safety

Not all windows are created equal nor installed in similar places in a residence. Many building codes require windows in certain locations to have tempered glass rather than standard glass (i.e., windows immediately next to a door, windows that extend all the way to the floor, and windows in or near a bathtub or shower). 

Tempered glass is more resilient than standard glass; plus, it shatters into small pieces rather than splintering into more hazardous sharp splinters. Thus, tempered is considered safer in these locations and must be stipulated in building permit data.

Egress

Egress means that windows installed in bedrooms need to be openable and large enough for an adult-sized person to climb out in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

However, some existing homes may have been built before the egress safety standard became common. In that case, upgrading windows in bedrooms of these homes may require also enlarging the opening and/or other changes to accommodate today’s standards. To verify compliance, this alteration must appear in the building permit.

Style Matters

It’s not just finicky neighbors who want all houses to blend into the neighborhood. In many locales, the building department does, too. To that end, building permit data may require details about the replacement window style to ensure it doesn’t clash with other houses. For example, installing cheap, bare aluminum window frames might be prohibited by the building code in a neighborhood with traditional homes that have more subtle, classic frame styles.

For more information about construction data included in building permits for windows (and why), contact Construction Monitor.

FAQs About Building Permits

FAQs About Building Permits

We as a society have become crazy-thirsty for knowledge. Meanwhile, information has become a bottomless pool. We have so much data to gather and we must sort that data to filter irrelevant information out. 

Then what?

Then you use that information to bid, price, evaluate materials, inventory… You do what you need to put that data to good use. The goal is to turn a profit and/or grow your business. If you’re involved with any aspect of local commerce, building permits contain information you can use.

Building Permits Analytics

If you apply the necessary analytics to local information, your business can do more than survive; you can become a flagship in your industry.
Using Data

Construction Monitor provides the most up-to-date statistics taken from building permit applications in your region. You can access historical data that can tell you which trends were successful and which competitors to watch. You can put that information to work.

If you’re new to evaluating building permits, here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Q: Do I have to use a computer to access my information? Can I use my phone?
A: To help prevent misuse of the data, each device used to login will need to be verified the first time it is used.

Q: How do I receive weekly information?
A: You can choose a .pdf or a .csv format. The CSV can be imported into spreadsheets and other business management applications. There are 3 non-published weeks: July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas weeks.

Q: How can I organize my searches after I’ve found them?
A: You can print your information, make notes, and save to your hard drive. You can save each building permit data as its own page (single-page layout), which is great for meetings. You can generate labels for target marketing using fields like “builder,” “designer,” or “owner.”

Q: I’m only interested in multifamily complexes. Can I sort the information for that?
A: There’s a Permit Description field. Think of all the words you can use to search and enter them in the Permit Description field separated by commas:

Apartment, high-rise, tower, condo, townhouse, co-op, tenement

Construction Monitor: Your Information Resource

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We want to answer your questions by offering relevant information. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.