Product availability, price fluctuation frustrate most
authors Rob Heselbarth | March 5, 2013
Residential Building Product News conducted an exclusive online survey of its audience to learn more about the process of purchasing products used to design, build and remodel homes. Almost 500 people completed the survey, and results reveal frustrations with the process, factors that influence buying decisions and where professionals get product information.
The most frustrating part of the product purchasing process appears to be product availability and the time it takes for delivery, two issues that undoubtedly are related to each other, and possibly related to the recent uptick in construction activity. When asked about influences on their purchasing habits, survey respondents revealed that product performance and price are the first and second most important factors. Brand loyalty was not in the top three responses.
Finally, we asked where housing professionals receive their product information. Trade magazines and manufacturer websites are the go-to resources, according to survey results. After this, product information comes mostly from knowledge and opinions of peers and other industry colleagues, either face-to-face or online.
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They said it
Many of our survey questions were open-ended, allowing respondents to further clarify their position on the subject at hand. Following is a sampling of the comments made by some of the respondents.
Q: What frustrates you about purchasing building products and materials?
A: “The price of products changes so often and so much that project estimates are out of control.”
“Suppliers do not know enough about the tech reports for their products; how they have been tested, performance standards, etc.”
“In some cases, manufacturers not having a local rep at all, or a rep that has such a vast territory that you’re lucky if you get a visit once a year; and then it’s usually unannounced.”
“Because I am a remodeler I believe I get poorer service than builders do.”
“Design/specification data being unavailable.”
“Places that don’t load your truck.”
“All the cool stuff is in California. Try and get it in Michigan.”
“Freight costs, yikes!”
“Lead times are too long.”
Q. Which of the following options factor into your product purchasing process?
A: “If quality and price are equivalent, sometimes we will choose one product over another simply because one is readily available and the other has a lengthy lead time.”
“The ability to obtain in a timely manner.”
“Good design/spec data being available.”
“Unfortunately, brand is not the factor it once was.”
Q: Where do you get your product information?
A: “Previous users.”
“Building supply rep.”
“Experience and common sense.”