AUSTIN, Texas — Modernize has released its quarterly homeowner sentiment report, which summarizes research from thousands of U.S. households that are considering window, roofing, solar, or heating and air conditioning projects.
Key Finding: Customers Need Help Budgeting
Modernize discovered there was a reduction in the proportion of homeowners considering home improvement projects without having a planned budget. In the first quarter of 2019, 86 percent of homeowners stated that they hadn’t had a budget before considering a project. In Q2 that number declined to 75 percent. In either case, this is relevant to contractors because while many homeowners start their process without having created an advance budget, 79 percent of respondents stated that price was either very important or somewhat important to their choice of contractor. Furthermore, when a homeowner had to pause or cancel a project, 49 percent said it was because the project was too expensive.
While most homeowners have not prepared a budget in advance, they often start by doing their own research. 53 percent of homeowners stated they spent one to five hours researching before getting in touch with contractors and another 10 percent had dedicated more than 10 hours in such research.
“The fact that price-sensitive homeowners start considering home improvement projects without a defined budget creates opportunity for market-savvy contractors by fostering a conversation around realistic project cost and making a customer feel informed and comfortable,” said Jason Polka, CEO of Modernize. “Winning against the competition can come down to how clearly and helpfully that information is conveyed.”
When it comes to the homeowners who actually establish a budget, 41 percent rely on inputs from family and friends, and 32 percent turn to online tools and calculators such which Modernize provides.
Key Finding: Customers Look At Online Ratings When Selecting A Contractor
After price, when considering contractors, 26 percent of homeowners said online ratings and reviews were important, followed by trade expertise at 19 percent. 59 percent of homeowners plan to compare three or more quotes ahead of selecting a contractor.
“As homeowners consider local contractors, they are increasingly turning to websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and even social media to look into a contractor’s quality of work,” said Polka. “That’s why part of the Modernize service is to collect contractor reviews, and share those with other prospecting homeowners.”
Key Finding: Customers Share How Contractors Could Lose Business
The latest homeowner sentiment report also touches on ill-advised practices where contractors run the risk of losing business. The top three reasons why a customer would not want to work with a contractor included an unclear or confusing bid (24 percent), lack of communication (23 percent), and a perceived lack of expertise (19 percent).
The research can be accessed online at modernize.com/contractor-resources. The next wave of the study is expected to be released in Q4.
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