GOLDEN, Colo. - The online survey, conducted by Service Magic Inc., an online service that connects homeowners with prescreened and customer-rated home service professionals, asked 490 homeowners and 485 residential contractors who they believed was the primary decision maker for home improvement projects.

According to the survey, women and home improvement contractors agreed that the man of the house is not the primary decision maker when it comes to managing home improvement projects.

The survey found that only 8 percent of the female homeowners saw men as the primary decision maker, but 30 percent of the male homeowners noted themselves as the decision maker. In contrast, 25 percent of females cited women as the primary decision maker compared to 8 percent of men noting women as the primary decision maker. Sixty-five percent of the homeowners who responded say they make home improvement decisions as a team with their significant other.

When residential contractors responded to the same question, only 28 percent agreed that couples make decisions as a team. Fifty-five percent of the contractors believe the female head of household is the primary decision maker, while only 17 percent cited men.

"This is a very telling survey. There is a gap between perception and reality within the household, and contractors are often caught in the middle," said Rodney Rice, co-CEO of Service Magic. "In matching our million-plus homeowner members to our 40,000 prescreened businesses, we have a bird's eye view into nearly 2 million projects a year, and more than 90 percent of all issues arise from a breakdown in communication and it is usually due to the triangle which forms when a contractor enters a household and a relationship of two becomes a relationship of three. Many contractors communicate to one spouse or the other, assuming the couple talks to each other and agree on projects."

Tom Teehan, a ServiceMagic member, said, "I figured out a long time ago women ran the show in the household and the day I did, my business was better for it."

Publication date: 05/15/2006