HIRI Contractor Product Purchasing Blog

Remodeling Firms: Who makes the purchasing decisions?

Aug 17, 2021

Every oth­er year since 1999, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute has sur­veyed home improve­ment remod­el­ers and spe­cial­ty con­trac­tors to track crit­i­cal prod­uct and chan­nel activ­i­ties. Pur­chas­ing behav­iors are one impor­tant focus with­in this field of research: When it comes to choos­ing the brand or type of mate­ri­als used in a project, who are the deci­sion-mak­ers? How do they shop for these products? 

HIRI’s Home Improve­ment Con­trac­tor Study exam­ines pur­chas­ing behav­iors with­in 11 prod­uct cat­e­gories and the chan­nels con­trac­tors use for pur­chas­es in those cat­e­gories, as well as their shop­ping behaviors. 

Here are five key takeaways about remodelers and their product purchasing habits.

1. Not all types of home improve­ment prod­ucts have the same path to purchase.

HIRI found a dif­fer­ence in deci­sion-mak­ers when com­par­ing tools and equip­ment ver­sus project mate­ri­als. Project mate­ri­als are more like­ly to be decid­ed on and pur­chased by com­pa­ny own­ers them­selves, while anoth­er per­son or depart­ment is often in charge of doing so for oth­er tools and materials.

2. Most com­pa­nies have a des­ig­nat­ed per­son or depart­ment that both pur­chas­es equip­ment and decides which kind to purchase.

Regard­less of the project type or who is mak­ing the final call, the deci­sion is usu­al­ly left in the hands of a few over many. Only 35% of respon­dents report­ed being reim­bursed for the equip­ment they pur­chased or pro­vid­ing their own tools and equip­ment on the job. Mean­while, 59% said the tools are pro­vid­ed by the com­pa­ny, and 5.6% report­ed anoth­er method. 

3. For any prod­uct, poor qual­i­ty is the num­ber one rea­son to switch brands. 

Remod­el­ers val­ue qual­i­ty: 58% report­ed poor qual­i­ty as a com­mon rea­son for tak­ing on a new brand for their tools and equip­ment, and 38% said the same for switch­ing project mate­ri­als. In both cas­es, poor qual­i­ty was the num­ber one report­ed rea­son for mak­ing the switch.

HIRI - Switching Brands

4. Almost half of the com­pa­nies have spec­i­fied brands for all tools and mate­ri­als.

While more than half of remod­el­ing firms pro­vide tools and mate­ri­als them­selves, almost the same pro­por­tion (49%) have pre­de­ter­mined brands that pur­chas­ing deci­sion-mak­ers will grav­i­tate toward every time. Fur­ther­more, 27% of respon­dents report­ed their firm some­times spec­i­fies which brand to use, and 25% report­ed that nev­er hap­pened.

5. Inde­pen­dent online research is both the most used and val­ued method for dis­cov­er­ing new prod­ucts and brands.

The most used and most val­ued meth­ods for dis­cov­er­ing new prod­ucts and brands were posed to sur­vey respon­dents in two sep­a­rate ques­tions, and inde­pen­dent online research came first in both cat­e­gories. Rely­ing on col­leagues and oth­ers in the indus­try came sec­ond for the most used method for dis­cov­er­ing new prod­ucts while turn­ing to retail­ers, whole­salers, and dis­trib­u­tors were report­ed as the sec­ond-most-val­ued method.

HIRI Research to Discover Brands

Want access to com­plete results from HIRI’s Home Improve­ment Con­trac­tor Study, includ­ing respons­es from the spe­cial­ty trades­men cat­e­go­ry? To down­load the full report and oth­er valu­able home improve­ment research, join HIRI today.

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