Small Construction Firms: How They Can Use the Pandemic to Their Advantage

constructing house

The pandemic turned the world upside down in just a few days. Construction was among the industries that felt the strongest impact. Projects were put to a halt, especially remote ones. This prompted contractors to find new ways to maintain productivity.

But then home renovation saw a surge in demand. Thanks to remote working, employees and business owners needed new spaces fast. Children who couldn’t go to parks caused an additional need as well, urging parents to make their yards more play-friendly.

This gave construction companies, especially startups and smaller ones, an opportunity to bounce back quickly. As we continue to live through this pandemic, here are the ways small construction companies can use the situation to their advantage:

1. Increase Digitization

Companies around the world shifted to remote ways of working during the pandemic. Engineers, for example, used digital collaboration tools, like building-information modeling. Meanwhile, contractors used 4D and 5D simulations to replan projects and timetables. They also relied on online channels to check on their employees’ well-being, order construction materials, manage resources, and maintain cash flow.

Small construction firms should also shift to a more high-tech approach and maintain their leverage during this period in turn. With skilled labor still facing a shortage, digital tools can help companies increase their productivity. They should also look into automation, which is seen to become a long-term trend.

2. Find Out What Homeowners Are Seeking

Spending on home improvement has been on a steady rise, so industry experts saw the trend continuing in 2020. But the actual increase in demand was something unexpected. Searches on the website Porch.com surged dramatically. Likewise, Google searches for home improvement work reached 330 million, almost 50% higher than the number of searches in the year prior.

Gardening was the most popular home improvement project, but other interior and exterior improvements were on the rise, too.

Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, reported a 58% increase in project leads in June 2020. Professionals that specialized in outdoor areas saw the biggest jump in demand. Many homeowners grew interested in building pools and spas. In their wake were homeowners who sought out landscape designers and deck and patio design professionals. Searches for those two projects more than doubled.

Basement remodeling was another popular project. Homeowners turned them into family entertainment spaces, home offices, or extra bedrooms.

And, of course, the ever-popular kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects weren’t left behind. Undoubtedly, both faced a 40% increase in demand because the lockdowns forced people to cook at home. The stress of the pandemic, on the other hand, encouraged people to turn their bathrooms into a wellness sanctuary.

3. Focus on Renovation Projects

Since renovations are booming until now, it’s wiser to focus on those services when marketing your business. On the other hand, new home constructions have just seen their biggest drop since the pandemic began. The construction of single-family homes declined by more than 13%, the steepest decrease since April last year.

We can blame this scenario on the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. It increased the costs of common construction materials, such as lumber, steel, gypsum, and copper. As such, builders slowed down their production of those materials to deal with their rising costs.

The labor shortage is another issue and has been one even before the pandemic. Hence, using automation and other digital tools are your lifesavers during this period.

With that in mind, concentrate on offering smaller-scale renovation services to avoid wearing your workers thin. It will also allow you to provide cheaper materials, letting you offer services at competitive rates.

4. Offer High-quality and Long-lasting Products

Whether you specialize in flooring, counterop, or roof replacement, ensure that you’re offering high-quality products. Even if homeowners’ disposable income has increased during the pandemic, it doesn’t mean they’ve become willing to spend carelessly. If anything, homeowners are more eager than ever to get the most out of their spending. The pool, patio, deck, and other additions and improvements they made are meant to benefit them in the long run, such as when they sell their home.

If you deal with roofing, recommend only the best, such as metal, slate, or asphalt shingles. But as sustainable construction becomes the norm, consider recommending green or living roofs as well.

For flooring, hardwood remains to be the best, as long as they’re sourced ethically. And for countertops, composite types or recycled materials would be ideal since they don’t come from quarries, unlike natural stone materials.

Overall, highlight the value of your services instead of just its prices and quality. Show your customers that you can help them improve their lives and boost the value of their homes. In time, when things go back to normal, the momentum you gained today will allow you to take on bigger projects.

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