Where are we at in the industry? Are things better than they were 10 or five years ago? Is labor still a challenge? What is the industry to do about the supply chain shortage? What are the latest concerns contractors/manufacturers/distributors have today?
The purpose of the Walls & Ceilings State of the Industry Study is to identify current business conditions, trends and issues in the walls and ceilings industry.
Specifically, this research seeks to identify:
- Influential factors and key challenges facing the industry
- Change in product sales for 2021 and into 2022
- Company information including number of employees and gross annual 2021 sales
- Demographic profile of walls and ceilings industry professionals
Out of those surveyed, 68 percent are subcontractors; 24 percent architects; 2 percent distributors, and; 7 percent others. Regionally, the survey was divided up into four regions: the West (including Alaska and Hawaii); South; Midwest, and; Northeast.
Overall Business Conditions
Over half of respondents indicate business conditions are better in 2022 than in 2021, and three-in-five expect business conditions to be about the same or slightly worse in 2023.
Almost all respondents indicate the cost of doing business has increased in 2022 compared to 2021, and over four-in-five expect the cost of doing business to increase in 2023.
The majority of respondents indicate material costs and shortages as major issues for their business in 2023. Respondents’ companies are also facing labor availability issues, current economy/inflation challenges, and labor cost issues. As you can see, supply chain issues, cost inflations and labor are at the top of the heap.
Nearly three-in-five companies expect 2022 sales to increase compared to 2021, with an average expected increase of 19 percent.
On average, responding companies have a median of 10 full-time employees and 1 part-time employee. Two-fifths of companies do not have part-time employees.
More than one-third of companies have increased current employee duties/responsibilities, gave out referral bonuses, and/or sought out new employees via job boards to help correct the shortage. In order to attract younger generations, respondents indicate they are offering competitive wages/benefits, providing training/mentoring, offering flexible work hours/ability to work remotely, and recruiting at schools/job fairs.
Industry Opinions and Actions
Material costs, economic conditions, supply chain and finding qualified workers are expected to be the most influential factors in 2023.
Labor issues are most likely to be the greatest challenge for companies within the wall and ceiling industry in 2023. Respondents suggest focusing on ways to retain employees/pay fairly, education/training, and controlling costs to ensure business have a profitable and successful future. Prefabrication is a promising technology for the walls and ceilings industry.
Most Promising Technology/Development
When those surveyed were asked what products/technology were considered to be on their radar, many supplied written responses. Among those that were referenced are:
- Automation/Machine learning investing
- Sustainability/Recycled materials
- Project management software
- Laser technology
- Estimation software
- 3-D scanning
- Integrated wall panels
- CAD software
- Light weight materials
- Field technology
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