With economic indicators like interest rates and house prices on the move, as well as unusual Covid-related dynamics, we’re keeping a close eye on various data sources. This includes analysing trends in our own data to make sure we’re front and centre when homeowners source tradespeople.
Looking at jobs posted on Builderscrack over the past couple of months we’ve noticed a few things:
- The overall volume of jobs being posted and awarded is holding steady at a higher volume post-lockdown
- There’s a slightly longer lead time of jobs being awarded, and
- The average job value has lifted considerably.
It means homeowners are opting to undertake larger projects – ones that may have been on the backburner when international travel was still an option.
We’re seeing a higher volume of these large-scale jobs, and the nature of the work is keeping tradespeople busy with completion times extended beyond usual averages.
Add to that some consistently good weather along with the “spring rush” and we’re seeing a real lift in high-value jobs.
What Homeowners Want
Comparing mid-month data from June – August, to August – September, we’ve seen a huge increase in the average amount of jobs being posted in these six stand-out categories:
- General Building: up 27%
- Carpentry: up 25%
- Decking & Pergolas: up 29%
- Renovating: up 21%
- Bathroom Renovations: up 19%
- Garages & Carports: up 108%
- Painting & Decorating: up 25%
Bringing in the final months of the year
Here’s a heads-up on the feedback we regularly get from homeowners regarding larger projects:
We get questions from homeowners asking what percentage is commonplace for deposits and whether they should pay up front for materials. Some homeowners feel comfortable knowing they have different payment options, but it ultimately comes down to how you prefer to run your business. Generally speaking, the lower the up-front deposit you require, the more comfortable the homeowner will be moving forward.
One of the more common themes we see with larger projects centres around communication. We know the smaller, everyday jobs are bread and butter for a lot of trade businesses, with them often being completed in between or during another large project on the go. While both scenarios are the norm for tradespeople, some homeowners aren’t aware that this is how the trade business works. Helping manage their expectations up-front gives homeowners comfort and assurance.
Start & Completion Dates
Leading on from communication, one of the tricky areas to navigate with homeowners is managing expectations around project timeframes. Around this time of year we start to see Christmas being thrown around as a gauge for start or completion dates. Homeowners who have considered your quote may want the job completed before Christmas, or they may want to get the ball rolling after the break. Either way, discussing time frames and using those answers can help you plan a work pipeline, and ensure the client’s expectations are met.
Based on the data we’ve been analysing over the last 5 months, it may not be business-as-usual, but there are some real positive indicators for the trades in New Zealand. The trend towards larger jobs recently indicates homeowners have capital to spend, and they’re choosing to spend it on improving their homes.
While we’ve seen a general uplift in homeowners spending on their homes post-lockdown, the recent tangible jump in higher value improvements offers the trade sector further certainty that demand is strong for the trades.