Weekly Coronavirus Contractor Survey: 44% say challenge backlogs have “stayed the identical”

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Extra contractors are actually saying they count on challenge backlogs to “keep the identical” in the course of the subsequent 30 days based on the Week 4 of Gear World survey of contractor sentiment in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus impression.

Forty-four p.c of respondents say they count on challenge backlogs to remain the identical over the following 30 days within the newest survey, in contrast with a mean of 35 p.c in Weeks 1-3 of the survey.

And fewer respondents are predicting backlog decreases over the following 30 days, from a mean of 36 p.c in the course of the first three weeks of the survey to 30 p.c in Week 4.

That doesn’t imply that present enterprise situations aren’t robust for a lot of respondents, as illustrated by two contractors in California: “Enterprise has stopped, metropolis halls are closed and we will’t get any permits,” stated a small excavating contractor. Provides a specialty contracting buyer: “Enterprise has decreased by 50 p.c.”

And this from a Texas utility contractor: “We had 20 p.c of our backlog cancelled after the virus began. Since then we’ve solely been awarded one small challenge. Bidding has slowed barely.”

(This survey, which had 151 respondents, is the fourth in a sequence of surveys that Gear World and different Randall-Reilly manufacturers are utilizing every week to gauge market sentiment. To take part within the subsequent survey, go right here.)


Market segments

There have been some swings in Week 4 when market segments. Roadbuilding respondents, who’ve been probably the most constructive all through Weeks 1-3 turned rather more unfavorable, with 41 p.c saying that they had seen challenge backlog decreases, in contrast with 22 p.c in Week 3.

Then again, business constructing respondents are rather more optimistic about challenge backlogs in contrast with the week earlier than: 32 p.c of those respondents now say they’re seeing backlog will increase, when solely 5 p.c stated that was true in Week 3. The variety of business constructing respondents saying backlogs had decreased dropped from 69 p.c in Week 3 to 42 p.c in Week 4.

Uncertainty continues to be a big issue, nevertheless. Mentioned a New Mexico utility contractor: “We’re seeing fewer tasks to bid and challenge bid dates pushed again. Unsure if companies have found out the way to have public bid openings through teleconferencing strategies.” Provides a Texas roadbuilding contractor: “We pray it is going to enhance however time will inform.”


Respondents who say they’ve cancelled tools orders decreased from 22 p.c in Week 3 to 19 p.c in Week 4. For all 4 weeks of the survey, the common of these cancelling tools orders is 20 p.c.

This week we added questions on buying components and tools service; 17 p.c of respondents stated that they had purchased components and 5 p.c stated that they had paid for service.

These saying that they had rented much less tools in response to present enterprise situations went from a excessive of 18 p.c in Week 2 to 7 p.c in Week 4. The typical for this response for all 4 weeks is 12 p.c.

Nonetheless, a couple of respondents commented particularly on why they’re selecting to not hire proper now. “We’re exploring the thought of promoting some tools, and never bidding jobs that might require us to hire tools since individuals aren’t prepared to pay sufficient to cowl job prices,” stated a Connecticut specialty contractor.

“We’re fastidiously buying as we see the long run have to keep away from the necessity to hire,” says a Missouri utility contractor. “Rental is at all times our absolute final choice. With our margins as skinny as they’re, we can’t flip a revenue when renting tools.”

The variety of respondents searching for refinancing or different monetary changes dropped from 14 p.c in each Weeks 2 and 3 to eight p.c for Week 4.

Enterprise operations

In the course of the first three weeks of the survey, a mean of 40 p.c of respondents stated that they had decreased their jobsite workforce; that quantity dropped to 26 p.c in Week 4.

Respondents who had decreased workplace personnel confirmed one other drop, though this time not as pronounced, dropping from a mean of 28 p.c in Weeks 1-3 to 23 p.c in Week 4.


Lastly, a little bit excellent news: In Week 4 of the Gear World survey of contractor sentiment in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus impression, respondent optimism ranges have inched up.

Every week of the survey we’ve requested: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (the place 1 is the worst week ever and 10 is the perfect week ever), how do you count on total enterprise situations to alter within the coming week?”

For the previous two weeks that quantity has slowly elevated, from 3.9 in Weeks 1 and a pair of, to 4.43 in Week 3 to 4.87 in Week 4. The beneficial properties are small however for now are getting in a constructive route.