In Henry V, Shakespeare wrote about "the singing masons building roofs of gold." Although this assessment of roofing may oversimplify the current complex reality, contractors responding to The National Roofing Contractors Association's 2002-2003 Annual Market Survey revealed an overall confidence that bodes well for 2003. The information respondents supplied may not tell you how to turn roofs into gold, but it can help decision making become a less anxiety-laden proposition.
The Gary Siegel Organization, a Chicago-based independent opinion research firm, conducted the study and aggregated individual, confidential responses into a finely detailed picture of the current roofing industry. As in previous years, survey questions addressed a wide range of issues related to low-slope (commercial) and steep-slope (residential) sales, equipment purchases and material preferences, among other topics.
"It's a difficult survey to which to respond," says Gary Siegel, president of The Gary Siegel Organization, who has overseen the research for the past four years. "We're not just asking for opinions. People have to take the time to pull out their files."
Questionnaires were sent to 2,043 NRCA members and 2,058 nonmembers, yielding a response rate of 16 percent among the former and 6 percent among the latter. Of the 4,101 contractors surveyed, about 11 percent—447—responded, which is slightly better than the previous year's survey. The consistency of the responserate means the data offer reliable reflections of industry trends. However, because respondents did not answer every question posed, the number of responses varies for each question. Also, some figures were rounded, so the results in each category may not equal 100 percent. As a result of these issues, the survey is not a definitive representation of the entire roofing industry.