Understanding how and why the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis impacts roofing contractors across the United States is part of RC’s comprehensive coverage of the industry. To help do that, we’ve partnered with Clear Seas Research — the survey and research arm of RC’s parent company, BNP Media — to hear from contractors themselves.

Beginning in late March, Clear Seas reached out to professionals around the country from across several industries to collect their perspectives on the current crisis and what to expect moving forward. The latest online survey circulated between April 16-20, and the majority of participants identified themselves as contractors. Respondents to the third wave of the COVID-19 related study indicated that just under half of their current or planned business was delayed or canceled. That said, the aid offered via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act appears to be having a positive effect — if you can get the cash.

The data showed that 29% of respondents have applied for an SBA loan offered through the stimulus package and are awaiting approval. Only 9% of respondents who applied have been approved and received funding. It’s likely not an anomaly.

In an April 9 survey conducted by the National Roofing Contractors Association, 38% of respondents said they have experienced problems with applying for assistance with the program.

The Clear Seas Research survey again confirms economic woes remain top of mind for contractors everywhere. Roughly 73% listed the current economy as the greatest concern. That’s actually a bit down from the previous survey (75%), but far ahead of the next greatest area of concern — achieving business goals over the next 90 days (64%). An additional 61% said they were chiefly concerned with achieving business goals over the next six months, and 63% were worried about business stability over the next year.

Concerns over supply chain interruptions dropped from 57% to 51%, as did skilled labor shortages (40% to 37%).

In terms of total business outlook, the Clear Seas Research data showed that 45% of respondents remained on schedule with planned projects and 38% anticipate delays. New business development activity dropped by 71%, the highest since Clear Seas Research began the survey series. As one might expect, nearly as many respondents (69%) indicated a decline in business spending.

Employee Factors

Companies are still adjusting, but in general are adhering to federal health and safety guidelines. More than three-quarters of all respondents are still encouraging hand washing and promoting social distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19. More than half (54%) indicated they’re providing personal protection equipment and increased cleaning frequency (61%).

The data shows that 26% of respondents laid off employees, and roughly 20% are either reducing hours or splitting shifts to reduce headcount on jobsites. Nearly 21% indicated they are temporarily closed.

On a positive note, 32% said they anticipated no changes in workforce over the next three months, and 18% said they planned to rehire previously furloughed or laid-off employees in that same timeframe.

Clear Seas Research data shows the usage of video chat and conferencing platforms like Zoom to communicate internally remains high at 48%. It’s also a strong method of reaching customers (44%), along with social media (35%) and texting (47%). That said, email communications (73%) and phone calls (72%) were still the most common ways to reach customers.

The information contained within this article comes from: Clear Seas Research. Download a copy of this report for free at www.clearseasresearch.com.

Clear Seas Research is a full service, B-to-B market research company focused on making the complex clear. Custom research solutions include brand positioning, new product development, customer experiences and marketing effectiveness solutions. Clear Seas offers a broad portfolio of primary, syndicated research reports and powers the leading B-to-B panel for corporate researchers, myCLEARopinion Panel, in the architecture, engineering, construction, food, beverage, manufacturing, packaging and security industries. Learn more at clearseasresearch.com.