Roofing Contractor and BNP Media Market Research recently conducted our most recent State of the Industry survey, which was sponsored by GAF. Now in its fifth year, the survey was designed to get the contractor’s perspective on the residential and commercial roofing markets. We’ll cover the survey results in a future article, but here are a few highlights of responses caught my eye — probably because they show a glimmer of optimism.

First of all, despite the ongoing political wrangling and economic uncertainty, overall a majority of contractors surveyed expect to see a gradual increase in sales for the future. Overall, 61 percent of respondents expect sales to increase in 2013, and 78 percent expect sales to increase over the next three years.

Another hopeful sign is some contractors indicate they might invest in their business this year. Respondents were asked if they planned to make any capital investments, including additions to their buildings, new vehicles for their fleets and new roofing production equipment. The results were broken down for primarily residential and primarily commercial contractors (most respondents did both types of work).

Asked about capital expenditures planned for 2013, more than half (54 percent) of respondents in the residential group indicated they would invest in roofing production equipment including tools, generators, hoists and kettles. Thirty-eight percent indicated they would be purchasing new passenger vehicles for their fleets, and 22 percent planned to invest in production vehicles, such as boom trucks and dump trucks. Fourteen percent planned to add on to their existing buildings or move to a new one. Only 12 percent planned on making no such purchases.

 Contractors in the commercial group plan to make even more investments in their companies. Sixty-two percent of them plan to purchase new roofing production equipment. As far as vehicles go, 41 percent expect to add passenger vehicles to their fleets, and 27 percent plan to add production fleet equipment/trucks. Eighteen percent plan to add machines such as roll formers and benders to their metal shops. Seventeen percent plan to upgrade their buildings or move.