2008 reader survey

As publishers, we’re curious by nature; we’re always asking questions. So those of you who received our 2008 Reader Survey — and took the time to respond — thanks! That’s how we learn what we need to do to produce a better Metal Roofing Magazine. The information we glean from your answers helps us plan for upcoming issues. That’s why we get up every day.

We can only assume those of you who weren’t able to make time to fill out the questionnaire and send it back were too busy selling and installing metal roofing. Good. We’re glad to hear 2008 is shaping up to be a good year for you.

According to our survey, most of our respondents are at least cautiously optimistic about 2008, despite the gloom and doom news on the economy beating us all over the head. More than 75 percent believe their business will stay the same or increase.

Still that means almost 25 percent expect their business will decrease this year. Two years ago, when Metal Roofing Magazine conducted its last survey, less than 5 percent of respondents expected their business would decrease during the 12 months following the survey. And that 5 percent number is rather consistent with surveys conducted in 2004 and 2002. That’s quite a difference in the last two years. In 2006, more than 60 percent said they believed their business would increase and one-third of readers expected business to stay the same.

So it’s probably safe to say there is a little less excitement and optimism out there about the immediate future of the metal roofing industry. Still, the overall numbers are positive.

Roofing activity
We’re not only interested in what you think, we’re curious about what the heck you’re doing. We want to know what you’re installing and on what kind of buildings. We want to know who your customers are. Then we can zero in on what most of you are doing to give you a better magazine.

Just more than two-third of respondents perform roofing or re-roofing. Of those, almost 60 percent are doing residential re-roofing, while just less than 20 percent are installing metal roofing on commercial buildings.

According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, residential roofing is a growth area for metal. The MRA annually invests thousands of dollars in marketing and education aimed at the home-owner and has started a new program for contractor members. See page 24 to learn more about what the MRA can do for those of you installing residential metal roofing.

Of the companies involved in installing or specifying metal roofing, 60 percent are working with architectural standing seam panels (which includes batten and snap-lock panels). A total of 53 percent are working with through-fastened panels, while a little more than one-third are working with shingles.

Just less than 90 percent are installing or specifying painted Galvalume/galvanized steel, while 45 percent are dealing with unpainted Galvalume/galvanized steel. Both of those numbers are similar to what they were in the previous three surveys. The number of copper installers and specifiers rose from 27 to 32 percent in the last two years, an all-time high on our surveys, while zinc usage rose from 8 to 14 percent — also an all-time high among Metal Roofing Magazine readers.

Of the companies installing roll formed panels, almost 23 percent used their own roll former, while 20 percent had panels rolled on site by a manufacturer. More than 55 percent installed panels that were formed in-house and delivered to the jobsite formed. The only significant change since the 2006 survey was the percentage of companies employing a manufacturer to form panels on site dropped from 72 to 55 percent, indicating a possible increase in the sales of portable roll formers.

Selling metal
As in 2006, the top five selling points of metal, in the same order, are:

1. Durability/warranty (91.2 percent)

2. Color (58.3)

3. Cost/price (52.3)

4. Ease of maintenance (51.9)

5. Wind/weather tightness (44.4)

The top two selling points both decreased about 5 percent from 2006, while the next three were about the same. The next three selling points (metal look desired, ease of installation and snow shedding ability) remained the same from two years ago.

No message is clearer in the numbers when it comes to customers looking for “green” products. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the biggest increase in any selling point was for those looking for an energy savings through reflectivity. In 2006, only 5.1 percent of companies selling metal roofing listed energy savings as a top-five selling point. That number has increased to 17.3 percent in this survey.

Also, those listing environmental concerns as a top-five selling point increased from 1.4 percent to 7.1.

Fire resistance and the light weight of installed metal roofing also ranked highly (more than 10 percent) among the selling points of metal roofing ranked in the top five.

Your concerns
Our survey asked readers what concerns them most about their business. The top three responses were the availability of work force (50.0 percent), economy (49.5) and other building material costs (40.7). Those were the top three concerns two years ago as well, but the economy has more people concerned now as compared to in 2006 (35.6).

Another significant increasing concern revolves around building code compliance and permits. In 2006, 22.2 percent of readers checked that box as compared to 28.4 percent this year.

Concerns about lumber costs dropped from 35.3 percent to 27.3 percent during the last two years.

About the magazine
Among the numbers we’re interested in that may not be as interesting to the reader are you’re increasing loyalty. The average reader today has been reading Metal Roofing Magazine eight months longer than the average 2006 reader. Almost 20 percent of our readers have been with the publication for six or more years. Another 20 percent have been reading for at least four years.

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