Conducting Research with General Contractors and Builders

  • December 7, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

Who are General Contractors? 

In the construction industry, a general contractor is a person who is responsible for overseeing a construction project. Typically, property owners will hire general contractors to make sure a construction job is completed safely, on time, and according to specifications.  General contractors also referred to as GCs, are important for both complex commercial construction as well more straightforward residential projects. However, a general contractor is likely needed for any project that requires coordinating several stages or multiple tradespeople to complete the job. The contractor is essentially the liaison between the property owner and all of the people involved in the construction of the building, including the tradespeople, vendors, and materials suppliers. They are also responsible for providing all of the building materials, labor, tools, and construction vehicles as well as all of the services needed for the project. 

The responsibilities of the general contractor depend on what is needed for the project. If there is a design component involved, the contractor might manage both the design, as well as the construction of the project. On a more traditional construction job, the general contractor would manage only the construction itself, after the architect has already set the design and specifications. They will take complete control of a construction project and are responsible for hiring specialists and subcontractors. The general contractors will then schedule and plan out the different stages of the project.

The Types of Projects Builders Work On

A licensed, experienced builder is able to handle and manage a wide variety of tasks on a construction site. In general, they scout and accept jobs that involve everything from basic remodeling projects to supervising the construction of a new home or an office building. If the job is large enough, the general contractor can find themselves directly working on carpentry, roofing, painting, foundation or earthmoving work, and electrical, or plumbing work. The type of work that the general contractor can do depends on the limits of their specific licenses. 

How General Contractors Impact the Construction Industry

As mentioned earlier, general contractors bring their established relationships with other people working in or in support of the construction industry to the projects that they work on, having a direct impact on the industry. In order to complete their jobs, they need vehicles, materials, people, and tools, which contribute to the construction industry in terms of spending and job creation. In 2019, the global revenue generated by general contractors was approximately $473B. Between 2020 and 2030, construction and extraction occupations are expected to gain more than 400,000 new jobs in the U.S.  Contractors are also adopting new technologies, like wearables in order to reduce workplace-related injury claims, and software to improve efficiencies and profitability. 

Benefits and Challenges When Targeting Builders and General Contractors for Research

For a market researcher, general contractors are a difficult target to survey. They are unlikely to just be sitting at their desk waiting to take a survey.  They work long hours and spend their time out on job sites, and only have a very limited amount of time to participate in surveys. But there are a few things that market researchers can do to improve the participation of general contractors in surveys. 

  • Offer Multilingual Surveys: Not everyone on a construction site will be able to participate in a survey or interview in English. Offering a survey in Spanish, or another common language, depending on the region is important. 
  • More Time is Key: Being more flexible in the response time offered to contractors, like weekends, could go a long way to getting a higher response rate for your surveys. 
  • Widen The Net: As mentioned earlier, contractors have a wide variety of skills and areas that they touch in the construction industry. 
  • Take Notice of the Slower Seasons: General contractors are busy at different times of the year, depending on which region of the country they work in. Finding out when the slower seasons are will give a higher response rate with higher quality answers. 

Keeping Contractors and Builders Engaged

So how can a researcher keep the attention of a general contractor while they are conducting a survey or an interview? Making sure that surveys are relevant to them and their profession, goes a long way. As does keeping the surveys short and sweet to be considerate of their time. Meeting with contractors for in-person interviews on job sites is an effective way to get real-time feedback on new tools, like a drill, which will also allow them to compare that drill to other drills they have used. An enticing incentive like being able to keep the drill will help boost participation rates. 

General contractors are an important part of the construction industry, touching many different areas of projects, big and small. Getting their insights is more challenging than some other audiences, but with planning and foresight, it is possible to boost participation in surveys for research. 

Read more about the construction industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from general contractors. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.