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Survey of Construction Firms Shows Generally Positive Outlook for 2022, Identifies Labor Shortages, Supply Chain Constraints and Material Costs as Challenges  

The Bonadio Group survey of New York firms indicates profitability for contractors rebounded in 2021, reveals key industry data and trends for 2022

Rochester, N.Y., April 13, 2022—Slightly more than half (52%) of construction firms and contractors in New York expect positive revenue growth in 2022, according to The Bonadio Group’s 2022 State of the Industry Study. The strong economy of recent years contributed to that projection, with 62% of contractors responding that their backlog increased or remained the same year over year. At the same time, decreased optimism about the economy this year led to 48% of respondents believing revenue will stay the same or decrease in 2022.

The survey shows a strong majority of respondents were profitable in 2021 at 90%, the same percentage of respondents stating that field productivity actually decreased or remained the same from the previous year. The lack of availability of skilled labor was overwhelmingly cited as the reason for the productivity decline.

The ongoing labor shortage was cited as one of the most significant challenges this year, with 75% of respondents reporting their company is struggling to find workers to meet project demands. Other critical issues facing the industry that respondents identified as extremely important were supply chain constraints (70%) and the rising costs of materials (60%).

“The number of firms reporting profitability in 2021 and a generally positive outlook for 2022—despite a series of significant challenging conditions beyond their control—speaks to the remarkable resiliency of the construction industry,” said Michael Smith, CPA, CFE, Partner and Construction Team Leader, The Bonadio Group. “That said, contractors must look holistically at the current challenges of the industry and act and plan accordingly. The Bonadio Group is ready to guide construction businesses through whatever stage they are in and provide the resources and tools to help them grow.”

The study focused on four key topics for today’s construction companies: critical issues, outlook on the future, profitability, and contracts. The information in the report is designed to help construction industry executives evaluate their position and standing on issues ranging from financial management techniques to economic outlook in order to provide an assessment of whether their organization is competitive with other area construction companies. In addition to those cited above, other key findings and insights include:

Critical Issues:

  • Need for additional labor: When asked how much respondents would need to increase their workforce to meet current work demands, 57% of respondents identified 6% or more, with 37% noting their company would need to expand their number of workers by 1%-5%.
  • Tactics for Recruitment: Tactics cited to boost retention and recruitment include offering a company sponsored training program, increasing benefits and compensation, enhancing company culture, and reducing hours worked to avoid burnout. An underutilized tactic to help offset the lack of qualified labor was the use of automation or technology on job sites.

Outlook on the Future:

  • Response to Revenue Growth: When asked how respondents would fill the gap between their current workload and additional work, approximately 40% of the survey respondents reported that they will look to increase their head count. Others (60%) indicated they plan to meet demands using their current workforce supplemented by subcontractor support.
  • Sentiment on Economy: While there is optimism from the anticipation of infrastructure spending, and the impact that will have on the industry as a whole, that optimism is tempered by the ongoing challenges companies face with the lack of skilled labor, supply shortages, and material cost increases, as noted in the survey.

Profitability:

  • Strategies to Increase Profitability: According to the survey, the top two strategies for improving the top line (revenue) are moving into new geographic areas and expanding their specialties, and the number one answer respondents would employ to improve profitability over the next couples of years was to “Do what we do better” (45%).
  • Competitive Salaries: 83% of survey respondents noted their companies will be providing raises greater than 1% and up to 5% in 2022.
  • COVID-19 Financial Support: 75% of respondents received an initial PPP loan in 2020, with the majority of companies receiving a loan between $150,000 - $500,000. Approximately 40% of respondents received a second draw PPP loan as well. Only 20% of respondents took advantage of the Employee Retention Credit in 2021, up slightly from 7% in 2020.
  • Ownership Turnover/Transfer: 22% of survey respondents said that in the past five years the majority ownership of their company has changed hands.

Contracts:

  • 50/ 50 Split Between Public and Private Sector: The survey respondents believe about 50% of their work will be in the public sector and 50% in the private sector over the next two years (2022 and 2023).
  • Bidding: The average number of competitors per bid has increased from the last survey and the number of companies that secure contracts without a competitive bid process decreased. Survey respondents indicated that most of their contracts were based on a competitive bid process (71.1%) at a higher percentage than the previous survey, as opposed to being negotiated directly with a customer (28.9%).
  • Bidding Success Rate: As more competitors enter the competitive bid process, bid success rates per contractor have declined. Survey results show that 31% of contractors win between 11%-25% of bids and 27% of contractors win between 26%-50% of bids.
  • Contract Size: Contact sizes have remained consistent from the last survey, with 90% of respondents reporting average contract size remained under $5 million compared to 93% in the previous survey.

The Bonadio Group’s annual construction industry survey includes results from 100 respondents at construction companies and contractors representing four size categories: under $10 million in, $10 to $24.9 million, $25 to 49.9 million and greater than $50 million in revenue. The data shows the survey is primarily made up of companies under $50 million in revenue, as 85% of survey respondents are below that threshold. The full survey report includes information by geography for those regions of New York that had more than a dozen respondents. The Bonadio Group’s 2022 State of the Industry Study: New York Contractors is sponsored by M&T Insurance Agency.

The Bonadio Group’s construction team includes over 40 accounting professionals who serve more than 400 construction/contractor clients throughout New York State and beyond. The firm was also named one of the 2021 Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms in the nation.

To download the full study, visit this page. To learn more about The Bonadio Group, please visit: www.bonadio.com.


About The Bonadio Group:

Founded in 1978, The Bonadio Group is a nationally ranked Top 50 CPA firm offering accounting, tax, and consulting services to clients of all sizes. The Firm’s professionals deliver practical, proactive, and innovative solutions to help clients reach their financial, compliance, management, and personal goals. The Bonadio Group is the largest independent provider of accounting, tax, and consulting services in upstate New York—with offices in Albany, Buffalo, East Aurora, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica. The Bonadio Group also has offices in New York City, Rutland, Vt., and Dallas. For more information, visit www.bonadio.com.