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What Drives Customers into Building Material Suppliers and Home Improvement Stores?

When it comes to selecting a place to purchase products for building and home improvement projects, professionals and consumers are similar.

Two recent surveys by the Home Projects Council ranked 10 factors for selecting a home building material supplier and home improvement store according to professionals and homeowners, respectively. The surveys revealed that professionals and consumers both place a greater level of importance on customer service and product related factors than location and price.



1. High Level of Customer Service

1. Comprehensive Product Selection

2. Knowledgeable Sales Associates

2. Carries the Brands I Want

3. Carries the Brands I Want

3. Knowledgeable Sale Associates

4. Carries Job Quantities of Products I Need

4. High Level of Customer Service

5. Comprehensive Product Selection

5. Convenient Location

6. Convenient Location

6. Lowest Prices

7. Lowest Prices

7. Informative/Easy to Use Website

8. Informative/Easy to Use Website

8. Carries Job Quantities of Products I Need

9. Jobsite Delivery Available

9. Loading by Store Personnel

10. Loading by Store Personnel

10. Home Deliver Available

“It’s not surprising that both pros and consumers place a high level of importance on things like knowledgeable sales reps and the availability of popular brands,” said Frank Owens, Vice President Marketing for The QUIKRETE® Companies and a member of the Home Projects Council. “However, traditional thinking that location and price are the primary customer drivers seems to be a misperception. The reality is that contractors care more about the total customer service experience including ordering and products in stock and consumers care more about product selection. Overall, the surveys suggest a fresh look at what factors really dictate where professionals and consumers shop.”

“Consumers and professionals are exposed to so many different opinions about which products are the best for their projects, they find it reassuring when they encounter a knowledgeable and friendly sales associate,” noted Danny Lipford, host of the Emmy-nominated show Today’s Homeowner and a member of the Home Projects Council. “As a contractor by trade, having the quantity of products I need is critical to completing a job on time. On the other hand, the homeowners we talk to on my television and radio shows are generally dealing with smaller projects, so they are more concerned with the availability of multiple high-quality product options. The surveys reflect those preferences.”

The two online surveys were conducted simultaneously in April with 423 building professionals and 650 consumers. Each survey asked the respondents to categorize the 10 factors provided as “extremely,” “very,” “somewhat” and “not” important when selecting a place to purchase products for building and home improvement projects. A numeric score was calculated based on the collective responses to create the rankings.

To learn more about the Home Projects Council, a group of highly reputable home improvement experts and influencers serving consumers as a project resource, visit Facebook.  

Home Projects Council Members

  • Mark Powers – This Old House, senior technical editor
  • Danny Lipford – Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, host
  • Jill Sell – Cleveland Plain Dealer and Ohio Magazine, home improvement columnist
  • Ben Uyeda – ZeroEnergy Design and FreeGreen.com, co-founder
  • Stacey Moncrieff – National Association of Realtors, vice president, business-to-business communications
  • Steve Kleber – National Remodeling Foundation, president
  • Fred Miller – Consumer Specialists, president
  • Tanya Komas, Ph.D. – California St. University at Chico, Concrete Industry Management program coordinator; Concrete Preservation Institute, founder         
  • Ethan Hagan – One Project Closer, blogger
  • Frank Owens – The QUIKRETE® Companies, vice president marketing
  • Ed Fioroni, Ph.D. – Pavestone®, vice president sales and marketing
  • Reeve Haldeman – Custom Building Products®, vice president marketing