General Contractors and the Importance of Brands

By Connor Duffey- When looking out into the consumer-driven world today, it’s rather easy to see why brands are more important now than ever. Brands are part psychology and part science brought together as an indelible sentimental mark rather than a trademark. All products have life cycles, brands outlive them. This attitude is echoed within the contractor world.

Strong brand names are important, according to a new study conducted by qSample among more than 300 respondents from qSample’s Contractor Panel. Nearly half of all respondents rated brand ‘very influential’ when it comes to their tool purchasing decisions.

Some trades had clear favorites when it came to where their brand loyalties lie. For general contractors, 28 percent of them chose DeWalt as the brand they ‘trusted/were loyal to the most.’ Milwaukee and Makita were a distant second and third at 15 percent and 11 percent respectively. Plumbers also overwhelmingly, over half of respondents, picked DeWalt as their brand of choice. For Electricians, Klein was their favorite brand, followed by Milwaukee.

‘Performance’ (38 percent) and ‘quality’ (32 percent) were the top two reasons cited as to why contractors selected their preferred brand. Most trades selected performance over quality (general contractors, HVAC Specialists, painters, roofers). A few trades chose quality over performance (electricians, framers and plumbers).

When it comes to launching a new tool into the market, a strong brand trumps innovative features. Yet, most contractors aren’t completely against trying tools from new/different brands. Despite their brand loyalties, most were at minimum ‘somewhat willing’ (54 percent overall) to try new brands. The study found that the trade least likely trade to try new brands was electricians. 10 percent of electrician respondents said they wouldn’t be very willing to try new brands but the majority said they would be ‘somewhat willing’ to try new brands. The most open to trying new brands were general contractors, painters and HVAC specialists, with more than 90 percent of respondents in those trades answering ‘very willing’ or ‘somewhat willing.’

The results of the survey indicate there are ways to entice contractors to try new brands and products. When respondents were asked which factors, if any, would be most effective in persuading them to switch brands, most tradesmen pointed to a solid warranty so they could really put it to the test. 35 percent of general contractors, 36 percent of electricians, 41 percent of roofers, and 44 percent of plumbers chose having a solid warranty as the top factor that could persuade them to switch brands.

The second most selected factor was Demos where the respondents could use/handle the tools. For HVAC Specialists, property managers and painters, demos would be the factor most likely to persuade them to switch brands.

Contractors have a lot to consider when they purchase new tools that are trade specific. Purchasing the wrong tool can have a huge impact on their company’s productivity and their bottom line.

When contemplating purchasing a new tool or switching to a new brand, contractors visit a lot of different sources. According to the study, most contractors, nearly 30 percent overall, rely on word-of-mouth reviews from other tradesmen. 22 percent of electricians rely primarily on trade magazines when considering a new tool purchase. Plumbers check out youtube videos for reviews more than most tradesmen. Others go straight to the hardware store and manufacturer’s websites.

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