Dave Grulke With the presidential election decided and an uptick of activity in the housing market, cabinet makers and custom woodworkers are heading into 2013 more bullish on their prospects for growth. We reported top line results in our last column. Here's more detail from the full study, including software and hardware brand preferences, to be issued next month.
Two-thirds (67.4%) of respondents to the second annual Cabinet Maker Association’s Benchmarking Survey reporting optimism for 2013. And that’s coming off a year in which over half (54.7%) of cabinet makers reported higher sales – with 61.8 percent charting growth of over 10 percent in 2012, including 22.5 percent who saw a sales increase of over 20 percent.
Those looking at a glass half-full cite the housing recovery and continued economic growth as reasons for their optimism while those expecting business declines overwhelmingly citing uncertainty over the impact of government policies such as healthcare implementation, the tax environment and other potential regulations as clouding their outlook.
These are the top findings of the second annual CMA Cabinet Industry Benchmarking Survey, which was fielded to CMA members and non-members during the month of November 2012. The goal of this study is to document industry practices and provide better understanding of what is (and is not) driving business growth among professional woodworkers.
Following are some of the primary findings of the survey. More complete data, including charts and graphs and a detailed set of insights, and regional analysis will be provided in early February after cross-tabulations are complete.
About the Respondents
Survey participants were predominantly from smaller shops, with two-thirds (67.9%) representing shops with revenues of less than $1 million; and nearly half (46.8%) working out of 5,000 s.f. or less of space. Most (66.8%) employed fewer than 8 workers. Most respondents (70.7%) are the owners or senior officers of their companies; have over 15 years of experience (77.0%) and founded their businesses (80.6%).
Respondents are as likely as not to have a showroom, with half (50.0%) percent reporting dedicated showroom space and most of those (90.7%) placing their showroom in the same location as their shop.
Respondents were split on the presence of CNC equipment, with nearly half (48.4%) representing CNC shops.
Responding shops handle both residential and commercial work. On the residential side, the most common projects include (in order of work volume) kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets/vanities, built-ins, laundry/mudroom cabinets, and libraries. On the commercial side, it’s (in order) general cabinetry, reception desks, interior millwork, medical/professional offices, and store fixtures that see the bulk of production activity.