77 By carefully measuring contractors results from radius marketing (mailing the 50 closest neighbors of a recent HVAC installation), Portage, Ind.-based G.W. Berkheimer and West Columbia, S. C.-based Allied Air Enterprises increased their contractor’s installation sales by 77%, Smartleads USA (www.smartleadsusa. com), a Florida-based directmail company that specializes in radius marketing for the HVAC contractor, reports. The two distributors contracted with SmartleadsUSA. 71 A survey conducted by Prime Advantage, a group-purchasing organization for midsized manufacturers, shows a record-high 71% of members are more optimistic about their companies’ financial prospects for the coming year as compared to last. This result is a 17-point jump from 2016, the largest year-over-year increase in optimism since 2010. On the employment front, 67% of members are expecting to increase their headcount this year, but 78% also are struggling to fill open positions. 56 From Bradley Corp.’s annual healthy handwashing survey, 56% of respondents say they are unlikely to return to a business after experiencing unpleasant restrooms. Common restroom aggravations from the survey include empty or jammed toilet-paper dispensers (93% of respondents), clogged or unflushed toilets (87%), stall doors that don’t latch (81%), bad smells (79%) and an overall appearance that’s old, dirty or unkempt (79%). 47 From the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Today in Energy brief, 47% of U.S. households rely on natural gas as their main heating fuel, compared to 36% that rely on electricity. In the Southeast region, 15% of homes do not use heating equipment, compared to the national average of 4%. Houzz’s Q1 2017 Renovation Barometer that tracks confidence in the home-renovation market among a range of industry professionals, shows readings exceeding 50 points across all industry groups (66-76 out of 100) as more firms report market activity increasing than decreasing quarter over quarter. However, labor shortages continue to hinder industry growth as reported by 75% of general contractors, remodelers and design-build firms. 2 From the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s Demographic Change and Remodeling Outlook, homeowner spending on home improvements is projected to increase 2% per year on average through 2025. People ages 55-plus are expected to account for more than three-quarters of market growth in the next decade. 84 From that same Prime Advantage survey, 84% of respondents expect revenues to increase in 2017, while a survey-history low of 2% expect a decline, a 9-point drop over the previous year. 80-90 From Earnest & Associates’ recent whitepaper “Know More, Sell More, Make More,” a core customer is defined as someone who typically buys a lot, is very loyal, has good profitability and a low cost-to-serve model. E&A adds core customers comprise 10-20% of a distributor’s customer base but 80-90% of its profitability.
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