Study concludes more contractors are purchasing power tools online

May 14, 2009
CONTRACTOR’s 2009 Power Tool Study concludes more contractors are purchasing power tools online
Click on image for full-size PDF

CHICAGO — CONTRACTOR’s 2009 Power Tool Study, completed this spring, shows that the number of readers purchasing power tools online continues to increase — 9.6% of readers purchase power tools online, compared to 8.5% in 2007 and 7% in 2006.

The 2009 Power Tool Study was conducted via the Internet. An invitation to participate in the survey was e-mail to 12,000 subscribers selected from CONTRACTOR’s circulation list. A total of 494 responses were received, a 4.1% response rate. Of those responses, 73.2% of readers list their title as owner, president, vice president, partner or CEO.

The survey shows that readers are engaged in the following types of work: plumbing (68.8%), hydronic heating (54.3%), bath/kitchen remodeling (52%), radiant floor heating (44.9%), green mechanical contracting (21.9%), solar (17.4%) and sprinkler/fire protection systems (10.7%). The average number of people employed by readers’ firms is 31. Results show 46.8% of firms employ one to four people and 19.3% of firms employ five to nine people.

Based on the survey, 61.1% of readers typically purchase power tools at industrial supply houses and home centers while 9.6% use the internet to purchase power tools. Plumbing wholesalers capture 14.9% of readers’ power tool purchases while 5.1% of readers purchase power tools at hardware stores and 3.5% use catalogs to make power tools purchases.

The average annual expenditure on power tools has decreased when compared to annual expenditures in 2007. Two years ago, readers spent $18,483 annually on power tools. The 2009 Power Tool Study concludes that the average annual expenditure on power tools is $16,300, with 44.8% of readers spending $1,000-$4,999 annually.

Readers were also asked about the type of battery packs used for cordless power tools. According to the survey, 88.1% of readers use 18-volt battery packs. Also, 30.5% use 14.4-volt battery packs.

The circular saw and reciprocating saw are the two most popular corded power tools used by readers — 89.3% use the circular saw and 89.1% use the reciprocating saw. The hammer drill and demolition hammer are also popular among readers — 86% use the hammer drill and 81.5% use the demolition hammer. Other corded tools in use among readers are the power drill (78.6%), drill driver (73.9%), rotary hammer (73.5%), pipe thread machine (72.6%) and pipe cutting machine (64.4%).

On the job, 48.8% of readers report heavy usage of the reciprocating saw, and 11.5% report heavy usage of the circular saw. Readers using hammer drills report 30.7% heavy usage while readers using demolition hammers report 21.4% heavy usage.

Among cordless power tool use, 80.9% of readers use drill drivers, 75.1% use power drills, and 73.2% use reciprocating saws. On the job, 56.9% of readers report heavy usage of drill drivers, 50.4% report heavy usage of power drills and 38.4% report heavy usage of reciprocating saws.

The 2009 Power Tool Study also asked readers about their vehicle fleets. The survey shows that 25.5% of readers have three to five trucks in their fleet and 22.8% of readers have two trucks. Other vehicle fleet sizes are six to nine trucks (12.1%), 10-14 trucks (8.2%), 15-24 trucks (4.7%), 25-49 trucks (5.5%), 50-99 trucks (1.6%) and 100 or more trucks (2.9%).

The survey also concludes that 69% of readers’ construction activity is in remodeling/retrofit, which has increased by almost 7.7% since the 2007 study when 61.3% of readers’ construction activity was in remodeling/retrofit. Residential construction activity among readers has also increased by 6.2% — residential construction activity among readers in 2007 was at 77% and is now at 83.2%. Reader involvement in commercial construction decreased by 0.9% since 2007. Results of the 2009 study show that 77.5% of readers are involved in commercial construction.

Click here to download 2009 Power Tool Report in PDF format

About the Author

Candace Roulo

Candace Roulo, senior editor of CONTRACTOR and graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, has 15 years of industry experience in the media and construction industries. She covers a variety of mechanical contracting topics, from sustainable construction practices and policy issues affecting contractors to continuing education for industry professionals and the best business practices that contractors can implement to run successful businesses.      

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations