How has the recession affected your business? – Some responses

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iStock_000000380648XSmallHere are some early responses to the survey about the impact of the recession on readers’ businesses.

You can complete it yourself and see the real-time results here.

The answers speak for themselves.  While many people who have responded have given me permission to publish their identity, I think you will find this ‘raw’ anonymous information both disturbing and enlightening.  I will of course meld further research and interpretation into the writing for the upcoming issue of The Design and Construction Report (and expect many more responses, after all, these responses all arrived on a Sunday as the Christmas holiday season approaches.

You will notice that not everyone has fared the same; some have thrived, some have struggled, and some desperate.  Geography is a factor, so is the type of business and its underlying approach to marketing.  The universal observation is this is a story that has touched the economic heart of many of us, virtually everywhere in the world (some of the responses are from New Zealand and further afield.)

It has severely limited the number of opportunities that are available.
I HAD TO LAY OFF TWO  EMPLOYEES AND HAD A A LOT OF UNBILLABLE DOWN TIME.
Sales decreased by 50 per cent or more. Many builders either went out or decreased building by 60 per cent to 90 per cent. Remodelers also had decreases, however not as great.
We were giving the chance to provide quality service for the dollar to a small niche market that has been previously ignored by the larger companies in the area. With the company motto of “The Company With Heart”, this opportunity has provided us a amazing market in which we intend to operate.  (Name removed) is the company with heart for a reason; we are a hands on company that will provide quality service that provides hands on rapore with customers.
Possibly will have to close my doors.
Loss of income and job changes. Increase in effort and work for substantially less money.
While unemployed I passed the LEED AP exam and began studying online marketing trends in the design and construction industry. I have also launched a business blog.
We have grown 20 per cent over the last 12 months, and 60 per cent over the past two years.
If you are looking for how it affected me:
The simple answer is that it crippled my business, my retirement,and my enthusiasm.
The simple repair is not in business it is in Washington DC.
With the socialistic government in Washington I feel business has lost the desire and rewards associated with free enterprise. This has disheartened many business persons including myself.
The result of this is loss of business investment and therefore a loss of sales, layoff of employees, reduction in capitol investments.
This is a chain reaction that our government fails to see. Government spending does nothing to stop this and only darken the future.
Fix the politics and you can fix the economy.
Future projects were put on hold.
Sales down 60 per cent for six months but now recovered.
We definitely worked harder on marketing and spent no less than 30 per cent more on advertising. Our budget is usually a little less than 10 per cent and we probably spent about 13 per centthis year.

Every customer was complaining they were broke last year, including those with buckets of money, and starting the month of October customer are not telling us they are broke.

We saw two major impacts. The first was the significant entry of many more General Contractors/Construction Managers/Architects competing for a project which resulted in a greater number of poorly qualified competitors which resulted in poorer quality bid documents, vague specifications and generally drove projects to a lower price and value point. The second was decision making continued to migrate toward the end use client as they worked with more restricted funds which sometimes impacted project schedules.
We invested over $100,000 in our business to see it now in storage. We’re still in business and we’re still trying hard to get our business off the ground but feel no support from our local government through SBA. When attempting to ask for help, several emails to Senator Blanche Lincoln fell on deaf ears.

From the start we struggled with understanding bonding only being given $250k as a limit. For the first 1 1/2 years, there were absolutely no jobs available. We then started trying to find GC’s to partner with under our WBE certification to no avail.

We are licensed and insured have have worked hard to stay in business. We have all the resources we need to run a business but no cash to run it.

We tired several avenues for small business loans and found ourselves unable to obtain a business loan. Using all of our personal credit to help keep the business going caused us to fall even further behind.

Lack of support from our local SBA seems to be the source most damage.

Rapid drop in new projects: housing, infrastructure, commercial. Some projects were scaled down, requiring us to redo specifications and drawings.Bigger projects were cancelled. We did not get any new bridge inspections, only minor emergency repairs, and to finish whatever was started a few years ago. Lack of direction, changing priorities, only short term work affected self-confidence and morale of many, creating tense situations what to do. Lay-off right away, or keep the staff that was loyal for so many years. How to finance ongoing operations, when many clients defaulted on payments, that were six months overdue. Cost of staying in business went up rapidly, revenue did not cover current expenses, overhead cost soared. Bank started to ask for more collateral, insurance premiums stayed very high. Writing quotations and not getting feedback for very long time was discouraging, depressing.
We haven’t won a single bid since February of 2009 and stopped working completely in June of 2009. I have laid off all of my employees as of June. The phone is not ringing, bills are late, it’s just horrible. There is no end in sight despite what the news and the White House tries to spin. All of my friends business’s are suffering horribly, my plumber had 50+ employees, he’s down to three.
Less jobs and smaller.
Slow.
We lost a huge chunk of the new home construction that we had been participating in.
Stimulus money released by the government has increased our work in institutional facilities.

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