In the fourth quarter of 2008, Roofing Contractor and Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing magazines turned to contractors to take the pulse of the roofing industry in an exclusive survey sponsored by GAF Materials Corporation and conducted by Clear Seas Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Roofing Contractor and Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing magazines turned to contractors to take the pulse of the roofing industry in an exclusive survey sponsored by GAF Materials Corporation and conducted by Clear Seas Research.

We wanted to gauge roofing contractors’ sense of the commercial and residential roofing markets and see how contractors expected the markets to react over the next 12 months and the next three years. See if you find any of the results surprising.

Despite the slumping economy, more roofing contractors indicated total 2008 sales volume increased from the 2007 level than saw it decrease. Forty-five percent had better sales in 2008 than 2007, while 39 percent saw sales to decline.

Respondents are increasingly optimistic that sales volume will increase in 2009 and over the next three years. In 2009, 49 percent expect sales to increase, 30 percent expect them to decrease, and 21 percent expect them to stay the same.

Three-quarters of contractors surveyed expect sales volumes to increase over the next three years, while 10 percent expect them to decrease and 14 percent believe they will stay the same.

These relatively optimistic forecasts about their own companies come despite some negative expectations about overall business conditions. Roofing contractors indicated that business conditions were generally worse in 2008 than 2007, and 92 percent of contractors surveyed indicated that the cost of doing business increased in 2008 three-quarters of respondents expect the cost of doing business to continue to climb in 2009.

Perhaps the optimism in the survey comes in part from the expectations that stronger, well-established companies can increase market share as weaker, unprofessional companies go by the wayside in this tough economy. What do you think about the roofing market in 2009 and beyond?

For more on the survey results, see our February issue of Roofing Contractor.