By Hunter Hoffmann
Six years after the 2008 financial crisis, the construction, architectural and engineering businesses are looking up. According to the recently released 6th annual Hiscox Small Business Insurance DNA of an Entrepreneur report, optimism among building and construction small business owners (SBOs) is higher going into 2015 than it was last year. More than half (51 percent) of building and construction SBOs are optimistic about the year ahead for their businesses, compared to only 43 percent in last year’s study.
But, there are still some concerns. Here’s what small business owners within the construction, architectural and engineering market sectors are most worried about for the year ahead:
- Stress continues to build in the construction industry: Although optimism has risen, stress among construction small business owners has been constant over the past two years. According to the report, 40 percent of U.S.-based construction small business owners are suffering from increased stress due to the economic climate.
- Fearful of delivering cost increases, and clients who don’t pay: One of the biggest fears for small construction businesses in the United States is passing cost increases on to their customers, as 51 percent of participants reported. Although they are fearful of passing on costs, an equal number see not being paid by clients as a major risk to their business that they don’t have insurance for — down slightly from 58 percent reported last year.
- Government bureaucracy is a major barrier: Construction is one of the most regulated industries, so it may not come as a surprise that 77 percent of industry respondents believe government bureaucracy is a major barrier to setting up their own business. Construction small business owners spend more than two hours, or 123 minutes, per week dealing with government rules and regulations.
Although there are still some areas of concern, the construction industry is seeing a positive uptick and increased activity thanks to the economic environment. Architectural and engineering small business owners should be optimistic as they turn the corner into the new year.
Hunter Hoffmann is head of US communications at Hiscox Small Business Insurance and is responsible for media relations, social media, internal communications and executive messaging. Hunter lives in New York City with his wife and two sons – Walker and Otis. In his spare time, he moonlights as chief marketing officer and deliveryman for Junior’s Fresh, a fresh baby and toddler food delivery service and pre-school meal provider in New York City founded by his wife, Michelle.