Home Innovation Insights

Cheaper is not always better when it comes to survey sample.

Ed Hudson, MBA
November 21, 2019

Really Cheap Survey Sample of Construction Pros!

Did I get your attention? Great! Then let me continue…

Going with a really cheap survey sample may be one of the biggest mistakes your company could make in conducting market research among construction pros. No doubt, you can get cheap survey sample for about any set of qualifications for just $5, $10, or $20 per completed response. However, we have found through our own experience, as well as anecdotally from clients who’ve been lured in by cheap prices in the past, that more than 75% of “qualified” construction pros from consumer panels are not really construction pros at all; and the rest of the list is typically of questionable quality. As they say, garbage in, garbage out.

The problem is simple. Consumer panels generally begin with recruiting from a cross-section of the U.S. population. People are generally recruited online, and the internet does not easily distinguish between honest and dishonest people. Recruits are typically asked to identify their occupation, without acceptable ways of verifying that information. Assuming you want to conduct a survey of a targeted group of professionals representing only a percent or two of the general U.S. population, you can also assume that the number of “qualified” respondents for a survey of construction pros is disproportionately weighted toward those who are lying, cheating, or exaggerating their qualifications to get into a paid survey, compared to those who are truly qualified pros.

So, an obvious alternative would be to use a targeted professional survey panel rather than a consumer panel, right? Professional survey panels can be a big improvement over consumer panels, but only if they recruit survey takers from non-public, pre-screened sources of industry professionals, and if the panel is managed by an organization seen as serving the good of the industry. Further, a professional survey panel management team still needs to scrutinize its respondents, and this is best done by a construction industry experts who can spot disingenuous and unqualified survey responses and remove these persons from the panel.

Home Innovation Research Labs has offered survey fielding of construction pros for decades, and managing a survey panel of thousands of those pros. We use the strictest criteria for sourcing our new panel members. Individuals can’t just sign up for our panel — we must extend an invitation to participate, and we only extend to those who meet strict criteria. Some of the ways we’ve cultivated and honed our panel include:

  •  Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) Respondents: More than half of our panel members have thoughtfully completed our Annual Builder Practices Survey and have been invited to join. Each completed BPS questionnaire must pass a rigorous examination to ensure qualified and meaningful information on the homes the respondent’s company builds. Each annual BPS questionnaire mailing uses randomly selected persons from builder-members of the National Association of Home Builders and Professional Builder Magazine subscribers who indicate they build new homes. This results in a good cross-section of people representing all types of building companies in all geographic areas.
  •  International Builders’ Show Attendees: Home Innovation researchers staff a booth at IBS in the show sponsor’s Member Advantage pavilion and we oversee the screening and signup of construction industry pros. IBS itself is a national event attended by a big cross-section of the industry—most recent attendance numbers counted more than 100,000 industry pros, who are serious about their business, which creates a great pool to recruit thoughtful survey respondents.

In addition, our panelists see Home Innovation Research Labs as trusted, impartial industry partners. Our parent company is the National Association of Home Builders, an association with more than 130,000 construction industry professional members nationwide.

Based on the feedback from survey sample customers, our respondents are much less likely to be flagged for cheating and/or speeding through their surveys. Our panelists give more thoughtful responses. A higher share of our panelists are decision makers in the relevant product or service types. Researchers rely on us to get more respondents in hard-to-get categories, such as production and multifamily builders. Plus, we know the industry very well and can help our clients establish screening criteria that do not unnecessarily exclude qualified respondents.

Who uses our services?

  • Building product manufacturers
  • Top marketing research companies
  • Consumer survey sample providers
  • Advertising agencies
  • Trade associations
  • And more

Don’t risk the quality of your data on securing the “cheapest” responses; make sure you are getting the best value for your research dollars. Let us know if we can conduct your next survey of construction industry professionals. Contact us today to discuss how you can improve the quality of feedback you get from marketing research among construction pros.

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