2015 will be the Year of the Contractor

2015 Is the Time to Turn Your Growing Business into a High-Powered Machine

An optimist stays up to celebrate the New Year. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. Our mood was similarly hopeful and cautious at Compact Equipment headquarters. 2014 was a steady 12 months, but it had its ups and downs — the Affordable Care Act, a resurging housing market, a changing Congress (25 percent new candidates) and the always volatile Highway Trust Fund debacle. But total construction put in place (CPIP) for 2014 will be about $62 billion greater than last year — a 7 percent increase according to the latest reports from FMI (our gurus in the construction analysis industry). Even better, CPIP should finish 2014 at around $972 billion and is expected to top $1.04 trillion in 2015.

But like everything, growth is about sectors — commercial and manufacturing construction, for instance, are two of the largest growth markets. “With new and apparently sustainable sources of natural gas and shale oil, America is on the verge of a veritable manufacturing renaissance building petrochemical plants in the Gulf and gaining interest from more companies, especially foreign-owned companies, considering relocating manufacturing to America,” said Randy Giggard, managing director of research services at FMI in a recent press release on compactequip.com.

Sectors like power, conservation and development and transportation will continue to see growth ahead of GDP in our forecast horizon on page 29, but water supply, sewage and waste disposal and highway and street will be weak. Also, finding good, qualified workers might be tougher in 2015, as the discouraged unemployed are no longer in the construction job market looking for work.

It’s not just about understanding the market conditions. It’s also about the right business model and the right equipment. That’s why we’ve dedicated this issue of Compact Equipment to starting off your construction year right — from our new column Business Matters, focused on understanding Public Private Partnerships (P3s) on page 18, to our giant skid steer specialty section, aimed at owning and operating the most popular tool carrier, on pages 34 to 47. Of course, our “Contractor’s Guide to Construction in 2015” is a must-read and should get readers pumped about this year, as “the sun is out, backlogs are growing and contractors are feeling more optimistic.”

Also, new, exciting machines are arriving for equipment pros in 2015. In fact, we’ve never been busier. In the fourth quarter alone CE staffers crisscrossed the country to cover multiple construction and landscape machine launches, as the manufacturing industry ramped up to release new products for the market. From JCB’s bold new 86C-1 mini excavator (page 10) to our expansive World of Concrete showcase (page 48), the small machine market is teeming with new products. That’s a good sign.

If you look outside, you’ll see it’s resolution season. For the publishers of Compact Equipment (Benjamin Media Inc.), we’re welcoming 2015 as the Year of the Contractor. Our big goal is to help the construction and landscape professional be the best they can be. Using the eyes, ears and brains of the equipment industry’s best experts, we’re aiming to create the supreme forum for running your business. And we promise to double our efforts to triple-check facts, cut spin and give a well-balanced industry-wide perspective. Here’s our toast: We aim to equip your crews to cruise into a new era of success in 2015.

Keith Gribbins
Associate Publisher
[email protected]

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