Subcontractors and Specialty Contractors Largest Share of Associate Members


Constructing a new home — from developing the lot to handing the keys over to the buyer — is a complex process involving numerous specialists in a wide range of fields.

That complexity is reflected in the number and variety of professions represented among the ranks of NAHB's 80,000 Associate members, who account for roughly two-thirds (68%) of total membership.

The largest share of Associate members — 43% — are subcontractors or specialty trade contractors, according to the 2019 annual member census conducted by NAHB's economics department.

The remainder of Associates work in five broad categories: professional specialties, retail dealerships/distributorships, financial services, wholesale dealerships/distributorships, and "other" activities.

According to NAHB analysis, 13% of Associate members work in professional specialties such as accounting, engineering and legal services. About 11% work in retail dealerships and distributorships.

Another 8% are employed in various financial services, including commercial banking, mortgage banking and insurance or title companies, and 4% work in wholesale dealerships or distributorships. One out of five, or 20%, listed some "other associate" activity as their primary business activity.

Again reflecting the complexity of the home building process, 21% of Associate members are employed in other fields such as property management, real estate, utilities and manufacturing.

Since NAHB started profiling its members in 2008, there has been little change in the percentage of members working in five of the six professional categories. The only category showing any significant change is subcontracting/specialty trades, which increased from 34% in 2008 to 43% last year.

The analysis also found that in 2019, Associate members had a median of 10 employees on their payrolls. The median has ranged from 10 to 11 employees since 2015.

The median annual company revenue among Associate members was $2.2 million in 2019, down from a median of $2.5 million in 2018. However, revenue levels varied greatly. A quarter of Associates (25%) reported annual revenues under $500,000. The largest group (32%) reported incomes of $1 million to $4.99 million.

The median age of Associates was 56. More than half of Associate members (53%) have earned a bachelor's degree or higher.  In 2019, Associate members reported they have been NAHB members for a median of 10 years, unchanged since 2015.

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