NAHB's recently published 2020 membership census
reveals that the typical builder member today is a 57-year-old small business owner with a median number of five employees, a median five housing units started in 2020 and a median gross revenue of $2.6 million.
More than six out of 10 NAHB builder members are single-family builders, according to the NAHB census.
Of the 37,595 builder members, 63% are single-family builders (spec/tract, custom, or general contracting), 22% are residential remodelers, 5% each are land developers and commercial builders, and 4% are multifamily builders. Fewer than 2% each are commercial remodelers and manufacturers of modular/panelized log homes.
Due to their status as small businesses and frequent reliance on subcontractors, many builders carry relatively few employees on their payrolls. In NAHB’s 2020 member census, the builder members reported a median of five employees (including employees in both construction and non-construction jobs).
The median varies by the company's primary activity. Among manufacturers of modular/panelized/log homes, the median number of paid employees in 2020 was 20, compared to three among land developers, four among single-family builders, four among residential remodelers, seven among commercial remodelers, and 10 among multifamily builders and commercial builders.
Dollar Volume of Business
Although there are exceptions, NAHB builder members tend to be relatively small businesses. Builder members in the 2020 member census reported the following dollar volume activity:
- 1% had no business activity;
- 17% reported a dollar volume of less than $500,000;
- 16% reported between $500,000 and $999,999;
- 41% between $1.0 million and $4.9 million;
- 11% between $5.0 million and $9.9 million;
- 4% between $10.0 million and $14.9 million; and
- 9% reported their dollar volume at $15.0 million or more in 2020.
The median was an annual business volume of $2.6 million, unchanged from 2019. For comparison, the Small Business Administration's size standards classify most types of construction businesses as small if they have average annual receipts of less than $39.5 million.
After rising steadily following the housing recession, builders' median revenue has plateaued in the last four years. The median oscillated between $0.9 million and $1.1 million from 2008 to 2012, surpassed $2.0 million for the first time in 2014, then reached $2.5 million by 2015 and $2.7 million by 2017. Builders' annual median revenue has been stagnant since 2017, ranging from $2.6 to $2.7 million.
In 2020, for the third year in a row, 9% of NAHB builder members were women — the highest the share has been since the inception of the member census in 2008. This is roughly proportional to the share of women in the construction industry overall. From 2008 until 2017, the female share of NAHB's builder members fluctuated in a narrow range between 6 and 8%.
View the complete member census