When you read about consumer or business confidence, it feels like it could mean a variety of things. What does it mean to be confident in a particular aspect of the economy? How does this data change the way that you make decisions for your contracting business? And what if people turn out to be wrong? With this information, you’ll understand what confidence means in finance and how it may affect your contracting business.
What Is Confidence?
If confidence feels like a somewhat nebulous standard of measurement, that’s because it is. Confidence is the way that people feel about themselves or some aspect of their world. It is not always an indicator of the way things actually are. However, finance experts use confidence as a way of determining what may happen in the future. People make decisions based on the confidence they have in certain aspects of the economy. For example, contractors look at their existing and expected sales and profit margins as a way of determining how confident they are in their own fields for the next several months or longer. It’s not a certain way of predicting the future, but it helps complete a more robust picture.
What’s the Difference Between Consumer, Investor and Contractor Confidence?
Now that you have a general idea of what contractor confidence means, you should know that there are indexes meant to measure confidence in other aspects of the economy. For example, you may read about increases in investor confidence in a thriving stock market, or decreases in consumer confidence based on rising housing prices. While you must keep in mind that confidence is highly subjective and heavily dependent on specific measurements, it can still give you an idea of what people plan to do with their own money. Specifically, if confidence in the economy starts to drop, you’ll notice that people will become more reserved in the types of financial risks they are willing to take.
How Does Confidence Affect Your Business Right Now?
At the moment, contractors are reporting lower levels of confidence in their ability to continue to grow sales and keep their profit margins high for the near future. As a business owner, you can imagine what those kinds of concerns may do for the way that you run your business. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get enough sales this year, you might limit your overhead as much as you can. You may decide against hiring more workers, and if the trend continues, you may have to consider laying people off. This can affect the way that your business runs. That might mean that you have a simpler workflow, or it could mean that you have fewer services you can offer and more limited selection of projects.
How Can Low Contractor Confidence Change the Construction Industry?
Confidence in one aspect of the economy can change on a dime, but it depends heavily on the pivot point. Once people are worried about the future of their contracting businesses, they may make decisions that affect their ability to continue the business long-term. If these changes happen at the same time as lenders tighten loan requirements, or at the same time that a lot of other industries are noticing a drop in sales, there may be broader effects. Ultimately, part of rebuilding the economy after an economic downturn or recession lies in establishing confidence once again. After the last recession, it took a few years before the construction industry was able to run at levels even close to where they were before the housing crisis.
Contractor confidence may not mean a lot to you yet, but it poses serious long-term effects to your contracting business success. For more information about starting on a construction career path, visit CSLS today!