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The last couple years have been a rollercoaster for many building service contractors (BSCs). Although sales were promising in 2018 and 2019, staffing challenges plagued productivity gains. Any traction that was made was quickly derailed by the 2020 pandemic, which then launched four years of dramatic swings in terms of client retention, staffing struggles, industry competition, product availability, budgets, service offerings, and more. Building service contractors are ready for some stability, and 2024 seems to be offering just that. Better yet, this report on the building service contractor market shows the industry is progressing forward at a steady pace. Conducted by Contracting Profits magazine, with sponsor support from Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), this 2024 Market Study revealed that instead of seeking new markets to serve, BSCs are focusing their attention on building accounts in the markets where they currently specialize — with commercial, industrial and healthcare topping that list. In doing this, the average number of accounts has increased by roughly 12 percent over last year, and 80 percent of cleaning contractors expect their number of clients to continue growing throughout 2024. Savvy BSCs are also focusing on client retention to maintain or grow steady profits. The cost of replacing clients can be a burden on budgets but retaining and/or growing existing clients will provide positive dividends. This is the case for the 91 percent of BSCs who have seen less than 20 percent client turnover in the last 12 months. Part of the retention strategies include adding special services to existing contracts. Exterior work such as pressure washing, window cleaning, and grounds care all rank high for add-on services. Another way BSCs are growing their business is through acquisitions. Smart executives will capitalize on these takeovers for their access to quality staff and skillsets, possible diversification, and additional capital. Roughly 16 percent of BSCs expect to grow through the acquisition of one or more companies in 2024, a steady pace comparable to 2023 and on par with Baby Boomers retiring from the industry. BSCs who are looking to grow, even at a manageable clip, cite staffing as a growing concern for progress. The turnover of full-time frontline staff continues to plague many cleaning contractors, but this study reveals that the existing number of team members is generally comparable with target staff sizes. This is likely true because far more BSCs are staffing part-time employees than they were 12 months ago. To offset staffing struggles, many managers are exploring the productivity advantages of implementing technology into their cleaning programs. If BSCs follow through with what they indicate in this survey, 2025 will look a lot different, particularly as scheduling and inspection software becomes even more widely used. Many BSCs also plan to explore productivity advantages of incorporating Internet of Things technology and autonomous equipment. With the right team and a strategy for growth in place, BSCs are setting their sights on sales and profit expectations. There was optimism for strong sales in 2023 as many contractors were projecting “significantly higher sales” over the previous year. In reality, the majority of BSCs were satisfied with hitting sales goals, but admitted that sales figures were “slightly lower” than planned. Although sales didn’t exceed expectations in 2023, profits were slightly up. This is a positive sign for contractors and confidence for steady growth is high for both 2024 sales and profitability. While profits are expected to steadily increase, BSCs are keeping a close eye on growing business expenses. With labor costs increasing, new overtime rulings, and the ever-growing cost of supplies, 70 percent of business owners are expecting to increase their pricing structures in 2024. Despite some hurdles of the past, building service contractors are now running a steady race toward business success. This “2024 Building Service Contractor Market Study” reveals promising growth for the year to come. Sign in to review the results from this full survey and download a printable PDF.