Cash flow challenges, rising interest rates, leads drying up, and staffing issues are just some of the complexities that residential builders have navigated through in 2023.
But despite what the media will tell you, many members of APB have had record years when it comes to revenue, gross profit, and net profit.
Professionally run custom home builders that have systems in place for sales, marketing, financial management, and continual self-development, are coming out on top against other building companies (including large project builders) who are operating on razor-thin margins.
To recap what has been a tumultuous yet industry-defining year for residential construction, we’ve documented many of the milestones we have achieved and the lessons learned along the way.
Here’s how the year played out…
The State of Residential Construction Industry Survey & Report
In March 2023, we published the third instalment of the State of Residential Construction Industry (SORCI) report. The 2023 edition included insights and data compiled from the survey responses of over 1,000 builders in four countries.
Notably, the financial understanding among builders is improving year-on-year, reflecting an industry-wide commitment to sharpening the saw when it comes to the numbers that drive success.
Attracting quality leads emerged as the biggest sales and marketing challenge for builders, which is no surprise given how easy it was to generate leads in the years preceding 2022.
Alarmingly, only just over 40% of homes were delivered on schedule, showing a lack of accurate planning from residential builders that is costing them more than they realise!
Thankfully, by participating in this global study, builders can identify where their gaps are and continue to improve how they run their businesses.
Looking to the future, the 2023 survey has just wrapped up, with participation skyrocketing to 1,818 people, promising even richer insights for the release of the 2024 report in March next year.
Stay tuned – the best is yet to come.
Hundreds of building company owners attended our 13 live events in 2023 held across four countries. These events are now a cornerstone for growth, learning, and connection in the industry.
September marked the debut of our first-ever Professional Builders Summit in Australia. It was more than just a conference; it was a gathering of the industry's best minds, all looking to refine their approach to running a profitable building company.
In June, high-achieving members of APB came together for the much-anticipated Annual Retreat – this year set against the stunning backdrop of Hawaii. It's not just about the location but what happens at this retreat - a combination of learning, networking, and driving long-term high performance in the attending building companies.
The retreat represents a commitment to excellence, bringing together members who are not just building homes but also shaping the future of the industry. The next retreat in Fiji is already fully booked a year in advance!
We don’t do things in halves at APB. Each of these events happened at top-tier hotels with first-class catering and an unmatched experience to align with the professionalism of the builders attending. Attendees walked away with actionable best practices and the invaluable experience of networking with other professional builders.
The International Builders Show
We exhibited at the biggest show for builders in North America - the International Builders Show (IBS). This key industry event was the perfect platform for us to connect with industry leaders and bring global insights back to our members. It's through opportunities like this that we continue to ensure our community is at the forefront of residential construction trends and best practices.
The experience was invaluable, and the connections made will help to fuel the growth of APB and our members for years to come.
Preferred Partners Network
We added 43 new partners to the APB Rewards directory in 2023, taking the total number of trusted partners to over 50. This network enables our members to access discounts and cash rebates on the products and services they use to run their building companies.
Since launching APB Rewards just over 12 months ago, our members have claimed over $227,000 dollars in cash rebates with several members making enough to pay for two years of membership!
While we will continue growing this network of partners, we only add new partners that make it through a rigorous vetting process to ensure APB members work with the best providers.
Professional Builders Secrets Podcast
Weekly episodes of the Professional Builders Secrets podcast were released throughout 2023, taking the total episode number past 100!
Whether it's in-depth interviews with industry heavyweights, candid conversations with fellow builders, or exclusive sit-downs with service providers, we ensure that each episode equips you with actionable insights to keep pushing the envelope in your building company.
A big thank you to all of our listeners who tuned in every week and helped the show reach 100,000 downloads. We also launched a video version of the podcast to expand its reach on YouTube, Reels, and beyond, supporting builders who prefer to learn in a different way.
In March, we forged a new partnership with The 141 Project, to raise money and build homes for people in need in underprivileged societies, such as Guatemala.
Our members play a pivotal role in this initiative. Each time a member renews their membership with APB, we make it count with USD $100 going straight to The 141 Project. It's a simple equation: more renewals mean more homes, and together, we funded the construction of 8 houses in 2023.
From Australia to the United States, our insights have made headlines and sparked conversations on platforms that matter.
In Australia, we were featured on the Nine network and provided expert commentary on the Today Show and ABC Online. Respected publications like The Australian and The Herald Sun also turned to us for industry analysis and forward-looking trends.
Co-founders Sky and Russ even had their own caricature on the front page of The Courier Mail!
We were also proud to win a number of awards in 2023. We went up the ranks of Smart Company’s Smart50 list. It has been an amazing journey to see APB go from 27th to 22nd, and now 13th over consecutive years.
We also clinched Smart Company’s 'Smart and Lasting' Award, which recognises our commitment to lasting impact, innovation, and continuous improvement.
Here’s a few other key moments on the highlights reel for 2023:
- In September, we made the Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) Fast 100 list, marking us as one of Australia's fastest-growing companies.
- The AFR also included APB on its Fast Global list, which ranks Australian companies most quickly growing their revenue sourced overseas.
- In October, our very own Sky Kolade featured on the Pro Builder 40 under 40 list, underlining her impressive leadership capabilities and achievements.
- And we were finalists for the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Awards for the category ‘Outstanding Growth’.
These accolades have elevated the profile of professional custom home builders globally, and solidified the Association of Professional Builders as the go-to authority in residential construction.
Great Place to Work Certified
In September, we were once again certified as a Great Place to Work. This recognition is a testament to our culture and the environment we've cultivated, where each team member can thrive and contribute to our mission. 100% of our team members agreed that APB is a great place to work!
Training For Builders
We remained committed to providing members with the most relevant and actionable training resources in 2023. We released 5 brand new action plans and updated 8 existing ones, ensuring that our suite of educational content is at the cutting-edge of the industry.
These aren't just your average training modules. Each comes with comprehensive video tutorials, practical worksheets, downloadable assets, and meticulous step-by-step instructions. The aim? To empower you, the professional builders of the industry, with the knowledge to navigate industry challenges and grow your business safely and securely.
We also ran 10 live online training sessions for non-members to help raise the bar across the entire industry. Since launching monthly live educational training for builders around the world, over 5,000 builders have registered with 92% of attendees rating the training over 4 out of 5 stars.
Our digital community has seen significant growth in 2023. On Facebook, we've welcomed 5,533 new followers, while our content has reached an astonishing 6.54 million users.
On Instagram, 6,100 new followers joined us this year, engaging in conversations and interactions that have totaled over 5,200. This growth isn't just a number; it's a diverse community of builders and industry enthusiasts coming together to share, learn, and inspire one another on a daily basis.
We also received over 200 new Facebook and Google reviews from happy members, each one contributing to our overall 5-star rating. These reviews shine a light on the real-world impact of our work and reaffirm our commitment to providing exceptional value to our members.
The Path Ahead
It's astounding to see the reach and impact we've had over nearly a decade (we turned 9 this year!), with thousands of building company owners benefitting from our dedicated coaching and global community of likeminded professionals.
The foundation we've built together is strong, but we have big plans for taking things to a new level in 2024 and beyond. With a community of driven builders, a dedicated team, and a track record of overcoming adversity to achieve industry-leading results, we are on a path to continue improving the residential construction industry for both builders and consumers in 2024.