A survey of more than 150 dealers across much of the nation that's primarily intended to provide benchmarks also reveals that the average respondent suffered an operating loss of $1.5 million last year on $26.5 million in net sales. The average pretax loss was $1.3 million while average EBITDA was a negative $544,174, according to the 2010 Building Material Operations Comparison conducted by 15 regional LBM associations.

The average gross margin was $6.8 million, or 27.5% of net sales, but the average operating expense was $8.3 million, or 30.83% of net sales.