Building material dealers are more confident about revenue growth this year and next than their pro customers, a new survey finds.

More than half of the 684 construction supply companies responding to the survey predicted revenue gains topping 10%, a level of optimism unmatched by the single-family builders, multifamily builders, remodelers, and residential architects who took part in the same poll. A total of 1,745 people in those groups were surveyed by The Farnsworth Group in July along with the dealers. Hanley Wood, the parent company of PROSALES, revealed the results on Sept. 10 during its Foundations Conference in Chicago.

The differences between dealers and their pro customers becomes more pronounced when you add in forecasts of growth between 0.1% and 10%. Measured that way, 86% of dealers predict gains this year compared with 72% of single-family builders, 79% of multifamily builders, 69% of remodelers, and 66% of residential architects. The gap remains wide in 2015, when 89% of dealers expect some sort of revenue increase vs. 74% of single-family builders, 78% of multifamily builders, 72% of remodelers, and 63% of residential architects.

Here are each group's predictions for likely revenue changes this year and next:

2014 Revenue Forecast> 10%0-10%No Change0 to -10%>  -10%
SF Builders49%23%17%5%7%
MF Builders48%31%15%4%2%
Res. Architects42%24%22%8%4%
2015 Revenue Forecast> 10%0-10%No Change0 to -10%>  -10%
SF Builders46%28%19%3%4%
MF Builders54%24%20%1%1%
Res. Architects43%20%23%9%4%

Source: Farnsworth Group survey for Hanley Wood conducted July 2014

The survey also asked dealers to name the top positive and negative factor affecting revenues since 2013. 

The top positive factor cited was:

  1. Strength of the Economy (41.1%)
  2. Consumer Demand (21.6%)
  3. Consumer Confidence (13.9%)

The top negative factor cited was:

  1. Strength of the Economy (23.4%)
  2. Regulations (8.2%)
  3. Cost of Materials (7.0%)