Posted June 4, 2021

Report: Contractors eager to grow in 2021 despite cash-flow challenges

New Billd report suggests contractors remain optimistic but face unsatisfactory credit and financing options and insufficient supplier terms.

Billd, a leading provider of financing for commercial subcontractors, recently released their inaugural industry report, titled 2021 National Subcontractor Market Report: Business Growth & Financing.

While the survey found that construction contractors have maintained an optimistic entrepreneurial spirit despite the obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic challenges like skyrocketing building material prices, the data also suggests that ongoing cash-flow problems will likely prevent many from achieving their business-growth goals in 2021 and beyond.

The new report surveyed 572 general contractors and subcontractors in commercial construction, many of whom are business owners or executives who have been in business for at least 10 years, about their appetite for business growth and how they plan to finance that growth. The responses call attention to persistent construction industry challenges that prevent business growth, including a lack of access to capital, inconsistent payment cycles and the insufficient length of supplier terms.

Nearly three-fourths of contractors surveyed say they plan to grow their businesses in 2021. However, the data also found that:

  • 44% believe they’ll use cash on hand to finance these goals, but 46% say they struggle with cash flow issues
  • While about half of contractors say they’re generally satisfied with their supplier terms for financing construction materials, 63% have to pay for materials before getting paid for their work
  • Less than 4% have supplier terms longer than 60 days, while it generally takes between 60-90 days for contractors to get paid
  • Most reported feeling satisfied with their credit options, but 30% of contractors find it challenging to obtain new sources of financing
  • 39% expect access to capital to have a significant impact on their businesses in 2021

“Subcontractors have an incredible entrepreneurial spirit,” says Chris Doyle, CEO of Billd. “Unfortunately, traditional banks and lending institutions are hesitant to do business with construction companies due to their perceived risk, which means subcontractors are often undercapitalized and left trying to finance growth with limited free cash flow.”

To help contractors overcome these obstacles to growth, Billd provides practical solutions for material financing with 120-day terms that better align with construction payment cycles.

“We don’t view construction companies as having higher risk than other industries — we just understand the nature of their business and how the payment cycles work,” says Doyle. “If contractors truly want to conquer their cash-flow issues and grow their businesses, they need better terms that align with their payment cycles.”

The report is the first in what may become an annual series exploring subcontractors’ outlook on different aspects of the construction industry.

To download the 2021 National Subcontractor Market Report: Financing and Business Growth, visit

To learn more about Billd’s material financing solution for commercial contractors, visit