Framebuilder Survey Analysis: Full-Time Builder Livelihood Part I

Picking back up–after a few months off here–with the analysis of only self-reported “full-time” builders. I will basically follow the same question ordering and structure below as I did in my earlier “livelihood” posts for the full sample, to make for an easier comparison.

That said, I should repeat my same warning about making comparisons with the results from the full sample of all builders: please keep in mind that the “all builders” analyses I began with also include the full-timers as well! If you pull up the “all builders” figures and compare them to the “full-time builders” figures, you are not looking at a comparison of two distinct (mutually exclusive) groups – you are looking, in essence, at the average for “all people selling handmade bikes in the U.S.” compared with those doing it “full time”.

At some point I should also replicate these analyses for part-time builders – at which point we could make a true comparison of the PT vs. FT groups.

Until then, though, I think it is still interesting and useful to think about the position of full-time builders as their own distinct category….and that is what you see below!

What kinds of production model are full-timers using?

In a typical recent year, how much of your work time has been dedicated to the following activities?

While the typical full-time builder is mainly doing work under their own brand, it seems notable that ~28% of full-time builders are doing occasional or mainly contract building. Likewise, ~50% of full-time builders are doing some amount of other fabrication work.

Have you considered a stock size/model or batch-built production model?

  • “Already doing this”: 22%
  • “Currently considering for the future”: 22%
  • “Have tried this and no longer doing it”: 17%
  • “Not interested/Have considered it but chosen not to pursue it”: 35%

What is your current wait time, roughly from order to delivery? 

  • Mean: 7 months
  • Median: 5 months
  • Mode: 2 months

So, what about the business position and more direct life and livelihood position of builders?

Do you own/mortgage or rent your housing?

  • Own: 86%
  • Rent: 14%

Do you own/mortgage or rent your shop space?

  • Own: 54%
  • Rent: 46%

Where is your shop space located?

  • Same premises as residence: 57%
  • Separate premises: 43%

Of those who own their shop, 94% of them are located on their same premises, meaning only 6% own a separate shop space.

Of those renting their shop space, 88% of them are located away from their residence, with 12% renting shop space located at their residence.

How do you currently access health insurance?

  • Purchase individually: 62%
  • Purchase through partner: 31%
  • No insurance: 7%

Do you formally save for retirement from your framebuilding income?

  • Yes: 33% (meaning, yes, 67% of full-time builders are not saving for retirement)

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