The Survey of U.S. Framebuilders

Long time silence here on the blog, even if I thought shifting from Squarespace to WordPress hosting might push me to spruce things up and get on some kind of posting schedule. But, the truth is, I find it hard to post “bite size” bits from the project, even if the goal was to have a place for thinking out loud.

Regardless, I’m writing this from NAHBS in Sacramento, where I will be rolling out an online survey – The Survey of U.S. Framebuilders. As the name implies, this will focus only on U.S. based framebuilders and fabricators – those who are making their own stuff in house (so it will exclude brands that contract out manufacturing, not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I will be walking the NAHBS floor this weekend handing out cards with a link to the survey and talking it up. Next week I will do the larger roll-out with an email distribution to *any* builder I have added to my list over the years, regardless of size/output. That list, by the way, includes about 350-400 entries (as I recall).

Not sure that anyone ends up on this blog anyway, but I should probably post the link here as well!

A few words about the survey, my intentions, etc. in case people find this blog through my university page:
– First off, the survey can be taken completely anonymously if people so choose. The survery software randomizes IP addresses, so I have no way of tracking who has taken the survey. One can go take a look at the survey without me knowing you have done so! The survey has been approved by the James Madison University IRB (institutional review board).
– The survey can also be taken confidentially – meaning you will identify yourself so I know who you are, but this information will be kept secret. This would allow me to track respondents over time (for future editions of the survey), in what would hopefully become a longer-standing snapshot/industry report on the field.
– I will be publishing a freely available report based on the data from this survey (again, with *no* specific data on who responded or what they said individually!). I would hope that framebuilders would find this at least minimally useful/beneficial as it would provide (assuming enough responses) a snapshot about the output of the handbuilt segment and the business and life position of those pursuing framebuilding.
– What do I get out of this? For my own research, this would give me a much more systematic snapshot of the foundations of the handbuilt trade: how many people are doing it, how many are making a living, how many see it is a hobby or side job, how many bikes are being built, what types of bikes. As people will see in the survey, my own interest (discussed on this blog over the years) in whether/how framebuilders make a living in a bike market dominated by larger global companies is a particular focus of the survey.

If people have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at my university email (brewerbd AT jmu.edu).

Without further ado, here is the link to the survey.

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