There’s no escaping the challenges of today’s business environment. From an uncertain global economy and rapidly changing workplace expectations to rising interest rates, compensation demands, and cost escalation, we are experiencing a broad range of impacts in the markets we serve. Design Collaborative is doing all we can for our clients to deliver meaningful projects better and support them as they make the strategic decisions to help them thrive.




Some of the themes we discovered through this research:

  • Developing realistic budgets and being able to stay on budget is the biggest challenge for our clients.
  • This year’s top priorities for clients are executing pending capital projects and managing ongoing projects, from overdue roofs and building system maintenance to renovations and new construction.
  • Inflation and economic uncertainty are the most impactful trends being watched.
    Our clients overwhelmingly focus on quality, value, and customer service to compete in their markets.
Survey Report


23 clients participated:

      • Operations and Facilities (10)
      • Administration and Executive (11)
      • Other roles (2)

Markets represented include:

      • Financial (1)
      • Education (8)
      • Industrial (1)
      • Healthcare (6)
      • Workplace (1)
      • Other (5)
Survey Report


Respondents answered four open-ended questions in their own words. Some responses had multiple answers, resulting in more than 23 total answers for the individual questions.


The survey revealed a few common issues that are having an impact on market performance. Budgets are a primary concern for companies of all sizes, as reduced funding for operations, increased payroll expenses, and material costs place pressure on already tight budgets across all markets. In addition, leaders are becoming more mindful of the extra scrutiny over their spending habits. The survey also identified that companies are struggling with inflation and economic uncertainty. Rising energy costs are part of this threat. Finally, companies are facing challenges with recruiting and retaining quality people. Finding craftsmen for construction trades is difficult in many markets, which is affecting capital project budgets and schedules.

Client Survey Results Biggest Challenge for 2023
Client Survey Results Biggest Challenge for 2023
Client Survey Results Top Priority 2023


2023 is shaping up to be a year of change, and our survey results reflect that. Clients are investing in capital improvement projects to accommodate the hybrid work environment. This includes reworking offices to maximize space or cutting back on space if necessary, executing maintenance-related projects that were not addressed over the last few years, and strategizing sustainable growth plans. The priority is to use the resources available more efficiently and effectively to achieve the best possible outcomes with the least financial burden.

Client Survey Results Top Priority 2023


The results from the survey also revealed that the economy is in a period of uncertainty for our clients. This is causing deep concern among investors, especially when it comes to capital improvements. With inflation on the rise, many projects are becoming increasingly difficult to finance due to high-interest rates. Additionally, the issues with supply chains make it hard for businesses to get the materials they need to meet schedules. Finally, demographic shifts play a role in market trends and are making our clients rethink their business models. All these factors contribute to an uncertain environment that is having far-reaching effects on all aspects of business and investment. Understanding these issues and their impacts is key to success in the current economic climate.

Client Survey Results Industry Trends Being Watched
Client Survey Results Industry Trends Being Watched
Client Survey Results Differentiating Your Company From the Rest


Our clients are focusing on differentiating themselves in the market by providing exceptional customer service, value, and client satisfaction. They understand that relationships and excellence drive success – knowing who they are and what they are not allows them to provide superior service. Additionally, an innovative approach is recognized as crucial to remain relevant in today’s ever-evolving market. The bottom line is that customer service, value, client satisfaction, and innovation are essential to remain competitive far into the future.

Client Survey Results Differentiating Your Company From the Rest

The 2023 Market Trends Survey results revealed key challenges, priorities, and trends for the coming years that businesses need to be aware of to remain competitive.
We hope that by leveraging the insights gathered from this report, our clients can understand how they compare with their peers (and their competition) to enable them to make strategic decisions or shift current practices that will help ensure their long-term success. This report provides awareness of what is motivating other companies and what is changing in the marketplace. We also want to offer ideas for how our clients might adapt from these insights.


To combat inflation and escalation, consider involving a cost estimator early in your design project planning and throughout your design process. An expert cost estimator will work with real-time market data and be able to help you work within tight budgets and shift as needed during design instead of making costly changes after bidding or during construction.

Completing a strategic facilities assessment and developing a long-term master plan is beneficial to stay on track with capital improvements by
incorporating growth projections, strategic initiatives, deferred and ongoing maintenance needs, and the changing work environment considerations. A focused and deliberate planning process results in guidelines that anticipate future conditions and will enhance your organization’s ability to achieve its goals.

Consider alternate financing sources with low-interest rates, like USDA loans for projects in small communities, or investigate community grants and incentives from local economic development organizations. The Inflation Reduction Act has recently made it more attractive to consider installing solar panels to help reduce utility costs and expedite your return on investment, even for tax-exempt entities. An experienced electrical engineer can quickly determine how solar can work for you and what incentives are available for your project.

Finally, designing your facilities with a people-first approach will reinforce your culture and uphold your focus on exceptional customer service. Aligning yourself with a design firm that supports your values, has a genuinely collaborative process, and seeks to produce solutions that improve the customer experience is critical to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

Passionate People Delivering Remarkable Results

Questions? Get in touch with our Director of Business Development & Marketing:

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