Along with their awareness of the importance of energy costs, the consultants have placed proximity to major markets in the sixth spot, with 90.5 percent of the responding consultants considering this factor as "very important" or "important." And proximity to suppliers, although ranked just 15th, showed the largest percentage increase among the site selection factors - jumping 8.9 percentage points to a 79.8 percent importance rating. Additionally, the consultants agree with the corporate respondents regarding the increasing importance of railroad service, which showed the second-largest increase in importance - 8.7 percentage points - and is considered "very important" or "important" by 46.8 percent of the responding consultants.
Occupancy and construction costs is ranked eighth by the consultants, considered "very important" or "important" by 88.3 percent of the respondents. This is similar to the importance rating given this factor by the corporate respondents, although it ranked higher (fourth) on their list of site selection factors.
Rounding out the consultants' top 10 is availability of buildings with an 86.3 percent importance rating, up 8.4 percentage points, the third-highest increase in the consultants' ratings, and jumping ahead seven spots in the rankings from 2009, the largest jump in the consultants' rankings overall. The consultants' view of this factor is in sync with that of our corporate respondents, who also ranked this factor in tenth position. Both groups recognize the need to get projects up and running quickly in response to quickly changing market conditions. In fact, more than 70 percent of the responding consultants say the existence of a shovel-ready or pre-certified site is very or somewhat important in their clients' site search (Chart AA).
Finally, we asked those taking our 2010 Consultants Survey if their clients consider whether there are businesses performing similar activities to theirs in the area of search. More than 80 percent said this was the case and that this is an important concern (Chart BB).
When it comes to the quality-of-life factors - which are ranked separately from the other site selection factors - the corporate and consultant respondents agree: low crime rate is the number-one factor, with a 75 percent importance rating in the Consultants Survey. Similarly, both groups ranked recreational opportunities last among the quality-of-life factors, with the consultants giving it a 43.7 percent importance rating. Again, in tough economic times, recreational needs are put aside.