How The Skilled Labor Shortage Affects You
Since the recession in 2008, more than 1.5 million residential construction workers have left the industry to either retire or move to a new field. Combine this with fewer young people entering building trades and a surge in homeowner confidence. The result is a skilled labor shortage, which is forcing contractors to ask homeowners to wait longer than they had in the past. This type of demand is wonderful for contractors. But how does it affect you as a homeowner?
In today’s market, it’s even more important to look at what’s necessary around your home before shifting into your want list. Planning your most critical projects well ahead of time, such as a replacement roof, upgraded HVAC system or new main line, will ensure the job is done right by skilled pros who bring years of experience. Now that we have a labor shortfall and longer wait times when booking qualified contractors, homeowners who postpone their most essential renovations and repairs can see those quickly morphing into urgent matters. That urgency can lead to hasty decisions, such as passing a job off to a lesser-qualified tradesman simply because they’re available. In the end, you’re left with low quality work that was handled in a rush. To ensure quality, be sure to plan ahead.
Beyond this, contractors are becoming more selective about the jobs they pursue. This means homeowners are finding their jobs passed over or quoted high by contractors preferring larger projects or jobs that are more rewarding. Ultimately, homeowners should account for the added time it takes to get the right price for a qualified contractor, especially as fees rise due to demand exceeding supply. And, there doesn’t appear to be a better balance of supply and demand in the near future.
Finally, specify everything you need upfront when hiring a contractor. Peak demand paired with a skilled labor shortage has made it challenging for contractors to squeeze in those little extras at the end of a job once they’ve already committed to the start date of their next job.