A week ago I wrote an article about the material shortage that is absolutely plaguing the building industry in the United States. As if that is not nearly enough, there is a roofing labor shortage that is happening right now here in Michigan that could really mess things up, quickly and possibly long term. It bad enough that this business news site in Detriot “Crain’s Detriot Business” claims it’s affecting 5 out 6 contractors throughout Michigan.
Throughout the years we have been very fortunate by having a steady flow of very talented, good people wanting to work with us. Thankfully, many if not most of those folks are still with us today. By having these good members of our team doing exemplary work, the word gets out, expanding our market and business. Consequently, we have continued to hire more to meet the demand. Up until this year, this has been a fairly simple process. Again, up until this year…
Full disclosure, our business has exploded over the last 2 years and our need is nearly double where it was, so I am admittedly a little jaded. But, for Pete’s sake, it’s like pulling teeth to get qualified folks in any kind of large numbers. I am paying for ads, putting the word out with suppliers and employees, heck everything short of spinning a fancy sign on a busy corner.
Why There’s a Roofing Labor Shortage?
I hear a lot of guys trashing the young generation’s work ethic. I personally don’t agree with that. The young folks simply have opportunities many of us didn’t thank technology and other advents. Let’s also be honest, currently many are receiving more than double normal unemployment benefits due to Covid 19 relief efforts. Many folks are just aging into retirement.
We could continue to speculate other reasons for the roofing labor shortage, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter why. It’s more of a question of, what will likely happen.
How The Roofing Labor Shortage Impacts Us?
First off, currently, many projects are dragging on forever. Estimated dates of completion are not being kept and will likely drag times out further. In the roofing, siding, and windows industry we need to always push emergency jobs to the front of the line for obvious reasons, people’s health in many cases are at risk with exposure to elements, mold, etc.
This is hard for many to understand when they are waiting and times are being pushed back. Couple this together with the material shortages we are experiencing here and tempers can flare. Most are very understanding, but there are inevitably some that will not see it. We get calls from people every day complaining about other contractors not being able to complete in a timely manner, I quickly let them know why it is likely and probably not their fault, it is important to keep integrity instead of trying to poach a customer from a hard-working group of people bogged down by elements they cannot control.
Another potential thing I see coming is the rise in the cost of jobs to the customer. It is inevitable. Obviously, raw materials are jacked up 2, 3 times higher than normal. Couple that with workers demanding higher wages due to competition for their skills, it’s simple math. For someone who does not quite understand, we can always point to the real estate market, houses are selling at ridiculous prices because of this.
When Will It End?
If we knew the answers to questions like that we’d live on the Stock Market floor, no one really knows. But from what I can see, probably not. Until we can recruit and train droves of young people to get into the trades, it cannot. My fear is people’s homes deteriorating because they put off maintenance and repair to the point of it being too late.
What’s the Solution?
Stay on top of routine things that can prevent these things from happening to your home. Proper planning goes a long way in this arena. Second, encourage youngsters to consider the trades, it can be an extremely great career, being very profitable, with little to no start-up cost. We here at Elieff Brothers Roofing are always willing to train motivated people that are willing to work hard and learn to do things the right way, our door is always open!
Again, if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to address about the roofing labor shortage please comment on this post below, call us at (517) 627-7999 or drop us a private message from our contact us page.