Tips Tip Get Contracting Jobs Done Faster

  • June 21, 2023
  • 3 min read

The Wall Street Journal has recently highlighted a concern that has been on our radar for a few years—the shortage of available subcontractors, particularly in skilled and licensed trades such as electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists. These professionals play a crucial role in construction projects, requiring specific licenses and often extensive apprenticeships.

The Current Challenge: A Growing Gap

Over the last 36 months, the number of newcomers to these specialized trades has not kept pace with those leaving the industry. Consequently, a significant backlog has emerged, with some skilled trades reporting wait times of several months, or even years, for large construction projects. This shortage poses a challenge for home remodelers and contract builders alike.

Strategies for Navigating the Backlog

For those navigating this challenging landscape, flexibility becomes a key asset. Instead of locking in a specific time for skilled tradespeople, consider the following strategies:

  1. Early Planning and Communication: If you anticipate needing skilled trades for a large project, start reaching out to electricians, plumbers, or HVAC specialists well in advance. By doing so, you might catch them during gaps in their schedules.
  2. Stay Informed About Their Schedules: Tradespeople often have unpredictable schedules due to project delays, inspections, or permits. Keep yourself informed about their availability and be ready to capitalize on any openings.
  3. DIY Rough-Ins: Depending on the trades involved, explore the possibility of handling some of the rough-in work yourself. Many electricians and plumbers may permit homeowners or general contractors to run conductors or rough in PVC, saving them valuable time.
  4. Creativity in Labor Division: Consider which tasks you can take on to reduce the time the skilled trades spend on-site. General labor tasks that are visible and follow best practices might be areas where you can contribute.

Collaborative Solutions for Success

While some contractors may resist the idea of clients or general contractors taking on certain tasks, collaboration is key. Discuss with the skilled trades involved in your project to find common ground and explore opportunities for a joint effort. This not only helps in managing backlogs but also allows you to get your projects completed in a timely manner.

Looking Beyond Cost: Prioritizing Scheduling

While cost is undoubtedly a consideration, the primary goal is to secure a spot in the schedule. By being flexible, proactive, and open to collaboration, you increase your chances of getting the skilled trades you need, even in a challenging market.

Adaptation in the Face of Change

In a construction landscape marked by evolving challenges, adaptation is the key to success. As the industry grapples with a shortage of skilled trades, the ability to navigate backlogs creatively and collaboratively becomes a valuable skill. Stay informed, plan ahead, and explore new ways to work together to ensure your projects move forward smoothly.

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