You might already know about the skilled labor shortage in the United States. Even so, you probably haven’t thought much about what that means for you as a homeowner.
Jobs such as roof installation and construction are skilled labor jobs, which mean they require specialized training and can’t be done by inexperienced laborers. If you’re planning to repair or replace your roof in the near future, the skilled labor shortage is probably going to affect you.
Metal roof installation is one of those specialized skills that’s in high demand.
Contractors have a hard time finding workers with the necessary skills, and because of the problems finding laborers, many contractors choose to subcontract their crew instead of employing large teams with multiple competencies.
What This Means For You, The Homeowner
The difficulty in finding skill labor means that labor costs are higher, and you might have to wait to find a crew that can complete your job.
It’s common for labor costs to make up half of the total cost of your job. This is a much higher percentage than it was 20 or 30 years ago, when skilled labor was easier to find and labor costs only contributed to about 25% to 30% of the total expense.
Aside from work being more expensive, the shortage of skilled labor also means you as the homeowner should be more diligent.
Vet your contractors with care, especially if you’re having a metal roof installed. Check out our recent blog post for some tips on how to make sure your roofer is qualified. Metal roofing requires more skill than more common materials like asphalt shingles, and a poor roofing job can damage your roof and reduce its lifespan.
Finding a skilled contractor to handle your metal roof might seem like more trouble than its worth, but remember that the labor shortage also applies to short term roofing materials. You’re likely to struggle to find a good roofer anyway, and if you get the short term material rather than shopping around for a great contractor, you’re going to have to do it all again in a few years when your roof wears out.
Depending on the scope of your project, you might see that the people who start work on your roof aren’t the same people that finish it. Turnover can happen quickly.
You don’t have to micromanage the team working on your home or commercial building – just be aware of what’s going on and ask as many questions as you must to feel confident in the quality of the work being done.
Most likely, the shortage in skilled labor will continue to be a problem for years to come. Be aware of the situation and take small steps to make sure you’re getting the outcome you want.