If you’re having a difficult time finding contractors to help you get your listings ready for market, you’re not alone. Agents and homeowners across the country are struggling to find contractors to complete even the simplest of jobs—so what’s the deal?
To tell the full story, it’s best to rewind back to the Great Recession of 2008.
The Great Recession stretched from 2007-2009, but the effects on the construction industry lasted from 2006 to 2013. Millions of jobs were lost, and thousands of businesses were affected. To put it into perspective, pre-recession, the total monthly valuation for all construction was $1.2 trillion. When the industry bottomed out in February 2011, the value of construction in place was just under $755 billion dollars. The number of employees also fell drastically—from 7.7 to 5.4 million.
Now, let’s fast forward back to today.
While the industry has largely recovered, many skilled workers left the workforce when the industry bottomed out, never to return again. Another set of workers is simply ready for retirement. Finally, the industry hasn’t received the same influx of new workers from younger generations because of negative perceptions toward trades as well as an assumption that attending college is the only way to earn a livable wage.
Most Americans are aware that there’s a lumber shortage because it’s garnered a lot of media attention—but there’s also a skilled worker shortage. According to the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2020 Construction Outlook Survey, 81% of construction firms had trouble filling trade positions and 72% anticipated labor shortages to continue to be a big hurdle.
While the number of skilled workers is on the decline, demand for their services is on the rise. Why?
There’s a serious mismatch of supply and demand within residential real estate. Not only are there not enough new homes to fill the needs of millennials—who represent the largest generation since the baby boomers as well as the current largest home-buying generation—but the condition of homes in existence also doesn’t meet consumer preferences.
Almost 80% of homes in the U.S. are now at least 20 years old and 40% are at least 50 years old. The aging of America’s housing stock means we need contractors to not only build new homes, but also to fix up the existing ones, especially since buyers have a huge preference for move-in ready. The COVID-19 pandemic has only put more pressure on the home improvement industry, as homeowners continue to transform their spaces for a different kind of life.
Pair the aging housing stock, millennial preferences for turnkey homes and the spike in home improvement projects brought on by the pandemic with the skilled worker shortage, and you’ve got an incredibly overstretched workforce. This is resulting in countless project delays and steep costs—and that’s if you can even find a contractor to do the job!
So, what can we do?
Home improvement has been done the same way for decades. Most of the work is completed by independent contractors in the US, who each have their own approach. The problem is these different approaches are almost all rooted in inefficient labor and manual processes—resulting in waiting weeks just to get a proposal. Once projects do get started, they often suffer from poor communication, frequent delays and the surprise of added costs. For real estate, this can be a deal killer and present a lot of risk to agents who need to get their client’s homes market-ready.
The industry needs streamlining, which is why Curbio is reinventing home improvement for real estate with its tech-powered process that takes the coordination away from contractors, so they can focus on what they do best—their trades.
Curbio is readily available to provide an estimate for your project within 24 hours. Our full-time project managers and network of vetted and trained trade professionals allow us to start immediately on any project. Finally, we’ve leveraged our relationships with national vendors to ensure the materials we offer are ready to ship immediately to prevent unnecessary delays in you getting your listings on the market.
Olivia Mariani is the Director of Marketing at Curbio. To learn more about Curbio’s pre-listing home improvement solution and how it can help you grow your business, visit curbio.com.