Finding good contractors and a steady stream of supplies is still a challenge for contractors across the Valley. Supply chain and labors shortages will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future which means price increases and project delays will continue to affect contractors and their clients. The problem is putting Arizona contractor such as roofers, kitchen remodelers, and garage door installers in a bind and requires them to creatively overcome these issues.
It is hard to hire experienced contractors right now with “89 percent of firms having a hard time finding craft workers,” According to a 2021 survey by Associated General Contractors of America. The survey also stated that “88 percent of firms are experiencing project delays and 93 percent are affected by rising material cost.”
General Manager of Mesa roofing contractor Overson Roofing said necessary supplies have been in such short supply and the company has been buying in bulk even if they don’t need the product for a current job.
“Roofing supplies such as shingles, wood battens and concrete tiles have been in extremely short supply,” Smyth said. “ This means we have to do things in less cost effective ways such predicting what types of jobs we might have in the future and buying those products in bulk. The last thing we want is to not have enough materials to complete a job.”
Other contractors have been dealing with the same supply chain issues.
Lead Designer at Scottsdale Kitchen Remodeler Kitchens By Good Guys Amber Carfield said that supply chain issues have doubled job completion times.
“Essential kitchen materials such as cabinets and appliances are on back order which means a typical three month job can become a six month job,” Carfield said. “ The situation is not ideal but we have done a good job of setting realistic expectations for our clients that they are happy with.”
Dave Krzyzak Owner of garage door repair and installation company Palm Valley Garage Doors said product is in short supply and cost are rising.
“Torsion springs, garage door panels, and garage door openers aren’t as easy to find and when you do find them they are more expensive,” Krzyzak said. “It has been a strain on my business and I honestly don’t know when it is going to settle down.”
Supply chain issues may be a concern for contractors, but they are finding proactive ways to deal with the issue.
Carfield said that her company has been taking more short-term jobs while waiting for supplies on bigger jobs.
“Some remodeling jobs are going to require you to wait for products to get in,” Carfield said. “If I am waiting for cabinets I cannot start the rest of the remodel. So instead of waiting we take on some jobs that aren’t dealing with the same supply chain constraints.”
Carfield went on to explain that instead of waiting for cabinets to come Kitchens by Good Guys will do some countertop installation or backsplash instead.
“The goal is to close out more projects instead of waiting on supply chains,”
Finding good talent has also been a struggle for many contractors.
“Hiring experienced roofers has been a real challenge for us,” Smyth said. “Many people would prefer short term work for many different roofing companies as opposed to working long term employment with one company.”
This means roofing companies are in stiff competition to hire a very small pool of experienced roofers. This competition has shifted Overson Roofing’s priorities to retaining their best talent as opposed to hiring someone new.
“It is hard to hire experienced contractors and we don’t want to hire anyone new which means our main focus has been keeping the roofers we have,” Smyth said. “We want to keep the team we have and this means giving them frequent opportunities for raises, providing them with good benefits, and giving them a chance to educate themselves in their trade.”
Smyth went on to say that hiring the company from within has allowed them to maintain a pool of experienced contractors and complete their jobs they have on the books.
A labor shortage and supply chain issues have been a constant challenge for contractors over the last year and a half. Despite these challenges contractors have responded and continued to see their business grow.
Max Lancaster is a freelance writer in Phoenix, Arizona.