Construction jobs and building-trade careers are growing more and more difficult to find. With the housing market flat and new construction projects at a standstill, contractors and the general laborers they employ are feeling the pressure. Remaining optimistic is tough when there aren't any construction jobs available. Yet, for every opportunity, there are hundreds of people who need and want the chance to bid on a job. Understanding the reality of the tough marketplace is fine but don’t let negative news define your future.
How the recession has crippled the construction industry
There are several reasons the construction industry is having a tough time bouncing back. It will be difficult for the housing market to revive when there are so many factors working against those who desperately need jobs in construction. But there is hope. This year housing and construction jobs are trending up.
1. Financing is difficult to obtain for new projects. Whether it's a large commercial project or a family's first home, new construction is costly. Banks aren't eager to loan money. Even when they are willing to look at a new loan, loan officers have strict guidelines that often prevent a lender from extending credit. Yet, loans are being made, construction is starting again so somebody’s getting hired!
2. With the job market in dire straits, contractors have found themselves unemployed. Individuals have turned to general labor in hopes of providing for their families. Laborers are bidding on limited jobs and the market is flooded. So do you give up and go home or do you simply double your efforts and get creative?
3. Those in the construction industry realize that those who are willing to change how they do business will be the ones to secure opportunities. Thanks to the recession, there will be too few jobs and too many people who need them. Again, bad news for the lazy, good news for the creative, innovative and hard worker willing to go the extra mile to prove him or herself.
4. The going rate for construction work and general labor has been driven down but the cost of building materials remain high. Most contractors can't afford to keep doing business. Given that, the natural selection of the marketplace has removed the weak and left the strong. Which are you?
How to find jobs in construction
Even though the economy taking its toll on those looking for construction jobs, here are some creative ideas to secure work in construction:
1. Find remodeling jobs. While new construction is stale, remodeling jobs aren't dead yet. Rather than move, homeowners are extending or improving their homes and are looking for construction professionals to do this work.
2. Learn to be a Jack-of-all-trades. Look for opportunities to learn new skills that make you more attractive to a construction company or contractor.
3. Roofing is still profitable because homeowners and business owners typically won't let their roofs deteriorate. Provide a service for replacement roofing. Use references from past construction jobs to build credibility.
4. Offer competitive prices for replacement windows, solar installations, and other improvements. Sometimes homeowners can't afford a total remodel but with all the television commercials advertising windows, the replacement window business seems to thrive even when the rest of the building industry is declining.
5. Painting and decorating jobs may carry you through the lean period until construction work picks up again. Pass out business cards and offer discounted rates for repeat customers and referrals.
6. Advertise your availability for small projects like building a deck, helping with a garage, or building cabinets. Homeowners are often forced to do their projects alone, but sometimes they hit a snag and would love to call in reinforcements. Contractors available for small jobs may earn more profit than those only willing to take on the larger projects.
7. Be the squeaky wheel. That’s the one that gets the oil. Be persistent. Set up your list of places you’d like to work and contact them in a tactful way every week or so. Timing is everything. Things change quickly and your chances of landing a job go up when you’re at the top of that construction manager’s mind.
Construction jobs and general labor opportunities are out there but you may need to change how you’ve been doing business and widen your vision of construction work. It's important to work smarter rather than harder in these tough times. With a little determination and creativity, a hard-working contractor will survive and eventually thrive!