Priorities Change

Laura M. Porinchak / October 2018

For a very long time, the number-one worry that contractors had was getting paid on time for completed work. Having enough money to pay employees and buy equipment was first and foremost on their minds. Receiving prompt payments was the top priority then, but today contractors are awake at night because the work is out there—but the workers are not. t.
This month we asked some AWCI member contractors how they are managing and working through the shortage of skilled workers. One suggestion is to offer higher salaries to merit shop employees, but those who may want the job may not have the proper skill set to do the job. It’s great to have the helping hands, but if those hands aren’t trained, they’re no good. What a dilemma! Contractors can open their wallets a little more to provide training to the able-bodied rookie, but that also adds more time to job schedules.
Another suggestion is to continue to build up the reputation of a construction career. Arguments in our favor include little or no student loan debt, and excellent wages in most regions. In many cases, the opportunity to advance within a company is also seen as a pro.
You can read all the suggestions and find out how contractors are preparing for the future by reading our lead article, which starts on page 32.
After that comes a very tongue-in-cheek story that begins on page 42. I’m a little embarrassed to confess that this one made me LOL a couple of times because I think I may “know” some of the characters mentioned. You’ll see what I mean when you start reading.
The article is written by Steve Saucerman. Steve recently retired from his construction career, and now he feels comfortable speaking openly about some of the people he has worked with over the years. Specifically, it’s the family business model in the Midwest. No names are mentioned, but you’ll recognize the various types.
Finally, we look to the West. We have been covering various regions of the United States this year to find out how contractors are doing when it comes to margins, materials, labor, backlogs, etc., and this month we learn that business is pretty darn good in the West. Flip to page 48 to learn the details.
This month also features the Fall New Product Guide (page 27), an introduction to blockchain is provided in InSync (page 24), and, if you don’t already know, you will learn the difference between draftstopping, fireblocking and firestopping in Wachuwannano (page 25).
There is more, of course, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun. I’ll let you discover the rest on your own.