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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is a Shortage of New Home Builders on the Horizon?

Every day business people are telling us they can’t find enough skilled and unskilled labor to fill all the open positions. Restaurants, convenience stores, manufacturers and even Walmart are constantly trying to grab just about anyone that has a pulse to hire.


I’ve written several articles about this subject and how it is hurting both the modular home factory and their authorized builders. Factories are not only having production line jobs go unfilled but their sales and management staffs are dwindling to low levels with nobody answering their help wanted ads.

Modular home builders are facing delays by subcontractors caused by stretched thin ranks of workers wanting to do even things like drywall finish and cabinet installation.

While this is happening right now another even bigger labor shortage is just beginning to poke its head over the horizon. There is a shortage of skilled builders, both offsite and site moving in to fill the empty slots of boomer builders that are retiring or dying.

A builder not only needs good carpentry and finish knowledge, he/she needs good accounting, marketing, sales, financial and scheduling knowledge. These skills are sometimes passed down from one generation to the next like it has been done for decades but even that seems to be a thing of the past.


Many sons and daughters today look at their parent’s business as something they don’t want. I’ve talked to many builders and even modular factory owners who acknowledged their children want nothing to do with following in their footsteps.

If this low hanging fruit isn’t available for modular factories to pick to keep their doors open, where will they find builders to market and buy their homes?

To add insult to injury, I have not found a single factory with any type of marketing designed to bring new site builders, offsite builders and more importantly, ‘new to modular’ builders into the modular home business. Instead the factory sales staff continues to do what they have done for many, many years...try to steal a builder away from another factory.

Unfortunately that barrel just doesn’t have as many fish in it as it had just 10 years ago.

Looking for skilled and unskilled labor to fill the empty slots you have right now is a priority today but I have to wonder who will these factories sell their product to in 2025 and beyond if we as an industry don’t begin recruiting and training new home builders today?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gary,

This is something that has concerned me for the past couple of years. Not only do we have a difficult time finding people to work in the factory, our builders are having a difficult time finding set people and finish people. On top of this, there is no one getting into the building trades or business. There just are no new builders - on-site or off-site! Young kids today are not looking to do manual labor anymore. They are told to go to college so they can get a GOOD JOB. The several articles you have done lately have highlighted this fact very well and it makes me wonder where our future business as a modular home factory will come from on 10 or 15 years! As an industry, we have to figure out a way to attract new blood into this business - from all aspects! Otherwise we will be relying on foreign companies to build our homes.

Thanks for all you do!