Currently things are really, really tough for a lot of trades around the country and despite a building boom, significant factors and stressors have created a set of extremely difficult conditions. Business owners are under considerable strain and homeowners and consumers will have to adapt and perhaps be a little more understanding and forgiving with some particular expectations.

Supply shortages and inflation, coupled with rising prices have put even more strain on an already demanding situation. As reported on RNZ recently: “Master Builders president Kerry Archer said it was a ‘perfect storm’ hitting the construction industry, one that desperately wants to help ease the housing crisis.

‘We can’t get the staff to do it,’ he said. ‘We can’t get the materials to do it. The whole industry is just under an immense amount of pressure and it’s coming through in lots of different things.

‘The mental health side of the industry is terrible at the moment – the highest suicide rate of any industry in New Zealand. We’ve got failure starting to happen in businesses.'” (Source: “Material shortage creating ‘perfect storm’ for building company failure,” by Sam Riley, 22 June, 2022, www.rnz.co.nz).

Biggest demand in years for housing, and a huge anchor holding businesses back, means longer wait times for homeowners and growing frustration for both both consumers and business owners. We hear these frustrations many times a day and the fact that so many are beyond the various industries’ control is even more annoying. It’s important to remember however, that the vast majority of tradespeople, no matter how large or small their businesses are, want to work, to earn, and to build. Doing that with one hand tied behind your back is immensely disconcerting and it’s time we cut them some slack. After all, these conditions threaten the ongoing future of their companies and their livelihoods.

Ease up on expectations

I’m not talking about standards here but expectations of visits for quotes or notions of when jobs may be completed. Many business owners are still booked out months ahead and wrangling to access materials and staff. Imagining that a phone call will result in a speedy visit and resultant quote is wishful thinking. Quoting is a time consuming and laborious exercise and with the stressful conditions already in play, may take a little longer to complete. If someone you call cannot even see you for weeks and months then that is just how it is and it’s great that you are given a realistic time frame, rather than an invented one to keep you happy.

Keep looking!

If you’re told that a tradie/business owner is too busy to get you you job, then keep looking – others are still looking for work and will be available. Even though conditions are bad to satisfy demand, there are some businesses that are booked out and some that aren’t. When you’re looking for businesses on www.nocowboys.co.nz pick a few based on reviews and make a some calls. Don’t be put off if the first few calls aren’t satisfying. There are many business owners, of every trade, who will be able to fit you in.

Credit where credit is due

Some news platforms love nothing more than publishing horror stories about tradespeople and woeful experiences consumers have had. They are the exception and the 99% of hard working, industrious, personable, and creative tradies/business owners hardly ever get their fair recognition. It’s a staple of some media outlets to stick the boot in and demonise tradies, perhaps because it sells newspapers, but it also creates unhelpful stereotypes. Right now, things are really tough for many of them, so a bit of patience and a whole lot of understanding will go a long way.