Winter is generally regarded as one of the worst times to start building something. But we have a few reasons why it’s actually a good time to get your building project on its feet.
Bad weather and holidays are the main reasons that winter isn’t considered a great time to start building. Freezing weather can put a complete stop to various construction processes, like paving or painting. Holidays mean frequent breaks, so workers are harder to come by. Additionally, new years day often when budgets for businesses and local governments change, so it’s fairly hard to predict what demand for construction services will be. Will there be a glut of people needing things built because they are trying to spend surplus budget from the past year or two? Maybe there will be lower than usual demand because many companies also take breaks and have low seasons over the winter. Either way, volatility of the market, weather-related hold ups, and frequent holidays make winter less than ideal for building. Right?
Let’s look at why winter might be exactly the time you want to get your project going.
More contractor availability
A long-running labor shortage in construction means general contractors are in short supply — and many recent developments have not helped.
Even with some companies and government agencies trying to spend the last of their budgets before the new year, most construction contractors consider winter a low season. This is even truer given that we are still recovering from various crises that occurred in the last decade. There was already a shortage of skilled construction labor going into 2020. Initially, the labor shortage was fueled by the trend over the last several generations for young people to go to college and get white-collar jobs rather than blue collar. The Great Recession of 2008/9 didn’t help. The housing market was hit especially hard. This caused a temporary drop off in construction demand, and thus many workers left the construction industry to find jobs elsewhere.
When the pandemic hit, the US market lost another 975,000 jobs in April 2020 alone. Although the labor market has started to recover, it’s still a long way off. Needless to say, if you are considering building, you will want to capitalize on the time when the least amount of construction contractors are employed.
The problem of the low supply of skilled labor will only get worse until after we have completely recovered from the pandemic. Before vaccines are available to everyone and the economy can get back to work, construction projects will continue to build up. Meanwhile, the worker supply will stay roughly the same. When we are finally over and done with COVID, we will have to see what happens. Will the supply of workers increase commensurately with an economy bouncing back from the pandemic? If so, great, but there will still be a labor shortage. If not, then there will be an even bigger labor shortage.
Whatever happens, it makes sense to consider starting your project in the winter, as it’s one of the best times to find available contractors.
- Fewer scheduling conflicts.
- More time to dedicate to one project.
- Easier to stay on the projected timeline.
Winter labor is cheaper
In the spring and summer, many businesses are getting work done. Their new yearly budgets are finalized and they are ready to start working on their plans. This creates a glut of businesses needing work, and in the free market, prices go up to reflect the higher demand.
You can get ahead of the curve by starting your project in December-February. Take advantage not only of the lower worker demand, but the lower prices as well.
Union rates often increase between June and October as well. So putting off that project until summer might result in higher contract prices.
Avoid the labor price hikes of the spring and summer by getting your project going in the winter months.
Business is frequently slower in the winter
For the same reasons that construction can be harder in the winter (weather and holidays), business is usually slower.
People go out of state to visit family, snow days prevent them from coming to work, and winter weather prevents a whole host of activities that a business can make money off of. Some businesses, like indoor gyms and ski parks, pick up in the winter, but most don’t. Companies that make and sell things like swimwear and water sports gear, outdoors and camping supplies, outdoor gardening/ landscaping, and the like have low seasons during winter. For companies that experience cold-weather lulls, winter is the perfect time to have renovations or other work done. With fewer customers to be disturbed by a business full of dusty commercial contractors, winter makes sense to fix up issues or get that new addition. Not only will there be fewer customers to bother, but the contractors can finish work quickly themselves if they have fewer distractions and people around the construction site.
Finally, depending on the scope of the project, a winter construction might be completed by spring or summer. Obviously, a whole building takes years, but renovation and remodeling can take a few months. Get it done in the winter so everything is pretty and ready to go when business picks back up in the spring/summer.
Take advantage of the low season in your business, quit putting it off and get that construction project started in winter.
Get your winter work done reliably
Reliable Commercial is ready to work on your project this winter, next, or any other. We are an expert commercial construction company, with a several hundred person team and over 35 years of experience in the industry. We know the challenges of winter construction, and we are ready to take them head on. Get in contact with us today, and we will be happy to give you a free quote, and get your project off the ground this winter.