Home renovation boom causing labor demand, driving up cost of work

Shortage of skilled workers is limiting business
Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 11, 2016

What's old is new again in the construction business. 

The home renovation market has now surpassed its pre-recession peak. 

It's now an industry with an estimated worth of $324 billion, according to a Harvard University study. 

But ABC Action News has learned that the business boom is causing a severe labor shortage. 

“You just don’t have the overall quality workmanship and the people that can handle it," said owner of Bowman Construction, Inc. Vince Bownman.

Bowman and his crew are starting the ground work for a six month home renovation project in south Tampa. 

The project's general contractor - Scott King - sees that same trend. 

"So if anybody’s out there, needs work, give me a call,” said King, owner of Scott King Contractors, Inc. 

An estimated 2 million construction workers left the industry - about 8 years ago following the housing bust. 

With consumer confidence at an all-time high to renovate - the worker shortage will cost you as much as 10% more than in years past, according to King. 

“The prices have definitely gone up," said King. 

And buyer beware - King warns the labor demand can attract phony and unlicensed contractors. 

Do your research and make sure whoever you hire is registered with the state. 

“Ultimately you’re going to be stuck with a substandard job or incomplete job and you have no legal recourse whatsoever, because now you can’t find the guy.”

To find contractors properly licensed, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website.