News / Community / Business / 16th September 2021
Is there a shortage of local tradespeople?
The recent lockdown period has highlighted the dire tradie shortage in Coonabarabran.
Many bored home owners have opted to pick up the tools and dive into some much-needed renovations. But when it comes to the harder, technical aspects of their build and calling the experts for help - there can be lengthy delays.
Electrician, Marc Hawkins said his business had picked up so much since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak that he’d had to employ an apprentice.
While he said he currently had a two- month backlog of work, he stopped short of claiming a shortage of sparkies in the area.
“I was just going to try to get by on my own,but it just got too busy,” Mr Hawkins said.
“I found that a lot of people were stuck at home during the lockdowns and wanting to get some work done.
“Business has been good for us and there can be a bit of a wait, but if there were any more sparkies, the town would be saturated, and there’d be little to no work for anyone.”
Fellow electrician, Guy Andrews has a nine-strong workforce and said he too had noticed an increase in demand for tradies since COVID struck.
“We’re always busy, but we’ve been busier since COVID. People are spending more time at home and wanting to get different bits and pieces of work done,” Mr Andrews said.
“And then their electricity bill goes up so they look into getting solar.
“We get through it pretty quick though. If someone rings up and wants something done we can usually get there within a couple weeks.
“And most of us work pretty well together, so ifoneofuscan’tgettoa certain job we’ll pass it on to another electrician in town.”
However, both electricians said getting a builder or a tiler in town was near impossible.
“Builders, tilers and painters in particular are hard to get,” Mr Andrews said.
Plumber, Barry Patterson said the tradie shortage wasn’t only isolated to Coonabarabran, that the problem went a lot deeper.
“There’s a nation-wide shortage of tradies,” Mr Patterson said.
Local painter, Vernon Kearney said he had some clients who had been waiting for his services for three to four months and he’d had to prioritise the work that came in.
He said working on his own could make it difficult, but decent workers were hard to come by.
“The main problem is employing someone,” Mr Kearney said.
“People don’t want to do the hard yards anymore; they want to start from the top and be paid top dollar - and that’s just not how it works.
“That’s why I work on my own. If someone came to me who was already a decent painter, was reliable, and I could leave them on their own and not have to come back and fix things, I’d probably give them a go. But for now it’s just me.
“Most clients are happy to wait though, you just have to communicate and let them know what’s going on.”
The Coonabarabran Times has established an online Business Directory - the Coonabarabran Directory - to help connect consumers to the local tradespeople and business services.
Check it out at www.coonabarabranbusiness.com.au or if you’re a tradesmen or any business owner and wish to advertise your services and get a direct link to clients, give the office a call on 6842 1844.