Tyson's Take
by Tyson Schwartz
July 22nd, 2014

Where Have All the Installers Gone?

As we start to ramp up for “busy” season, it certainly has the look and feel of a historical trending year. This is to say, if we look at all our historical data before 2008, the business seems to be aligning with what once was a “traditional” window business model. From speaking to and calling window dealers throughout the country, most everyone isn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop. The confidence level is high for the industry to have a strong rebound.

One of the challenges dealers are having right now is finding installers. The installers they have had for years are doing great, but they are having to do more jobs than usual. The reason for that is window dealers want and need more installation crews but they are having trouble finding them.

We probably should not be surprised about the employment shortage for window installers. Many news outlets and magazines, such as Forbes, were talking about this two or three years ago. There certainly was a shortage of skilled workers a few years ago and now the gap has dramatically increased. Obviously part of this is caused by the business increase in our industry and another is that some skilled laborers are beginning to retire. My guess is the “skill gap” will continue to increase.

How can we keep find and train more window installers while managing our businesses, providing good service to our customers and control our costs? I wish that I had the “silver bullet” answer but I don’t. One idea that some companies are starting to do is recruit at high schools. Offering to come in and do a presentation or seminar for interested students is something we should start considering. College is not for everyone and the thought of learning a trade that could be a springboard to running your own installation business is an appealing proposition.

Through some of my research, I ran across Mike Rowe’s from Dirty Jobs. Rowe has also been concerned about the ‘skills gap.’ He has also argued that you can make a great living out of high school as a ‘qualified worker’ or ‘skilled laborer.’ He says that instead of racking up student loan debt, many young adults could have better employment opportunities and be more financially secure in the trades.

I’d be interested in your comments about this, please feel free to let me know what you are doing to find more window installers.

Great Selling!

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2 comments
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  1. Tyson – thanks for the great article! At AAMA, we know just what you’re talking about and have offered our InstallationMasters training and certification program for almost 15 years to help professionals and companies prove their installation knowledge and experience. This program could be a great jumping off point to help train new installers to start closing that gap. Anyone interested can learn more at http://www.installationmastersusa.com.

  2. Nice article,it’s been my experience in finding competent skilled window installers, is the really good ones are either owners “meaning they have their own companies” ,or some of these window companies are just not paying the price to find/ keep good installers
    I give an example: I’m looking for a good installer, so I’m interviewing this installer for the possibility of installing windows for me… as the interview is moving along he informs me that he would like to have $55 a window (standard insulation capping, disposing etc. etc.) I’m feeling pretty good up until he told me he had been installing for the $189 guys,and that they couldn’t keep him busy WOW! These $189 guys have more window work than anyone can imagine….if they didn’t want his services,” I will let you fill in the blanks” Needless to say I passed,and I’m staying with my suppliers ISS program I’m paying $135 a window they supply everything: and with that being said I know I’m paying more,but I have peace of mind that everything is going to go smooth,you cannot put a price tag on that!

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