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Sticks and Stones: Avoid Delays that Hurt Home Improvement Timelines

Supply Chain Delays and Increased Demand Lead Homeowners to Plan Much Further Ahead

Bonfires, cornstalks and mums are synonymous with fall, and thoughts of spring flowers have been tucked away until next year. However, if planning for a bigger fire pit in time for next spring or summer is on the short list of upcoming home projects, it’s time to start planning now. The days of calling a contractor and getting an estimate within a week are rare and far in between. Not only has the pandemic affected the way we socialize, but it also ushered in a new way of living and doing business.

“People are spending more time outdoors now than before, and they’re investing in outdoor living spaces - they’re investing in their assets,” says Bryan Rice of Rice’s Landscapes Redefined. “We’re seeing people add extensions of their living spaces into the outdoors by way of gas fire pits, outdoor kitchens, seating walls and more.”

As the demand for home projects grows, contractors are facing challenges in the supply chain, including shipping and manufacturing delays, labor shortages, product inventory availability and more. Much of this is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result has significantly impacted project turnaround time. However, this new normal, at least for the time being, is an opportunity to become better planners and more efficient with time and projects.

“It’s like anything in life, getting ahead of it is the best way to manage it,” says Bryan. “Our January and February schedules are already booked, and we are starting to schedule for May already.”

Ohio weather dictates the number of days that work can be completed, and labor is limited. The green industry has faced labor challenges for many years, but the demand of recent increased project requests has added to longer turnaround times.

While taking the initial step to begin a project may be daunting, the role of the contractor is to remove the burden off the homeowner and make the project seamless. Whether planning to freshen up landscape design, install a new patio in time for a graduation party or considering a new pergola build, advanced planning is key.

“Some projects can take weeks to put together – people change their minds. We have a talented team of folks, and we work with customers from concept to finish and bring the designs to life. Collaboration takes time. We design, build and maintain projects,” Bryan says. “The key is to contact us so we can get the project on the calendar. It’s like planning for retirement. This is no different. Get ahead of it if you want to do it right,” he says.

Sidebar:

Steps to accomplish a successful project

Research – know what you want before trying to schedule a project.

Plan early – it’s never too early to begin.

Budget – establish a budget and talk with your contractor.

Make the call – contact your contractor and set up a schedule.

For more information about landscape and outdoor planning, visit RicesLandscapes.com.

Home Remodeling Projects

Just like shag carpet and floral wallpaper, styles in home remodeling have changed. From color palettes to countertops, homeowners are updating and upgrading to enhance their living spaces and the value of their homes.

However, the home remodeling industry has also been impacted by an increase in the number of project requests as well as supply chain struggles.

“An order that may have originally taken eight weeks to arrive has now turned into what is sometimes a 23-week delivery,” explains Brian St. Jean, president of Infinity Homes and Remodeling in Massillon. “Some of the delays are a result of labor shortages, shipping delays, an increase in home remodeling requests, as well as national events that impact us locally. For example, the freeze in Texas affected plumbing supplies.”

Some supplies like countertops are more available locally, thanks to partnerships with area vendors. Although, cabinet delivery times are significantly longer.

According to Brian, increased costs for shipping and materials are adding to the price tag of projects, but the good news is the price of lumber is beginning to realign with regular market costs. Low interest rates are helping offset those increased costs as well.

“My advice is don’t wait to plan. It’s possible to get some projects under contract by the end of the year, but we are already scheduling for next year. We’re being notified of delivery dates, but then finding out about delays later. So, we’re basing our schedule on past projects because suppliers can’t always give an estimate,” says Brian.

Consider these tips for a successful project:

●       Plan. Start thinking about steps to get the project going earlier than later.

●       Contact a couple contractors for estimates and check references.

●       Engage the contractor from the beginning. They can help determine what options are available and design a project to fit within budgets.

●       Establish the budget with the contractor in the beginning and be honest. Contractors will help achieve goals and remain on budget.

“When we quote a job, I share the cost of materials and labor, and I include an allowance section, which is set aside for materials like cabinets, faucets, countertops, backsplash and flooring. We encourage our customers to make product selections as soon as possible. They can find inspiration from several sources, including our website and social media profiles on Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and even TikTok. From that point we can build a schedule around the delivery,” he says.

For design inspiration and trends, visit InfinityHomesRemodeling.com

Exterior Home Projects

Exterior home projects have also been impacted by supply chain delays, but for a homeowner who might find themselves with roof damage and in need of a roof this fall, they’re in luck! Thanks to on-demand availability of roofing supplies and a solid labor force at ProCon Exteriors, roofing projects are among the few projects that may not require a delayed start.

Roofing and siding projects typically wrap up for the season at the beginning of December, but emergencies or more unique requests can often be accommodated. For example, if a residential homeowner or commercial business owner needs a metal roof on a shed or pole building, that’s a project that could be handled during the winter.

However, siding projects are currently being scheduled 12-14 weeks from now. 

“During the COVID shutdown, there was a backlog,” says Henry Yoder, co-owner and sales manager of ProCon Exteriors. “People were buying siding, but manufacturers weren’t making it, and orders increased significantly more than usual.”

Like other industries, scheduling in advance is paramount. Henry says his team can help homeowners determine colors, materials, trim, etc. during the research phase of the project. With visualization software, customers can also upload a photo of their home and virtually try various siding colors and trim to demonstrate how the finished job will look. 

“We encourage people to call now and not wait until they’re ready for the project to actually be completed. Weather plays a big role, so it’s important to get on the schedule now rather than later,” Yoder says.

Standard colors and styles, like white siding with black trim are more available and can be in-hand within a couple weeks. However, more unique requests will take longer.

“We’re seeing a bigger trend with the white farmhouse feel, but then we have people who request completely different color variations. They might have white siding on the first level and a second color transition at the bottom or top of the second-floor windows,” Yoder says.  

Located in Kidron, Ohio, ProCon Exteriors offers new construction, roofing, siding and turnkey projects.

Visit proconexteriors.com to learn more.

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