2017 looks to be a very promising year for most segments of the residential remodeling industry. Residential Window replacement is a very large business opportunity for those of us brave enough to go for it. There are an unlimited amount of projects to bid on, but what happens if you go out and sell twice what you sold the year before? What if 2017 is the year you've only dreamed of and sales roll in like never before? Who are you going to turn to for your installations? Do you look to add installers to one of your existing crews? Most likely not, anything more than a three installer crew usually leads to at least one guy standing around most of the day. For owners that have employees for window and door installers, that proposition is not real appealing.
So then what? Do you try to add a whole crew? That means having to train three hires before they can install for you. It could be six months or more to pull that off if you're lucky.
Most likely, you’ll find that anyone worth having is happily employed elsewhere. Sure, you could go find plenty of unhappy vinyl insert replacement crews out there, but if you're looking for a guy that can handle full frame installations on top end products, he is most likely happily employed and well taken care of elsewhere. If you do happen to luck out and find that guy, he is most likely over 55 years old and on the last leg of his installation career.
So, maybe you go looking for a subcontractor crew. That could be a viable option depending on your market. You will need to look at a few possible roadblocks before beginning that journey. How many companies in your market would you say could "do it like you do it?” If you're at the top of your game, I doubt that’s a very long list.
Next, let's look at how many crews they run. Most installation companies that specialize in top tier products have less than three crews they work with. This doesn’t give you a whole lot of options to go after. Not to mention, the fact that usually the lead installers on those crews are in that 55 plus category. And, if they want to get out, could you rely on his number two guy to take over? Even if a guy on that crew could handle the field work, most of those crews couldn't function without that lead guy there to take care of scheduling and customer communication.
So, even if you can gain a qualified crew, it seems to be a temporary band aid for the gaping wound you have.
The painful truth is that most truly qualified installers will be seriously looking at retirement in the next 10 years. So, where will the next generation of installers come from? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know, is we better figure it out fast before fading away.