Before the summer started, you had dreams of running out to your backyard and diving into the cool waters of your new inground pool. Visions of swimming, splashing, and playing with large inflatable toys have dominated your mind since spring when construction first started. Now it’s the beginning of August, the last and hottest month of summer, and you still have no pool!
You’re getting angry and frustrated, looking to your pool contractor for answers. There may be several things that could be causing the delay of your pool: high demand, slower deliveries of materials and equipment, pandemic restrictions, and the list could go on.
However, one factor that could delay your pool building that no one is talking about is…labor shortage.
The lack of skilled workers for jobs has been an Achilles heel not just in the pool construction business, but also in the construction industry overall. There are just not enough people around to do the job.
But what does this have to do with you?
At J Designs Pool and Spa, we believe that to combat an issue we need to get in front of it and understand it. For nearly 14 years we have constructed pools successfully for our clients despite specific problems that may arise. We believe in educating new and existing pool owners, not just about pools, but also about the factors that could influence their construction as well.
By knowing more about labor shortages and how they can delay the timeline of getting your pool built, you will have the knowledge to work with your contractor and develop a plan around this issue.
When Did The Labor Shortage Start?
We know, you didn’t sign on to read this article for a history lesson, so let’s be brief.
The straightforward answer is that the labor shortage started years ago.
A lot of people say that it began during COVID (as most terrible things did), but the truth is that with the baby boomer generation retiring from the construction workforce, the labor shortage has been a problem that’s been brewing for almost a decade. Way before the pandemic.
Not to say that the last two years did not blow a hole into an already gigantic issue. With the number of deaths and illnesses that skyrocketed due to COVID, we lost a huge chunk of our labor force.
Thousands of men and women either lost their lives, became too sick to work, or decided to leave their jobs and take care of their families. Whatever the reason, the construction industry found itself with suddenly half of its workforce and more demand from clients.
California has taken a really large hit with a lot of businesses relocating to less expensive areas of the country…and taking their tradesmen with them.
California is a rich, prosperous and powerful state, but taxes are higher and don’t even get us started on those gas prices.
Also, a lot of high schoolers are not getting — or not looking for — apprenticeship opportunities to learn a trade. So re-educating a new labor force generation has been difficult.
What does labor shortage mean for the pool industry?
Now, let’s take this issue and narrow it down a bit to the pool industry specifically. How have we been affected by this? What does this mean for you and your pool delay?
Like with most construction industries, this is something that the pool construction business has never really encountered. At least not at this level. And we have the pandemic to thank for that.
Before COVID, the demand for pool building was not as high as it is now.
However, in the past two years, pool orders have increased by 30%-40%. People are staying home these days. They want to enhance the value of their home by adding features that they feel will make it a more fun place to stay. One of those features is pools.
By building their backyard oasis, they can have the luxury of going on a vacation without ever leaving their house. It’s a great investment, and people everywhere are getting into the buzz.
While this has been a great boon to the pool industry and given us a lot of business, with the labor shortage, it has been hard to keep up with the rising demand.
Pool installations that would normally have taken a couple of months are now being extended for 7-9 months. There are so many pools but not enough people to build them!
So, if you are wondering why the pool that you started building in May is still not completed by August, this current lack of workforce could be a reason why.
What Is The Pool Industry Doing About The Labor Shortage?
We’re not economists, so we can’t accurately predict if this labor shortage issue is going to go away any time soon. In fact, we think that things will get worse before it gets better. But that doesn’t mean that as an industry we don’t have any backup plans in place.
With the growing demand for pools, it’s more important than ever for us to have processes in place so that our client can still get their pool in a reasonable amount of time.
Will the wait times be longer? Sure, that can’t be avoided these days. But what are we doing as pool builders to supplement our labor force?
One increasingly popular method is the business-to-business model or B2B.
What that involves is companies collaborating and lending out specific contractors to each other to complete a project.
This has made a huge impact on the pool construction business because it is usually highly competitive. However, we are learning to work together and supply each other with the workforce needed to complete a project.
For example, let’s say a pool builder is installing a swim jet for an inground pool. They would reach out to another builder with an available plumbing specialist who would contract them out for a fee to assist with the swim jet installation.
By doing this, they do not need to reach out to a laborer who may not have the expertise in plumbing swim jets to adequately help. They are utilizing a licensed contractor with the knowledge to do this specific work.
But what about you?
What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Pool Building Delay?
The easiest and best advice that we give to any client is to always keep in close communication with your pool contractor.
The next best advice is: don’t panic!
That’s easier said than done, especially when your frustrations are rising higher than the summer temperatures.
However, please know that the pool industry is actively implementing certain practices to make sure that no matter what, you get your pool built safely and in enough time for you to enjoy it.
As hopeless as this situation may feel, there are certain ways that you can help get your pool completed on time during a labor shortage.
1. Be Proactive and Vigilant
Make a plan for your pool with your contractor and stay up to date on any potential red flags that could cause interruption to your project. That way, if you catch them beforehand, you can work out a great method for getting around them.
2. Have a Well-Planned Swimming Pool Blueprint
We understand that things change and with our line of business, we’ve come to expect it. But having a well-thought-out idea for what you want your pool to look like and sticking as close to it as possible will eliminate the need for additional labor later on.
3. Keep It Simple
With a more complicated pool comes a more involved labor force.
As tempting as having a basketball court attached to your pool is, you might want to start small. This is especially true if you are a first-time pool owner. Save the bells and whistles for later, or add them on at separate times, instead of all at once.
The Next Steps To Speeding Up Your Pool Building Delays
In this article, you came to find the answer to “Why is my pool building delayed?”
Now you know how labor shortage may be contributing to your pool building delay and some steps you can take to make sure your pool building goes smoothly, like being proactive, having a well-planned pool blueprint, and keeping it simple.
For 14 years, we at J Designs have given our clients the tools and knowledge that they need to get in front of the issues that might be affecting their pool building. If you have more questions after reading this article, there are a few easy options for you:
Talk to our Sales Rep to make sure everything is going smoothly as it should be.
If you’re not ready to talk to sales, check out this other article: