I recently had the privilege of joining the Texas Association of Builders at their annual Sunbelt Builder show at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. Sometime during the 2-day event I made a few observations on our industry that I would like to share with you. Here are my Sunbelt takeaways:
- The old boys club needs to help the next generation.
There isn’t much of a younger generation because no one has told them there is opportunity in the industry. I saw one husband and wife there who were in their early thirties, and they had driven 3 hours from Waco to see what they could learn. They were not there for the booths, they were there for the education. Apparently, they have no one to learn from in their region due to competition. One good way to help the younger generation would be to create business partnerships and give minority stakeholders for either party in a business to allow information to be exchanged more freely.
- Winners are prepared if the market slows down.
Tough circumstances are a winner’s best friend, so when the market is good, it’s time to prepare, prepare, prepare. Winners make their move when the market is down. Too many people have an assumption that just because the market is going well right now, they have no need to cut back on debt, increase cash flow, or implement software to improve productivity. This is a big red flag. Those who do these things now will be the ones prepared to increase their market share when business conditions shift in six months or two years.
- The labor shortage is getting noticed.
It was very encouraging to see everyone looking for solutions to the labor shortages. Trade schools, builder carpenter programs, partnerships with community colleges are all topics of conversations and are already being implemented in many cities around Texas. This is a good thing because it allows students to make a livable wage right out of high school without the delay, debt, and uncertainty of attending a university.
All in all, the future looks bright for those who are prepared, and we’re looking forward to next year and future partnership opportunities with the NAHB, TAB, and local builder associations.
- Sam Knight
Bolt President and Co-Founder