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Where could a carpenter work today?
Old 06-23-2010, 11:07 PM   #1
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Where could a carpenter work today?

First off, apologies for a post on looking for w*rk. I am soliciting advice.

Straight to it, then:
My son-in-law is a finish carpenter out of work in a big town in the PNW. His employer went banko recently. He is a worker and is ready to go anywhere. He looked into the military but was turned down.

Should he stay where he is and wait it out or are there prospects elsewhere? I travel a bit and have been asking around. I am having trouble seeing improvements anywhere. You may recall that I am expecting either a double-dip or extended recession.

What do you-all see? Is any part of the country picking up?

Thanks.

Ed
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:44 AM   #2
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Florida is still stuck . I read an article yesterday that new home building was at an all time low .
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:50 AM   #3
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My son in law is a rough carpenter recently laid off in the coastal PNW. He is drawing unemployment and doing small jobs on his own. He seems to be making it, but I don't ask.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
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Florida is still stuck . I read an article yesterday that new home building was at an all time low .
Yeah, it's been tough there. If it's not hurricanes and brutal insurance premiums, it's popping housing bubbles or oil washing up on the shore...
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:59 AM   #5
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Plenty of "carpinteros" around here (south TX) doing construction. Some are doing interior cabinet work. I have a feeling pay is low.

In general, construction and house building in TX may be better than most of the country, but I have a feeling competition is fierce.

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Old 06-24-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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My subjective observations lead me to believe that there is still plenty of post-Katrina renovation/rebuilding going on here in New Orleans. Much of this work has been done by illegals. I have no idea as to demand for carpenters or the pay they get, but I wouldn't expect much. Now if he had arrived here in 2006, he would have been in great demand. Many did arrive here then and apparently many have settled here permanently.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:23 AM   #7
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Very high end stuff is still fairly strong here for gifted carpenters. Think resort island. Other than that, ditto to the others' comments.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:09 PM   #8
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Hope for a hurricane and chase the rebuilding! (sooo morbid and wrong...)
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:20 PM   #9
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Not really so morbid and wrong. That's what a lot of folks did after Hurricane Hugo. Turned out to be a good thing for us except that a lot of them were from Ohio.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:01 PM   #10
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Not really so morbid and wrong. That's what a lot of folks did after Hurricane Hugo. Turned out to be a good thing for us except that a lot of them were from Ohio.
I would suggest to my in-laws (all carpenters or other skilled trades) to "take advantage" of massive damage post-hurricane. Buy a used travel trailer and park it on the jobsite and work 16 hrs a day 7 days a week till the work in the hurricane damaged area is done. Charge triple the rates that you would normally. Hope you don't get caught by the State Attorney General's office for "price gouging".

I'd argue temporarily artificially inflated prices necessary to induce increased supply of labor in a market with a huge increase in demand. But the Consumer Protectionists may not see it the same way.

This has worked out well for the in-laws in a few rare post-hurricane or post tropical storm weekends where they head down to the beach and make 2-3x what they could usually make per hour of labor. But people get their roofs, windows, walls, decks, stairs, etc fixed in a hurry.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:17 PM   #11
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In general, construction and house building in TX may be better than most of the country, but I have a feeling competition is fierce.
I thought TX was doing well, especially in my "inner-loop" houston neighborhood. They were building 2 houses on my block, one has a garage bigger than our house. they got the roofs on both of them and one has siding, but work has all of the sudden stopped for the last couple of weeks.

according to the tax appraiser, our home value has increased 6.5% in an 8.5 month period. so, if you asked him, things are rockin' down here!

my dad works for a cabinet company, he's just trying to hold on and keep a job...
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:24 PM   #12
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I think they're getting ready to tear down Detroit. I assume he can do "reverse carpentry"?

Seriously, I don't have any suggestions. Even in the DC area, where we create jobs out of thin air, there's not a lot of building going on. Any chance of maybe spending his "time off" going to community college or something and picking up some skills that might help make him more hireable? I know there's a lot of geometry in carpentry, and knowing the terms might make him sound more knowledgeable. Or maybe accounting skills for being able to do estimates and quotes. Sorry I can't help more. Best of luck to him.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:01 PM   #13
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There are some carpenter jobs here believe it or not:

USAJOBS - Search Jobs

I know someone who worked on building windmill/turbine farms or whatever they're called--I know that's not carpentry but there could be work your SIL could do. Or other alternative energy installation.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:38 AM   #14
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All good comments. Some things I hadn't thought of. Thank you all.

Wind turbines? Sounds good. I will suggest that.

He has applied to a large solar cell company expanding in his town, but it seems they want higher tech than he is. Still...somebody has to put them up.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:21 AM   #15
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Nothing here in Illinois - My BIL is a union carpenter who just finished a medical building and now has nothing on the horizon. He says there is no work out there anywhere in northern Illinois - so he retired.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #16
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There is some business around here installing solar hot water heaters on roofs. Might be worth checking out and can't be too hard to learn.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:19 PM   #17
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DH & I recently sold our home and moved from Ed's area. What I am recommending is my experiance from buying an older place. Many home purchasers will have to-do lists.

First get a contractor's licence, create a one page flyer presenting his work. Consider posting an ad on websites frequented by people looking to buy a home in his market and/or if they have a friend who is a realtor ask if they will send a list of homes with offers (maybe throw in a finders fee to the friend if it generates work) and contact the new owners. Virtually all homes today have an inspection, the inspector's to-do list would be a good place to start (in fact home inspectors might be a good lead resource). He should build a list of craftsmen who he things do a good job so that if need be he can access other skills, a licenced electrician comes to mind.

Lots of new home owners need to set up those wall-hung TV systems, I bet many folks would hire that out.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:54 PM   #18
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Lots of new home owners need to set up those wall-hung TV systems, I bet many folks would hire that out.
I think Best Buy was charging $350 for this service locally. That has to have a huge built in profit margin. That is on top of the hardware mount.

An odd job like that per day would probably be comparable to his old salary.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:13 PM   #19
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Lots of new home owners need to set up those wall-hung TV systems, I bet many folks would hire that out.
The difficulty I see with this (although it is a terrific suggestion) is that you would be unable to build a customer base -- no repeat business. Oh, sure you would get some "word-of-mouth" but even that would dry up quickly. Most of your time would be spent "hunting prey" and or, alternately, pay a hefty fee for someone else to "beat the bushes" for you.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:25 PM   #20
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I don't disagree, but sometimes you gotta hustle to find work. The problem with finish carpentry is that consumers don't need that skill on an ongoing basis.

Another carpentry task that consumers have a hard time finding is cabinet installers. Husband and I purchased our cabinets from a manufacturer and had a devil of a time finding installers. The two guys we ended up with we nick-named "tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb", yahoos of the first order. Try to get on a sales rep's list.
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