Overcoming the labor shortage crisis
Labor shortages may seem like a people problem, they’re a cash flow issue too. For companies to offer competitive salaries and maintain payroll, they must have enough cash flow to pay overhead costs and employees.
We’ll talk about how to remain financially flexible so you can grow your business and overcome these tough labor shortage challenges.
- The current state of the labor market
- Advice from financing experts on how to increase financial flexibility in your business
- Real world examples of how specialty contractors are using Materials Financing to help them retain top talent
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome everybody to our labor shortage webinar. Uh, we’re gonna be giving you some insight on what’s happening in today’s world and how you can deal with it. With that being said, can we go to the next slide? <laugh> uh, my name is Ivan Luna. I am one of the payment experts here at level set, and I’m also joined by Mr. Rain Martin. Another one of our payment experts here as well.
Speaker 2 (00:27):
Yeah. Hey everybody. I’m rain. Uh, nice to be here with you today. Excited to talk about, uh, this topic and, uh, hopefully dig into it a little bit. See if we can come up with, you know, some solutions and some strategies and work on it. So,
Speaker 1 (00:44):
So what is on today’s agenda? Uh, gonna be going over the current state of the labor market, basically, what’s going on today’s world, how, uh, that affects us and contractors like yourself. Um, advice from experts on how to your business can stay protected and then gonna be going over some questions, some real examples, uh, from specialty contractors like yourself. So there will be some participation involved. Uh, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and, uh, yeah, let us know how you’re feeling. So what is going on? Uh, according to the ABC are associated builders and contractors, uh, construction industry faces a workforce shortage of 650,000 people in 2022. How did we get to that number? So one of the reasons being that the currently signed, uh, bipartisan infrastructure law, uh, is supposed to be adding anywhere from 300,000 to 600,000 new workers entering the industry yearly based on that law alone, but that barely covers the deficit and it doesn’t account for the surplus, for the potential recession. Things should be looking up. So average hour earnings for construction, labor rose to a little bit over $32 in may. So large increase of 6.3 just from last year. Can somebody tell me, I guess this is the biggest increase in how many years, if you guys can, can gimme a guess there, whether that’s on the Q and a or in chat, what’s up, we got our chat working, so let’s take a guess. How many years? All right. Several decades, like it
Care. You wanna put the answer up there. Welcome for Richmond, Indiana. Several decades is correct. This is the highest year over year industry wage gain in 40 years, 40 decades. So there we go. So, uh, the workforce shortage is still the most acute challenge facing the construction industry. What does that mean for you guys again, posting the chat wherever you can. How is the workforce shortage affecting you specifically Jennifer? Yep.
And that’s actually a lot of what, uh, the conversations we have with people is what does this mean for you? Are there enough people to hire in today’s industry? We’re supposed to be getting an influx of positions, but are they, are you get, are you getting the right people, uh, for the job? A lot of the times in today’s labor shortage, there’s people willing to work, but people who don’t know exactly what they’re doing within that job, especially around the contractors and the construction industry. So next step is if they are a skilled worker, uh, and they are good enough to do the job. What does that look like from them from a payment perspective, from a labor perspective, we just mentioned salaries have increased substantially and that’s from an introductory standpoint. So are you able to keep a good actual, uh, labor force with what’s going on?
And also what’s the turnover there. People come into the industry, we have people who are willing to work, but again, not skilled enough for the job or you have people who are skilled enough for the job, but is it competitive enough, competitive enough from where they’re at, where they’re being hired with you, or are they having to look somewhere elsewhere? So the construction, labor shortage and escalating inflation are causing stress, uh, and working capital difficulties for contractors. Many factors contribute to this labor deficit, including the lack of training programs that we just mentioned with unskilled workers, um, for specialized trades. And ultimately we’re just having an aging workforce.
Speaker 2 (05:08):
Yeah, I, that, that reminds me of a conversation that we had with, uh, one of our customers last week, where they were talking about, um, specifically, uh, not being able to hire people who can do the job as well as he can. And, uh, that it was so hard to find the right skilled workers right now. So it’s not just that, you know, uh, the wages are rising or the, uh, there’s not people out there, or the people that they are finding are not, not trained in the way that he needs them to be trained, to do the job the right way. So, uh, so it’s stretching him pretty thin and he’s looking for anything, any help anywhere to just like help get him to the next stage and help make sure he can take care of the projects then he needs to take care of. So, so yeah, you, you’re definitely speaking to all of that and it, it ranges true for many people, uh, in some of our own customers as well. So
Speaker 1 (06:01):
Absolutely. So Ray, I’ll let you take over from here for a moment.
Speaker 2 (06:10):
Yeah. And, you know, um, specifically this, it’s kind of like this, uh, weird vicious cycle that, uh, you end up in as well. And we, we hear this all the time. So, uh, there there’s stress and tension. It kind of starts there and it ends there as well in all honesty. And it’s just a continuous cycle over and over and over again, you, you end up with this financial stress, you end up with this financial risk. You end up with this just like overwhelming tension on a day to day basis. That, uh, from the lack of, you know, finding the right employees and finding the right, uh, labor to help you on a day to day basis. And, uh, even when you do find that labor, uh, sometimes they’re not the most efficient and sometimes they’re not, uh, taking care of the jobs. So be speaking specifically to that last customer that, uh, I was talking about, like having, uh, people come into help, but them not actually making the job more efficient for ’em.
So it was kind of a waste of wages at that point and making sure that he’s not, uh, being able to like take care of what he needs to. So it was easier for him to just show, do it himself, even though it stretched him so thin and not having that efficiency on a regular basis to, to make sure whether it be from managing the amount of projects he wants to manage, or just from the Asheville workers that he is trying to hire and bring in not having the ability to do that leads to more stress. It leads to more increased financial risk as well, whether you’re paying people who can’t do the job for you, that’s increased financial risk. If you’re not paying people and you’re having to turn down jobs, that’s the financial risk. It’s kind just this weird lack of a better term vicious cycle that you just find yourself stuck in and can’t seem to get out of, because it’s just an over and over again, rinse and repeat if like you’re trying to fight your way out of it. You’re trying to do what you can, but, um, as you’re going through, you just, you keep getting stuck along the way. Um, do you have anything you wanna throw into that or
Speaker 1 (07:59):
No, that that’s one of the major conversations I have with people daily is having to, I mean, if, if you look at our chat as well, getting these bids for these jobs, and then trying to find a way to complete those while you have another two, three more jobs that you’re already on. So just keeping the wheel turning while facing all these challenges. It’s, it’s stressful to say the least,
Speaker 2 (08:23):
Yeah, it’s just a continuous kind of cash flow. It, it leads to a continuous cashflow issue, really because you’re, you’re trying to combat these labor shortages. You’re throwing people at it. Uh, and then if you’re not throwing people at it, you’re stretching yourself too thin. And you’re just either way you looking at it, you’re looking at a cash flow of shortage on your day to day basis of what you’re trying to achieve or what you’re trying to take care of in your business. And I, I know like you wanna offer competitive salaries and you wanna maintain your payroll. And you’re, you’re just looking for ways to do that on a regular basis. And this, this, this one just speaks to me. I, I, I even asked Ivan yesterday. I was like, I wanna cover this one, cuz like, I just really identify with this one. So, uh, so I appreciate him obliging to let me do that because this, I feel very passionate about this one and uh, just, you know, there’s so much overhead costs. There’s so many like things that you have to take care of, like what can be the solution? What can you find that can actually help that?
Speaker 3 (09:15):
Yeah. And to Jennifer’s point, she says in the chat, I wish others weren’t experiencing these things, but it’s interesting to see that it’s not just our company from what we’ve heard and what we’ve seen working in this industry on, on our side, this is one of those things that is, um, well, it’s how it’s always been. And, and oftentimes people don’t question it. It’s just, well, it says how it’s always been. So it’s how it’s gotta be. But we know that that is not the case. Yes. That’s how it’s always been. No, it is not how it has to be. And I think that that conversation can really, um, disrupt this vicious cycle that we see and you know, in the chat like, yes, absolutely. Jennifer, Heather, like you are in the thick of it. And, and Paul from earlier, like you were also in the thick of it. And I think that, um, sorry guys, I got excited. And I think that when we, when we decide that we’re not going to be part of that vicious cycle continually, um, it, it can really change the entire industry. And I know I’m dreaming big here, but that’s where my heart goes and I get passionate about it too. So it’s had to, had to insert that.
All right, we ready? We ready to move on?
Speaker 1 (10:33):
Speaker 2 (10:34):
Do it. Yup.
Speaker 3 (10:34):
All right. So we’ve tackled the problem. I’ve been, where are you taking this next?
Speaker 1 (10:38):
So we’re gonna discuss, what can you do about this vicious cycle that we’ve been talking about? So increase your financial flexibility. How do you do that? Going through the list, lowering out of pocket expenses, offset costs like your materials, increase your margins, protect your lie rights. And I’m gonna start on the lean rights section. So if you’re not getting paid, you can’t pay your people. You can’t take on additional jobs. That’s where protecting your lean rights. Come in, making sure that you are, have the correct lean rights on that job, because everybody knows, even though you may have had a great relationship or whoever you’re working with, things have been smooth. It just takes one job to throw everything out of alignment and just give you that headache, that tension that we’ve been discussing, all it takes is one. So after that lowering out of pocket expenses, how many people proactively track their materials?
Give some feedback there, whether it’s checking in with big box stores, checking in with your local suppliers, trying to do the entire bounce back of, okay, well, I’ve been working with our local vendor for 10 plus years, but this big box store has the lumber for half of the price. How often are you going back and forth and having to mitigate that, not to mention, are you checking in to see what kind of, you know, discounts you can get with your suppliers? So there’s only so much you can do there and not to mention the amount of time that you’re spending there. So after that, are you financing your materials? Are you helping not well, are you basically helping yourself not play bank? Cause at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing. You’re having to, she up money for all these materials costs, which could be tied up in a project, hopefully for what that project timeframe is for. But again, it just takes that one little hiccup to now be out 10 50, however, you know, thousands of dollars you have in materials. So materials financing is one of the answers that we provide to make sure that your cash flow stays open. So you can continue to run your business as smoothly as possible.
Speaker 2 (12:47):
And in fact,
Speaker 1 (12:49):
Go ahead. Sorry.
Speaker 2 (12:50):
I know you had mentioned, uh, you know, discounts and things like that, uh, specifically supplier discounts and, um, I, I, you brought up finance materials right after that. I, uh, I’m just trying to draw attention to that. Like by being, by becoming detached buyer, essentially fi finance materials paying on day one, a lot of times that can help, um, get you a discount. It can also bump you up in priority. We haven’t discussed it yet, but lead times, uh, lead times are a real thing and they’ve created major cash crunch, uh, and become a part of that vicious cycle in a lot of ways as well. I know it’s an indirect part of the vicious cycle, but it’s, it’s a part of it. And so becoming a cash buyer and becoming somebody who pays on day one open shift to those discounts and lowers those outof pocket expenses. So just wanted to draw that connection. Sorry.
Speaker 1 (13:36):
Absolutely. And to Heather’s example, yeah. Materials costs have increased significantly. Um, they’re supposed to be slowing down, but we haven’t seen it. Um, there’s always a longer and longer lead time to just trying to get a simple project done. So that’s right. Lead times affect the cost increasing it monthly. So it’s, it sounds like, uh, the people involved here, you guys are, are boots on the ground. You guys are facing this upfront day to day. So, um, again, going back to materials, financing real quick, um, some of our Savi users basically uses to offset their cost, um, by passing their cost, if possible, to whoever they’re working with. So whatever that pricing is going to be, it’s passed off. And it’s one less thing you have to worry about ultimately increasing your margins. So you’re able to make, you’re able to take on more jobs, grow your business, and really just be a more reliable contractor business, both for whoever you’re working with. So, um, three hour conversation in the client’s kitchen. Yeah. <laugh> so, um, but yeah, this is, this is kind of how we address some of these situations, these headaches that, uh, again, both yourselves and a lot of people here in the us are, are facing. So
Speaker 3 (15:00):
Yeah, and it looks like, um, from one Jennifer to another, we have a question saying, how does that affect your customer relationship when asking for material costs upfront? Um, what I’m reading a lot in the chat here is that this idea that upfront material costs are strapping people for cash flow. And if we’re talking about, you know, passing those off to the consumer or, um, you know, having that money tied up and not being able to pay for labor is obviously adding to this labor shortage. And, um, Jennifer Jess was able to respond. She says, leave it up to the client, but some of them are happy to pay now so that they aren’t subject to potential increases. I think that’s a fantastic way to look at it. And Jennifer, it seems like you have a lot of knowledge and I’m so grateful that you’re bringing it to our chat.
Thank you so much. This is one of the best parts of these webinars and doing these things is, like I said to Paul, we are all in this together and we’re in such good company to be able to share these experiences with each other, um, and be able to build each other up and, and, you know, help and, and help each other. This chat is blowing up. It’s a little distracting, um, Ivan rain. I’m gonna hand it back over to you so I can monitor this chat, but thank you to everyone. Who’s, who’s um, bringing questions in this is such an incredible conversation.
Speaker 2 (16:18):
Yeah. And, you know, just specifically referencing the chat, like, uh, what you’re speaking of and what, what I’m seeing in here a lot is, uh, something that really does relate to our materials financing product in general. Uh, not, not that, that was my intention to come in here and really talk about it in depth like that. But, uh, but it does like, uh, you know, we, we can work with contractors to make sure that we are, um, you know, being able to buy materials upfront, lock in the price, make sure that everything’s good, become a cash buyer, secure those discounts, make sure that everything’s locked in, ready to go. Uh, you know, you speak to your, your client and asking them to, to pay, uh, upfront so that you can walk in, uh, those costs as well. Like that that’s something that we can enable you to do upfront, and you can still work with your client to do that.
And it just increases your cash flow in your day to day, which in turn, uh, enables you to be able to pay, uh, better labor costs or higher, higher wages to secure the types of people that you want to come into your business and be there, or to give raises to the people that you want to keep and protect from leaving. We haven’t really discussed the great recession or anything like that here, but people are leaving businesses all the time and, uh, just for whatever they see as a better opportunity for themselves. And so, uh, as much as it is like finding the right people from a labor shorter standpoint, it’s also protecting the people that you care for and love, and that you have in your business every single day and making sure you’re paying them and taking care of them properly as well. So, uh, just, I, I love all this chat like this, uh, one of the most active, like best chats that like we’ve seen, uh, on one of these, and so, or least that I’ve been a part of. So I’m, I’m loving this chat. This is great. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (17:53):
Yeah. So I wanted to give, um, an opportunity for anyone to ask questions about, you know, any of the line items here. Um, before we move on, it looks like Joe is saying locking in the cost is less important in today’s market than locking in a delivery date. Yep. Products and equipment, Joe, we completely agree. I think that these things run parallel, but in the current state of how things are with, um, shipping delays and lead times, it is really like the wild west out there.
Speaker 2 (18:25):
And we have found that whenever you are able to pay up front and secure those materials, uh, right off the bat, that, uh, for, for lack of a better term, you move up the list in terms of the delivery. If you’ve already been paid, like you’ve already paid for your materials and, uh, secure them, you end up being higher up on that delivery, uh, list, uh, to make sure that you’re getting the earliest delivery date as well. Um, and that, that’s something that we’ve been seeing, uh, internally here as we’re working with suppliers and making sure they’re getting paid and, uh, uh, for customers that we’re working with. And, uh, it, it is. So they kind of do go hand in hand in some ways, but, uh, and securing those materials, locking them in and then making sure that you’re moving up that list. So.
Speaker 3 (19:13):
Awesome. Okay. Well, um, I think we’re going to find some resources. Jen is asking Jennifer. I apologize. One of my dear friends is Jen, Jennifer. Um, you haven’t seen any opportunity to control delivery times, any ideas we’re gonna send a resource your way, um, in the chat here in a little bit, we’ll also attach it to the email that’s going out. I forgot to mention this at the beginning, but we will send this recording as well as other resources and assets for you to use. Um, when we’re talking about delivery times and lead times, as well as materials, financing, protecting your lean rights, it can feel like a lot. Um, but we’ve got some really great easily digestible resources for you that you can put into action as early as tomorrow. Um, and so if they’re, you’re so welcome, if there are any questions about what is currently on the screen, um, definitely throw them into the chat right now. We’re gonna have a questions portion in just a minute. I know that sometimes webinars like this can feel ambiguous. It’s like, okay, well, you’re talking about these big things, but you know, how, how do you actually put it into action? And I believe our next slide is going to show us that.
Speaker 2 (20:27):
Yeah. Uh, so we actually, uh, have partnered with IPO about some of our customers earlier. Uh, this one, I will put their name on record as well. So, uh, speaking of Poto business solutions, uh, PBS millwork down in south Florida in the Miami Fort Lauderdale area, um, I’ll read the quote first. I’ll tell you a little bit about, uh, the story. So, uh, our employees are very happy because they see, I put every penny I gain backed into growing this business. It’s wonderful because now that I have levels set to finance my materials I’m secure. Uh, so Albert said that, uh, we have a full case study, uh, that we did on the business so that we looked at, uh, and one, one it’s, uh, one thing I wanna draw attention to is we, we actually, uh, started working with them, uh, in 2021, early 20, 21.
And since working with ’em, uh, I think the stat is the first quarter of this year. We did, they did 3 million, um, in, uh, business and the, just the first quarter of this year. And that was like a 300% increase over what they did in 2019. Uh, I am quoting those numbers off the top of my head, but I do think that those are the correct numbers from the case study as well. Uh, but, uh, Alberta’s been, uh, uh, an amazing, uh, partner with us. And one thing that he’s always preached is being able to use materials, financing to give back to his employees and his team that he hires and he works with. And, uh, he, he pays them, um, the most competitive wages in south Florida. Uh, and he’s very, very proud of that. Very excited for that. And as he should be, he not only does great business, but he also takes care of his employees in the process.
He even, um, I always think, always find this very cool. Uh, but he, in, in the warehouse even built like a full like entertainment area and bar for all the employees to kind of hang out together at. So, uh, they’re a family, he treats them like they’re a family, they work together. Uh, but he’s bringing in the best people that he can, he takes care of the people, uh, that he already has hired. And he really does that by utilizing the materials, financ financing, the option to keep his day to day cashflow moving and secure in the way that he wants. And, uh, he he’s able to direct the funds directly to his labor directly to his people and make sure I provide him for them in care of them as well. So I didn’t miss there. I, I think, uh, I think I covered that, but, uh, but yeah, he’s, he’s, they’re, they’re really amazing. Um, and yeah, just taking care of your people is, is really the key for sure.
Speaker 3 (23:00):
Yeah, absolutely. And, um, just to answer one more question in the chat, Kay asked, um, how to obtain a recording of this session after the, after this session is over, um, we will send this video into our wonderful editing team and they will package it together so beautifully. We will send an email out with this recording, as well as all of the promised assets and resources, um, for you directly to your inbox, it is completely free. You can share it, you can watch as many times as you want. Um, there are no rules, it is yours for the keeping. Um, and we’re just so I’m just so grateful that we had such a good conversation. You guys, this was really, um, an impactful moment. Yes, you are so welcome. Um, okay, great. Well, does anyone have any questions up to this point?
Speaker 2 (23:53):
And, and as you’re thinking of your questions, know that like, uh, we are kind of approaching at this from like a high level standpoint. We are happy to get more granular. We’re happy to dive in deeper, uh, with you as well. And, uh, reaching out to myself or Ivan, uh, especially after this, uh, webinar post, after we send out that nice email with all the resources that are attached to that, and that, uh, definitely reach out to us and we will, we’ll get more into the details, go into that together. Uh, I always feel like we did at the end of these 30 minutes and I’m like, oh, I wish I had an hour, but, uh, cuz it would be amazing to dive even deeper, but uh, very happy to do that in visually with every single one of you and go into, you know, what we can find to help you and your business succeed. So
Speaker 3 (24:39):
Yeah, it looks like we do have make sure I’m not on mute. Looks like we do have one, um, question in the chat, Ivan or rain, I’ll read it aloud and then I’ll let you guys, um, give some answers and, or we can link out to some resources as well. Uh, Jennifer asks in today’s labor shortage. How does a company overcome issues with employees who may be costing you more money than they seem to be worth? That’s a tricky one.
Speaker 1 (25:07):
It’s a very good question. Um, well that kind of goes back to, I guess, how skilled of a laborer are they that you’re having to use with them again, I know terrain’s point earlier was, Hey, you’re kind of throwing people at a job and how useful are they on that job? Are you able to open up cash flow different ways? Are they absolutely necessary from what you’re describing? It sounds like they may not be the most essential employee, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need them. So I mean, at that point it’s, it’s figuring out ways to really open up your cash flow and kind of moving forward from that aspect of it. But again, that, that is a very tricky question because it’s kind of seems like you may be stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to that portion of it.
Speaker 2 (26:01):
Yeah. And it’s really just trying to find out whether you can, the, the best place for them to increase their value for you. And if they can be trained, if they can be taught the things that they need to know, uh, to be useful for you and not be trusting you more money than they seem to be worth. I think that that’s kind of a, that’s obviously a delicate situation, uh, to come across and to deal with. It also seems like you may have a resource in the chat that would love to share, uh, in Paul, uh, to talk about that. Uh I’m I think that that’s what his, uh, connect and chat was referencing. So he may have some good ideas as well, but, uh, but I, I think as long as, you know, like, and you can find out whether, um, find out if they’re worth and see what it means to you and your business. And, uh, sometimes that involves hard decisions, hopefully it doesn’t, and hopefully it’s that you can coach them and get them to this point where they can be useful for your business. But, uh, I know that there can be hard decisions that, uh, come into play with that as well. So
Speaker 3 (27:03):
Yeah, absolutely. This is amazing. Um, and I’m also going to add another resource here. Uh, oops. Ice it in the chat a little too quick. Here’s the link. I’ll just explain it. Basically. We also have a community, this is a completely free service. There are zero strings attached. This is, um, from one of our core values, which is help first. And we wanted to create a community where any contractor, any front of house, any back of house, any laborer, anyone could come on and ask a question and receive advice from, um, a credit professional legal help, um, a payment professional. Anyone could come on and answer your question. Um, and you have access to hundreds of thousands of questions already asked. Definitely check that out as well as I love that we just watched networking happen right before our eyes. This is so incredible. This is why we’re here.
Um, thank you everyone so much for coming. I just can’t say it enough, but I digress. Um, the last thing that we wanted to share was, um, I know that we talked a little bit about materials financing. We talked a little bit about lean rights, talked a little bit about our community profile, where you can go on and see the resources. Um, here is a QR code. If you’ve never seen one of these, you just take out your phone and scan it. Although now post, um, pandemic world, we’ve probably all done it at one restaurant or another. Um, this basically just takes you to a page to, to learn a little bit more about materials financing. If you are interested, we’re running a promotion where there’s a 0% origination fee attached to your first project. Um, again, we all know that the labor shortage also boils down to a cash flow issue.
There may not necessarily be a lack of labor, but there is a lack of ability to pay for the right labor at the right time and retain them. That is one piece that we can help you with while we can’t help you have boots on the ground and go to find the right people. Um, we can certainly help you boost your cash flow so that you can pay those right people and retain them. I cannot say thank you enough. Thank you everyone for joining us. Any lingering questions, everybody. Okay. Awesome. Well, we made it in time. We one minute over. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their afternoon. I will kick it over to Ivan and rain for final goodbyes. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2 (29:13):
Yep. Yeah. I just wanna say thank you all again. Uh, this is amazing. Uh, I love seeing the chat, uh, be so connecting again. Uh, yeah, I know Kara, I brought it up at the networking happening to Ivan in person. Absolutely love that this is what these are for. This is what we’re trying to do, build a community where we can help each other. And yeah. Uh, if you need me for anything you wanna talk, uh, you wanna chat? I know Tara’s gonna send out that email. Uh, I think our information will be attached to that as well. So, uh, Ivan to myself. So, but it, it was wonderful talking to y’all thank y’all for being here and, uh, happy to help with anything else that you may have questions about. So
Speaker 1 (29:49):
Absolutely I will echo rain, uh, everything you said and then some, but again, we’re here to be as a resource questions. Coms concerns send it our way. We’re more than happy to help in any way available. So thank you guys again.