It’s no surprise that supply chain issues have leaked into the home remodeling industry, and local contractors have had to be more transparent than ever with customers because of it.
“Out of this whole pandemic, people have learned patience throughout it,” said Erich Van Cleave, owner of Van Cleave Construction. “They understand the problems. We’ve talked about it (ad) nauseam on the different supply chain issues.”
St. Joseph renovation and construction businesses like Van Cleave have been entangled in the supply chain dilemma for some time. The company receives products from domestic manufacturers, but the logistics have left things in a bad spot.
Manufacturers have had difficulty receiving certain parts that are essential to the products that their vendors, like Van Cleave Construction, are trying to sell.
Van Cleave said the biggest challenge for the business is getting materials to fulfill special orders, but even small problems can get in the way.
“It’s the most random things, too,” Van Cleave said. “Our cabinetmaker went through a time where we weren’t able to get drawer slides, so it’s really hard to schedule jobs when you don’t know what parts you can get or what the current lead times are, and sometimes you don’t know until you order them.”
Having handled supply chain issues throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, Van Cleave believes it’s been no better recently, and the worst may lay ahead.
“I think it’s probably gotten worse, and I think it’s going to get worse,” Van Cleave said. “Different manufacturers have different issues. We had one company that we were getting railing from for decks. They had plenty of product but no cardboard and no shipping. It’s a different scenario on different products.”
However, supply chain issues haven’t hindered the company’s ability to generate lucrative business during a time when homeowners are looking to upgrade as people have been spending more time at home.
“Our business has probably increased considerably since the pandemic,” Van Cleave said. “The financing right now, interest rates are extremely low, so it would be a good time to make an investment in your property.”
Homeowners during the pandemic certainly did take advantage of the opportunity to make improvements. According to a NerdWallet survey from August of 2020, homeowners spent an average of just over $6,400 on home improvement projects since March 1 of last year.