One of the reasons Hudson believes this trade gets a bad rap is the number of contractors who low-bid jobs just to stay busy.
“Contractors jump at taking jobs,” he said. “The bids are going too low, based on our economy. As a result, some jobs are being designed incorrectly.”
Hudson said that the Boston area is full of businesses that look for the best price, not necessarily the best quality.
Being able to retain good workers often comes at the expense of guaranteeing work during slow times. That’s what makes other careers inviting and lucrative. Take the copy machine repair business, for example. “Copy machine technicians are charging up to $90 an hour,” said Hudson.
He also laments the loss of support for hvac training. “Boston has dropped its air conditioning courses in the high schools,” he said.
BCM’s Scott Bowman thinks there are ways to keep good people that go beyond higher wages and a guaranteed workload.
“We keep people motivated by giving them a lot of responsibility,” he said. “We are giving our people new challenges and creating opportunities for them.”
Bowman thinks that people in other professions, such as software engineers, can become bored and unmotivated unless they are given different things to do. Communication between management and workers is critical, to keep creative ideas flowing.
“We put in a second tier of management in the company,” he added. “There are no longer just two people at the top.”