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Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

"Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks. Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such."

The words above are part of the refrain to a mid-1970s hit song, and considered one of the classics in Country music. The song points out a career path that your kid should not choose, but provides little advice as to what career path you should direct your child. Let’s say the authors, Ed and Patsy Bruce, were writing the song today and suffered from writer’s block. If they asked a few builders to help finish the song, I am certain the builders could provide additional advice for Mamma.

Currently the home building market is booming. Not just in new homes, but remodeling, home improvement and renovation. There is a shortage of good quality tradespeople, throughout all skill levels, to satisfy the demand.

Mamma, if your baby wants to be a doctor or lawyer and he or she has the desire and funds to go to medical school or law school, I certainly applaud that. But Mamma, when talking to your child about what he or she wants to be when he/she grows up, don't leave out the option of one of the many trades in the building industry.

Ask any of the respected and successful builders, remodelers or trade contractors out there, and they will tell you of the benefits of working with good tradespeople. These same builders, remodelers or contractors will tell you how they work very closely with, and rely on, talented trade partners on their jobs and projects.

Part of the labor shortages that we face is that an 18-20 year old didn't start out as a laborer back around 15 years ago, at the start of the “Great Recession”. Prior to the economic downturn, it was typical of young people, fresh from high school, to begin as laborers. Those who showed aptitude and interest in a trade were able to learn the industry, and then worked their way up to skilled positions. Today that kid would be a lead carpenter, mason, plumber, etc. or might even be self-employed with his or her own small business.

If you have an opportunity to speak with a builder or contractor, ask how they got started in the business. Chances are they started off as a laborer or an apprentice and worked their way up.

Every career has its pros and cons, and the trades are no different. The opportunity to work in the sunshine and fresh air can be great, but then there is the heat, and the cold. Sometimes, you are forced to work extra-long hours to close up a roof, finish concrete or beat a rain storm on the radar. Other trades work mainly indoors, but may regularly frequent attics or crawlspaces in any season to fix an issue. It can be hard and physically demanding work; however, many of the trades allow an individual who works harder, smarter and is willing to put in more hours, to make more money.

A tradesperson who is reliable, honest, efficient and can work with a homeowner or builder, will have plenty of work year round and make good money. Ask any of the quality builders and remodelers out there about what they must factor into their projects for tile work, masonry, etc. (Homeowners: this is a major cost factor in the price of a new home, remodeling project or renovation, too.)

Mammas, don’t pass up an opportunity for a “learning experience” with your babies. The next time you have work done to your home, replace a water heater or appliance, remodel a bathroom or have your air conditioner serviced, you may want to urge your babies to watch that tradesperson doing his or her work. Ask that tradesperson to talk with your child about their career, what they like about it and how they ended up in the trade.

Make ‘em be masons, plumbers, carpenters, tile setters and such...Not sure if anyone could craft these words into a Country music song chart buster, but any builder would tell you that it has a nice ring to it.


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