Good luck renovating; contractors’ schedules filled one year in advance

Finding professionals to renovate your home will prove quite the challenge for Netherlands residents in the coming period. Some contracting companies are fully booked one year in advance. Keeping up with the workload is increasingly difficult with staff shortages all across the sector, AD reports.

Due to the pandemic, many people have been able to invest their savings in renovating their homes. “It’s a shame that many professionals switched their job during the last economic crisis”, contractor John Spakman from Hilversum said to the newspaper. “I receive calls three, four, or even five times per day with customers asking for an appointment, but I always have to say no. It is the same for my colleagues. My agenda is already filled for the whole year.”

“We had to put a stop on orders until March 2022 because I do not plan more than a year in advance”, Jeroen Kuilboer from the contracting company Kuilboer en De Boer said. “Last year, it was already busy, but this year it feels like a madhouse. I get twenty to thirty orders weekly that I have to decline. That feels wrong to do as an entrepreneur but finding good staff to do the work is difficult.”

Across the country, there is a shortage of plumbers, painters, carpenters and other trained professionals needed for renovating. “At first reports of shortages mainly came from the Randstad but now they are also coming from the other parts of the country”, Hans André de la Porte from the Homeowner’s Union said.

Waiting times differ depending on the size of the contracting companies. Particularly small companies with a maximum of ten employees experienced a growth of 5.7 percent in the past year. Middle-sized companies with between ten to a hundred employees have had a more difficult year. “Larger construction companies are often involved in new and non-residential construction. However, permits are issued continuously more seldom”, sector economist Madeline Buijs from Bouww en Vastgoed said. “I also think that many companies expect the pandemic to be over soon and to return to larger projects”, she added.

For most people looking to renovate their home, the only option remains to get their own hands dirty. “You don’t need a contractor for everything”, De la Porte said. “DIY has become very popular in the past years. Take a look on YouTube and see if you can better insulate the house yourself, for example.”

A spokesperson from the Homeowner’s Union said they understand this isn’t always possible and offers a word of advice on what to look out for when hiring a handyman. “Make sure you don’t hire the first handyman who registered at the Chamber of Commerce yesterday. We recommend finding a contractor who is well affiliated with the sector.”