As Texas' population has grown and demand for skilled tradesmen has increased, a business owner in Weatherford has launched a website to help small businesses find qualified workers.
Jeff Bond, owner of AC Works 365, worked with the business incubator, TechFW, to launch gettradejobs.com.
"One of the biggest problems we have is finding good team members, people to bring on," Bond says. "We end up spending enormous amounts on job boards and putting out feelers through supply houses and social media. I just became frustrated with it, mainly the expense."
Bond says he spent more than $3,000 a month on one job board and was still not hearing from qualified applicants.
"Our goal is to get people hired faster, help contractors find team members faster and get everybody back to work faster," he says. "Especially if you're a small trades company, a lot of times the owner is also in the field doing repairs and doing work. They don't have time to stop and sift through 40 non-qualified candidates."
Since launching about a month ago, Bond says gettradejobs.com has started getting thousands of hits a day from across the country. Jobs can be posted for as little as $250 a month.
Bond says trades are dealing with a shortage of labor. According to the U.S. Census, almost one fourth of the manufacturing workforce is 55 or older. A survey found as more people in skilled trades retire, fewer young people are replacing them.
"It's hard to find good team members," Bond says. "We went through a generation of pushing kids into college. Now, the job market is in a way where there are a lot of open positions that need to be filled. We need kids in trade skills. We need people in vocational schools because these are high demand, good paying jobs."
In addition to a shortage of labor, Bond says Texas' population growth has led to a spike in demand for skilled tradespeople.
"With the shrinking job pool and available candidates, we're then having more families move in where we're going to need people to put in plumbing, electricians, ACs are breaking. It's a great opportunity," he says.
Right now, gettradejobs.com can accept open positions and applicants for electrical, HVAC and plumbing work. Bond hopes to expand that to include architects, construction, handymen and janitorial work.