Why I decided not to start my own Trade Business

They sauntered around like they had nowhere to be and nobody to please. They arrived at 8am, unloaded their gear, worked for 30 minutes, and then spent an hour sitting down at smoko. Upon completion of the job, the mess was appalling; cigarette butts littered the site, 7/11 slurpee cups clogged downpipes, nails lay in the gutters already beginning to rust, the tilt slabs had to be skim-coated to cover the endless pin-holes, the polished concrete floor was the worst I’d ever seen, the handrails all came loose within a week, the roof tiles leaked for months even after the roofers came back over 10 times, the list goes on…

unsplash.com/pop-zebra

The dissapointing world of commercial tradesmen scarred me, and I was in disbelief at the blatant disgregard for effort and care. Coming from a residential trade background, my name was on every job I did, and I took great pride and care in making sure the work I did went above and beyond an acceptable level.

So honestly, it broke my heart to see this. We were building a church auditorium, a place where people would have their lives changed, and yet from the beginning, the short-sitedness of the workers was evident. It was never about doing a good job for them, rather it was about doing the minimum effort for the day, then going back to the motel to drink, smoke and follow up by heading to the stripclubs. There was no teamwork, no encouragement, no positive communication. Worksites are filled with disgusting language, bullying disguised as ‘aussie culture,’ and a complete lack of respect for tools, people and places. The defect list at the end of our job had hundreds of photographs of terrible workmanship, and everybody just wanted to put the blame on someone else.

To be honest, I guess the real reason I’m writing this is because I’m saddened by the way the construction industry seems to be heading. No longer do trades seem to take care in their work; even most new residential builds are slapped together in an effort to maximise profit at the expense of the poor home-owner who has to live in a sub-par home. Gone are the days of incredibly skilled timber workers, replaced by an industry committed to selling steel frames and other cheap materials.

I know there are still skilled workers out there, but unfortunately the rampant capitilist agenda fueled by the large construction industries seems to be forcing out the smaller guys, as would be homebuyers scream for cheaper homes, adding fuel to a fire they don’t realise will be their downfall. Quantity over quality. You won’t see homes lasting one hundred years any more, I’ve seen homes built 10 years ago in a state of structural disrepair due to cutting corners and errors.

To any tradesmen reading this, if you take pride in your work, I commend you, you are a dwindling species. It’s the lack of pride and common decency that drove me to lose faith in the trade industry, and the majority of those who work in it. I can’t do it to myself and my family. I can’t cut corners and pump out cheap work in an effort to compete with the guys who don’t care. Maybe that will change one day, when people realise that all their homes look the same, have the same problems and the same cheap, crap materials.

So I’m hanging up my hard hat. I’ll be hopeful that the industry will change. But you become like those you hang around with, so I’m going to find some guys who care about the product they create, and care about the people around them.

unsplash.com/sunyu-kim

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Jack van Tricht

Jack van Tricht

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Passionate about getting along side you to help you accomplish more.