By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!








Recently, I’ve been hearing rumors about supply chain issues rearing their ugly heads again. At the time, I was too busy to focus on it and certainly didn’t feel it in my daily life. However, I came across an article and took the time to do some research. I want to share the information I found with you and explain why it is important for you to continue to leverage your construction management services.

Due to the vessel attacks in the Red Sea, it has caused ripple effects, including in our business. The article I read made it quite clear that those attacks are forcing the container traffic to use longer, safer, and therefore costly routes to get the goods from their part of the world to our part of the world. So they note that the container traffic coming through the Suez Canal has dropped to one-tenth of the normal flow.  

It also noted, which I had not heard about, was that there are looming dock worker strikes, mostly on the East Coast, but there are also murmurings of it happening on the West Coast which could also drive prices up.

They also gave an example of transporting a 40-foot container from Shanghai to New York went from about $2,000.00 in December to about $8,000.00 today. 

Why would the Business of Home be talking about this? Because it is affecting the business of home—our business. Our decorating business predominantly.

They already noted that Ashely Furniture and Flex Steal Industries are raising their prices, adding surcharges. And they say there will be other companies following suit. 

You may not buy from either of those companies, but it always starts with the big guys. If they start getting nervous, it starts trickling down unless the problems go away. I can’t tell you if that will happen or how this will play out, but what I can do is be prepared for what may come down the pike regarding my level of work, my goods, my furniture accessories, etc. that I’m selling to my clients. 

That doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and alert all my clients of potential price increases. That would be alarming and may or may not come true. But what it does tell me is that there will always be highs and lows with the costs of furnishings. That has been the case since the day I started in this industry, and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

What are the results of this?

If furniture prices go up, fewer people will decorate their homes. This goes back to my point that during the 2008-2009 financial crisis when decorating took a significant, massive hit, I was able to survive because I had two different income streams in my business. One was my decorating projects, which completely dried up, and one was my construction projects, which actually grew during that time period.  

The other research I started doing was about home sales. I have several clients looking to move, and there is nothing on the market where I am in Deleware. The reason is that the interest rates are so high that people aren’t willing to give up their low interest rates to move. So that also drives the prices of whatever is on the market up—so much so that U.S. home prices hit a record high this past May. 

What happens when people don’t move? The majority of them hunker down and either wait it out, or they decide they’re not going to move, and they reinvest in their homes. And that’s the great news for all of us. 

Homeowners view construction projects as an investment and decorating projects as a luxury. They know that doing these construction projects will result in a high return on their investment. It is well documented; homeowners know it, and therefore, they aren’t afraid of spending that money. 

The other news that came out was that construction projects are a reliable and stable source of income when there are fluctuations in our decorating world. 

I’m not saying don’t decorate. Construction projects create decorating projects. But it is more risky for the firms that solely decorate. 

So I tell you all of this to be informative. It’s a traditionally quiet time in our industry now. In mid-July, most people are traveling, so it’s a good time to wrap your arms around what your plan will be for fall and winter. 

From all the indicators I am seeing, you should be leaning into construction projects. 

Even if you have decorating projects, start talking to your decorating clients about potential projects. Reach out to industry partners, such as your contractors and architects, as they will be the ones with the most work.

They are likely to be even overwhelmed with work and the more overwhelmed they are, the more they recognize the need for help and that is where someone like us comes in. 

For those of you who are feeling more tentative about your construction management services, this is the time to elevate your skills

Again, it tends to be a quiet time of year and a time when you can feel terrified that your phone isn’t ringing. Now is the time to NOT focus on that fear. Now is the time to really invest in yourself, your construction management skills, and your marketing skills. Start giving yourself that leg up you’re going to need if these supply chain issues and price hikes continue on the decorating project side of our businesses. 

I truly believe that construction management services will be the game changer for our industry moving forward. It is going to be consistent, ongoing, and growing. The stronger you are in the construction management side of your business, the more comfortable you will be in its viability, and that’s what we all want. 

Taking this time of year to really dig into this side of your business will make you feel so much more empowered going into the fall when the phones start ringing. Based on your business model, you will feel in control of saying no to projects that don’t feel right for your firm. And you will start taking on the projects you truly want to do and excel at. 

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