By definition, it seems we’re riding the perfect storm after the start of the pandemic last year, and now, as the aftermath is continuing in 2021, we’re faced with all types of shortages—a shortage of products and on top of that a shortage of labor. 

To top it off we’re hearing that this is not going to be getting better anytime soon. How has it affected your business? Almost all of the contractors I speak with around the country are saying they are still booked out months in advance, so how is everyone managing shortages of products and labor? 

I heard one instance of an installer scheduling a glue-down wood installation, and when they went to pick up the adhesive, they were told the adhesive was six weeks out—this was after the end user had already pre-ordered all the materials. The installer had to go to several local distributors to try and find adhesive just for this one installation. 

Where our company is also involved on the building side of the industry, we’re having to deal with delays on several of our projects due to availability of products. One project took two months waiting for door hardware. Another project had a delay of three months for a fireplace insert. The delays seem to be a point of discussion when speaking with anyone selling and installing products these days. So with delays in products come the delays in finishing up jobs and tying up payments for projects. 

Flooring and supplies are being held up at ports around the country and sitting in container ships in the harbor for weeks, waiting to be unloaded. With that, are there unseen factors that may affect performance of products? Keep in mind shipping containers are steel and unless a premium price is paid for shipping, they are not waterproof. Steel containers, floating on saltwater, in a humid environment along with heat…hmm… 

It’s always recommended to check moisture content of wood flooring whether it’s a solid or engineered product prior to installation, and with products sitting on the water longer than in past times, now would be a good time to invest in a moisture meter and start documenting moisture readings. If you’re already doing this, kudos to you. 

Taking things like that into consideration is just one of several things you should be doing in your business these days, as we continue to adjust to the times. Be sure you’re also planning ahead as much as you can, letting your clients know that delays are to be expected. And as always, just do the best you can.