Demand for craftsmen on rise
If you live in Czechia and are planning to get your bathroom or kitchen remodelled this year, you may just be out of luck. Companies and online portals offering the services of tradesmen are reporting a significant increase in demand, especially for jobs like home insulation, solar panel installation and roof renovation.
Libor Vlach is the owner of a Prague-based company that specialises in water, gas and heating installation and repairs. He says that he is fully booked until the end of the year and although customers call practically every day, his firm doesn’t have the capacity to respond to requests for minor repairs or emergency callouts.
And Vlach’s company VIP Instalace is not an exception. According to the online portal ePoptávka.cz, where customers can search for the services they want, demand for tilers increased by almost 7 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year, and the demand for painters by over 12 percent. Otto Kočí, who heads the portal, says that they have seen a huge increase in demand for other kinds of services too.
“For example, during the first quarter of this year we registered a huge spike in interest in home insulation, which went up by 70% in a year-on-year comparison. We can also see a year-on-year increase in the first half of this year in the demand for roof renovations, which already went up last year and is now 30% higher than in 2021.”
According to David Hanuš, marketing director at Nejřemeslníci.cz, the kind of services that people are looking for, such as home insulation, suggests that the increased demand is related to the energy crisis and households’ efforts to save on their bills. Thanks to government programs such as New Green Savings and Grandma's House Repair, which help subsidise energy-saving home improvements, demand for home insulation has gone up a lot. However, he warns that people who are put off from hiring a tradesman by the long waiting times or high costs and are tempted to go the DIY-route should think again.
“It is important that customers entrust this work to experts, as the installation is as essential as the technology itself. If installed improperly, the insulation is not covered by the manufacturer's warranty and what’s more, it won’t do what the customer expects it will – i.e. save energy – but rather exactly the opposite.”
Roman Pommer, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and president of the Tilers' Guild, says that an additional factor may be that the majority of people who complete trade apprenticeships don’t go on to work in the profession they trained for.
“For example, in an 18-member class of plumbers, half of the people already know that they will not work in the trade. Only 25 to 30 percent of graduates who learn some kind of trade end up working in it. That is the biggest problem, and that is where the state should help.”
Additionally, certain kinds of apprenticeships, such as roofing and bricklaying, are less popular, because people don’t want to have to work outside in all weather conditions. So if you still haven't contracted anyone to fix your perennially leaky roof, just bear in mind that you may have to wait anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after you make that call.