If Covid hasn’t surfaced the lack of trades professionals to you, you might be hiding under a rock. If you’ve needed a carpenter to tackle a home renovation, landscaper to install plants, hardscape specialist to create a new firepit paver patio for you, plumber to reroute your plumbing in your new home, or painter to transform your exterior, you’ve most likely been faced with obstacles. First, it’s a struggle to find a reputable tradesperson and then it’s a struggle to get on their calendar; many of these trades-based businesses were booked out for several months or more.
It’s all about supply and demand. Let’s go back to school for a minute. Think back to your earliest memories of education… a lot of the focus was on passive learning where you’re reading to understand something rather than using your hands to do something as you learn. In high school, most of us were encouraged to take advanced classes to help with our GPA and get noticed by colleges.
While we believe 100% in getting an education and gaining knowledge, one thing always seemed to be lacking was the practical, hands-on education. We believe in the importance of creating and using our hands to make a living. Are you interested in using your hands and learning a trade? Do it! Intern with a painter or an electrician; volunteer with a crew of all-female landscapers (we know of a good one!), or find a way to learn these skills. How will you know if you want to do that job if you’ve never tried it? Take classes, volunteer, intern… do what you have to do to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
When we were in horticulture and turfgrass school, it wasn’t the most popular choice. As we walked through the other empty trades classrooms used for electrical, mechanics, welding, and carpentry education, there always seemed to be a stereotype around going to these classes. It was as though if you had an interest in these trades jobs you were considered uneducated and it was almost as if it were the absolute last option. Walking these halls felt as if it were a knock on our identity.
Back to the supply and demand thing: basic economics says that as the supply of tradesmen and tradeswomen are low and the demand is high, the amount you will be charged is going to continue to rise.
This means yo’ll wish you took these hands-on classes to learn how to repair a leak, transform your walk-in closet, and change out your new ceiling fan after you see the invoice. Why does this matter? Because we care about the condition of our world. Because we’re tradeswomen too, using our degrees in horticulture and turfgrass, and decades of experience to properly install landscapes, but we are also concerned about the next generation.
Instead of passing on the youtube DIY education status to our kids, let’s encourage them to be educated in trades jobs. Let’s teach them to try new things and work with their hands. Let’s shed the light on making a living working with their hands. Let’s crush the stereotype of being uneducated or even uncool if you’re in a trades job. Using our hands to create, fix, and earn money for ourselves is so rewarding. For us, it’s therapy. At the end of each day, we can actually look back at our hard work and see the progress. We can see our efforts and long hours spent going towards a beautiful masterpiece!