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Owning a property, specifically a house, is everyone’s dream. People spend their lives saving for their dream house, and once they finally succeed in purchasing one, it should be worth a lifetime’s effort. After all, it requires decades of hard work living to save enough to purchase a house. But little do those who never had a house of their own in the past know that this luxury needs to bear many financial costs. From plumbing and electric work to paint jobs and HVAC systems, a house demands regular maintenance to stay in optimal condition. Overlooking these maintenance requirements will make the house lose its charm, beauty, and, most importantly, its monetary value.

As the world comes close to a possible recession following the coronavirus outbreak, property repair costs continue to rise; an alarming situation for homeowners and realtors. The homeowners will have to invest a significant chunk of their income into repairing the property while paying off the mortgage, and for realtors, it means minimized profits.

Fortunately, there is a way out for homeowners and realtors – learning trade skills.

Skills that an individual needs to land plumbing, painting, electrician, locksmith, carpentry, ironworker, and similar jobs are known as trade skills. The advanced skills needed for these jobs are not usually acquired in traditional colleges, but at trade schools or through on-the-job experience.

The Significance of  Trade Skills

Individuals with trade knowledge are guaranteed a faster and less expensive route to stable, well-paying jobs. Did you know that 17.5% of skilled tradespeople will go on to start their own business and become self-employed, inching close to the American Dream?

Even though having trade skills can increase an individual’s chances of acquiring financial stability, not many people consider it a career. As the generation of baby boomers continue to retire, the possibility of a shortage of plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians, increases. The industry needs young people, or those in career transition, women, and minorities to get ahead of this shortage problem. 57% of the total workforce in the US comprises women. But less than 10% of the United States’s total women workforce is part of the construction industry, including both skilled tradespeople and unskilled labor.

Despite how greatly the world emphasizes obtaining a college degree, developing trade skills can benefit all. Be it a student struggling to pay student loans or a property owner looking for ways to cut down maintenance costs, trade skills open the door to amazing opportunities for all.

Emphasizing learning trade skills is Charles Chadwick, author of Chadwick’s College Checklist and Chadwick’s Cultivated Circumstances. His publications help people, including high shool/college students, manage their finances by cutting down costs. While he shares different ways to reduce college and overall expenses to acquire financial stability in life, he greatly emphasizes the need to learn trade skills. Charles was able to cut his costs by 40% in college, thanks to a smart approach and the time he spent working at his father’s plumbing business.

The Benefits of Trade Knowledge for Property Owners

Charles stated, “My father is a licensed plumber, and I learned the trade of plumbing from him. And this has really helped me reduce the costs of owning and renting property.” His time working with his father during COVID-19 made him realize the amount realtors and homeowners spend on repair work to maintain their properties. From the material to the services, the prices soared during the pandemic showing no signs of receding. No one knows how long high prices will continue to batter the public’s finances. This is why Charles, a cut-cost expert, believes it is a wise approach to acquire trade skills. Through his books, he aims to spread awareness of how people can cut their costs/expenses.  The tips and tricks discussed by Charles offer a pathway for people to learn how to cut costs realistically and strategically.

With this approach, Charles proves through his example that cutting costs/expenses and owning a rented house is possible. Maintaining a home would be easy, too, as one with trade skills can manage this task without assistance. Charles wishes to spread this message and share this hack with all those property owners who cannot maintain their property’s condition due to the soaring material and service costs.

Having trade skills can help property owners cater minor repair work independently. With such a skill set, they won’t have to think about hiring costly services. The fact that plumbers, electricians, and other trade workers charge a fee to just visit and diagnose the problem proves how costly these services are. Charles shared a story of his aunts, who enrolled in a contuining education tile class at a community college to learn. “My aunts were motivated to take the course when they saw how expensive it was to have their bathrooms redone way out of their budget.”

But this is not the only way learning a trade skill can help.

Not only is this an excellent way to cut down the costs, but, also a chance to set up a side hustle. After learning trade skills, many individuals start their businesses and become self-employed. In either case, a person with trade skills can move a step closer to financial independence and stability.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a realtor, you can significantly benefit from knowledge about the trade industry. Here are some amazing things that Charles learned while working with his father.

Choosing the Same Trade Service

Charles discussed how his father would charge a service call fee. This is a fee service providers charge for visiting the site to look at a repair job. This is common among trade service providers. When the customers use the same service later, the amount paid as the initial fee gets deducted from the bill. Some trades service calls charge the service call that day and will not apply their fee if you call them back later. They usually want a customer to accept their price at that moment after they access the job.

So, when choosing a trade service, you should choose the one you hired the last time. This way, you can save the service call fee and pay only for the work performed.

Comparing the Price for the Best Option

A common practice among general contractors is taking three bids to do the same job. They consider the top three service providers (painters, electricians, HVAC, drywall, roofers, and framers). They choose the lowest bid, sometimes the second highest bid, and offer the service to the client at a price offered by the highest bidder. This is how a contractor profits from a construction job.

The homeowners and realtors can adopt the same strategy and save their money. A homeowner should call three to five different plumbers, electricians, HVAC, drywall, painter, or roofers and take their bids. This will allow them to compare prices and choose one most affordable.

Reducing the Cost by Purchasing Materials

Some tradespeople make a significant profit on the prices of materials. It’s no secret that plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and many other businesses avail discounts on supplies. They acquire the material at a discounted rate, but charge the customer market rates.

Exploring the market to get the best-priced material isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s hectic and sometimes even exhausting. This is why most customers ask the service providers to purchase the material and complete the repair job. When it comes to minor jobs, a customer could buy the needed material and then maybe seek a lower price for just the labor to finish a job. Charles, while discussing this, stated, “I saw contractors get upset, because a customer knew what they were doing by cutting them out buying their own materials. I have seen where contractors would use customer materials, but on receipt said they could not warranty the material, because they didn’t buy it.”

How to Acquire Trade Knowledge?

People worldwide believe that a college degree is essential for acquiring success. They think it is their ‘ticket’ out of financial stress. Throughout their lives, people focus on their academics, striving to score good grades, believing this will help them gain financial stability in the future. They fail to identify the opportunities surrounding them, only to come across the reality the hard way.

Getting a college degree is indeed a way forward in life, but acquiring higher education isn’t that easy. The world knows that college education is expensive, which is why there’s a thing called ‘student loans.’ While this financial assistance increases the chances of a student acquiring a degree, paying them off can become a challenge. Student loan debt can cripple one’s financial standing and take away their chance to live a successful and carefree life. The result is that most of their earnings are spent on paying off the loans.

This is where trade skills come into play. The question is, ‘how to acquire trade knowledge?’

Joining Trade School

Aspiring college students can join trade school and enroll in an apprenticeship program that teaches these skills. This will not only help increase their chances of employment during college, but, also give their student loan repayment process a head start.

The best thing about trade schools is that it is way cheaper to study than traditional degree programs. These schools aim to help people develop skills and graduate without accumulating huge student loan debt.

On-the-Job Experience

Besides this, people can work part-time with a tradesperson and acquire skills. It is not difficult to land such a part-time job as many opportunities are available in this field. It is proven that most people learn more on an actual job than in a classroom. Working on real projects and dealing with customers can add to your professional profile. The experience you can gain here will undoubtedly prove beneficial in the long run.

Regardless of how an individual chooses to acquire these skills, it will benefit them in the future. Not only will it allow one to live ‘smartly,’ but it, also offers them a chance to set up their own business. While Charles has discussed the importance of trade skills for college students in his book Chawick’s Cultivated Circumstances Experience is Sometimes priceless. This book was featured on-line 2022 Reader’s Digest.

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