850 Read Dr., Summerside
Josh Warren is a General Contractor who has been in business for nine years. Warren Carpentry does new home construction as well as general repair and maintenance. His wife Jillian has a dog grooming business at the same location. She is working to full capacity and not able to take any new clients at this point. Their home is on the same property, and they have a three-year-old son.
Josh learned many of his skills from his father, who was also a carpenter. “In my last semester in high school I took a Co-op placement with my father, and stayed working for him for four years. I did my apprenticeship through him and got my Red Seal designation. He ran a two-man operation and stayed at it until I was able to manage on my own. My father retired after being in the business for almost 30 years.
“I started my own company in my name, and in the beginning I did take some of dad’s clients.
Josh has another company called TJW Holdings. “I buy older structures and fix them up. I now have 16 units, which I have no difficulty renting out.”
A new venture Josh is pursuing is called Suncoast Enclosures which constructs screened three season rooms. “This is new to PEI and we are getting business across the Island.
“I have a very rewarding and fulfilling career. I have seen quite a change in construction in the last five years with the rising prices of all aspects of construction and the adjustments needed to be made with the introduction of the HST.”
About the industry
“Right now, new construction is down, but rental is up,” says Josh. “We are seeing multiple unit housing, not single family homes going up right now. The housing market seems to be geared to seniors who are downsizing and wanting to get into duplexes or multiple units. Duplexes in particular are in rising demand.”
About the staff
The carpentry staff work year-round. “Right now I have staff at three job sites. I have been fortunate to have had the same carpenters for the last few years. During the last two years, I have had to lay off just one carpenter in the winter, and so far I have had no difficulty finding carpenters.”
Two or three labourers are laid off in the winter and hired for the summer. “The labourer position is a little more difficult to fill each year,” says Josh. “In March, we start to line up the labourers for the summer months.”
“I am always open to hiring people through SkillsPEI or having Holland College students do their OJT here, because it is important to be prepared and to make sure the right number of staff is available for future work.”
Josh looks for people who are willing to learn, want to work hard, and are respectful. “We are around customers all the time, so being respectful is very important.”
Advice for those going into business in the trades
- Don’t let it scare you. Go out there, be friendly, and get that work.
- Always answer your phone. When people want you, you have to make yourself available.
- Keep your rates competitive. Be clear about the price and any adjustments.
- “The best step I took was to have a bookkeeper come into the office once a week,” says Josh.
“I have great employees. We get along great and get the jobs done. It does get stressful with the investment for each build and that is the reality, but I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
For more information, contact Josh Warren at 902-436-2236.