Winter will not be a slow season for custom home building company Premier Island Homes, a franchise of Supreme Homes. They are currently looking for six more skilled carpenters to meet their deadlines.
“We are booked until late spring of 2019,” says Joel Leger, General Manager, noting the company has projects in the Charlottetown area, Souris, Montague, Hunter River and New Glasgow. “The demand is strong for regular homes, mini-homes, and summer homes.
“My typical, year-round work-week is 60 hours long, and occasionally it goes to 80 to 90 hours. It’s good to have a Sales Manager to do estimating, quoting and other customer service, and a Foreman to help me manage the job site.”
Joel has used word-of-mouth to find experienced carpenters, but has found it a challenge. “Because of the construction demand, it’s very difficult to find someone who’s qualified on PEI. I have employed people who have moved here from Ontario.”
About his journey
The young entrepreneur started out as an apprentice carpenter in high school at the Supreme Homes location in Tracadie, New Brunswick, where he’s originally from. His brother is also in the industry.
A friend of Joel’s persuaded him to work in construction on PEI many years ago. “I liked it here and I have family here, so I decided to stay.”
Modular homes are different from the traditionally framed home, or ‘stick built’ home as Joel calls it. Modular homes are built off-site in a factory providing a controlled environment and high quality control, while stick built homes are created on-site from individual pieces of lumber, from the roofs to the floor trusses.
“I worked in the ‘stick build’ home construction business for four years and returned to modular home building because I always liked this type of work. Supreme has been very helpful as I grow my business here.”
He has used SkillsPEI programs to hire an apprentice and a skilled carpenter. “The programs were well worth it in the end.”
Joel has received financial support from CBDC Atlantic and Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
About the industry
He sees a wide range of demographics buying a custom home. “Couples in their mid-30s and 40s are looking for permanent homes. Younger couples are looking for starter homes. Older couples are looking for summer homes or downsizing to a smaller home.
“Immigrants are buying more of the older homes on PEI, so Islanders are choosing to build new homes because existing ones are being snapped up.”
Joel says the high cost of building supplies is one reason housing has become expensive. “Mini homes on land leases could be part of an affordable housing strategy. The resale value of the homes is good as well.”
- Sales Manager
- Site Foreman
Premier Island Homes subcontracts electrical, plumbing, painting, siding, and roofing services.
About the hiring
Open positions have been advertised on Facebook, kijiji and Indeed. “The last carpenter I hired sought me out after he saw my interview with CBC.”
He hires year-round. During the job interview, Joel asks about job experience. “I am looking for skilled carpenters, so I want to know about their previous jobs.
“I set wages depending on the employee’s experience,” he says. “Across the industry, I see trades wages going up as more companies compete for skilled workers. Wages will stay strong as the demand for workers remains high.”
For more information, call Joel Leger at 1-902-439-8565 or e-mail [email protected].
Visit Premier Island Homes on Facebook. Click here.