The answer is a resounding “YES!”
I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from buying a log home, as you can discover in our article Log Structures and Durability. With regular log repair and maintenance services, log structures have lasted longer than the average modern home—some thousands of years. Log structures are often better built than the contemporary home. However, it is not maintenance-free or cheap to maintain. This is when you need to weigh the value versus cost.
Just like lawyers and doctors, you pay for what you get. Remember, when the services come to you, they will always cost more. Log home professionals skilled in preservation are in high demand, and many inexpensive local “log home preservationists” have minimal insurance and no experience or skill in the trade, often making it worse than when they started. This can lead to additional costly fixes on a log home that may not have been necessary if you’d chosen a reputable company. If you will soon close on your first log home, consider reading Buying an Existing Log Home | Do you know the pros and cons?
What’s driving the high prices to have a log home restored?
Many things are affecting the prices. A few are obvious, like the economy, inflation, insurance costs, travel expenses, Federal and State requirements, labor laws, etc. But more specifically to the log home industry, the following are also likely impacting prices:
- It’s a dirty job and few want to do it
- High Customer Demand
- Fewer Log Home Companies
- Experienced Elders Retiring
- Lengthy Apprenticeships (believe me, it’s necessary)
- Seasonal Retention Programs
- College Education Respect
- Youth Lack of Interest
- Work/Home Life Challenges
- Construction Worker Wage Demands
- Lack of Respect & Social Acceptance
Generic Prices for Log Cabin Repairs
While the above may impact prices, pricing varies by many factors. It is difficult to quote a generic price as it is likely to change when you start assessing all the nuances of the contract. You can read What We Consider in a Log Home Restoration Estimate to learn more about these factors. All this to say, the “That’s too much” comment by homeowners is highly subjective, insulting, insensitive, and inconsiderate of the laborer’s needs. With that said, getting multiple estimates to compare the pricing is recommended. Most reputable log home preservation service companies offer free online estimates. For example, we offer this, and if you are interested, head over to our Checklist for a Free Online Estimate!
Few Laborers Creates High Demand Driving Higher Prices For Log Home Restoration Industry
Log home preservation is an excellent industry to enter if you’re looking for a career with high demand but few laborers. The log home preservation industry is going through many changes, not only in availability due to high demand and the retirement of our elders in the field but also in wages to draw in new talent. It’s a growing problem getting qualified employees in all industries, but more so in “blue collar” occupations.
Cheapest Versus Quality
It’s true that log home preservation can be expensive, but it’s important to remember that quality work comes at a price. Read Log Homeowner’s Nightmare to learn more about the dangers of hiring the cheapest contractor. Quality comes at a price. Everyone pays the standard 5-minute doctor visit bill of $200+ for quality and assurance. Lawyers charge a minimum of $300+/hr. However, construction workers rarely get the same respect. They deserve respect and to get paid fairly for their hard work and expertise. This lack of respect towards “blue-collar workers” is a growing problem in our society, and we need to work together to find a solution. Otherwise, we stand to lose a lot of valuable knowledge.
Blue Collar Workers Deserve Your Respect
We often assume that blue-collar workers are less deserving of respect, but the truth is that they work hard and deserve fair compensation. Many people believe that construction workers should be paid more for their years of experience in the field, physical struggles, the damage to their bodies, and the missed quality family time due to exhaustion. However, these same people often have no idea what it’s like to do this kind of work. Because of this, they underestimate the price for the skills of an experienced log home repair service.
Professional Retention Costs
To retain professionals in the industry, some companies, like ours, pay their workers over the winter months even though they are not working on full restorations. This helps them return for the next season instead of finding another full-time job. However, this comes at a cost that is inevitably passed on to the consumer. It’s important to keep this in mind when accessing the price of log home professionals who are busy working during the best seasons for vacations with their family and friends. A three-month paid break around the holidays is a benefit that attracts qualified laborers. This is the new reality in the log home industry, which has seasonal limits. Finding workers is difficult even in a good economy.
Construction Workers Wage Expectations
Construction workers, and more so log home contractors, expect to get paid at least $35/hour for their knowledge, experience, and skills, and they should. Laws of supply and demand play a factor in driving up wages. This is hard work, and few are skilled enough to know how. It makes home life challenging as they miss baseball games and important events while on the road. Due to lost family time, many won’t stay in this line of work. Few will stick it out, learn, and work through the struggles.
Fair is Fair
So, next time you think the price isn’t fair, ask for an explanation or go with another company. Please, could you do your research? Understand what will be required of you since you own a log home. Pay for quality services. Know that that service is expensive and you are helping a hard worker make a fair wage for his skills and experience. Like doctors or lawyers, they deserve a reasonably high salary for their sacrifices. And before anybody smugly says, “Well, they should have chosen a different education or job because that’s just too high price for a ‘construction worker,’” with all due respect, many might respond, “Well, then you should have learned how to restore a log home before you bought one because it’s expensive to have skilled and experienced construction workers these days.”