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2024 Outlook For Builders & Irish Trade Pros
Kelly Ohlmus

2024 Outlook For Builders & Irish Trade Pros

Discover the challenges and opportunities awaiting builders and trade professionals in Ireland in 2024. Explore rising costs, economic slowdowns, and strategies to thrive in this complex landscape.

Looking ahead to 2024, small building contractors and self-employed trades in Ireland are preparing to face ongoing challenges. The construction industry is grappling with rising costs due to factors like inflation, material scarcity, and increasing labour expenses. While the Irish economy has recently met the technical definition of a recession, there are still pockets of optimism. In this complex landscape, our outlook explores the hurdles and opportunities that builders and trade professionals will encounter in 2024.


Costs in Construction: A Look Ahead to 2024

Builders and self-employed tradespeople will continue to face obstacles with construction costs. These challenges include inflation, material scarcity, and rising labour expenses. Material shortages, which caused price increases during the pandemic, have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Plaster prices surged by nearly 36%, concrete prices rose by over 27%, and blocks and bricks increased by more than 19%.

Inflation in 2022 has continued into 2023, limiting building providers' ability to mitigate rising material costs. Additionally, escalating energy costs, transportation expenses, and global market shifts have further strained their ability to pass on savings to the trades. 

These price hikes, combined with a 7.7% rise in materials and builders' wages, significantly impact the overall cost of constructing a three-bedroom home. In Ireland, the average cost of a new three-bedroom semi-detached home is €397,000, including construction expenses, site works, levies, and land acquisition. Labour costs have increased for 76% of construction companies, while 64% are grappling with rising raw material prices.


Economic Slowdown Sparks Decline in Home Improvement Market

The Central Statistics Office recently confirmed a 1.9% decline in GDP, leading economists to declare a recession. The Modified Domestic Demand (MDD), reflecting the domestic economy, remained stable, indicating potential economic uncertainties. 

These indicators may be influencing the declining figures in the home improvement market, with a 5.8% decrease in GDP and 0.4% decrease in MDD compared to the same period in 2022. This suggests a challenging economic landscape, impacting household budgets and investment in home renovations. 

The contraction in multinational sectors by 3.8% and a 0.7% decline in other sectors highlight the widespread nature of the economic challenges. As the Irish economy meets the definition of a recession, consumers are becoming more cautious with their spending.


Irish Economy Positive Indicators

Despite the challenges, it's important to recognise positive indicators in the Irish economy. Consumer spending continues to grow, supported by strong employment growth. Recent data shows a rise of 27,000 jobs in Q3. 

Inflation has also eased, reaching its lowest rate of increase since July 2021 at 2.3% in November. While there is still pressure on households due to rising costs the Budget 2024 includes measures to alleviate this burden including grants to drive many home improvement projects.


Unleashing the Potential: How Builders and Trade Pros Can Seize Opportunities in 2024!

In the face of 2024's challenges, there are several tools and strategies that builders and trades professionals can harness to mitigate the impact and seize new opportunities. 

Targeted Sales Leads can serve as a lifeline in these challenging times, allowing businesses to reach potential customers effectively. By focusing efforts on leads that are more likely to convert, businesses can ensure that their sales efforts are not wasted, resulting in greater efficiency and profitability.

Digital Marketing tools like a website can help builders and trades professionals promote their services and convert clients faster. It not just helps not to showcase the work you desire, but also helps to elevate business credibility. 

Powerful Mobile Invoicing can streamline the billing process, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and allowing more time to be spent on the job site. With the ability to generate and send invoices directly from a mobile device, businesses can ensure prompt payment and improved cash flow.

Exclusive Cost Saving Discounts from vendors and suppliers can help to offset rising material and operational costs. By partnering with suppliers who offer these discounts, businesses can save significantly on their overheads.

Money Collection Solutions, such as online payment platforms, can help to ensure that businesses receive payments on time. These solutions can also provide added convenience for customers, improving their overall experience and encouraging repeat business.

E-Learning & Personal Upskilling opportunities allow businesses to keep pace with industry trends and maintain a competitive edge. Whether it's learning about new construction techniques or improving customer service skills, ongoing education is critical for success.

Networking and Community Forums can provide valuable insights and advice from peers in the industry. By participating in these forums, businesses can learn from the experiences of others and avoid potential pitfalls.

Business Differentiation can make a significant difference in a crowded market. By identifying and communicating a unique selling proposition, businesses can stand out from the competition and attract more customers. This could be a unique service, a commitment to sustainability, or exceptional customer service. 

With these tools and strategies in place, the year 2024 can be a year of growth and opportunity for Irish builders and trades professionals, despite the challenges they face. 


Onlinetradesmen: Your Partner in Success

Onlinetradesmen, Ireland's most trusted marketplace for tradesmen and builders, is committed to helping you navigate these economic challenges and seize the opportunities that 2024 presents. Our platform connects qualified trade professionals and property owners, giving you access to thousands of potential projects. 

Onlinetradesmen is not just about connecting you with prospective clients; we're about empowering your business.  Our Everything App automates the admin tasks you hate, freeing up your time to focus on what you do best. By streamlining your business processes, you'll have more time for the tasks that truly matter. Connect with the right clients, save time on commuting, promote your business online, and save thousands on costs with our exclusive discounts. Upskill and learn with our E-Learning platform, and receive real business support from our experts. Join us and experience the difference!

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