Kitsap Building Trades Benefit From Mother Nature’s Economic Stimulus

Earlier this week, when I was researching a story about storm related damage from fallen trees, I saw an interesting example of how the extreme weather event of Nov. 22 is having a trickle-down effect on the local economy. A crew from Northwest Tree Service of Port Orchard was doing the heavy lifting on a massive Douglas fir that had leaned over onto the roof of Marilyn and Bob Falk of Port Orchard.

“It’s our economic stimulus package,” said Ron Rider, the company’s owner. “(His business) went from pretty lethargic to total chaos. It’s still total chaos, and I don’t know when we’ll get caught up. This should keep us going for quite a while. I don’t see any slow down before Christmas.”

In the backyard, scurrying around like ants, Eddie Shelby and his family were removing chunks of firewood from the Falk’s yard.

Shelby, who sells firewood and runs a hunting guide service, has a symbiotic relationship with Northwest Tree Service that works to the advantage of both parties. Shelby makes money selling the firewood he scavenges, and Ron Rider, the company’s owner, doesn’t have to charge families.

All corners of the construction and building services industry are experiencing an economic bump from the storm, according to Teresa Osinski, incoming executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County. But she’s having a hard time taking cheer in the bonus, given the hardships it’s placing on many families during tough economic times and right before the holidays.

Osinski also is concerned about the potential for people to be taken advantage of. Under normal circumstances, homeowners have the time to research companies that provide services. In the heat of the moment, Osinski fears, they may cut corners, leaving themselves vulnerable to scams or shoddy workmanship. If a company is not insured and workers are hurt on the job, the homeowner is liable.

“Yes, there is potential for some economic benefit as a whole,” Osinski said. “What’s more important for us is that the consumer be very conscious about who they’re hiring and that they do their due diligence.”

The homebuilders association is a good resource for referrals for all types of contractors. But people still must ensure that the company they are considering is licensed, bonded and registered as a contractor with the state’s Department of Labor and Industries.

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