Work steady for some thanks to recession

Brad Penn paints the trim in one customer's house.
Brad Penn paints the trim in one customer's house.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Brad Billingsley and Brad Penn are a two man team.

"A lot of sheetrock work, painting.  Of course we do a lot of carpentry work, doors, windows, molding," says Billingsley.

They're staying busy with work neither one thought they'd get at a time when most people are watching their wallets.

"I expected one or two a month, but we're getting one or two jobs a week," he adds.

Those jobs are all part of a trend they say is keeping them afloat.

With money tight, customers aren't looking to buy new, but rather re-do.

"It's been a lot of commercial repaints, a lot of residential repaints, remodeling or anything.  A lot of people are fixing their houses up instead of selling them," says Brad Penn.

Some independent contractors say while they may be getting more remodeling work, they're forced to lower the price of the jobs because of the economy.  And while the work may be good for them, it's even better for the customer.

"Sometimes it's like we're having a half-off sale," says Penn.

It's a discount they're eager to give to keep a steady income. But it's not just independent contractors seeing the increase.

Managers at local home improvement stores like The Home Depot say they've noticed the same trend and are reaching out to customers anxious to "do it themselves."

But these guys are thankful for every stroke of the paintbrush, knowing not everyone is as fortunate.

"Two or three people just about everywhere we go will ask me for a job," says Penn.

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