There has always been a free entrepreneurial spirit in the economy for individual jobs and people working for themselves. According to Upwork, 56.7 million people are working in what is called the gig economy, which is defined as a free market system wherein temporary positions are common and organizations contract independent workers for short-term engagement.
Although entertainment and internet-related occupations make up most of these jobs, the concept of gigs is spreading to all areas of work. For years, many in the field of human resources have theorized that America would turn back to a more gig-related economy than it had prior to the Industrial Revolution. A couple of drivers of this new gig economy are the workforce and cost-cutting measures many companies are adopting to drop benefits and pensions from long-term employees.
In the field of home services and repair, gig work has always been prominent for firemen, preachers and teachers whose full-time jobs allow them the time to earn more money through side jobs. Since the Great Recession, when many were forced to find gigs to survive. This type of work with freedom and flexibility has become appealing to many. Few people talk about it, but the current shortage of unskilled workers is probably caused by people simply refusing to become enslaved to a 40-hour week and the demands dictated by a boss.
Home services and repair gigs offer great pay and are especially lucrative in senior citizen enriched areas in Florida, such as Lake and Sumter counties. According to the 2018 United States Census, 26.7 percent of Lake County’s population was over the age of 65, with a whopping 57.6 percent in Sumter County. Based on these numbers, there are 169,846 people who are over the age of 65 in these two counties — and the number grows every day. This area is not a big do-it-yourself home service and repair market. Most of the retirees have more income, are focused on an active adult lifestyle and do not have the physical ability or capacity to do their own work. Most (if not all) of the retirement developments in the area do not permit sheds, so storing basic tools becomes a challenge.
This area is rich with good paying gig jobs related to home improvement. Drive down Highway 27 from Clermont to The Villages and you will see a caravan of pickup trucks advertising all kinds of home services. Many local entrepreneurs understand the opportunity.
The problem for many gig workers is they don’t take care of their business. First, a gig worker must be honest with a clean background and great reputation to be considered by most prospective clients. Next, you must be on time and do a good job while projecting a good, professional image. Finally, you must do what you say you will do with follow-up and attention to detail. If you do these three things consistently, you will have no problem finding all the work you can handle.
Just think about all the home improvement related jobs for senior citizens in Lake and Sumter. Mowing, landscaping, putting furniture together, pressure washing, debris removal, furniture moving, painting, trim work, cabinet repair, floor repair, floor cleaning, gutter cleaning and the list is endless. Just think about all the items that are shipped from online stores every day to seniors that need to be assembled. If someone focused solely on assembling items in the homes of seniors, they could make a lot of money. They could also become very good at it in a short period of time by keeping extra parts available when the vendor forgets to include a nut or bolt.
Am I suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow? No, I am not. However, I am suggesting for anyone who wants to own a business and be free of a boss, this area has so many gig opportunities in home improvement, repair and services that you have the opportunity to make as much money as you want. Those people who work hard, do a good job, act professional and protect their reputation have no worries because there is always a gig to be done in Lake and Sumter.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply. He is also the host of the Around the House TV show on LSTV and LakeSumterTV.com at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and at 7 a.m., Noon and 6 p.m. Saturday.