New app hooks construction workers up with jobs

Posted at 5:13 AM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 08:13:56-05

Technology is helping match San Diego's skilled workers with the jobs that are out there.

It's not a glamorous job.

"It's dirty work and you've got to be careful you don't get stuff in your eyes," said Randy Sawyer, owner of Randy Sawyer Roofing.        

But for 30 years, Randy's hands have built rooftops across San Diego County.

His current coworkers on a Vista home's facelift? His sons, Andrew and Rick.

"We do everything, because I'm a small company, we built the whole structure here," Sawyer said.

The work adds up, and sometimes, Sawyer could use some good help.

But that's not easy to find these days.

"To get somebody good is really hard, because all the good ones are working," he said.

As San Diego's home prices continue to rise, so does demand for construction workers.

There are now about 70,000 construction jobs in the county, up 10 percent in the last year. While construction jobs are rising, they're still more than 20,000 below their pre Great-Recession peak about a decade ago. 

As skilled workers get harder to find, an app just released called ServicePair aims to bridge the gap. It's free in the iTunes and Google Play stores. 

Chad Arendsen, also a San Diego contractor, created the app because he was having the same problem.

"Finding new labor and skilled guys when we sell more than our capacity is tough," he said.

Sawyer said he usually calls people he trusts when looking for extra help.

"And that's really time consuming and usually fruitless," he said.

But he said he could see the app connecting him to new people.

And then he, and his hands, could actually take a break.

"Well, I could, but I don't, my wife yells at me about that, I don't take too many breaks," he said, laughing.

In that case, at least the work would get done that much faster.

The free ServicePair app is available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.