drywall

Exploring Building Trades (Video Series): Lydia’s Drywall Journey and Trade Insights

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Take a look inside the world of drywall directly from a seasoned professional – Lydia.

The professionals who work in this trade are also referred to as “drywallers” or “drywall contractors. Those involved in sealing the joints between boards are also called stoppers or finishers. This is an important part of the finishing as this is often the finish that gets painted, and a bad job really shows.

In this revealing new exploring trades video series, join our host Matt Risinger as Lydia provides a candid, first-person account of her winding journey from construction kid shadowing her builder dad to becoming a highly sought-after finishing contractor.

I’m talking mud-on-the-boots insights here. The kind of unvarnished truth civilians rarely glimpse about the realities of this demanding but immensely rewarding craft. You’ll experience Lydia’s humble beginnings, her detours into other vocations, and her ultimate realization that drywall was her true professional passion.

Make no mistake – Lydia pulls no punches. She’ll walk you through the stark financial realities new tradespeople face and how drywall presents a surprisingly accessible entry point requiring minuscule startup costs. With her hard-earned credibility, she’ll outline the strategic steps for ambitious newcomers to start small and cultivate a richly lucrative niche given today’s extreme contractor shortages.

But this transcends mere business advice. You’re getting a first-class education in the culture of true craftsmanship from an industry veteran who’s been-there, done-that. The immense pride. The imperative of reliability and mutual respect with clients and peers. The physical and mental fortitude to persevere through back-breaking days on the tools. This is tradelife from the trenches.

Lydia also shares a tremendously inspiring vision for restoring honor and prestige to skilled labor work. You’ll hear her empowering ideas for hands-on education that allows youngsters to experience the joys of creation and self-sufficiency before automatically funneling toward ill-fitting career paths. It’s a stirring call-to-action to uplift the next generation of tradespeople.

This is truly a master blueprint anchored in authenticity and hard-earned wisdom. You’re about to receive one of the most comprehensive, unflinching looks at life as a drywall tradesperson ever captured on video. Grab your tools and dive in – the inspirational journey awaits.

Over to you Matt.

Unlocking Drywall Expertise: Lydia’s Journey and Trade Insights

Video Transcript

Welcome to Shorty Studio. I like it. I feel like I’ve been here before. Well, I’m sure you’ve seen some videos. We like to do some training and hands-on and technical stuff here. I like it, yeah. We are clean, Lydia, after a day of work. How about we sit down and really dig into who is Drywall Shorty? Absolutely, let’s get to it.

Talking trades, we’re talking drywall. Let’s get going. Build Original Series hosted by Matt Risinger, talking trades brought to you by Front Door and Sashco.

Lydia, super fun to sit down with you and flesh out some of the details. So we talked a little bit about your kind of genesis in the construction world. Walk me through that, how old were you when you started working with your dad in construction?

Well, my earliest memories are probably when I was a little kid and my dad would take us to work. And he had this white Ford truck with blue vinyl seats, and we lived in Atlanta, so it was hot. So I think my earliest memories are being probably like six, and you know how you can get off the seat of those, and your ass cheeks deliver those.

And we would get Yoo-hoos and Twizzlers for rewards after working with my dad. So how about that? And he would let us drive the stick shift too. He’d let me, he’d let me do, you know, switch gears. So I think those are probably my earliest memories. And I think that’s probably, and how old were you when you were going to the job sites with him? Probably like six or seven, maybe a little bit younger.

That’s awesome, yeah. So it was always really fun. And then as I became an adult, well, I wasn’t even really an adult. I was 18 when I started with my dad, and he just said, “Do you want a job?” And I said, “Sure,” because I mean, in my mind, it was all Yoo-hoos and Twizzlers, so sounds great, dad. And it just really turned into a career. And tell me about your summers. Like, when you were in high school as like a 15, 16-year-old, were you working with your dad during the summer, or were you doing other jobs?

Um, occasionally. Usually I worked other jobs like I worked as a dishwasher, cashier. Um, I did sales, just kind of different things here and there, yeah. Um, but when I was, I started with my dad when I was 18. So I graduated high school, went to college first semester, flunked miserably. And then he asked me if I want a job, and I was like, “Sure, okay, that sounds.” I worked a restaurant industry in high school as well.

And there were several people I remember as like a, I started there when I was a sophomore that were in their 20s and had worked there full-time for years. Wow. And I did not like the restaurant industry. I did like the tips. Um, but I didn’t like the hours and how weird it was working till midnight. I just felt like my social life was off, yeah.

And so it was interesting how I kind of realized I wanted a more kind of normal job, so to speak. I wonder if you had any of those feelings as a teen as well?

Absolutely, so I worked at a place here that has an airport shop. So I was 17, and I had graduated high school, and they’re like, “Great, now you can take over this 4:00 AM spot.” And I’m thinking to myself, “I am, I’m 18 years old. I’m like living with roommates. We’re all having fun like.”

I was like, “I know, man. I’m not want a 4:00 AM shift at the airport. No, thank you.” And then, yeah, then that kind of catapulted me into the drywall trade. That was crazy. I was like, “Thank you.” And so from 18 to today, I don’t want to necessarily give away your age, but you’ve done this for at least a solid decade now, yeah?

A little over 20 years now. I think I still, I’m like, “Wait, it’s that right, 20 years?” It’s crazy how time flies, isn’t it?

It is. So I’m curious, now you’ve been doing this for a while. What are the things that you feel like, you know, “This is something I would have never realized when I was a teen,” let’s say, or maybe even after you’ve been in a business for a year or two, and looking back on it, you go, “It’s one of the things I really like about what I do for a living.”

Um, probably the biggest thing is variety. You’re never doing the same thing. I mean, you are doing the same thing, but there’s always something different. There’s always a new challenge. You, you walk onto a job and you’re like, “Oh, okay, this is different this time,” or “This is the challenge here,” or maybe you have deadlines that you didn’t have before, or maybe you have a little more freedom to kind of do what you want, yeah.

And for me, it’s, I really don’t like getting bored, and I like to stay active. So it’s just, it’s the perfect fit. It’s, you’re always having something new.

I could see that. So then, I’m curious, have you ever worked an office job and compare and contrast what you do for a living now to maybe working on more kind of standard office job, let’s say?

Yeah, so when there was the recession and everything stopped, there was like no building going on here, and we needed food and money. So I actually worked in a State Farm office for about a year and a half, maybe a little bit longer. And it was awful. I seriously, I was like, “I hate this job. I hate that I can’t show up when I want.

I hate that I can’t leave at 2:00 in the afternoon to go get a coffee. I hate that I have a designated lunch break.” Like all of it, it was awful because when you’re self-employed and you own your own business, you can do whatever you want whenever you want. That’s right, you know? There’s nobody really to answer to. And sticking in an office at the same desk every day with the same calls and the same, it just, and it was not for me, yeah.

I could see that, yeah. I’m curious though, have you ever had the tendency to be a workaholic? Because there’s two sides of that coin. Like when you have an office and you need to be there 8:00 to 5:00, when 5:00 o’clock rolls around, it’s, it’s no big deal to leave.

But when you’re a contractor, you’re in your own, your own business, you’ve got jobs going on, you know, you could easily be tempted to work until dark and then get up at the sunrise and do the same thing all over again 7 days a week. If you work more, you get paid more. Have you ever fallen into that at all?

Absolutely, so there was a builder, it was right when things was starting to pick back up, and he was building a lot of fourplexes. And we were like, “Great, this, this will be good. We can kind of get our feet back under us again, kind of get back into the construction trade.” But you had two weeks to get an entire fourplex done with two of us. So we were working a lot of times. We were working Sunday nights until midnight, 1:00, 2:00 o’clock, get up the next day, have to go do the same thing again. My gosh.

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And Ryan actually got injured. Um, we were, the spray rigs that we used to texture are huge. They’re like Mark Fives and Speed Flows. And he was changing the nozzle out on one and had his finger on the trigger because we were so tired. Like, I think we were working, oh man, probably 70 hours a week, I don’t know. It was ridiculous. It was too much. But he was so tired and he wasn’t being safe and he actually blew a hole in his finger, oh my gosh, with a drywall mud. So scary, yeah.

So thank God it wasn’t paint, because if it’s paint, you have to go to the hospital immediately. He can get blood poisoning, oh does. But with this, they just opened him up and then cleaned all the mud out of his finger, and then he had to go back to work like 3 days later because we were so slammed, scary. Yeah, so yes. And it, it was dangerous because you get overworked, and, yeah, the money and the notoriety, and having that, be successful for your business is one thing. But if you get hurt to the point where you can’t work, you just undid everything you’ve been fighting for, yeah.

That’s right, yeah. That workplace safety means so much more when it’s your safety, not just general workplace safety, right? Absolutely, yeah. And it’s hard because you, you want to make money, and you want to make the builder happy. But at what point do you have to put your own well-being, you know? It has to go someplace. You can’t ignore it because accidents happen, yeah.

For sure. I’m switching gears a little bit, but I’m curious, for a young person interested in the trade, what’s, what’s it cost in terms of tools and initial kind of investment to get in this business? Did you have, you know, $10,000 worth of equipment you had to buy right away? Or is that something that you could kind of work into?

So drywall finishing and just drywall in general, I think is probably one of the cheapest and easiest ones to get into because you can essentially do everything you need to with a pan, a couple knives, and like a, a trigger, like sitting on, or a ladder depending on the complexity of the job. But sometimes that’s all you need, wow.

So essentially you could start doing drywall for under $50, not bad at all, yeah. I think these are more than that, but just with the hand tools would be, you know, $50, not bad at all. I mean, considering what a plumber or an electrician might need to buy to get into the business, yeah, it’s pretty impressive that you could really with just a few tools make a pretty good living, yeah, as a 20-something, right?

Absolutely. And you know, a way to think about it too is if you are having a hard time affording the tools, start doing patchwork, side jobs, small things where you don’t need the big tools to make the money. And then start adding and saving. And then, you know, kind of picking and choosing what is going to help you make more money instead of just doling out, you know, $5,000 on a set you might use half of.

That’s interesting. It’s funny you mention that, you know, that that patchguy is such a critical component in a builder’s toolbox, so to speak, in my, in my quiver of arrows that I need to shoot at my jobs to get them done. And when I subcontracted with with drywall contractors of the years, I can think of two or three patch guys in particular I’ve worked with that I got really close with because they were really a big part of, especially when I was working in production builder days.

I was really close to them because they were the person that really made me look good, finish my punch list for my homeowners. That’s an interesting idea that maybe somebody watching this, a younger person, that’d be a great way to get started in the business, because my assumption is those are hourly or maybe even salaried positions that they could learn the business, they could potentially learn from a more experienced person, yeah.

And then go out on their own later in life when they’ve got the time and the bandwidth, absolutely. And that’s how my dad started. So he worked for a large company in Atlanta, and all he did was touch up smooth walls every day for like, I don’t know how long he said for months. And, you know, and then then he really learned what to look for, what to see, how to patch, how to fix things. And then he went off his own and started his own company. So that’s how he started, that’s fantastic.

Yeah, it’s a great place to start. Well, I’m changing gears here a little bit, but I’m curious. Tell me about your best days on the job and then tell me about some days that you’re like, “Oh, I’m totally dreading tomorrow,” with XYZ.

Um, and I would say some of my best days are when we’re just having fun. Like you come to work and like you got to get stuff done, you can still kind of joke around, you know? You can like play pranks on each other or like just kind of sit around and talk for a while, or do, you usually play music when you work or no?

Always, yes. Oh, yeah, yeah. I have my Sirius XM radio. It’s my favorite. Um, those days are always really fun. Like when you’re at the end of the job and you come in and you’re like, “Yes, we killed this. Like awesome, everything looks perfect. The homeowner’s happy, the builder’s happy. Everybody’s happy.” Um, my least favorite is,

I just had one a couple days ago. We had to texture two units, so a, a full duplex. And it was about 98° out. We had to sand, scrape, clean up the entire thing, and then turn around and then texture it. That was one day I was like, a 100° day, yeah. I was like, “I’m not really not looking forward to this.”

I could see that. I mean, it’s a little bit like a football player getting off the field and that, that feeling of, uh, both high and low. Like they’re super tired, but they accomplished something, yeah, exactly. Really could I do that every day? No. Can I do it once a week? Yes, yeah.

I guess that’s interesting. That’s not a daily occurrence for you. You’re not a texture contractor, let’s say, yeah. Let’s change gears. I’m curious, what’s the brass tacks? You know, if you’re watching this and you’re a young person, what kind of money can you make in your profession?

So as being a self-employed contractor, really, the sky is a limit. At least six figures is to be expected where that six-figure line is that depends on what kind of work you’re working on. Um, hourly wise, anywhere like if we’re bidding, um, like a TNM job, we’re at about $85 to $100 an hour, plus materials. And you can even go higher depending on the drive time, what you have going on. I mean,

I think even, you know, you could even be up to $150 an hour, wow, depending on what kind of constraints are on the job. Are you having to take all your material for hours? Are you up and down stairs? How high are the patches? Um, so drywall, being a good drywaller pays more. Starting out, I’d say you could make anywhere between $45 to $65,000 a year. But when you first start, it’s not going to be very high because you really do need to have, oh man, at least 5 to 6 months before you actually start making your employer money, yeah.

For sure. And that’s the tricky part, yep. You got to share your value and your worth, absolutely. Well, most people want to quit after 3 months.

I could see that, they had enough. It’s a physical job, right? You’re not, uh, you’re not going home, uh, like the way you left the house, no. You’re busy. You’ve got dust on you. You’ve got drywall mud on you, uh, you’ve expended a lot of calories and energy during the course of the day, yeah.

Um, but I think that also means that probably, uh, that hourly rate has gone up over the years because there’s fewer and fewer people that are actually doing it. Would you, do you think that’s true?

Absolutely. And I’d say there’s fewer and fewer people doing it that actually know how to do it right and do it well. Um, anybody can think that they can drywall until they actually get into it and they start doing it and they’re like, “This is way harder than you make it look.”

And that’s a very common thing. It’s like, “That looks so fun. That looks so easy. Anybody can drywall.” And like, “Okay, well if anybody can drywall, then why isn’t everybody drywell contractors?” Like it’s definitely not, um, and anybody can do it kind of thing. It looks easy, but there’s a lot more that goes into it.

I can see that. When you put out a bid on a job, to do the drywall on that project, how often are you getting those projects, actually accepting the bid and using you guys?

Um, I’d say probably about 100% to 95%, wow. But you know, we also kind of have, we’ve been here for, oh man, 20 years. We have certain contractors that we work for. Sometimes you don’t even bid anything, you just keep going at that continued price. And then sometimes you’re not even bidding, and if there’s a large volume of work, sometimes they’re just saying, “This is what I’m going to pay you.”

And then you can take it, leave it, or you can do it or you can, you know, negotiate on some of the prices. But right now there’s a major shortage here, in just contractors, drywall contractors specifically. So I think, um, you know, you’re not alone here in Montana facing that. I think that’s true in Texas, that’s definitely true. When we visited uh, California, even when we were up in Minnesota, that lack of skilled trades people uh, is affecting everybody, which means that the prices for the those trades, I think have have gone up considerably even in the last 10 years.

Absolutely, and I think that’s part of house prices too. I mean, things are more expensive because we have to pay more to actually get somebody to come do the things. Yeah, like you can’t call me and be like, “Hi, I have a job starting next week, can you start it?” No, I can’t like that’s great that you have a job but I can’t get to it right now.

Yeah, so I think it’s definitely changed. Instead of being this like job where, “Oh, it’s just the drywall, just call them,” or like, “It’s okay, we get Larry over here.” Larry’s not around anymore, or Larry’s like buried under like 6 months of work and can barely find somebody to help him out here and there. Yeah, it’s definitely, it’s very much so shifted.

Yeah, what about what about people that say to you, “Oh, you know, your job’s going to be taken by robots or 3D printing in five years, so I wouldn’t get into that trade?” Think there’s any truth of that at all?

You know, it’s funny, I was actually just talking to my dad about this cuz we were talking about what are we talking about – we’re talking about like SpaceX cuz they do the training here and robots, and you know, the dryw robot that they just came out with. And well, can a dryw robot come in and do a custom home?

No. Can a drywall robot come in and do patch repair? No. Can they do like small stuff? And really I think where we see those machines, especially the new one that just came out, it’s big, it’s heavy, you have to have somebody operated still, and it’s not really meant for residential or like custom, high-end work. It’s meant for like, “Whm, bam, boom,” like big commercial jobs or like a hotel or you know something along those lines. But it’s still not going to replace everything.

Yep, and it doesn’t. I mean, I, I don’t know about the quality. I’ve only seen it like, I, I wasn’t able to sand when I saw it because they didn’t want the dust in the air, and I haven’t seen it sprayed because they didn’t want him spraying it either. But from what I’ve seen of the actual robot, um, it’s, it’s not going to replace anybody’s jobs anytime soon. Yeah, I think it’ll fill in gaps but it won’t take anybody’s jobs. I think I think that’s a good way to say it. It’ll fill in gaps, you know?

I’ve been doing this uh, I’ve been in the construction business out for almost 30 years. Yeah, uh, in another year, it’ll be 30 years for me. And as a builder, I’ve been hearing about prefabbed houses and Factory build homes for 30 years, uh, and some of the biggest names, including a company called Catarat that was funded in the billions of dollars, went out of business.

Uh because this is still a business that requires men and women who are willing to do hard things on a daily basis on job sites, and everything that we build to some degree is a prototype. And and we’ve seen some amount of um, for for your term, “drywall robots” so to speak, to help in and fill in some gaps. We’re always going to need tradespeople. We’re going to need people that know it how to do it, that understand the process and are not afraid to get dirty and work hard.

And if you’re one of those people, this is an incredible business that has huge opportunity for you. Oh, this guy is a, limit, I mean you really can make as big of a company or as small of a company as you want, just depends on how much you personally want to take on. Yeah, um, you know, there’s a lot that goes into running a business. There’s a lot that goes into having employees, making sure everything goes well. I mean, you know, you, you have a big company, but there’s, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is very rewarding, incredibly rewarding.

I think that’s really that you and your husband have been kind of a two-man team now for how many years? Uh, 19, cuz I got him started after I started. How about that, for 19 years? That’s pretty crazy to work with your spouse for 19 years.

Yes, and have you had other employees during that period of time? We have, so um, we’ve had employees. My dad always had about four to five employees, so we would help with that and train those guys. And then us on our own, we’ve had an employee like here and there, but we’re just, we work so well together and we have our systems down for us. It’s hard to justify bringing somebody in, training them, and then kind of like, we just, we know exactly how much we can take on and we know exactly what we can get done. So for us, it’s just, it’s just smart to keep it small, small. Yeah, for sure.

That’s really interesting. I wonder how many other family uh, small contractors there all like you in the world out there. I suspect a pretty decent amount actually, a pretty high percentage. It gets to the point, especially with drywall, you’re making less money by having more employees than you are just on your own.

Yeah, and that’s the thing, a lot of us fall into is, “Oh, I got to grow big, grow, grow big.” But then you wind up micromanaging all of your employees, and then that’s all your time, and you’re not making any more money than you originally were in the first place if you just stayed small. So I can see that it’s definely a personal choice. I mean, we could bid the really big jobs and and get a big crew going, but we’re just not really in the place where we want that, and we don’t want that management, and we like going to work, doing our thing, making our money and going home. Yeah, that makes sense.

Uh, I’m curious, L, if if a young person is watching this and is interested in this, in this trade, in this career, how do they, how do they find a job opening? How do they find somebody who’s willing to train them, uh, or maybe find somebody where there is some job openings to get started?

Definitely, uh, one thing I would say, especially with drywall, there is a drywall Union. We don’t have a union here, but there are unions in a lot of the bigger areas, so definitely kind of check that cuz they will do your training, apprenticeship. I believe they help you with tools, and it’s a good place to get started. Very cool. And then I would also say, you know, like there used to be message boards, I don’t know if there is like Sherin Williams had the message board.

You’re showing your age, Lydia. I am. There was a phone number that you, P, well that’s how we used to do it. I don’t know like I said, I don’t know if they really do that anywhere, but there’s probably some version of that. St, yeah, maybe like a local small hardware store that’s kind of like, maybe Craigslist um, you know, actually I wonder though if you went into a supply house, yeah, and said, “Hey, who are some of your bigger customers? I wonder if they’re looking to hire anybody.”

Absolutely, that’s usually what I would recommend is like, go to your local drywall supply store, go to you know um, I wouldn’t say Home Depot, but usually the drywall guys are Niche, and they go to specific drywall stores.

So definitely try those, see if they have any lead um, sometimes guys will just you know, off-hand andly be like, “Man, I got a big job, and and I need five guys here,” so definitely check out those spots um. Craigslist is usually not for us, it’s not great here, you can’t really find anything on there.

Yeah, most of it’s going to be Word of Mouth, like go check out your suppliers um. You could always follow a drywall truck and see where it goes. That’s right, make a phone call, yeah, sometimes that’s what you have to do, you just have to go and and write down numbers off things or leave a card or way to go, yeah, just kind of get get out there and just see what happens.

Yy, Lydia, I’m curious from your perspective, are you seeing many companies that are investing and supporting the trades?

Absolutely, there’s been some drel companies like Kenaim that are giving tool sets to um, High School teachers. I think Level Five is also, I mean, we have Skills USA, there’s all these companies that are saying, “Number one, you’re having people come up in the trades. Brand loyalty is huge.” So if you start with that brand, I mean think about it.

Say that brand, yeah, if that’s what you learn on, you’re not really going to want to switch. So I think they’re starting to get that, and they’re starting to really start to invest in these shop classes and in the teachers and kind of get their brands out there and let the kids have fun with them. For sure.

And if you uh, touch those tools as a young person, I think that’s ultimately where the passion for the trades comes from because not everybody like you has a dad who was in the business, frankly, uh, and so we need to get more young people to actually touch those tools and and get some time where they actually realize that satisfaction of, “I worked hard today, but I actually got something done.”

Yeah, and and for me, there’s nothing like that feeling of, “I worked really hard in this project, maybe even for a whole year or two years, and here’s the key that I gave to that homeowner that that was a bare dirt lot and now it’s a completed house.” And I suspect that the same is true for you, even though you might only be on the job for uh, you know, one to two weeks right?

Oh absolutely, I mean what’s funny, and and one thing I, I wish that would change so much and maybe this is my my thing I’m going to focus on, is drywall is incredibly important. Like, everybody wants those $115,000 Stone pieces, everybody wants the cabinets, everybody wants the heated floors or or you know, this um, you know total huge walk-in shower that cost $30, well even more than that probably $75,000, whatever it is, you know what I mean?

Like you get into some crazy stuff, and then they’re like, “Oh, you want that for drywall, that’s too much money, like that’s out of my budget,” or, “What, you’re that much, like that’s crazy.”

Yes, we are that much because we’re building the foundation that everything sits on. That’s exactly right. I was singing this the other night, it’s like a piece of art, like you have the framers that build the frame, and then you have, you know, the, the, the drywallers that put on the canvas.

And then you have us that come in, make the canvas you know look however you want it to. And then the painters finish it up. It’s like everything’s like a layer of building piece of art. That’s right, that’s, that’s what we’re doing to your house. For sure.

So do you want a Monae or do you want a um, Dollar Store picture like and every Builder realizes the value of a great Dall contractor? Yeah, and I think it’s interesting to hear that you guys end up winning you know, 90 plus% of the bids that you put out and the prices you put out. That makes perfect sense to me as a builder.

Yeah, uh, for me, I’ve worked with the same trades uh, typically for a decade, uh, only one or two of my trades did I change out during covid because we had some uh issues with labor or with uh quality uh, but other than that, I’ve worked really with the same trades, including the same drywall contractors I have two that I like and use on pretty much all of my jobs. Nice.

Uh, and so as a result, uh, you know, for me, I kind of, I kind of know what to expect on pricing and as long as I see that pricing come in where I’ve expected it, I would not even think about giving somebody else uh the business, you know?

It makes perfect sense if you give somebody else and they do a bad job, then you’re really in trouble. That’s my reputation line. Yeah, exactly, and it’s really hard to correct later. Oh, absolutely, and sometimes you don’t know until you get pain on and then you’re like, “Oh no, that was bad.” That’s exactly right, and that’s really hard to fix, and you won’t do that again. That’s always, always an ugly mistake. Oh my gosh!

Any funny client stories you want to pass onto us, Lydia?

I have one, and it was in the Yellowstone Club. Oh, if you’re not familiar with the Yellowstone Club, is a not a, a starter neighborhood, shall we say? So we’re in this job, and we get, we’re all there standing. It’s like we need to be out, like this is like final, like like everybody’s there working like 12, 13 hours, time to get out of the place. So they come walking in, I don’t know if it was the company owner,

I’m not totally sure who it was, but they were high up and they were very like you know, top of the company. And they walk in and there’s this beam, and it goes from being like, like you know, like this much of a reveal to like less much of a reveal.

And it’s done, like everything’s done. And they walk in and they’re like, “Oh, that reveal is not quite right.” And they’re like, “The drywallers can fix it.” And I straight up looked like, I, I was on scaff, I looked down and I’m like, “No, like we, that is non-fixable, that is not getting fixed.” And I’m like, “No,” and they just kind of looked at me and we’re like, “Whatever,” and like walked away.

Was hilarious, I didn’t mean to be that Frank, but I literally was just like, “No, straight up no, that’s hilarious.” We’re not fixing that, that needed to get caught like months ago. Yeah, not right now, you missed that in the Prem. So sorry.

There’s, there’s an old phrase and paint where the carpenter ain’t what’s the drwall CL of that phrase I wonder? Um, “Mud and tape where the where the carpenter ain?” Yeah, maybe uh, “Painter will fix it,” maybe? Uh, “Mud and tape where the where the carpenter ain.” Yeah, maybe. It doesn’t always work. No, it doesn’t always work. No, that was, that was one of those one, I probably could have had a little more tact with it, but I was just like, “That’s hilarious!”

Have you walked into a framing job before and been like, “Oh, this is going to look real bad if we continue?”

I don’t think so. I, I’ve never done that. I have seen other people’s work that has been really bad um, later on. Well, for instance, there was a contractor we did a lot of work for back in the early 2000s, and he went with a different, cheaper cont contractor.

I don’t think I have ever seen a job so bad in my entire life. It was horrible, like we walked in and we were just like, “Oh my God, like it was like not fixable, it was atrocious. I, i man, he shortly went out of business after maybe like two years after that.” That sounds about right, it was really bad. Yeah, like horrible. Yeah, you’re going to go out of business in your trade if you’re really bad at it. Oh yeah, people are not going to hire you.

Hey, lady, I want to talk to you about uh, something I’ve talked to all the contributors about recently, which is uh, do you ever feel some tinge of animosity that our jobs are blue collar and white collar type people uh, look down on us for being in a dirty business?

Oh absolutely, um, you know, I think when my kids were little, it was hard because you always have after school activities that you have to do, and I never wanted to show up dirty. I never wanted to show up in my work clothes because I didn’t want to have to deal with that, you know, kind of like that stigmatism of, “Oh, you’re, you work in construction, right?”

And people would when I told them what I did, they were like, “Seriously, you do that, like I never would have guess in a million years,” which was nice. But then as I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve started to take a lot more pride in, in what I’ve accomplished in the business that we’ve built, and the things that I can do with my hands. It’s like, just because I’m not in an office doesn’t mean that I’m any less.

And uh, we had a realtor come through a while ago, we were, we were at the mudding stage, and she was is walking um, through some clients and she goes, “Yeah, they’re doing the mudding right now.” And like it totally glared at us like hardcore. And um, I made a joke later, I’m like, “It’s not like we go to your office and go, “Ew, Becky the printer’s out of paper like so gross.”

And it’s like you can’t sell this house unless we build it for you, and it’s not like I go to your workplace and make you feel bad about what you’re doing. Totally, so it’s just kind of like, we need you guys, you guys need us. Why can’t we all just have mutual respect?

Totally, and it’s like, you know, when you go um, you go on a trip, what do you usually go see? You go see monuments and you go see architecture, things that last. Exactly, and who’s building those things? People like you and I. Yeah, so you wouldn’t have the things to look at if you didn’t have the people building it. That’s right.

Now I know you’ve traveled overseas, in fact, you were just in Germany this summer. I was in Germany a couple years ago, and I went to this International Building Show called the V Show. And I thought it was so cool in that as you’re walking around the show, I would see these big groups of men and women that all had like uh, racecar uh, pit crew style outfits on where they were like you know, a full white or a full green.

And when you got off to him, you realized it would be like uh, you know, “Han’s Painting Company,” or uh, I don’t even know the names. I’m trying to think of some funny German name, but you know, “schen buan drywall,” and then they have their name on the other side and they had a full uniform on, and they were crisp and they were clean.

And I thought it was so interesting that uh, in Europe, trades people have of a much more um, established career path. There wasn’t this stigmatism that they didn’t graduate from college. It was, it was uh, their society tends to Value people that have skill, people that can actually help with things and do things. And I think that’s, that’s why I’ve enjoyed spending time with you and the other tradespeople that we’ve done with this series, because you are the people that make America work.

Yeah, uh, you know, without us, there would be no new buildings built, there would be no buildings remodeled, there would be no um, buildings that are maintained. We need people like you and I that have skill, that are not afraid to work hard, and that are frankly not afraid to do that same skill and become a master’s level at it, because without us, even though when I watch your videos, you know, it does seem satisfying and it looks like I could do it, I, I am well aware that I could not do dry on my jobs.

And when I’ve, when I’ve remodeled over the years, even like my own house, I’ve always hired that phase out because I knew after having done some of it in high school myself, there’s no way I could, I could do it to your level. Uh, and so I think that slowly we’re changing that uh, kind of blue collar, White Collar animosity in America. And I think people are starting to realize that what we do for a living really makes a huge difference in uh, the world.

And an example of that, I would say, is you know, during the COVID shutdown and all the lockdowns not too long ago, and we went through that big COVID pandemic in America, our jobs were considered uh, what do they call it, in, not in, essential. They were considered essential. And so we were off from construction for a week or two where I was in my city, and then they deemed us essential, and we were right back to work.

Yeah, same here. And I have some friends that were in the restaurant business and some other service businesses that frankly lost their companies cuz their businesses weren’t deemed essential. People didn’t have to have their clothes dry clean, people didn’t have to buy uh, things at retail outlets, people didn’t have to buy food uh, from fancy restaurants.

And so I think it was, it was a bit of a validation of what you and I do for a living that we were deemed as essential workers during that period of time. AB, it was actually pretty nice. I was like, “Yeah, we’re essential cuz we are.” I mean, housing is an essential. That’s exactly right, and that’s what we’re building. Yeah, or having running water or having heat, basic need of life. These are very big, and and those of us that work these jobs are providing those basic needs. That’s right.

Does that mean that we’re less? No, it means that we just chose something different. And honestly, it’s kind of like we’re giving back in a way by providing these essential services. For sure, for sure.

I really appreciate it, spending some time with you. Yeah, it has been really fun to get to know you better, to hear your story, and to hear what the opportunity is out there for young people in the drywall trade, cuz I think that there’s massive opportunity out there in America and really around the world for this profession.

Absolutely, yeah. And I’m kind of curious to see in the next couple years if things do start changing the ways they do things in other parts of the world too, because it’s not all how we finish here. We don’t finish how they finish there, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s kind of a meat in the-Middle melting area somewhere that will be interesting. Yeah, what’s it like meeting your fellow trades people out there who are like, “Oh my gosh, it’s Lydia drwall shorty?”

Uh, for me, it’s still weird because I still get up and I go to work, and that’s what I do um. It’s not really, I’ve never thought of it as being like special, like I just am a drywall contractor, and I’m just kind of show in some stuff because it’s fun. And honestly, when we first started, I was like, “Who the hell is going to want to watch me do this, it’s like watching paint dry?”

You kidding me? Obviously a lot of people. Yeah, a lot of people, so it definitely has been a pleasant surprise. It was not what I was expecting at all. I mean, you have between all your platforms close to a million subscribers, right? Ah, it’s like 1.3 million. Okay, so over, I apologize for under subscribing you. Over a million, it’s unbelievable. Oh, it’s been crazy, it’s definitely not what I expected at all, but it’s been really fun.

And what really, honestly, is is the best is when I get emails from people. I just got an email from a lady and she’s like, “I, I’ve been working with my husband and we’re short-handed so I had to jump in and do some things.” And she was in her early 20s from what I gathered from the email, and she’s like, “I never thought I’d do this, but I work in the office and I had to jump in and help my husband. I watched your videos and they helped me immensely.”

So awesome, and she’s like, “I, I really enjoy this, I never would have thought I like this.” That’s so cool. And that for me, like makes everything worth it, just like touching that one person, helping a person. Um, you know, Ryan was at a gas station recently and the lady was like, “Oh my God, he had on one of our shirts.” And he was like, “I love her,” and um, he’s like, “She’s my wife,” and she was like, “No way, like I built a tiny house because of her, she helped me do like all the drywall in there.”

And how many people do you meet that don’t know your name and only know you as “drwall shorty?” Pretty decent. Most people just know me as drywall shorty, which is fine. I’ll take it, that’s hilarious. I have a random story about that. I have a YouTuber that I follow um, and it’s not important who he is, but the point is, I didn’t know his name and I saw him in Austin a couple years ago at the Apple Store.

And I had to go to Google to figure out his name cuz I wanted to say hi to him, but I didn’t know his first name. I only knew him as his nickname, and I didn’t want to be like that idiot who goes up and is like, “Hey, it’s Mr. blah blah blah,” you know, like not knowing Mr. Beast first name. I don’t know Mr. Beast first, I don’t know his first name either, but it wasn’t him, but I had a feeling that might be the case with you that that most people know you as “Dall short.”

Yes, I think the majority do, which is fine. Funny story though, though I told Ryan that name and he was like, “That’s stupid, no one’s going to like it.” So our first like for Ray was like, “Who’s gonna, I’m thinking, ‘Who the hell’s going to want to watch this?'”

And Ryan’s like, “That’s stupid name, terrible name.” So where did the name come from? Um, well, “shorty” was a nickname all the time when I was growing up, so I would just be hanging out with my friends and they’d be like, “Hey shorty, hey shorty,” because I was always so short, so it just kind of stuck. And um, and then you, the D in there, yeah, yep, exactly, “D shorty,” yep, that’s a hilarious.

All right, d shorty, sure has been fun to spend a couple days with you, my friend. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to hang out with a dorky Builder here in beautiful Montana.

Well, you are welcome back anytime. I don’t know if we’ll have you actually do the mud part, but you can uh, scrape and sweep floors. All right, whenever you want, I think I’m qualified for scraping and sweeping, but I’ll tell you that’s about all I’m qualified for.

Guys, thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time on Talking Trades. I had a great time visiting with Lydia. I’ve cleaned up since then, I look a little a, little less dirty. I’m not totally white from all the gypsum I got on me that day working with Lydia, but next up, time to head over to New Jersey where we’re going to be visiting with Zach deore.

You may know him as deore1 on Instagram, super fun Carpenter who’s built an incredible life on the back of his carpentry skills and has turned that into an incredible remodeling business as well. So with that being said, let’s jump over to New Jersey and learn at our last trades person here what it’s like to be a carpenter with Zack detmore, Talking Trades.

I want to say a huge thanks to my friends at Sashco for sponsoring this Talking Trade series. First off, if you’re not familiar with them, Sashco makes a huge line of Premium Caulks and sealants that I use every day on my high performance builds. They’re a family-owned company that makes their products in Colorado, but they also have been a massive supporter of trade school education.

Now, if you are a trade school teacher watching this video, I want to tell you about their Class Pack program, which was designed for you to use in your classroom to educate students about sealant technology and application. Now I’ve been through a version of this program, and it was really fun and educational. You can enhance your curriculum with their expert resources. Learn more at sashco.com/trades-support.

Now, if you aren’t a teacher, you can still make a difference in this battle to bolster our trade base. Take the Sashco Challenge: volunteer a local trade school in your town, capture the moment, share it on social media and tag Sashco, and your reward will be a free case of LexEL as a token of their appreciation for supporting trade education. Thanks again Sashco for sponsoring these videos.

I want to thank our friends at Front Door for sponsoring this Talking Trade series. If you’re not familiar with Front Door, they are reimagining how homeowners maintain and repair their most valuable asset, their home. As the parent company of two leading Brands,

Front Door brings over 50 years of experience in providing their members with Comprehensive options to protect their homes from costly and unexpected breakdowns through their extensive network of pre-qualified professional contractors. American Home Shield has approximately 2 million members and gives homeowners budget protection and convenience covering up to 23 essential home systems and appliances.

Now, Front Door is a Cutting Edge, One-Stop app for home repair and maintenance enabled by their STREAM technology. The app empowers homeowners by connecting them in real time through video chat with pre-qualified experts to diagnose and solve their problems.

The Front Door app also offers homeowners a range of other benefits, including DIY tips, discounts, and much more. More information about American Home Shield and Front Door, visit frontdoorhome.com.

Now, as the largest provider service plans in the nation, Front Door is spreading the word and advocating to bring new Talent into the pipeline by creating opportunities for young people, plumers, electricians. Prof,

Front Door has also been sponsoring organizations committed to the advancement of the skilled trades, like SkillsUSA and Be Pro Be Proud. I’ve been to their events, those are amazing organizations. And huge thanks to Front Door for their partnership in this Talking Trade series.

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