Future speculation on wages

Everybody loves to prognosticate so this is my version.

Wages are going to skyrocket for most blue collar service sector jobs.

Here are the forces -

#A Jobs involving movements in three dimensions are hard to automate. Picking soft fruits is still done by humans and robots in 2019 still cannot open door handles.

#B At the bottom of the market - the so called scut work was performed by bucket bob, illegals and naive young people. Those labour sources have been drying up for different reasons. I will be doubling prices for construction clean.

#C Machines which assist workers instead of replacing them have become more powerful. People still build and clean by hand at location and attempts to position this labour in factories seem to have failed. We use pneumatic nail guns and water fed poles but this assists instead of replaces. Most of us own the equipment we use so earnings are not just equal to labour.

#D Millennials - disclosure - I am one and this isn’t to read as flame bait - are disenchanted with blue collar work because of how society today views education and status. I think it is fair to claim this makes them less motivated workers - they are not ‘woke’ to physical labour - blue collar skills are now less common.

#E Blue collar jobs have become more technical. 10 or 20 years ago glass was actually glass and now we have windows at $$$ thousands which are easy to damage. windows have become more diverse in shapes, sizes so skill requirement is climbing.

#F Customers have more information and higher standards.

#G This is hard to measure but I think all workers are more distracted and this causes task switching and job switching which is not productive but causes pressure on wages for the most focused workers.

Reversing position -

#A downward pressure on wages comes from our culture. White collar professionals don’t like seeing blue collar workers earning more than them.

This norm is not too powerful because once white collar people had servants for cleaning and cooking until the factories offered higher wages. We were then replaced with washing machines and cooking appliances but only because our wages were too high for employers.

Being diplomatic - customers don’t have to realize we’re being paid more than them - the prices don’t appear to multiply when you are economizing on time with tools and training. Same job 30% faster is less provocative than asking for that 1/3 pay raise.

#B Training and retaining is hard.

#C More equipment costs.

#D Hard to measure but I believe people are finding it harder to have business relationships, employers and employees who are loyal to each other.

#E More paperwork hoop jumping.

#F Some fraction of customers can no longer afford our services. I wouldn’t want to be a general contractor.

#G If you’re getting started it is slowly becoming harder to compete against wfp.


The advent of WFP has moved our profession from “manpower only” to a “trade with tools” business, much like pressure washing.

No longer is our wage based only on the time it will take to get the job done, or how difficult it will be.

At the same time, WFP allows us to charge the same prices for a job that can now be done faster and safer.

Let’s use the pressure washing analogy again:

I have a trailer set up with 200’ of hose, and I can spray up to 3 stories high without ladders. (my trailer is tiny) Anyone can buy or rent a pressure washer, but I can do a house in 1/4 of the time, yet still charge the full rate.

Window cleaning has finally caught up to the same mentality. Purchase equipment to save time and charge the same.



I think that is right. It’s not so different to a factory installing new equipment. The labour component doesn’t change but the output climbs - and that is the dividend from your machine slaves :slight_smile:

There is a few new problems - one is having more machines creates a more intense workflow. I’m thinking of using pressure lances at height - so long as we are still positioning the equipment there is a higher danger of RSI. I know a PW business where the owner has badly damaged his tendons in just six months of intensive work and he says they don’t grow back.

I am entertaining the idea of the WASPAK - I think it can be understood as a exoskeleton-like pulley system to offset the lever force - that and belay glasses to stop neck strain from looking up. I have one coming in the post from the Netherlands - will let the forum know how it goes.

@Fenster-Journeyman, watch this. Water Fed Pole Balancer Backpack Spring Coil - YouTube Make your own. Notice the two bars, which I why, other than I’m sure cost, Josh made his own as it’s likely more stable over the long term. Read the comments too and he answers some questions. I plan on building one as soon as some bigger jobs start coming through. Also, he has some other cool and informative videos if you want to spend time watching high pole work.

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That is innovative - I’ll view his videos and I respect the enterprise but I’m also happy to pay my 622.50 dollars for the Waspak if it works as it is supposed to.

It comes with belay glasses - to stop neck strain and help with more accurate work because the area of work is magnified. That idea is underrated.

Europeans have good ideas often but we seem to be bad at marketing - I got mine at a discount. I’m hoping the WASPAK inventor Fred de Ridder comes up with more improvements and ideas. It is silly to pay thousands of dollars to lose a few hundred grams if you can pay hundreds for a load balancer or invent your own.

The worst $ penalty is - of course - injury and I’m pleased to not learn this lesson.