As a small-business owner, you are helping to shape the economic picture after the Great Recession.

Small businesses accounted for 63% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 — or 14 million of the 22.2 million jobs created in that time period, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Employment Dynamics. Post-recession job creation by U.S. small businesses (mid-2009 through mid-2013) was 60%; small firms with 20 to 499 employees led that job creation.

In the construction industry, new construction starts have increased over the last few years: up 12% in 2012, up 11% in 2013, up 9% in 2014 and up 9% in 2015. Estimates for 2016 show a 6% increase.

“For 2016, the economic environment should support further growth for the overall level of construction starts,” says Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “Total construction starts in 2016 are forecast to advance 6% to $712 billion, with gains for residential building up 16% and nonresidential building up 9%.”

Home remodeling also is on an upward trend, with the first half of 2016 to see growth of 6.8%, says the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The skilled labor shortage issue becomes larger each year as construction starts continue to climb. As a job creator, how do you hire great employees and keep your business focused on providing your customers with the best service?

It’s a question that has vexed those in the plumbing, heating and pipefitting industry for many years. With construction workers retiring faster than the industry can replace them, getting young people, military veterans, women and the immigrant population interested in the plumbing and heating trades is critical.

Many industry groups are working to combat stereotypes and promote industry professionalism and career opportunities. But there are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all solution. But the groups listed on the next few pages — ranging from national associations to best practices groups to franchise companies — can give you the help you need to determine what is best for your company culture.

In addition to fine-tuning your retention and hiring practices, associations and best practices groups can educate you on legislative and code issues, marketing to the right customers, honing leadership skills to inspire employees, training service technicians to interact effectively with customers, learning about the newest industry technology, succession planning or selling your business.

For those entrepreneurs who like the idea of owning a business with an already well-established name, the many franchise options on these pages offer brand-name companies with established systems and procedures for marketing, advertising, recruiting and hiring. Many back-office functions such as customer service, payroll and accounts receivable are handled by the franchise rather than the franchisee.

Joining one or two of these groups can keep you focused on making your business profitable. One of the most beneficial parts of membership is talking with your peers at conventions, meetings and trade shows about similar issues, which can give you insight on how to resolve a situation at your company or add a new business to your services.

Whatever your situation, do your homework to find the best fit for your business philosophy. See if you can attend a meeting for free or a reduced price so you can get a feel for how the group may benefit you. 

PHCP Industry Groups & Organizations

For more information on other industry groups and organizations as well as trade shows, visit