When will it end? Supply chain issues and inflation keep driving costs higher

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Whether it’s getting work done on your car or finishing a home improvement project, it will have a larger impact on your wallet. The impacts of supply chain problems and inflation continue to ripple across our economy.

Challenges brought on by the pandemic are continuing to drive up costs across the board, leaving many businesses to wonder when things will change.

“There’s really no crystal ball at this point as to when things are going to go back to normal,” said Ray Kaigle, who owns Kaigle’s Service Center in Burlington.

He says in recent months, his crew has had to pay higher prices to get parts in-house.

“Some of the pricing has gone up 20%. I used to almost be able to almost quote brake jobs for Hondas and Subarus and stuff, but now I have to call and make sure of what’s available and check the pricing on it,” he said.

Kaigle says they’ve had to wait weeks to get parts delivered, oftentimes putting the shop at the mercy of the shipping industry.

“The red lift, they put nine of those in a container in China and ship them here and it used to cost $5,000 or $6,000. Now, it’s like $32,000. I have cables ordered for this and they’ve been on order for six months,” Kaigle said.

It’s not just the automotive industry; those that rely on the construction industry are dealing with similar challenges.

“We have thousands of people that want this bar open, but whether it’s weather or supply chain issues, it just drags that out longer than what we want,” said Jason Hanny, the general manager at Shore Acres in North Hero.

Construction is underway for a new lakeside bar on the property but increasing construction costs haven’t made it easy.

“We don’t get the profits that we want to have coming out of the gate, so we just stretch it out. It’s math. We have our expectation on the three-year mark, but OK, now it’s going to be the five-year mark. What are you going to do? There’s really nothing you can do,” Hanny said.

Jim Bradley of Hayward Design Build is the contractor on the project. He says 1,000 board feet of lumber before the pandemic cost $300-$400, but now it’s right around $1,000.

“When they realize, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought I could get this done for $750,000 but this hugely expensive house is going to be $1.5 million.’ They say that’s not in the budget and they just go elsewhere,” Bradley said. “Usually, they don’t do the project is what happens. People’s expectations on what it costs to build a home have not metered up to where costs are today.”

Bradley says there is no way of knowing when the market will return to normal. He says they have had to work with clients to come up with cost-effective alternatives like different windows or seeing if one part of the project can wait until the supplies are more widely available.

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