CALGARY —; A new business is helping homeowners hire unemployed oil and gas workers for handyman-type jobs around the house.
In December, almost 60,000 people in the Calgary area were looking for work, after more than a year of cost-cutting by energy companies facing low oil prices.
“Right now, it’s the perfect time to actually give the opportunity to those right now unemployed,” Naomi Pereira, co-founder of Calgary-based JobJar, said.
Pereira’s background is in professional kitchen and bathroom renovations.
Alberta Premier Notley creates advisory panel to improve, diversify economy
City of Calgary hit by slumping economy
Enmax, TransCanada, and Calgary Stampede announce layoffs
More layoffs and continued recession in 2016: ATB report
Small businesses call for emergency debate in Alberta Legislature amid looming layoffs
JobJar will match what it calls “skilled doers” with homeowners hiring for repairs, such as replacing a faucet or light fixture, fixing a toilet or painting.
“It’s bringing those together,” Pereira said. “JobJar has the experience of eliminating some of those (contractor) horror stories that we go through…and the trade on the other side as well–protecting them.”
JobJar takes detailed information about the work offered, then provides homeowners with estimates, from both men and women in the directory.
The homeowner chooses based on price, experience, availability and reviews. The company deals with payment and insurance.
Calgarian Dumar Jaramillo said JobJar will allow him to earn income to support his family until more engineering positions open up.
He is a professional engineer in oil and gas, with nearly two decades of experience, but has only landed ten weeks worth of contract work since May.
“Every single position, you are competing against 30 or 40 resumes at the same time,” Jaramillo said.
He’s been using his time without work to improve his home repair skills, including painting and re-decorating his young daughter’s room, and designing and building his deck.
He believes JobJar will help bridge a gap between homeowners struggling to find contractors for smaller jobs, and skilled workers looking for employment.
“It’s been a tough year, but we are trying to be positive about the situation and diversify our skills and make it work,” Jaramillo said.
The JobJar directory also includes residential construction tradespeople seeking smaller jobs.
The service is still expanding its list of of “skilled doers” for hire, and hopes to start taking jobs from homeowners in February or March.
For now, you can access the database online, but you have to hire the handy-person yourself directly.