Frank Troppe, president of CLP Resources, a skilled trades staffing firm, says that in the past 12 weeks the agency has seen a reversal of the 2009 decline in the residential sector. “As the pipeline fills up for some of our residential customers, remodelers are thinking, ‘I’m getting more work, but can I keep an additional worker busy?’” he says, noting that the remodelers are turning to CLP for labor solutions to bridge this gap.

CLP Resources is based in Reno, Nev., but has 55 offices in 22 states. CLP San Francisco account manager Dustin Liebman says that his contractor clients are bidding more than they have before. “They realize that if they want to stay in the game, they need to be as creative and as flexible as possible,” he says.

Fueling the resurgence for CLP, on the residential side, is the fact that remodelers have cut margins but still need to manage the volume of bids and maintain the quality of their workers.

Todd Wiseman, director of national accounts for Able Body Labor, a nationwide agency with 176 offices in 27 states, says that although many remodelers have their own network of skilled labor, a company can run more efficiently if it uses the agency’s skilled workers who come with their own tools, transportation, and insurance. “It frees them up to work on other jobs. This benefits them financially,” he says. Another advantage: Able Body Labor’s risk department handles any injuries or workers’ comp claims. “Our No. 1 goal is to make sure our worker does not get hurt or hurt someone else,” Wiseman says.

CLP’s stringent hiring process includes an in-person interview, skills and safety tests, behavioral tests, and a legal work status check. “We’re like a human resources department for the contractor,” Troppe says.

CLP’s automated system matches workers with the skills required, duration of job, and location. The company can adjust if the job ends early or takes longer.

Liebman gets to know his customers, to provide solutions based on their needs. “The smartest and most progressive companies really understand that risk — that having employees does not make you stronger. A bigger company is not [necessarily] better,” he says.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.