Superstorm Sandy: Where are we as we approach the 2 year anniversary?

People ask me all the time if we are still busy from Superstorm Sandy. The answer, 23 months later is yes. In the last month, I have gotten at least a dozen customers who have JUST begun repairing their homes from Sandy. The stories are all different, but many (most actually) involve disputes with the homeowner’s insurance companies. Some say they haven’t seen a penny from their insurance yet. Although many homes have fully recovered, many more homes haven’t even begun the recovery process yet.

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It was nice to see the many tourists who came back to our beautiful home to spend their vacations here with us. It was odd to watch them walking through massive construction zones, which were once picturesque views of beach community life, on their way to the beach. A better weather summer would have been nice, but hey we are from New Jersey and we are survivors!! So with 2 summers of bad economic and weather conditions on a community that essentially looks to the summer to bring the people here to use our services, what lies ahead?

Well I can tell you that the community continues to heal. All roadways and utilities have been restored, businesses are open and the beaches are beautiful! So why are the tourist numbers still down? Lets face it; there are many, many homes that have not been repaired yet. These homes were rental homes, summer homes, vacation homes, income properties, etc… Until the community increases the residency capacity of the community, the numbers of vacationers can’t recover fully. It is simple math. If you had 300,000 homes damaged by Sandy and 50% are either empty lots or uninhabitable (as many estimates suggest), where will the people go?

The services are here, but the people have nowhere to stay. The rebuilding process is going to be a very long one and it will likely see MANY new entrants into the market matching the number of current community members leaving for more secure pursuits. Change brings opportunity and Sandy has made many properties available to new buyers. I have no doubt that all of these properties will all be restored, albeit many with new owners. I estimate that it will take at least 8 years to recover to a point of normalcy. Mind you, I am a garbage man, nothing more. Just my simple observations of how I have seen things progressing so far.

We will continue to rebuild, and this community will survive, and we will come out stronger and wiser. We are Jersey Strong, and nothing can stop us. But what does this translate to in the terms of the construction industry and the related effect on roll off dumpster availability? We continue to see a limited number of available contractors and there are few that can take jobs on short notice. Roll off dumpsters are in the same situation. Simply put, they are hard to come by even two years after the storm. I hear many customers tell me that they had placed numerous calls and had been unable to get a roll off dumpster to their site in a timely manner.

This is not something I see changing any time soon. Immediately after the storm, rental periods were quick. People were getting containers and filling them right away. The need was immediate and there was no dragging your feet on “getting it done”. After that initial surge, projects turned into lengthier rentals for partial renovations, storm repairs, etc. Now, two years later many of the destroyed homes are being rebuilt from scratch and these rentals can become very lengthy. The net result of these 3 phases has had the identical effect on construction roll off dumpster availability.

Here at D&D Disposal, we have expanded our container fleet by 33% and we still find our yard empty most days. The story is similar for many other roll off dumpster companies. So, the word of the day is PLANNING! Plan ahead and make your container rental a simple and easy process!

Be safe, be well and most of all BE HAPPY!

Dale Olander
President
D&D Disposal
(732) 341-6900

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