In the third quarter of 2009, building permits were down 39% in the state of Washington and a whopping 71% in King County.
"In Seattle we were hearing about all the building dropping all over the nation," says electrician Jason Bloomquist, owner of Volt-Tech Electrical Services. "And we didn't really get affected until later. And then it did. '08 dropped huge. '09 we probably were down 25 percent overall."
"Our business was probably 70 percent new construction, 30 percent remodel" over the past couple of decades, says home builder Gary Redman.
But when funding from banks dried up, people stopped building new homes.
"And today we're 100 percent remodel," says Redman.
But now Bloomquist and Redman say things are getting better. They both agree that the customer is tighter with their money, and they're ready to negotiate to help the buyer get a good deal, so the builder can get the business.
"And I'll say, okay, what's your budget on it?" says Bloomquist. "Let's see what we can do. And maybe we'll leave out undercounter lights but we'll wire for it . I'll say, a year from now, when things are looking better, give us a call. We can come put the undercounter lights in."