The recession is drastically reducing the work available to older tradespeople.
The Greyskills franchise employs 25 independent tradespeople over the age of 35.
Wellington franchise owner Rob Donald says he's receiving half as many enquiries as he did a year ago, and the work being done is only immediate maintenance.
He says his tradespeople are working on very few bigger projects such as house renovations.
Mr Donald says many of the other franchises around the country are experiencing a similar fall-off in new work.