There is a lot of uncertainty in the air. In 2020, we have experienced, a pandemic, economic shutdown, a national toilet paper shortage, riots, and murder hornets. It is enough to make you want to crawl under a rock, but that would be a mistake. Now, is the best time in a decade to act aggressively and decisively.
1. There Will Always Be Plumbing
If 2020 proves one thing, it proves that there will always be a need for plumbers to fix and improve plumbing. Even the government agrees that plumbing is an essential service. When a pipe breaks or a drain is stopped beyond the ability of the homeowner to clear it, a plumber is called to save the day.
The point is that no matter what happens going forward, the demand for plumbing will remain solid. There is work available. That is more than many businesses can say. Consider retailers. In 2019, 12,370 retail stores permanently closed according to Goldman Sachs. This year, Coresight Research is estimating between 20,000 and 25,000 permanent store closures. Fortunately, you work in plumbing and there will always be plumbing.
2. Plumbing Demand is Higher
Why is plumbing demand up and trending up? More people are working from home, including more homeowners. A lot of people may have been pushed out of work, but think for a second who made the biggest cuts? It was restaurants, hotels, and retail. Do the people who work in restaurants, hotels, and retail mostly rent or own their homes? They are primarily renters. The people who own their homes tend to hold managerial or office jobs and they are still employed.
Homeowners largely have jobs and they are stuck at home. They are using their plumbing more. They are flushing more and disposing more. Greater use means greater wear and tear, which means more breakdowns.
Not only is more stuff breaking, employed homeowners have more disposable income. They are not driving their cars. They are not going out to eat. They are not taking vacations.
What are they doing with all of that extra cash? Boat sales are through the roof. RVs are disappearing off the lots. There is a backlog on pool construction. In other words, people are spending money on things that will keep them sane.
If you market to them, you can encourage them to spend money on plumbing improvements. Talk about upgrading their bathrooms. Market the add-on bidet seats, noting that they will never need to worry about toilet paper again. Talk about water purification systems so they will never need to worry about running out of bottled water. If consumers are spending on boats, RVs, and pools, they will spend on plumbing improvements that make their homes more livable, but only if they know about them. You have to market. You have to be aggressive.
Sooner or later, restaurants will re-open. Sanitation will be a big concern. Whenever you begin to see them serving people inside, check out the bathrooms. See if they have touchless faucets. If not, talk to the manager.
3. The Competition is Frightened
It is human nature to pull back and retrench in times of uncertainty. This creates opportunity for you. When you competitors stop spending, it creates a void you can fill. Right now, advertising is on sale. Literally. You can get great deals buying broadcast and cable, not to mention falling prices for SEM and social media. People may be growing to hate social media, but they are still on it. Cut off from everyone and isolated, social media is how they are connecting.
Look, you can either try to save your way to prosperity or you can be aggressive. It’s your choice.
4. It is the Best Time to Hire in Decades
Not only are some skilled plumbers available because their employers let them go, there are lots of other great people around who are well trained in dealing with the public and who might think plumbing is a heck of a lot better than their current gigs. Think about hotel maintenance personnel. Think about hotel front desk workers and restaurant employees as potential CSRs. If they have mechanical aptitude, they could be trained as drain cleaners for a start. Also, think about cops. If you were a cop in the United States, would plumbing look a heck of a lot better career choice than it did a few months ago?
There is demand for plumbing. There is interest in nearly all home improvements. Advertising is on sale. The competition is cowering. There is a supply of labor. What are you waiting for? Get aggressive.
Be sure to register for the Service World Expo. It has gone virtual, so the $349 cost to attend is waived. This is a virtual show unlike any other in the industry. It features virtual reality, augmented reality, ways to network with other plumbers. It’s like a trade show in a video game. Register for free at www.ServiceWorldExpo.com.