The domino effect of COVID-19 is starting to impact virtually every aspect of the economy, including the plumbing industry.
Like many service providers, plumbers deal with customers in a face-to-face manner.
We’re out there entering our clients’ homes and providing “hands-on” assistance with various issues. In the midst of a pandemic, the problems with this type of business are obvious.
1. Customers Might Not Want Us To Visit Their Homes
Customers may not want to have service providers like us in their homes, even if they’re dealing with a major plumbing issue. Many of our customers are being told that they must stay home and self-isolate, and many of them feel like it’s not the right time to have repairs done.
2. The Need For Plumbing Is Still There
That being said, plumbing is in many cases an “essential service.” After all, if your home starts flooding, you need to call us up – even in the midst of this pandemic.
Our customers need running water to survive, and it doesn’t make sense to die of thirst just so you can avoid an illness that likely only effects a relatively small percentage of the population.
3. The Plumbing Industry Is Better-Suited To Deal With These Issues Compared With Other Services
We’re all dealing with challenges right now, but our business might be in a better position than many other service industries.
Unlike a house painting service or a pool installation company, plumbing is essential. While our customers may wait months until they make aesthetic renovations, they can’t delay when they have a broken pipe causing a flood in their basement.
4. We’re Getting Busier Over The Pandemic
COVID-19 is impacting our industry in some pretty interesting ways. As plumbers all over the country are discovering, this pandemic is actually leading to high call volumes in some cases.
With so many people staying at home, we’re getting lots of calls from those who are testing their home plumbing systems like never before. The entire system is being put under a lot of strain.
No one is going to work or school, so their home plumbing system must bear the full weight of their showers, baths, water drinking, and of course toilet use.
Your plumbing system might be even more prone to failure if you live in an older apartment building with hundreds of tenants.
5. Vacated Buildings Need Extra Maintenance
Of course, there’s a flipside to all of this. Because people aren’t going to work or school, what happens to the plumbing systems in these buildings?
They’re not being used by a single person.
From decades of experience, we can tell you that plumbing systems can actually deteriorate after months of disuse.
Losing the septic seal in the traps is one potential issue, and this is caused by the evaporation of water. Because of these issues, we could be seeing a lot of calls to vacated buildings that need trap seals installed.
6. It All Depends On City Inspectors
Of course, this all depends on whether or not City Inspectors are ordered to stay home. If no one is inspecting these vacating office buildings and schools, the plumbing issues in these buildings will go unnoticed.
Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to maintain these buildings so that when people do go back to work and school, the plumbing systems will be fully functional.
7. COVID-19 Is Changing The Way We Communicate With Our Customers
We recognize that we’re going to have to make certain adjustments in this environment. Adaptation is key. We’re looking into communicating with their customers online through video chat apps.
With these tools, we can potentially offer advice and virtually diagnose various problems. Our plumbers are also starting to wear gloves, masks, and shoe covers when they arrive at our customers’ homes.
8. Economic Strain Can Cause Many Customers To Delay Scheduled Maintenance
We also recognize that some of our customers will be canceling and postponing maintenance work.
If you’re not experiencing major issues with your plumbing system, you might be reluctant to have our plumbers show up on your doorstep.
We understand that money can be tight right now, especially with so many people staying home from work. Because of this, we’re expecting that older, aging equipment will stay in place for a longer period of time.
9. Bidet Systems Are Surprisingly Popular Now
We’re also noticing that this situation is presenting us with new opportunities. While one type of service might be getting less popular, others are actually rising in popularity. Take the bidet system, for example.
With toilet paper shortages, many of our customers might want to get this system installed. We’re hearing from other plumbing companies across the country that this has been a very popular service in recent weeks.
Those who switch to bidet systems to “beat” the toilet paper issue will probably continue to use this system long after the pandemic passes.
We’re looking forward to installing and maintaining bidet systems for our customers in the future. In this situation at least, the toilet paper shortage is a stroke of good fortune for plumbing businesses like us!
10. Adaptation Is Key
At the end of the day, our industry has had to deal with considerable changes during this pandemic, but it’s not all bad news.
We’re committed to helping our customers as we adapt to these changes and work hard to create solutions that help our community.
The good news is that every day, we’re discovering new ways to remain profitable amidst all of this uncertainty.