Contractors Post COVID-19 Work
Business Tips June 2020

Shifting Gears: Opportunities for Plumbing & HVAC Contractors in the COVID-19 Era

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

As the country begins to loosen restrictions, it’s time for contractors to shift gears. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, economies around the world came to a screeching halt as governments issued emergency shelter in place orders. For the most part, plumbing and HVAC contractors got a pass by being designated “essential services”.

Even though being designated as essential service, it certainly hasn’t been business as usual. For those contractors that focused primarily on new construction, many jurisdictions shut down all but critical infrastructure projects that effectively put them out of business for weeks. Fortunately for them, new construction restrictions have finally been lifted, so they can now get back work. For those contractors, whose main source of business is service and replacement work, they faired a little better. But even then, many consumers were initially reluctant to spend based on an uncertain future, however, they did loosen up after a couple of weeks.

Change our perspective

In my previous business post, Tips for Plumbing & HVAC Contractors Navigating COVID-19, my main message was to ensure you survived the crisis. Now, after a few months, our country is starting to open up and restrictions are being lifted. So, it may be time to get a little optimistic that we are on the path to a new normal.

Granted, the perception is that this may be a slow recovery as it’s reported that in May 2020, 13% of Canadians were out of work, up from 5% in February. A big number to be sure, but when you flip it around, that means that 87% of Canadians are still working and earning a paycheque. Looked at in this light and with restriction easing, maybe it’s time to change our perspective. There are still a lot of opportunities out there.

WOL Contractors Post COVID-19 Work From Home

Opportunities Do Exist

As a survivor, you need to start thinking about shifting gears from survival to resumption of business as we begin to get a glimpse of the future. It’s interesting to note that after the initial shock had passed, many consumers resumed scheduling their annual service on their HVAC equipment and taking care of their plumbing repairs. One of the main drivers is the Work from Home (WFH) movement. With people spending far more time in their homes, they are noticing deficiencies that they had previously been willing to overlook and now want them repaired or improved. Another factor that appears to support this, is that since people are working from home, getting maintenance done is far more convenient, because they don’t have to take time off work for a service appointment.

Embracing The WFH Movement

Taken a step farther, with many companies now embracing the WFH movement, there’s an increased demand for a more comfortable, efficient, and healthy environment as most have increased their time at home by 100%. The savings realized by adjusting their thermostats during the day while at work, have now disappeared and many are considering moving up their equipment replacement timetable with something far more efficient. WFH is also creating a demand for air conditioning earlier in the year than usual.WOL Contractors Post COVID-19 Water Systems

Insinkerator Hot Water Dispenser and Filter

Let’s not forget that now that people have traded their offices at work to their spare bedroom or basement, the demand for healthy lifestyle options should also increase. Where many offices have some form of filtered water available, whether that be an undercounter filter, a cooler or single-serve bottles, most homes don’t.

With more people now working from home, you may be seeing an increase in demand for water filtration systems. Let’s face it, lining up to get into a grocery store is inconvenient and stressful right now. One less trip to pick up a week or two supply of bottled water could be the tipping point to install their own system. If it’s not the main reason for the call, upgrades like water filtration systems are a great upsell to other services.

WOL Contractors Post COVID-19 Work Plumbing

Additionally, demand for home improvements is increasing significantly. One of the key drivers is that summer vacation plans may consist of people spending time in their homes and backyards as travel restrictions don’t appear to be loosening anytime soon. As a result, some pool companies have been overwhelmed with demand for people looking to have pools installed this year. It is very likely you’ll find an increased demand for pool heaters hook-ups as well as create plumbing opportunities as people expand their outdoor living spaces to create their own oasis. So instead of waiting for them to call, now is a good time to reach out to those installers and let them know you’re available.

Now that we know that the world didn’t end, but only slowed down, it may be time to lift our heads up and cautiously but optimistically look to the future.

Greg Weatherdon is a small business expert and author of Get More LIFE Out of Your Business. He also produces The Small Business Minute Podcast that available on all major platforms including iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. Visit for more information.

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