Plumbing Trends for 2020: Will the industry change?By My Service Depot on Tuesday, December 3, 2019
What changes loom on the horizon for plumbers as the calendar turns to 2020?
When it comes to the world of plumbing, it may seem like not that much changes. After all, the basic concepts behind plumbing, such as the fact that everything flows downhill and air within the system needs to be managed, have remained constant for around a millennia. However, if you think the plumbing industry never changes, you’d be wrong. Plumbing changes all the time in many different ways. We’ve listed some of the top changes to expect and prepare for in 2020.
One issue is the environment. New regulations have focused on low emissions and energy consumption. Your company may be tasked with converting systems to become more eco-friendly. There is also a push towards green materials. More and more consumers want to know how contractors source their building materials. Your plumbing company will need to understand these issues and the green options available to consumers to thrive in 2020. Also, consider offering smart home designs. Installing leak detectors and usage monitors is an easy upsell and helps your company come across as more modern and sophisticated.
Plumbers and Staffing
Right now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that plumbing as a career will grow by 14% over the next ten years—that’s almost three times as fast as other industries and occupations, which will average 5% growth over the same period. That’s good news for plumbers, but it means something very different for owners of plumbing businesses. For you, it means that you could experience a staffing shortage if you try to expand or need to replace one of your existing staff.
To compete effectively, your plumbing business will need to make itself as attractive as possible to qualified job candidates. Most smaller companies cannot compete on price—you can only offer so much in terms of salary—but you can offer other advantages. Instead of focusing on annual pay, you could try working out a way to reward your employees for taking on more work or meeting customer satisfaction standards. You might also find success by creating a company culture that focuses on team building and bonding. Something as simple as a Monday Morning foosball tournament, donuts during the morning meeting, or end of week drinks can go a long way towards fostering workplace happiness.
Customers in 2020 also want more than just plumbing services. They want an experience that lets them feel like your company has taken care of them. To meet this expectation, you will need to go above and beyond the basics. This could include confirming service appointments, having your techs send a message to the customer when they are en route to a job, or offering more precise service windows. Also, pay attention to what happens after the service call. Consider following up with customers directly to make sure they are happy with your company. Just make sure to use email. Roughly 70% of people prefer to communicate with companies online versus over the phone.
Customers may also want new payment options in 2020. Giving them an opportunity to pay their invoices online or offering a comprehensive service maintenance plan that comes with a convenient payment schedule can go a long way towards making them happy. In this modern era, few people use checks, and even fewer want to read their card number to a stranger over the phone. They want to be able to pay online without involving anyone else. Sending an invoice with one-click payment options or enabling your plumbing techs to accept payment after the service call is just good business in 2020.
Online engagement will be critical in the coming year as well. Today’s customers are not loyal. They look at plumbing services as a commodity. While some 30% of previous generations tend to look for plumbing services they have used before, only 10% of millennials feel the same way. When they need a plumber, they search online. If you want to be competitive, you need a robust online presence. Make the time to create a website, optimize its keywords, and claim your company’s Google My Business. Take steps to develop responsiveness on mobile devices and make transactions secure. You may also invite people to ask common plumbing questions on social media. Providing short answers can help establish your company as an expert and give you a chance to promote your business all in one tweet or Facebook post.
Preparing for the Future
Every year, the plumbing game changes a little bit. Technology enables new efficiencies, and customers have new preferences. Creating an excellent customer experience and differentiating your company to both customers and employees while staying relevant may sound like a ton of work. It is—or at least it would be if you were doing everything yourself.
Thankfully, new technology simplifies everything. Something as easy as using Smart Service will let you create a seamless plumbing experience and prosper in 2020. The program handles scheduling, dispatching, and routing—all while integrating with QuickBooks. Your plumbing techs can do their estimates within the program and generate invoices quickly. Request a demo and see everything that Smart Service can do for you!