New research from the plumbing and heating sector suggests installers are rapidly finding new ways of operating, particularly those who feel comfortable offering essential ‘emergency’ services to householders, although cashflow is the no 1. concern.
Eureka! gathered views from over 1,100 tradespeople in the plumbing and heating sector. From the research, Eureka! has calculated that the sector has been operating at just one-eighth of what it would in normal circumstances.
Here we highlight some of the key findings.
97% report a significant or worse impact on their normal workload. Almost 6 in 10 cited cashflow as a key concern facing their business today with the ability to pay themselves a close second. For those still working, getting hold of materials was also a key issue.
Nearly 4 in 10 also stated that going out of business was a serious concern.
For the self-employed, the main financial measures being accessed were the self-employed income support scheme and deferring self-assessment tax payments. For limited companies, reliance has been on furloughing staff and deferring vat payments, with only 23% using the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). 14% of businesses were potentially not accessing any support.
Just 33% thought the range of financial measures announced so far were sufficient to support their business.
Just 4 in 10 are offering a ‘normal’ emergency service. The jobs considered as ‘emergencies’ included:
- 88% Boiler/ heating
- 76% Leaks/ burst pipes
- 39% Quick & easy repairs
- 37% Toilet issues
Fixing householder’s DIY mistakes was not seen as an emergency.
Changes in working practices
Of those taking part, around 16% of businesses were still working and had undergone a rapid change in working practices, in line with government guidelines, including:
- maintaining a 2-metre social distance from other people around me on a job
- ensuring homeowners stay in a different part of the property
- only using click and collect merchant services (or phone ahead)
- wearing gloves at all times (when previously I didn’t)
- wiping down where I have worked with anti-bac spray/ wipes
- wearing a mask
24% of businesses asked were also starting to use technology to diagnose issues remotely (mobile app, video, photos), and nearly 4 in 10 installers said that they would now consider quoting for jobs using remote technology.
To read more and access the full report from Eureka! click here.