Strange times indeed. Unless you were around for the Spanish flu in 1918, you have not seen anything like what our country is currently going through. I know HVAC is an old industry, but we are not that old.
In times like these, it is imperative to continue to do the things you do well. For our contractor readers, that means making your customers lives better by providing indoor health and comfort.
For us here at The ACHR NEWS, that means providing our readers the information they need to help their business navigate the market.
We hoped to accomplish this goal by partnering with Clear Seas Research to provide some information in how the mechanical systems industry is viewing, seeing, and reacting to this pandemic. We hope to continue this research in the subsequent weeks. Although we obviously hope the pandemic ends quickly so that we will not need too many of these.
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The Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak is a human tragedy with very real business and economic consequences. Business leaders globally are in uncharted territory as together they face the challenges surrounding the recent pandemic and resulting economic impact. Insight into how others aligned specifically with the industry are reacting, overcoming current challenges, and planning for tomorrow can provide us with not only comfort, but a shared community of learning and preparation.
In my opinion, once of the most important results had to do with marketing. Marketing is tough these days for the HVAC contractor. There is no doubt that items the HVAC contractor offers to homeowners can make indoor air quality a lot better and safer. It is also fairly certain that putting anything in your house is not a guarantee that you can avoid COVID-19. It is a fine line for contractors to walk. The old line of under promise and over deliver comes to mind.
The research said that 35 percent of respondents are changing their marketing to communicate their availability during this time. This makes sense as folks are confused as to who has stayed open and who has not. Also, 24 percent said they have changed their marketing to promote different products beneficial to limiting pandemic impact. A total of 40 percent of the respondents said their message would not change.
Also of the utmost importance at this time is employee safety. Contractors are doing a lot of things to make sure they protect their workers. Some of the items receiving the highest percentage include:
- Encouraging hand washing: 89 percent
- Promoting social distancing: 86 percent
- Providing hand sanitizer: 73 percent
But let’s be honest, that is the low hanging fruit. Some harder decisions are also being made. These include:
- Delaying projects: 28 percent
- Splitting workforce shifts to reduce number of employees on site: 21 percent
- Cancelling projects: 18 percent
Finally, there is a fair share of financial uncertainty with this pandemic. One only has to watch Wall Street to see the roller coaster this country is on. For HVAC contractors, you are in a lot better shape than if you ran a restaurant or a retail establishment. As ACCA, AHRI, and others have been fighting for, HVAC is an essential service.
The anticipated workforce section of the study reinforced that nervousness.
A total of 31 percent of individuals who responded expected to lay off some employees in the next three months, while 15 percent were anticipating to temporarily suspend employees without pay.
While the numbers were lower, there were respondents on the other side of the issue. A total of 9 percent said they expect to hire new employees in the next three months.
There really is a lot of good information in this study and The ACHR NEWS wants to allow all our members to download this information free of charge. If interested, visit here.