With a shaky economy and uncertainty about the future, many installers will be looking to move into new areas as they seek to grow. The good news is there are plenty of options…
Growing your business in the current economic climate can be both daunting and exciting at the same time. However, there is real scope within the plumbing industry for you to expand your expertise and develop new skills, both for yourself and your workforce.
In today’s unpredictable housing market, many homeowners are turning to renovation – choosing to improve their current home, rather than move. For installers, this trend provides a key opportunity for growth. Across the UK, the volume of extensions and loft conversions, and the construction of conservatories and outhouses, has significantly increased in recent years – and this is something that shows no signs of slowing any time soon.
For plumbers, this means plentiful work for weeks, if not months, and even opportunities to expand their team’s skills and knowledge to better cater to customers’ full suite of needs. This is the case when it comes to adapting rooms to fit specific requirements, such as assisted living for elderly family members or technology-inspired rooms for the younger generation.
These adaptations are typical of what is known as a ‘multigenerational home’. This is where families of broad ages and needs all live together – and it is becoming increasingly common.
Here, plumbers have the chance to suggest an adaptive bathroom for homeowners. Typically, the older generation will look to supportive aids to help lower them into baths and handrails to hold onto while in the shower – our independent living range has a lot of options to explore.
There are opportunities to cater to the younger generation, too. Once back in the family home, most young people crave their own independence. Plumbers and installers can suggest an en-suite, which can be filled with space-saving and technology-loaded gadgets.
There is now more bathroom tech than ever for plumbers to tell homeowners about. Digital showers that turn on from a remote in the bedroom, mirrors that never mist, heated toilets complete with an all-in-one bidet, and Siri-controlled light fittings and radiators are just some of the gizmos available in 2020. And while the gadget-filled bathroom looks good, there is also an eco-friendly element that homeowners may not be aware of.
Many gadgets within the bathroom, such as bath fillers, self-flushing toilets and automated heating controls, allow for the temperature to be set to lower heating settings while also making more efficient use of water in order to reduce waste. This can help save hundreds of pounds on utility bills each year.
Check out our guide to multigenerational homes for more detail.
Carrying out refurbishment work to make bathrooms more accessible for multigenerational homes is just one way to increase the volume and scope of your jobs – as well as the value you can deliver to customers. However, you can further increase your jobs and cash flow by retraining in another sector altogether. Cooling, for instance, is one complementary area that could prove beneficial, both for you and your customers.
When carrying out work on heating appliances, more installers are finding that customers are asking them to look at other jobs, such as cooling systems. After all, once customers have found a reliable tradesperson, they don’t want to carry out the same search for every job in their home. As a result, there is a growing trend within the trade for heating plumbers to retrain and upskill so they can take on jobs in other disciplines. While it elevates the level of service for customers, this is also very lucrative for installers, as it means they can look to take on jobs that would have otherwise gone to a specialist cooling firm.
Wolseley itself is helping installers up and down the country to expand into new sectors such as refrigeration and cooling. Many branches have upskilled their heating engineers with cooling knowledge, allowing them to answer queries from cooling customers. In addition, branches have also arranged training sessions between customers and relevant cooling suppliers.
For your business, there may already be cooling opportunities that are readily available for you and your workforce to take on. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to highlight any training that is needed and get it booked in. While this may mean initial costs, in the long run you will be able to recoup the expense with the amount of jobs you are able to take on as a result of your training.
As knowledge within the workforce grows, the physical space in which the business operates often needs to grow, too, with new premises needed to store all the products and tools used for working within a new sector.
However, if you find yourself with restricted space or unable to move from your current premises because of an ongoing lease or contract, Wolseley has the solution you need. Wolseley is now able to offer an express delivery service, which sees your products being delivered to a branch by 5pm the next day. You can even have the products delivered direct to your job before 10.30am the next day. This means you don’t have to worry about products taking up space, or making staff wait for the delivery to arrive. You can be on the road first thing, reassured that your products will be on site waiting for you.
The growth of your business is dependent on you rooting out the right kind of opportunities. Homeowners looking to renovate rather than move is just one example of how you can grow your business. In the same light, there may even be scope to have retraining in a new sector that can add to your company’s skillset and help you stand out from the competition. There really isn’t a better time than now to explore new ways of growing your business for yourself and for your staff.