Sept. 9, 2020

Adapting Your Business to Navigate the Pandemic

BY ALEX, QUEEN BEE
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The pandemic has affected businesses large and small.  The home improvement and maintenance world, when it comes to working with pros, has been no exception.  In fact based on a recent study done by Thumbtack, 65% of pros reported decreased revenue due to reduced consumer spending and health concerns.

 

We’ve seen it firsthand, when during the lockdown period non-emergency contractors were barred from doing work in apartment buildings. 

 

The interesting thing though is that, despite this slowdown home improvement stores like The Home Depot and Lowes have seen their sales soar.  In fact, Lowe’s Home Improvement reported a 30% surge in sales during the second quarter this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

How is it, that pros are getting less work, yet home improvement stores are getting more business?  Three things, in our view, are driving that growth:

 

  • Work from home, on-line schooling, and just generally spending more time cooped up has created the need for new WFH spaces, study areas, and private areas, vs the open plans that we have become so accustomed to. 

  • Since people are spending more time at home, they are faced with the harsh realities of the projects that they have postponed, staring them in the face. 

  • Now that they have free time, they are more willing and able to take on DIY projects – it’s a great way to kill time.

 

Yet, for some pros, the amount of work has increased during the pandemic as more people stay at home and need essential home repairs. Jerry, a plumber in Texas shared, “COVID-19 has actually increased our business flow, at least for now. We are finding that people are stuck at home, and that means that old projects are coming to surface, now that they have more time on their hands.” We also think that the repairs may have to do with the fact that people are taking on DIY projects without the know how – creating problems that need fixing…

 

So the question is, how do pros adapt to this new environment, and how do they continue to make a decent living? 

Handymen who operate solo have the ability to be more flexible and more resilient, since their overhead is very low.  Yes, they may have lower income for a while, but at least they don’t have to pay employees with no work coming in, and their operational expenses can be kept in check.

 

Homes will always need repairs – no matter how bad the economy gets, nor how long the pandemic lasts.  The fact that people are in their homes even more now will probably increase the number of repairs needed. Plus, homeowners may be less willing to live with broken things in the home since they now spend nearly 100% of their time there.

What we need to do is be more creative about how we do the work.  That’s where Honeyman comes in. Honeyman is a great solution for handymen and other solo contractors.  You don’t need to invest the time in administrative work, nor in marketing.  We don’t charge for leads. When you get a request for a bid, you will have a one in three chance of getting the work, and when you do, you know there will be at least 3 customers that you will be servicing.  That way, your sole focus is the work, which is how you are most profitable. 

 

We also need to leverage every tool at our disposal to make our customers feel comfortable with getting the work done. Like using technology to do virtual visits to prepare estimates.  Pooling groups of customers in one building to get the work done in succession, limits your exposure to the virus, and the building sees less contractor traffic.   And finally, but most importantly, always wearing protective masks, gloves and booties.  This not only makes the customer feel more comfortable, it keeps you, the contractor, safe.

Covid won’t be with us forever.  Just imagine the pent-up demand that will come once the crisis is over.  Let’s work together to get you through this, and things will normalize, hopefully soon. 

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Homes will always need repairs – no matter how bad the economy gets, nor how long the pandemic lasts.

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