LUBBOCK, Texas – Local plumbing companies have said they have remained relatively unfazed by the negative economic impacts of the winter storm and pandemic.
“During the storm itself, we saw a substantial increase in call volume, about triple it,” said Mark Branscome, director of operations at Lowery Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. “It really hasn’t slowed down since. “
Branscome said he has worked with his company for 17 years and the last time he saw this type of business boom was during the housing boom and recession of 2007-2009.
“When that real estate bubble burst, people were more inclined to take care of the house than they had,” Branscome said. “What we’re seeing during this time during COVID is that people are staying at home a lot more. They are more aware of their plumbing issues [and] using their plumbing much more.
Ronda Rushing, office manager at Joe Rushing Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, said they were so busy their plumbers had to work continuously beyond the normal workday.
“We had to stop taking new clients for a while, just to keep our clients and be able to help them,” Rushing said.
Rushing said the increase in business could be due to people staying at home more often due to the pandemic.
“Now that people are working from home, it seems they are calling more frequently,” Rushing said. “That dripping faucet pissed them off a little more than ‘Oh, you know I’m only here a few hours every night before I go to bed after work.'”
Mike Austin, a heating and air conditioning technician at Lowery Plumbing, said right now is a good time to work in plumbing and other trade-related industries. Austin also said he attributed business to the local economy.
“We have a good, strong economy in Lubbock, and people want to spend money,” Austin said. “For young people who think university is not for them, get started in a profession. “
Reggie dial, Executive Director at East Lubbock Resident Owned Business Initiative, a nonprofit that offers apprenticeships in plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), said the advantage of commercial industries is that they are versatile.
“These are industries that are needed, not only in our community but around the world,” said Dial. “I think people have to recognize that there is not just a demand [for these industries] but that the remuneration is also excellent for individuals.