Plumbing Technology and Industry

By Ryan Poppe

Innovation takes many forms and businesses of all kinds must follow in order to remain relevant today and in the future. The plumbing industry is no exception. Modern innovations and needs have changed the way plumbers find, interact with and serve their customers. Modern technology has also had an impact on the structures of businesses themselves, as well as the way they operate. Many who want to stay competitive need to stay ahead of their time and keep abreast of the latest tools and technologies.

Optimize processes and operations

Streamlined fleet control

GPS tracking devices allow plumber dispatch crews to track company vans wherever they go. This helps them ensure that their team takes the most reasonable route to their destination. Streamlined fleet control allows businesses to reach customers faster and serve more customers in a day. Some services will help track labor costs using stop and start times via the GPS system. While fleet management is not free, the savings can outweigh the costs for many businesses. Greater customer satisfaction, lower fuel and labor costs and increased transparency for managers / owners can translate into greater potential for success for those who have not yet adopted this technology. .

Advertising options abound

Most businesses rely on advertising of some sort. Since the rise of the Internet and social media, advertising for small and large businesses radically changed. At one time, the yellow pages were a major source of advertising for plumbers. Today, businesses now need to have mobile-friendly websites and social media pages. Businesses can bid on various forms of targeted online ads and invest in increasing their organic search presence. They can attempt to create a social profile that connects with their communities and build relationships. The most accessible businesses are likely to get the most leads.

However, with all of these options and limited funds to invest in promoting their business, owners and managers are faced with many decisions that could have a significant impact on their future. Who manages and controls these operations? Will a specialized employee be needed or will an agency take care of it? How will the ROI be determined? Which channels / methods should be tested – and for how long?

There is no single answer to the questions businesses will face. The more owners can understand how these different marketing strategies work, the more likely they are to make informed decisions when allocating funds to them. Over time, the number of advertising channels, methods, automation software, and services will only increase – owners and managers will be well served by making an effort to understand them as they appear.

Payment and finance

In the old days, people paid exclusively in cash or by check. Many customers these days expect their plumbers and other local businesses to accept credit card payments. Some customers want to pay online through an online merchant service. Others prefer to pay by credit card over the phone or in person.

Many plumbers now accept payment over the phone, and some have even set up merchant services on their smartphones, so they can accept payment on the spot when the job is done. These online and electronic payment services are convenient for plumbing companies as well as customers. Funds are available faster than payments made by check and are more secure than payments made by cash.

Beyond that, companies will need to do a cost / benefit analysis of the various finance and accounting software available to them. The old method may still “work” for some, but many have found the advantages be too convincing to hold up. Fast, accurate, and organized bookkeeping can dramatically reduce operating costs or the time owners spend doing it themselves.

Evolution of customer satisfaction

Growing demand for green products

Green products are in great demand among home owners and business owners today. Low-flow toilets and faucets, faucet aerators, and ENERGY STAR appliances like dishwashers and washing machines help home and commercial building owners save money. Demand is increasing and the market is rapidly moving from a niche to a banality in the minds of consumers.

To better serve customers, plumbers must be intimately familiar with these products and how to work with them. Taking training and becoming certified by various companies can help plumbers make sure they know how to install these new products. These specialized certifications help potential clients know they are hiring someone who can do the job at hand.

Health and security

Health and safety is quickly becoming a major concern for businesses and homeowners. The spread of germs can be stopped by technologies such as taps and touchless toilets. These products are effective because they prevent people from coming into contact with bacteria on bathroom surfaces. Contactless technology has been used in commercial buildings for many years, and some of these products are also finding their way into homes. Plumbers must be adept at installing these products to meet increased demand.

Water treatment systems (water softening, reverse osmosis, etc.) are also becoming common in homes. Understanding the installation process and communicating this offering to customers can increase a company’s reach and customer base in its service area.

In addition, with advancements in technology, older people are increasingly choosing to stay at home (otherwise known as “aging in place”). Knowing a variety of safety features, from grab bars to walk-in tubs, can help businesses capitalize on an emerging trend.

There are many existing buildings and houses across the country that have not been renovated in decades, and many buildings and houses have yet to be built. As the standard of living increases, the need for the installation of modern products will also increase.

Plan ahead

Keeping up to date with all the latest technology and advancements can help plumbing companies stay competitive whether an owner is looking to grow, carve a niche, or just stay in business. For plumbers who plan to be in business for the next several decades, understanding how the landscape is changing is crucial.

Ryan Poppe is a licensed RE / MAX REALTOR © with Colorado Real Estate Group.