May 22, 2020 by Rachel Ramsey

COVID-19 Pandemic: What Local Service Businesses Are Doing

We are in unprecedented times with COIVD-19 sweeping the nation, leaving many plumbing, HVAC and other home service businesses in a state of uncertainty and hesitant about how best to proceed. While this pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting thousands of people, it is also having a growing impact on the local service business economy.

Since these service businesses are still considered "essential" and especially with homeowners finding themselves locked down in their home, we surveyed 266 local service businesses about the impact that COVID-19 has had on their business, and learn what actions they are taking to keep the business running during this challenging time.

Key Findings:

  • While 74% of local home service businesses believe their business is well positioned for an economic downturn, 80% also have stated that their business operations have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Of those surveyed, 54% said the primary area of impact on their business has been limited access to customers, followed by supply chain interruptions at 53% and cash flow issues at 51%.
  • Reduced productivity was cited as the top concern for the immediate future by 61% of businesses.
  • In response to COVID-19, 43% of home service businesses are reducing their workforce as their top action, followed by communicating COVID-19 efforts to customers at 39%.

Home Service Businesses Say They Are Well Positioned For An Economic Downturn

74% of local service businesses that offer a home service believe they are well positioned for an economic downturn compared to just 55% of local service businesses across all industries.

While that seems promising, 80% stated that they their business operations have been impacted by the COVID-19. How could it not?

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Primary Area Of Impact Is Limited Access To Customers

56% of home service business owners claim that having limited access to customers is their primary area of impact. This is likely due to the fact that customers are more concerned than ever about having someone new in their home, or they don't know that the business is still operating, or they are concerned that the proper safety measures haven't been put in place.

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The next areas of impact are supply chain interruptions at 53% and cash flow issues at 51%, which in turn are causing decreased sales at 44% and reduced operating hours at 49%.

Primary Concern Is Reduced Productivity

While these home service businesses cite several areas of concern for the immediate future, the primary concern at 61% is reduced productivity, followed up cash flow disruptions at 54% and staffing reductions at 39%.

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Primary Actions Being Taken Are Reducing Workforce And Communicating COVID-19 Efforts To Customers

43% of home service businesses say they are reducing their workforce in response of their business impact at this time. This action is followed closely by communicating COVID-19 efforts to customers at 39%.

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Contractors In A Good Position To Educate Customers To Get More Access

As a company that focuses exclusively on generating new customers for home service businesses on a pay per lead basis, we have a unique perspective in terms of how homeowners are behaving and so we also wanted to look at our own data to help determine what other actions home service businesses can take to help market their business during this time.

Recommendations:

  • Put a COVID-19 Response Plan in place and write it down.
  • Publish this plan on your website and alert any website visitors of this plan to see what you are doing to keep them and yourselves safe.
  • Send an email blast to existing customers to let them know you are still open for business and are here to help them make their home comfortable during this challenging time.
  • Make sure any online ad placements are communicating that you are open during this time and the safety measures you have in place.

Methodology

We surveyed 266 local service business on the impact of COVID-19 on their business and the actions they are taking.

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