A survey of plumbers by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) has shown that cashflow has been the biggest concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey of 203 WIAPS plumbers found that a third (30%) of those surveyed said cashflow was their biggest concern since the pandemic began, above worries about a family member getting ill (26%) and returning to business post lockdown (19%). These findings show just how hard lockdown restrictions have hit plumber income, with 54% seeing revenue stop completely.
As many businesses start to reopen, there are also concerns among plumbers regarding support from the government, with 61% saying there’s not enough guidance on reopening closed and abandoned buildings.
What’s more, 53% also felt guidance on what constitutes as ‘emergency’ work is insufficient, leaving plumbers to make their own decisions on what type of work to attend to. Most (64%) would consider boiler faults and leaks as worthy of a call out, but not kitchen and bathroom installations. More than a quarter (28%) admit they don’t feel safe doing home visits.
As with other professions, since lockdown began there have been calls for plumbers to adapt their service where possible, including speaking to customers online with tools such as Facetime. However, just one in ten (8%) of those surveyed had managed to do this, highlighting potential demand for support around remote working and associated technology.
There are also positive changes shown by this survey, with 61% of plumbers saying they now have more time to focus on sorting out invoicing and accounts, while an additional 57% have taken time to organise their equipment and tools.
Julie Spinks, Managing Director of WRAS, said: “These findings highlight the individual struggles that plumbers are facing during the pandemic. Despite signs that things may be starting to return to some level of normality in the coming months, it’s clear that the majority of plumbers are understandably concerned about their businesses.”
“The fact that over half of those surveyed are finding more time to focus on invoicing and accounts is a promising sign though, as well as the 22% who are looking at more training. Brushing up on their water fitting regulations knowledge would be a great use of time, so they can better protect their customers in future.”