Plumbing dates back to ancient civilizations; these societies relied on channels and pipes to irrigate crops, remove waste, and provide potable water to inhabitants. Plumbing technology has since evolved immeasurably. However, one fact remains: plumbing is vital to the way we live and work today. This is especially true for commercial and residential construction sites, where plumbing contractors play an essential role between general and specialty contractors alike. Regardless of the scope and size of the project, plumbing projects are always one of the top considerations for builders.
The plumbing contracting industry continues to grow at a promising rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected employment to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028, “much higher than the average for other occupations.” This growth and recent changes in the construction landscape present both challenges and opportunities for plumbing contractors. To achieve the greatest possible business outcomes, contractors must harness leading-edge strategies and purpose-built technology to deliver high-quality, consistent work.
For more ideas on how to achieve better results in your business through technology, download our “How Plumbing Contractors Can Leverage Software for Better Business Outcomes” ebook now!
Plumbing Contracting in 2020 and Beyond
As specialty contractors, plumbing contractors bring a specialized skill set, industry-specific processes, and unique workflows to every project. These processes and workflows are often some of the first ones introduced to a project. They serve as the base for other specialty contracting activities.
Within these projects, plumbing contractors must navigate requirements and processes from both general and specialty contractors. Doing so requires significant investment in monitoring timelines, building in efficiencies, and managing budgets to ensure the best results and greatest profitability.
The industry landscape looks different than in years past. The current market size is estimated to be $105.5 billion with a growth of 2.1% per year on average from 2015 to 2020. The industry is ranked sixth in the construction industry in terms of market size.
However, the construction industry is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. The current 2020 growth rate for construction has been revised from 3.1% to 0.5%. According to Accenture, contractors can expect to see the greatest impact on business development, contract management, planning and scheduling, and workforce management in the supply chain. Plumbing contractors who work primarily on construction projects will see an increased emphasis on efficiency and maximizing resources to overcome this reduced growth rate.
Common Obstacles to Growth for Plumbing Contractors
2020 has forced the construction industry to adapt to changing guidelines, economic developments, and local requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plumbing contractors are no exception to these challenges, many of which must be addressed before additional contracting activities can begin.
Preconstruction challenges are some of the most significant faced by plumbers and pipefitters. The bidding process is one of the most time-consuming and critical to ensure cash flow and steady work. Tracking multiple bids and invitations to bid requires a great deal of coordination, collaboration and management. Silos and disparate systems make it difficult to monitor these bids effectively.
During the construction phase, plumbing contractors must manage productivity, quality, planning, labor shortages, employee satisfaction, and financials. These challenges may appear to come down to the employee side (engagement, collaboration, and training) and the client side (satisfaction, payment, and results). However, they are essentially two sides of the same coin. Each factor must be strategically managed to succeed in employee and client retention. Employees who are given the opportunity and tools to succeed will show higher engagement and productivity. Clients will benefit from investment in employees through quality of output, making them more likely to return for future projects.
What Successful Plumbing Contractors Do Differently
What separates successful plumbing contractors from the rest? Top-quality work, a solid network, and excellent resources often come to mind. These assets do make a significant difference, but there’s one more element that can give these specialty contractors a leg up: a winning technology strategy. Sure, we’ve been enjoying the benefits and comforts of plumbing for thousands of years, well before the dawn of modern technology. However, a strong technology toolkit can help today’s plumbing contractors automate workflows, create a single source of truth for important documents, mitigate risk, and win more bids.
Speciality contractors today must manage more moving parts within their businesses than ever before. These individual activities and larger operations can cause many challenges, but they can also present incredible opportunities for growth. The right technology toolkit will allow members to collaborate seamlessly from anywhere, at any time. It will also help to standardize documents, establish step-by-step workflows, and build in efficiencies in operations throughout each department.
Specialty contractors often worry that learning a new technology will take their team away from critical work. The ideal technology toolkit will integrate seamlessly into these activities, while reducing time-consuming, manual tasks and providing a convenient reference for critical processes. For example, instead of having to call the office to locate a drawing for a project, contractors can reference the most recent, up-to-date version on their mobile devices. Doing so will save time and resources while alleviating the frustration that comes with tracking down information.
Finding the Right Technology for Plumbing Contractors
This is just one example of how technology can help plumbing contractors succeed in construction today. We have more for you in our Winning Strategies for Plumbing Contractors ebook. In it, you’ll find plenty of strategies to integrate technology into your processes as well as case studies for guidance. Get started implementing those techniques by downloading the ebook now!