Technology has impacted practically everything, why not plumbing? Here are three plumbing technology trends to know when preparing your next bid.
Trend #1: Comfort and Conservation
On the front lines of plumbing technology are products that improve customer comfort and health. Both consumers and contractors are seeking:
- Tankless water heaters
- Touchless fixtures
- Self-cleaning toilets
There is also increasing demand for technology that assures and ensures clean water. Customers are highly aware of water-quality issues, and many are also concerned about the quantity of good drinking water. This is leading to renewed interest in water conservation.
Water conservation is showing up on building plans for new construction and remodeling jobs. Many new industrial and commercial construction projects call for rainwater collection and water recycling/reusing systems. Look for more of these trends and related products in building specifications.
There is also a trend toward less excavation because of evolving building codes and environmental concerns. This is pushing mechanical contractors to use trenchless plumbing technologies more often.
You can get competitive advantages by incorporating these new trends and technologies. Stay informed and include them as main components or options in your bids.
Trend #2: Maintenance Management
Plumbers who previously only focused on new construction are now increasing their profits by offering maintenance services. An added benefit is that maintenance services smooth out new construction market cycles. As a result, more and more plumbing companies are looking to field service management (FSM) tools. And it's the customer putting the energy behind this trend.
A survey by Moneris Solutions Corporation discovered these three service-provider customer pain points:
- Paying more than quoted
- Waiting too long for a service technician
- Technician not having the right parts
Cloud-based or in-house FSM tools used with mobile devices help avoid these customer pain points. You'll start gathering and immediately using data that shows you how to improve your service and make it more profitable. You will also address some of your own pain points, like:
- Poor technician punctuality
- Work orders completed late
- Increasing travel time
- Higher fuel costs
- Jobs requiring more than one trip
Trend #3: Project Management
Whether you specialize in service work, construction or remodeling, there is a lot of attention these days on managing projects more effectively.
Spreadsheets still work, but in the 2016 Software Advice SMB Buyer Report, construction-business owners complained that their tried-and-true spreadsheet and manual methods weren't keeping up with new workloads. What were their biggest complaints?
- Estimating/takeoff/bidding processes taking too long and accuracy too low
- Poor audit trails, leaving contractors holding the bag for delays caused by others
- Not enough standardization in practices used within the company
- Poor integration of project management with back-office functions
Two plumbing technology trends addressing these issues are estimating and project management (PM) software. Estimating software requires a lot less time than trying to update spreadsheets. And your estimates are more accurate and can even inform your schedule by prepopulating the work-breakdown structure.
Another trend for projects is cloud-based PM software. Owners are increasingly requiring project participants to use it. In many cases, general contractors will require subcontractors to use the same product they use. Even if you aren't required to use this kind of software, you should consider the advantages. The efficiencies you gain will make you more competitive.
Construction companies of all types typically spend less than one percent of their budgets on technology. Today, mobile devices and cloud-based software are changing that. The technology now available gives competitive advantages and clearer paths to profits.
Stay informed on plumbing technology trends by stopping by here often, and by consulting these industry sources regularly:
- Plumbing Contractors of America
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
- Plumbing Perspective
What Keeps You Up At Night?
With over 160 years of insights gained from helping businesses thrive, our seasoned experts can offer advice to avoid some of those unexpected challenges. Help us provide the insights you need>>>