Results of road to recovery survey

A new survey on the health of the plumbing and heating sector shows that 8 in 10 installer businesses are still struggling to get fully back on their feet. Market research agency Eureka! Research interviewed over 2000 plumbing and heating businesses during the pandemic, with the support of representative bodies across the industry, including APHC, CIPHE, CORGI Services and HHIC. The new study was undertaken in July and builds on a similar survey in April this year when Eureka! undertook an analysis of the early stage impacts of lockdown.

The results paint a very mixed picture across the installation industry. Overall, firms are still only working at 42% of their normal capacity and new job enquiries are also sluggish with only 20% saying they are back up to typical levels.

Eureka! devised a simple way to summarise how plumbing and heating businesses are performing in the current circumstances:

  • ‘Cracking on’ – around one third of firms have an optimistic outlook and a decent order book. They are being held back somewhat by getting sufficient materials from the supply chain.
  • ‘Cautious’ – these businesses are seeing enquiries coming through, but they are tending to be smaller jobs at the moment and cashflow is still a major concern.
  • ‘Staying calm’ – although the phone has started ringing again, they are not getting much work and are using their time productively in terms of CPD and learning about new forms of bathroom or heating product.
  • ‘Struggling’ – around one quarter of all businesses are in this bracket and many have widespread health and financial concerns.

Although the results also indicate that most installers are implementing safe ways of working, only one third of businesses have produced a formal ‘COVID secure’ policy. Companies that have more work on the books are actually less likely to say that the social distancing and safe operating rules are hampering their business productivity.

Dave Ruston at Eureka! Research states: “We’ve been bowled over yet again by the level of response from the trade at this most challenging of times.  We have a substantial body of evidence here that can be used to lobby policy makers and senior decision makers”

The results of the survey can be seen in more detail here: www.eurekaresearch.co.uk/covid19report

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