Who remembers when we were shutting down for 2 weeks to “flatten the curve”? That was over a year ago and here we are, still navigating protocols, scheduling vaccinations and trying find some sense of normalcy in our work and personal lives. As an “essential business” throughout most of the pandemic in 2020, we did our best to remain flexible with our customers and our employees. Unfortunately, there was no “one size fits all” when it came to how individuals dealt with personal contact. Quarantines became the dreaded word. Trying to follow the Department of Health (DOH) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) was an extreme challenge. Throw in the travel bans and you have a regular three ring circus in managing a business.

So, here we are in April of 2021 and we’re still standing. I think we retained the majority of our customers in the process. Kudos to our staff for their excellent communication and concern for everyone’s physical and mental well-being as we all were dealing with this on our own terms. Thanks to our customers who were cooperative and understanding as we invaded their homes, donned in masks, gloves and booties and wielding a spray bottle filled with disinfectant.

What Does the Future Hold?

What does our industry look like going forward for both our customers and our employees? First, if you haven’t had a preventive maintenance done on your HVAC equipment or water heater in the year since Covid-19 invaded our shores, don’t delay any further. Regular maintenance keeps your equipment running efficiently, cleans the air better and prolongs the life of your equipment. Second, consider adding Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) products to your system. Air purifiers, upgraded filters and humidifiers/dehumidifiers can drastically improve the air you breathe. Some even eliminate viruses and bacteria that can help reduce the risk of contracting the Coronavirus. Finally, be proactive. Access to parts, supplies and equipment have been drastically delayed from manufacturers. Supply chains all across the globe have been slowed way beyond normal, and in some cases, beyond acceptable levels. Don’t wait until the last minute to get a system serviced or replaced. Recently, I was shopping for furniture and have been told that deliveries are 4-6 months on most furniture. Inventories in all industries appear to be at all-time lows.

For our employees, know that you are valued. We appreciate all you have gone through over the past year and we can’t say thank you enough. Our industry is struggling to find qualified individuals committed to the mechanical trades. Tradesmen and women are retiring faster than we can replace them. Hopefully, more young people will be considering a career in the trades. Wages are increasing at a breakneck pace and employers are doing more craft training than ever before in order to fill the numerous voids in our ranks. A career in HVAC and plumbing can be incredibly rewarding, both financially and personally. As valuable as a college education can be for a lot of folks, it not for everyone. Attending trade school or going directly into the trades from high school could be a smarter decision for you or your kid.

Whatever you decide, do it with gusto. As is stated in our employee manual, “Enjoy what you do. Life is too short to be miserable. If you’re not happy here, then go somewhere else. We want happy employees with good attitudes.” I’ve tried to live by that mantra and hope you see that in the people that work for us. God Bless!

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