During the COVID-19 pandemic, many contractors have enjoyed record sales. Why did the HVAC industry thrive while other sectors were so negatively impacted?
When COVID 19 hit this year, I’ve got to tell you; I thought our industry, just like so many others, was doomed to an economic downturn. Small businesses were hit the hardest here in the Sacramento Valley. I can’t tell you how sad I felt for these folks who’ve worked so hard to get where they were in early 2020, only to have the worldwide pandemic ruin their hopes, dreams, and pocketbooks. So why did the HVAC industry do so well this year when other sectors were hit so hard? That’s what I want to talk about today on the blog.
The pandemic hit Californians in early March. 2020 started better than usual for us, and I was feeling very positive about us meeting our financial goals again this year. Then, it hit. The states began shutting down public places. Players were walking off the court in the middle of NBA basketball games. These were truly unprecedented actions that today’s population has never seen.
California’s lockdown began on March 19. Fox Family continued to gain revenue through the first two weeks of that month. As an essential service, because people can die from a lack of regulated, conditioned air in their homes, we were able to keep our staff working. But the stay at home order during the latter half of March and all of April created a situation where most people found themselves sitting around the house, not doing much.
Then the Work Began for the HVAC Industry
May saw more people than ever begin to work on their homes. Gardening, redoing their concrete sidewalks, inserting pools in their backyards, getting that electrical work done, and many other items popped up on people’s To-Do Lists. And like every year around that time, people started either getting AC repairs done from the previous season or straight-up changing out their whole system.
Payroll Protection During COVID-19
Not only did Fox Family avoid laying off anyone at our company, but with the payroll protection program, we were able to keep money in their bank accounts so they could pay their bills. As a business owner, I honestly have great concern for the welfare of my employees. We even paid a couple of our employees’ rent for the month and would have continued had our business not started up again as it did.
Why did the HVAC Industry see a Rise in Business During COVID-19?
It all comes down to people being cooped up in their homes for months, not being allowed to go out except for essential needs like groceries. People who even wanted to go out found there weren’t too many places even open. So they had more disposable income than in previous years.
Our industry boomed when others were scrambling to find the money to pay their lease at brick and mortar stores—about 30 percent more. And while many people just got simple repairs done, a massive wave of people started changing out their whole system.
Because people weren’t going on vacation, going out to the movies, and all the other things people do in ordinary life, their money was applied toward fixing up their homes. As the world started lifting restrictions, another wave of increased COVID cases hit, closing restaurants and retail stores that had just reopened their doors to the public.
Business usually starts to slow down for us towards the end of August because people see the end of 100-degree temperatures on the horizon. Many people feel like if they’ve made it this long without AC, they can go a few more weeks without it before nicer weather settles in. People who have looming repairs on their systems say they’ll hold off until next spring to make their repairs.
Time Will Tell
So, we’ll see how the summer season finishes up. Will people continue to use their discretionary spending money on preparing for the winter months? Or have they spent the majority of their savings since they haven’t been at work for so long? These questions will be answered soon enough, but as for us in the HVAC industry, installers and technicians across the US are ready for a few weeks of downtime to recuperate from all the hard work they’ve put in.
Not one contractor I’ve talked to recently failed to see record sales over the last few months. We’re all grateful to be in that position, too. A lot of us wait all year for the summer months. Thankfully, we didn’t see a lack of customers calling on us, as other industries have. HVAC business owners never take for granted that they’ll stay busy enough to keep the doors open year after year. It may come easier for some than for others, but early 2020 worried a lot of contractors.
Thanks so much for watching and we’ll see you on the next blog post.
Don’t miss our video on this topic: