The construction industry has experienced a lot of advancements, from using project management software and construction scheduling software for improved efficiency to adding robots in a set of construction tools. As a professional in the plumbing trade, you should be updated with the latest trends and technologies in the plumbing industry. This will allow you to provide the best solutions to customers and help your company grow.
You can also check our predictions on other construction trades like; (6 Roofing Trends You Can Expect To See In 2021), (HVAC Trends To Expect In 2021). There’s even one about sustainable building materials (New Sustainable Building Materials Trends in 2021). We even did three on general construction (Construction Technology Trends: Looking Ahead to 2021, Top 8 Construction Industry Trends This 2021, and Construction Technology: What To Expect For 2021). Now, it’s time to look at what the plumbing industry has to offer this year.
2021: The Year Of Great Change
2020 came with a lot of challenges. One of the most significant events last year drastically impacted the world. Everyone had to adjust in several ways– social distancing, staying at home, businesses closing, and many more.
With that, 2021 will bring innovations that are targeted to fixing last year’s problems. And that’s on top of customer demand from previous years, like going green. Starting this year, expect to see a heavy reliance on mobile and remote technology.
Plumbing Trends In 2021
1. Focus on remote and mobile-first communication
Mobile and remote communication will continue to increase because of two reasons.
One, tech-savvy millennials prefer digital communication over the phone or face-to-face. And because they will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, expect this to be the norm. When business owners focus on using digital communication platforms, like texting, communication apps, or work-based social media, employees will be happy and boost productivity. Plus, instant messaging lessens the risk of communication, saves time, and keeps a time-stamped record of conversations.
Two, the major event from 2020 calls for it. Because the health and safety of workers are on the line, remote working is the answer. To keep productivity going, digital communication will predominantly be used. While remote working is not an option for plumbers, remote communication can still be used to limit exposure to the outside world.
For instance, clients can video call plumbers to initially show them the issue and plumbers can start diagnosing and coming up with solutions before they even get to the house. Another example would be a virtual collaboration with management. There would be a limited number of people on job sites. But with technology like AR or software like Pro Crew Schedule, contractors and managers can virtually communicate with field plumbers. They can send important documents and instructions via the app.
2. Plumbers embrace smart technology.
Today’s generations are not only tech-savvy but also environmentally conscious. Because they can control practically everything with their smartphones, they demand high-tech solutions that don’t damage the Earth.
When professional plumbers openly accept innovation and modern technology, they welcome opportunities to grow their business further. They can identify new streams of revenue and provide better customer service.
3. Increasing demand for smart plumbing fixtures
Generations X and Y are today’s homebuyers, with Gen Z following close behind. This means that traditional flush systems are not enough anymore. These three generations are highly reliant on modern technology, so even the plumbing systems have to be advanced. While these sorts of devices have already been circulating the scene, expect to see more smart toilets and water heaters, Bluetooth showerheads, touchless faucets, and leak-detecting sensors.
These innovations are not just for show; they have significant benefits. For one, they’re convenient. Smart toilets with automatic bidets and flush take away the work and reduce contact with germs and bacteria. Kohler has a wide range of intelligent and self-cleaning toilets.
Next, they significantly conserve water. Leak-detecting pipes will prevent further wasting of water. When these pipes identify where a leak is located, building owners can immediately fix the issue. Touchless plumbing fixtures are transitioning from commercial settings to gaining popularity in residential areas. They conserve water as well as last relatively long.
4. Importance of online reviews
It’s no secret that people today spend most of their time online. And reputation is a massive deal in the plumbing industry. Put these two together and you’ll see why online reviews are crucial. They heavily influence your reputation. Consequently, positive reviews will attract more clients. That’s why it’s vital to keep customers satisfied and deliver high-quality work.
While it can be a downer when you receive negative comments, it’s not the end of the world. Instead of berating the customer, it’s best to respond diplomatically. Contact them and calmly get to the root cause of their issue. You can then work on fixing it and maybe they’ll consider changing their initial review. Also, don’t fixate on these negative reviews. Treat this as a learning opportunity to make you a better plumber.
5. Customer awareness about greywater plumbing trends
As it was previously mentioned, people are becoming more environmentally conscious. With more awareness of the impact of climate change, people are looking for proactive ways they can conserve water and decrease their environmental footprint. One way to do this is with greywater plumbing trends.
On average, Americans use about 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, most of which is consumed by showers and toilets. When plumbers come across complaints about high water bills or questions about water conservation, they are trained to educate their customers on greywater systems. These systems not only save clients money but also benefit the environment.
6. Increased use of subcontractor scheduling software for project management
The online and digital space is taking up a lot of people’s time. While this may look problematic, many see this as an opportunity for innovations. Recently, project management software has taken the construction industry and the trades by storm.
Pro Crew Schedule has several software made for the different trades, one of which is plumbing. Our plumbing software allows plumbers to collaborate in real-time with management, even if they are not onsite together. This improves productivity and reduces downtime. Management is also better with these types of software. People in charge can easily schedule and dispatch plumbers to the right job. And during projects, managers can track employee time and monitor activity.
7. Offering easy online payment options
Another effect 2020 has on the world is the increased use of online payment methods. Contactless payments will continue to flourish in the years to come. More than that, these easy, one-click payment solutions are more convenient to both customers and plumbers.
Modern payment processes allow plumbing techs to collect payments without the mess and disorganization from paperwork easily. It also is easier to handle any payment issues as everything is recorded online.
8. Expanded training
With all the new tech and methods popping up, it’s expected to train your plumbers on these. As traditional methods evolve and technology modernizes, plumbers must work with and navigate through them. They should be able to provide quality services and they can do this by adapting advanced ways.
9. Competition and demand continue to grow.
The number of plumbing professionals continues to increase. In 2016, around 470,000 plumbers in the United States and many more people are still entering the trade. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry to grow by 24% from 2014 to 2024.
This means that competition will become fiercer in the coming years. At this time, marketing and setting yourself apart becomes crucial, especially when the demand for plumbing services also continues to rise. One way is to keep up with the latest and best trade trends.
10. Continued challenges of labor shortage
The numbers do look promising, but the problem of labor shortage still looms. 75% of the trade workforce is nearing retirement. The natural solution to this is that the younger generation would replace them. Unfortunately, they seem uninterested in working in the skilled trades. This is why companies’ responsibility is to attract the youth to build a career in the trades, particularly plumbing.
In our article “Solving Labor Shortage: How To Attract Youth To Your Construction Company,” we give tips on how to get the youth interested in construction. While we talk about construction in general, the advice given here can also be applied to the plumbing industry.
There’s more to expect in 2021
Nothing is ever really set in stone. Even though there are several predictions on what trends will flourish in 2021, there will undoubtedly be a few no one expected would pop up. 2020 proves that anything can happen.
And this article only talks about plumbing trends; there’s many more technologies to watch out for. Outdoor hot & cold water hydrants, tankless water heater, solar-powered heating solutions, and trenchless technology gains popularity are just some of these exciting technologies for the plumbing industry.