- May 16, 2009
- SE Mass
There are enough people who are weathering the storm, have the funds to splurge on a single luxury to de-stress at home during stressful times to provide work for the limited amount of tradesmen.
Just realize that not everyone is in a bad spot like you. Yes, lots of people are without jobs. But there are still LOTs of jobs that remain largely untouched.
Some of those are doing okay. My brother does conference management. While the conferences have dried up, they’ve pivoted to organizing/running large digital meetings and are very busy agan
The interesting part concerning my trade is that the customers generally fall within the middle class to the rich. I am strictly on the service side of things, not the sales side, but I keep my fingers on the pulse of the industry by talking to the dealers daily. This year's COVID fun and games has yielded the following in my trade:
1. If you try to order a hot tub from a reputable dealer now, you will generally be quoted a wait time of anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. I believe that Hot Spring (an industry gold standard manufacturer) is now quoting delivery in excess of 45 weeks for a new tub. The reasons I hear from the dealers for the delay is a combination of two factors. First, demand is up considerably because people are now vacationing in their own back yard and not traveling. Second, production was significantly reduced through the first three months of COVID shutdowns. Production remains impacted by required PPE use and reduced staff at plants in order to maintain "social distancing".
2. Orders for in-ground pools are so backed up (well over a year) that many dealers have stopped taking actual orders and deposits. They are putting people on a waiting list for contact next year.
3. On the service side, my commercial accounts have all dried up. Gyms used to give me a fair amount of sauna and steam repair. This is completely shut down now. This has been slightly offset by an uptick in calls for residential steam and sauna. One big surprise to me was the complete loss of steam/sauna work for the professional sports teams. According to the Facilities Manager at one of the stadiums, this was due to League COVID restrictions not allowing the use of community steam/sauna rooms. The equipment has been shut down and sealed off.
4. On the residential service side, work EXPLODED back in March and has been relentless ever since, more than making up for my losses on the commercial side. My normal "busy" season runs from mid-April to mid-December. My phone started ringing off the hook in mid-March with hot tub openings at Cape Cod summer properties due to NY/CT rich families fleeing COVID CENTRAL, aka Donk cities. I will have to wait to see if the busy season ends at it's usual time.
5. As an example of being able to raise my rates with impunity, openings and closings of hot tubs represents an excellent example. At the start of this year, I charged a flat rate of $309 to open/close a hot tub with a maximum of two jet pumps. That figure currently stands at $359 today and I contemplate possibly raising it again before the end of the year. So far, the rich people with Cape summer homes are still saying "thank you, may I have another". I have received no push back whatsoever.
6. Labor rates are currently at $160 per hour for residential work and $180 per hour for commercial. I'm not sure whether or not I will raise them further as of now. Again, I am not getting any push back.
7. Obtaining repair parts can be problematic due to significant supply chain disruptions. Parts that used to take, at most, two weeks to obtain now takes two to three months. Fortunately, having been doing this work for over 36 years, I have an extensive supply of parts in my storage, so I am not badly impacted by the COVID delays.
I apologize to the OP for this thread hijack. I felt my information would add to the discussion since the OP was more-or-less a statement on the gun industry in this day of COVID. We live in strange times and I thank God he continues to bless my wife and I.