The Covid-19 pandemic will mean that tradesmen returning to work will experience a very different working environment than what was left behind when lockdown started.
The Irish Government is gradually easing lockdown restrictions allowing builders, landscapers, roofers and other trade pros to offer both essential and non-essential outdoor services from the 18th May.
If community transmission of Covid-19 continues to be controlled successfully, restrictions will be further eased and the Republic of Ireland could be fully open for business by the end of July, 2020.
The government’s lockdown restrictions have been implemented to guard against the spread of the virus and to keep our community safe. However, it has come at a price for us all.
Right now the economy is shrinking at an alarming rate and unemployment is rising. Households across the country are cutting back spending and preparing for the worst.
Reasons to be optimistic
So things are going to get tough (in fact you might be experiencing the fallout already), but here are a few reasons on why we think Ireland maybe a little more resilient to the Covid-19 recession it now faces.
- Irish household debt is much lower than the previous recession, especially due to the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules which followed the 2008 crash
- Covid-19 mortgage breaks and the government’s welfare and wage subsidy schemes have supported many households
- Ireland has received and will continue to receive millions of pandemic funding via the European Central Bank at zero cost to the state
- Targeted SME credit guarantee schemes have been put in place to support bank lending to small & medium businesses
- Ireland’s export-oriented economy will help keep Ireland moving forward
- Ireland is a land of entrepreneurial spirit and a recent survey conducted by EY found that 60% of entrepreneurs anticipate a return to normal trading conditions within 12 months.
While it is true that the volume of building and home improvement work will always be dependent on the health of the economy and household income, it is also true that there has always been a level of demand for qualified and reputable tradesmen.
How to succeed in the new Covid-19 economy
The new economic environment offers both challenges and opportunities. So here are our key points on how to succeed in during this pandemic.
Tradesmen will need to familiarise themselves with new Covid-19 workplace guidelines and have the necessary PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) required to carry out work.
The responsibility will be on you to get this right - customers, suppliers and those that you employ or outsource for jobs will expect you to adhere to these new Covid-19 guidelines.
Pre-Covid, Ireland was flush with construction, renovation and home improvement jobs. However, the new economic reality means that trade pros will need to plan ahead by managing a pipeline of job leads and rolling work.
Many Onlinetradesmen members often use our platform to find larger jobs as well as book smaller jobs in and around some of the larger work they win.
Create a Business Website
Between February and March 2020, online consumer transactions increased by 44%. This is an astounding increase in online activity and an indication that Covid-19 has possibly reshaped online consumer behaviour.
Having a business website could be the crucial difference between the volume of jobs that come your way and the work you ultimately win.
Profiling services offered on your very own business website including images of work completed as well as ratings and reviews will not only help a customer’s decision to hire but will also assist those who are mindful of social distancing and still prefer to seek services online.
Accreditations, Qualifications and Credentials
The Covid-19 recession will mean that customers will become a lot more cautious and will likely request to see qualifications or accreditations along with a valid certificate of insurance before hiring.
Where no formal qualifications exist then demonstrating suitability for the service offered will be critical. It is at this point where customer reviews and ratings plus and any commercial references will also help you win the work.
Finally, it goes without saying that delivering excellent customer service is paramount to success, especially for ongoing referrals.
In a recession, reducing the cost of doing business will be more important than ever.
While on the job, tradesmen cannot avoid the costs of hardware, tools, materials and workwear; however finding the best possible price should be the highest priority.
Further reducing the cost of travel as well as getting the best price on van insurance and fuel discount cards are all avenues to making sure your profit margins hold steady.
Onlinetradesmen membership offers you ways to save money on your hardware, consumables, materials, tools, workwear, insurance, petrol and more with our Club Discount scheme.
The new Covid-19 economy will present many opportunities for tradesmen especially in the areas of health, education and retail.
We've already seen some of our members involved in the building of mobile Covid-19 testing hubs as well as the construction of checkout partitions in supermarkets installed to protect staff and customers.
As the economy continues to re-open we expect to see more jobs for building and refitting public and private spaces to implement social distancing.
Possible demand for builders and carpenters as well as tilers, plumbers and electricians could increase as refitting of public bathrooms, new outdoor structures for public gatherings and installation of intercom systems which allow managed entry into buildings, could all be jobs aimed to help minimise the spread of the virus.
As the saying goes 'every cloud has a silver lining' and even if things seem a little gloomy at the moment, focus on what you can control and manage and you will likely succeed during the Covid-19 period.