With much of the United States under stay-at-home orders for the foreseeable future, it’s a time when many people are wondering what that means for the home remodeling industry. Although in many states (including Virginia) construction is considered an essential business service, the COVID-19 pandemic is, without a doubt, having an impact.
On the good news front, I’m proud to say the Synergy team has continued to work hard to complete the home remodeling projects that were mid-way through construction when the lockdown took effect. Fortunately, we already had many of the business tools and job site safety practices already in place, enabling us to quickly respond and react to the dynamic situation that was (and continues to be) life in the middle of a pandemic. You can read more about our approach to social distancing and safe home remodeling here.
However, as an industry, home remodelers and general contractors are not immune to the realities of this new world order. I have received a number of calls from owners of remodeling companies all over the country to discuss how best to navigate these turbulent times. Immediate impacts felt by many other companies were swift and hit hard:
- New Project Delays. As is only natural, many homeowners immediately put their home remodeling plans on hold. For any volume-based remodeling business, the downturn in new business and decrease in the project pipeline has meant laying off staff and/or scaling back business
- Supply Chain Disruption. There is growing concern over supply chains. From cabinets to flooring to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, the lockdown immediately caused fears over supply. Although it is true that many manufacturing plants temporarily closed, some supplies have not been impacted while others are now back up and running, or alternate sources have been identified
- Skills Shortages. In the short-term, there is definitely concern that as the COVID-19 virus spreads, staffing will be impacted (either through illness or fear of getting sick). Indeed, we have heard of some firms who have not been able to continue their current projects or operations.
- Long-term impacts. As of now, it’s estimated that, as with any recession era, as many as 20 to 30% of remodeling businesses will close permanently. Many companies subcontracted most (or all) of their labor, limiting federal government funding through relief efforts like the CARES Act and its Paycheck Protection Program.
Enough of the doom and gloom – here’s where our industry will be made stronger and what we’re excited about in the future!
- Virtual Consultations and Online Design Services. Don’t get us wrong, we prefer face-to-face meetings and meeting new people, but we’ve always been an innovative bunch and have long employed innovative approaches to consultation and design services. Now it’s just the new norm.
- STAYCATIONS! Even if we could, none of us are going anywhere any time soon! Some of our clients have told us they will be spending money they had planned to use for this year’s vacation on making the most of their home instead. Given you are going to spend so much time in it, make your home your own.
- Home offices. We’ve always been big believers in creating a gorgeous custom home office space, but now it’s become a necessity! Perhaps you didn’t really think about it until you were stuck at your dining room table listening to your kids incessantly ask when it’s snack time and watching your cat make frequent appearances on your video conferences. After over a month in quarantine, a dedicated home office space is now a “must have” and the trend is here to stay.
- Other major improvements. Just as we saw exiting the Great Recession, people are focusing more on turning their existing homes into spaces they love rather than finding a new home and moving. Our clients are excited now more than ever to have us start their renovations tailor-fitting their home to their family and their (new) lifestyle.
None of us can say for sure what the future holds, but as a small business who has worked in this community for over a decade, we are confident that, with your continued support, we can successfully navigate the challenges in the coming months. Our full staff remains ready to serve you. Thank you for all of your words of encouragement and the trust you have placed in us to continue to do what we love: creating ‘home’ for you!