The IPG recently asked plumbers and installers to answer three simple questions, with the aim of understanding; what they thought of the Government schemes to help self-employed workers, if they were still working and how Covid-19 has impacted their business.
The findings (compiled on June 1 2020) are telling. The Government support packages are working for some plumbers and installers but not for others. 56% felt that the schemes were positive and very helpful during these difficult times, with one installer saying that “they were a good solution to an impossible situation”. 38% felt that they were not much help, it took too long to get any payment and they needed to be better.
The survey also shed some light on the percentage of plumbers and installers who were still working and those who were not. 58% had stopped working, with one participant stating: “It has completely shut down my business, as a domestic plumber/bathroom fitter I had to completely stop working for the safety of myself and customers.” Another said: “We have closed down as we are domestic, no one wanted us to do house calls, jobs haven’t really been coming in. I’ve only had two emergencies to go to in this time.”
In contrast, 42% revealed that they were still working, stating various reasons for this. One plumber commented: “As a self-employed contractor, the initial lockdown resulted in me being out of work for a while – until the building site I was on implemented Covid safety measures.” Another remarked: “We are working but more aware of sanitising and customer interaction, we just have to adjust to suit the current situation – keep 2m apart, wear masks and gloves and wash regularly, making customers aware of procedures.”
David Cairns, Head of Supplier and Commercial Strategy at The IPG, supports the safe working code: “In the UK, heating installers and plumbers primarily work alone or in small teams in private properties, changing location on a regular basis. Now, more than ever, safe working arrangements and practices are an important area to focus on. The public will become increasingly aware of the importance of not only using a tradesperson who is qualified, but one who is also fully aware of Covid-19 health and safety measures.”
He went on to say: “IPG members are all implementing Covid-19 health and safety measures in the workplace, making their stores a safe environment to shop in or click and collect. Never has buying from an independent business been more relevant. It is a significant contributing factor in supporting local employment, boosting UK innovation, as well as increasing environmental benefits. Support your local independent!”