LUBBOCK, Texas – Local plumbing companies said they were relatively unaffected by the negative economic impact of the winter storm and pandemic.
“During the storm itself, we saw a significant increase in call volume – roughly three times that,” said Mark Branscome, operations manager at Lowery Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. “It really hasn’t slowed down since then.”
Branscome said he worked with his company for 17 years and the last time he saw this type of business boom was during the 2007-2009 real estate boom.
“When that real estate bubble burst, people were more inclined to take care of the house they had,” said Branscome. “What we are seeing during this time during COVID is that people are staying at home a lot more. You are more aware of your installation problems [and] much more with their plumbers. “
Ronda Rushing, office manager at Joe Rushing Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, said they had been so busy that their plumbers had to work continuously beyond their normal working day.
“We had to stop bringing in new customers for a while just to keep our customers going and to be able to help them,” said Rushing.
Rushing said the surge in business could be due to people staying home more often due to the pandemic.
“Now that people are working from home, they seem to be calling more often,” said Rushing. “That leaky faucet got on them a little more than, ‘Oh, you know, I’m only here a couple of hours every night before I go to bed after work.'”
Mike Austin, a heating and air conditioning technician in Lowery Plumbing, said now is a good time to get into the plumbing and other commercial-related industries. Austin also said he attributes the business to the local economy.
“We have a good, strong economy in Lubbock and people want to spend some money,” Austin said. “For those little kids who think college isn’t for them, do a job.”
Reggie Dial, executive director of East Lubbock Resident Owned Business Initiative, a nonprofit that offers apprenticeships in plumbing, electricity, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), said the advantage of the retail industry is that it is versatile.
“These are industries that are needed not just in our community but around the world,” said Dial. “I think people need to realize that there is not just one demand [for these industries] But that the pay is great for individuals too. “
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