Since the middle of March 2020, we’ve been living in an age of uncertainty. Here is how you can work your way through it.


Never has so much seemed so uncertain

First, we were shaken to our core over the pandemic. How bad was it? We were uncertain. We wondered if we should take calls. We wondered how to protect our people, our families, our customers and ourselves.

Never has the nation shut down before. We wondered what would happen to the economy. Would we slide into a depression? Well, it turned out residential plumbing did fine. In fact, demand even picked up as people were stuck in their homes. Of course, commercial imploded. It did not do so well.

Riots, looting and arson erupted in many of our cities. More uncertainty. Then came the election. Uncertainty remained until the electors were counted.

If anyone anticipated stability, they were mistaken. The pandemic is still raging. Inconsistent lockdowns are still in place. We know who is president, but we don’t know how much of his agenda will pass. His plan calls for massive tax hikes that will be devastating for S-Corps and LLCs, not to mention anyone thinking about selling a business. Will it pass?

What about the $15 per hour minimum wage? Will that pass? If it does, will it cause wage inflation?

Where there is certainty, it is not good. Energy prices are almost certain to rise due to drilling restrictions and the push for renewables. When energy gets more expensive, everything gets more expensive.

Then, there is the culture war. Woke culture and cancel culture are ripping about our institutions. People are afraid to speak their minds these days and for good reason. How far will this go?


How should plumbers respond?

Curling up in a ball is not an option. You still need to make money. You still need to run a business. Here are six ways you should respond to the current uncertainty.

  1. Watch your costs. At the first sign your costs are rising, raise your prices. If you wait, you will find yourself in a hole that is difficult to dig out of.
  2. Minimize taxes. While we do not know what the new tax plan will look like, we do know what the president wants to do, we do know something will happen and we know it will not be good for small businesses. When it passes, meet with your CPA or tax attorney immediately to set up a plan to minimize the damage to your business and you, personally.
  3. Do not do politics. You should not care who is red and who is blue. You should only care that both sides carry green. Any political stand will irritate at least one third of the public. That is not a profitable move. Maybe the day will come when civil society becomes civil again, but for now, that is another uncertainty.
  4. Feed your mind with positive information. It is all too easy to allow the news cycle to sink you into a state of depression. Remember, you work in a great profession that is blessed to be an essential service so you can keep earning money. While you need to be aware of the news, do not start your day with it. Instead, download podcasts or audiobooks. Do not allow the news to corrupt your attitude.
  5. Move forward. With all of the uncertainty and negativity in the country, it is easy to allow yourself to get paralyzed. Keep moving forward; keep advertising; and keep reaching out to new customers. Keep promoting everything related to sanitation, water purification, energy saving and comfort. Many people are still stuck in their homes and they want to be safe and comfortable. Let them know how you can improve their lives.
  6. Set a positive tone. Your team looks to you. If you show fear, they feel terror. Do not try to manage them; lead them. Be unruffled and confident. Even if you feel anything but confident, show confidence. Paint a positive picture for the future for your team to hang onto.

According to the book of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” 

In other words, this season of uncertainty will pass. That is certain.