Many of us have heard the term, ‘The Great Resignation,’ in describing the massive amount of employee turnover the last few years. In 2021, federal data shows nearly 50 million workers left their jobs for various reasons — higher pay, new career opportunities and more. With an already strained job market in the skilled trades, employee retention is more important than ever.
Most construction contracting businesses, including plumbing and HVAC companies, are required to secure licenses before they are legally allowed to work in many states. However, the laws and requirements for licensing vary from state to state. One common condition of obtaining a license as a plumber or HVAC technician in most states is to secure plumbing or HVAC bonds. These bonds are required by various states to protect consumers and the state from potential losses caused by an HVAC technician or plumber. Here is some general information about the process of becoming licensed and bonded for plumbing and HVAC contractors.
Because plumbing is one of the most essential building systems, demand for plumbers and excellent plumbing work continues to skyrocket. There are currently more than 480,000 licensed plumbers in the U.S. — a number that is expected to increase by nearly 16% over the next three years to meet current shortages.
The plumbing industry is a stable industry. There is never a shortage of people who need plumbing work on their homes, businesses or apartment complexes, and this constant demand makes owning your own plumbing company an appealing opportunity for many prospective buyers. However, starting your own company from the ground up can be difficult.
There has been a lot of private equity activity in the service trades since the COVID-19 lockdowns. Suddenly, boring old businesses gained monetary sex appeal when they were declared essential and could continue making money while many other local businesses were effectively shuttered. This has led to a land rush for good service contracting businesses and many plumbers have grabbed the brass ring while the grabbing was seen as good.
I always seek out the Bradford White booth to see what’s new and visit with friends both old and new. It was fun catching up with Carlos Morales because we had worked closely together several years ago in the development of the company’s gas-fired tankless water heater line. Lois and I had the opportunity to beta-test a number of tankless models and report back on their performance. Stability of delivery temperature; showering while other hot water usages ran simultaneously or intermittently; and, of course, attempting to max out the full-flow capacity.
Last month, we discussed the role of buffer tanks in combination with air-to-water and water-to-water heat pumps that operate as “on/off” devices. The buffer tank allows the heat pump to operate with reasonably long cycles (e.g., it prevents short cycling) when the hydronic distribution system is heavily zoned, and thus subject to “micro-loading” at times. We also discussed how some buffer tanks can do double duty as both buffers for space heating loads and domestic water heaters. The key concept was to turn the heat pump on and off based on changes in the buffer tank temperatures and not based on thermostats calling for heat.
Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it is proposing the first-ever national drinking water standard for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The proposal, if finalized, would regulate PFOA and PFOS as individual contaminants, and will regulate four other PFAS — PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS and GenX Chemicals — as a mixture.