01 Feb The Future of the Plumbing Industry with Quix
The plumbing industry in New Zealand is currently living through a number of challenges and opportunities. On the one hand growth is strong and projected to continue through to 2020. However, there is significant resource constraint due to the housing situation and accelerated commercial development in Auckland. The shortage of skilled plumbers and competitive pressures pose a real challenge for the future of the trade.
Assumptions are rife across the country that tradees are simply cashing in on the construction boom. But for the plumbing industry margins are being forced down due to the competitive landscape. Couple that with the increasing costs of health and safety and compliance, and you have many small plumbing businesses left scratching their heads saying – “where do we go from here?”
The government is working hard to bring in qualified tradespeople from overseas but this also poses another challenge to companies looking to hire. Training becomes a big issue. Dealing with registration boards and of course local councils can also increase costs to businesses. For small plumbing businesses of 2, 3 or 4 employees these costs disproportionately affect them more than the bigger companies that can absorb such costs.
The average age of qualified plumbers is increasing year on year too. The average is now in the mid 50’s, which gives them a decade or so more of work until they consider retirement. There simply isn’t enough young talent coming through in New Zealand. Many of these businesses will soon shut up shop without selling and capturing any equity out of their lives’ work – apart from say, some cash for tools. It’s a somewhat crazy situation.
Another challenge for the plumbers themselves is the changing nature of technology. Right across the plumbing, drainlaying and roofing industries technology is starting to evolve rapidly. These new tools and correlated processes can be quite technically sophisticated. Keeping pace with this technology as well as being in a better place to deal with compliance, gaining equity from an exit strategy and working alongside likeminded people, is where Quix comes into play.
The Value of the Quix Network
Quix is building New Zealand’s leading plumbing network to help progress the industry. The network stems from a belief in a model that improves best practice and long-term benefit for the many plumbing businesses across the country. The Quix Network aims to steadily integrate a collaborative group of plumbing businesses into a brand that adds significant value for all members who choose to join.
Most plumbers are aware of the challenges facing the industry: the plumbing trade in New Zealand remains highly segmented, into thousands of small businesses with less than 5 people. When the heads of these small businesses either retire or leave the industry the company shuts up shop, failing to realise any further value from the business.
The Quix vision is to build a network where member plumbers are recognised as professional businesses, with a real focus on service, quality, systems and health and safety. The benefits of the Quix Network can’t be overestimated. Those who join will enjoy best practice standards and innovation, flexible entry, national coverage, a mutually supportive network, and exit from the business with real equity value.
The day-to-day benefits of the business operation include senior professional business support from the Quix team, work referrals and national contracts, visibility and profile from marketing activity, product sourcing leverage, networking and shared learning; and services such as GPS tracking, accounting and project management support.
The future of the plumbing industry will continue to pose both challenges and opportunities. To better reap the rewards and palm off the challenges, the Quix Network may be the best option for your plumbing business into the foreseeable future.