With the new year just a few weeks away, it’s important to head into 2019 prepared for success. Each year brings with it new trends in all aspects of the field service management industry, from technological advancements to hiring practices. Read on as we explore what lies ahead for the industry in 2019 and beyond.
State of the Field Service Industry
The job market is heating up
With the field service market expected to grow by 16.5 percent annually through 2022, many companies are poised for growth. This has resulted in a competitive job market as field service operators across all industries are competing to recruit and retain a reliable, efficient and high-skilled workforce.
Smart homes take center stage
With over 34 million smart homes in the United States today, the amount of connected devices within buildings is growing each year. With smart technology controlling customers’ lighting, appliances and HVAC systems, this means your technicians will need to be educated on how to work with these smart devices. While your techs may not be encountering smart devices daily, it’s important to begin the education now to stay ahead of the trend.
Increased online selling opportunities
With the increased popularity of home service sites like Home Advisor, Angie’s List, and Nextdoor, there’s never been more opportunities to market your services online. Many of these platforms offer free business listings while others provide paid advertising options. Even newcomers such as Google Local Services Ads are challenging the status quo, threatening to change the game by monetizing search results to provide home service businesses leads in their area. Take time to explore what options are best for your business to stay competitive in your local market.
Solving Lawn & Landscape Issues with Technology
Good labor is hard to find
According to Lawn & Landscape’s 2018 State of the Industry report, the number one concern for contractors is finding quality labor, with 56 percent of respondents indicating that labor is a major concern. This has led some contractors to turn to technology to solve their woes. Robomowers and enhanced software and equipment are helping businesses become more efficient with fewer employees.
It’s time to lower water consumption
Outdoor water usage averages over 9 billion gallons each day in the US for landscape irrigation, nearly half of which is wasted due to overwatering. Traditional irrigation systems can be inefficient, therefore it’s time to explore alternative methods such as smart irrigation and xeriscaping. Smart irrigation systems take into account weather, soil conditions and other factors when adjusting a watering schedule unlike traditional systems that follow a programmed schedule. Studies have shown that smart irrigation systems can save 20 percent more water than traditional systems. Xeriscaping is a landscaping practice that requires little to no supplemental water from irrigation. Originally used in areas impacted by droughts, the practice is becoming more widespread.
The Cleaning Industry is Going Green
Renewed focus on healthcare cleaning
As funding decreases and the threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) grows, companies that provide healthcare cleaning services are under the proverbial microscope. Healthcare facilities are placing an even greater focus on healthcare cleaning as a form of infection control. This means providers will need to demonstrate how their services are delivering results, an advantage for companies with tech-savvy processes in place.
The way we view sustainability is shifting
The focus on green cleaning is far from a new trend, however the approach to sustainability in the cleaning industry is beginning to shift. More and more, businesses are realizing that sustainability goes far beyond just offering alternative chemicals and are analyzing how they cut waste and inefficiency across the board. If successful, businesses can save money by conserving their resources while getting a leg up on competitors who aren’t seeing the bigger picture.
New Tools (and Tariffs) Will Impact HVAC
Tools are getting smarter
HVAC systems are evolving with a focus on energy efficiency and network connectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way technicians monitor and control HVAC systems, improving maintenance and increasing energy efficiency. Tool manufacturers are now producing tools that support cloud-connectivity and work in tandem with apps on smart devices.
Equipment prices are on the rise
Newly imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum are expected to impact the HVAC industry for years to come. As a result of these tariffs, some manufacturers of HVAC sheet metal have already announced price increases. Such increases will impact contractors and homeowners alike.