Welcome to the E-Commerce Era of Home Services
The home services industry, a $ 700 billion market in the U.S. alone, encompasses a wide array of trades such as plumbing, lawn care, house cleaning, HVAC, and electrical work that serve as the backbone of modern life. All of the beloved apps and entertainment we use in our homes are irrelevant if the electricity goes out. Tradespeople and their businesses see ever-increasing demand because they make our homes safe, comfortable, and efficient by providing essential services that enhance our daily lives. Moreover, a successful career in these trades offers a stable and rewarding lifestyle, as evidenced by the growing pride and popularity among younger people.
And, according to the latest studies, we’ll need them.
We’re seeing a significant upswing in demand for these services, with a 10% increase since 2021 — and as a result, 77% of tradespeople now view labor shortages as a pressing issue. This has paved the way for income growth in the sector, with 83% of individuals in these trades expressing satisfaction or extreme satisfaction with their chosen line of work.
Due to labor shortages, trades businesses are turning to technology to boost efficiency and productivity, allowing them to accomplish more with fewer resources. At the same time, consumers increasingly expect tradespeople to offer their services through digital platforms.
This creates an urgent need for industry innovation, including user-friendly tools for website building, digital payments, quotes, and planning. In addition, homeowners increasingly expect to find, book, and pay for services online. But fewer than half of home services businesses even have a website – and for most of those that do, their website is usually just some pictures and a phone number to call. As a result, trades businesses in the market need to adapt swiftly to meet this consumer demand.
Let’s explore the factors contributing to the digital transformation of the home services industry and how this shift benefits both tradespeople and consumers alike.
Demand for online, on-demand home services
We can thank (yes, thank) the COVID-19 pandemic for shifting not just how we work but the way we live, especially when spending on on-demand services. For the last three years, consumers have forced the entire economy to prioritize meeting them where they are. At first, a health and safety matter, operating predominantly online has expanded businesses’ opportunities to save money and generate revenue simultaneously. And importantly, consumers enjoy – and have come to expect – that option.
We witnessed this with the U.S. home services industry when it grew by more than 3 percent in 2020, despite the country’s economy shrinking by 3.5 percent in the same year. And the trend continues. The home services industry saw a growth rate double that of the rest of the U.S. economy between 2021 and 2022.
As we look to the future, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. For instance, house cleaning services are expected to grow by 17% in the coming years. Lawn and landscaping, another critical sector, generates $ 176 billion annually in the U.S., employing over 1.3 million people across 650,000 businesses. This sector has enjoyed a consistent 8% growth rate annually over the past five years.
With much of the world returned to pre-pandemic activity, the evolution of the home services market will rely on expanding its reach by continuing tolean into its omnichannel presence. That involves reaching customers how they prefer, including booking appointments online, communicating via text message, and offering contactless payments.
Career outlook for home services professionals
So who are we talking about when we say “home services?” It’s any profession that helps make the quality of life at home better. These professions include plumbers, landscapers, cleaners, pest control experts, handypersons, electricians, painters, floorers, roofers, pavers, tilers, locksmiths, contractors – you know, the people who make things work.
People are increasingly choosing to go into these trades instead of pursuing traditional college degrees for many reasons, which I’ll spell out.
Starting your life with a mountain of debt is not an attractive outlook for many people. So if young adults can help it, they avoid it. In contrast, trade schools or apprenticeships typically cost less. As a result, they take less time to complete, making them a more affordable education and skill development option.
Demand and stability
There’s a constant demand for skilled tradespeople. These jobs are essential to maintaining and improving infrastructure, homes, and commercial properties. This demand often translates to increased job stability and opportunities for long-term careers. You’ll always need plumbers, contractors, and other professionals to literally keep your house in order. When any homeowner compares how much they spend on home services contractors each year – from roofing, to HVAC, to appliance repair, to lawn care – they usually find the total is much more than almost any other category in their annual budget. This bodes well for stability and demand in the trades.
Matter of preference and faster entry into the workforce
Many individuals want the hands-on learning approach provided by trade schools and apprenticeships, as opposed to traditional colleges’ more theoretical and lecture-based style. In addition, trade programs usually take considerably less time to complete than a traditional four-year college degree, allowing people to enter the workforce more quickly and start earning a living sooner.
Earning potential and entrepreneurship opportunities
Skilled tradespeople can often earn competitive salaries, especially as they gain experience and establish a reputation for quality work. In some cases, trades’ income potential can surpass jobs requiring a traditional college degree. These careers also offer a pathway to becoming self-employed or starting a small business, giving people more control over their work, income, and lifestyle. It isn’t uncommon to see a business owner in the trades making the sort of high income and lifestyle that would command respect – even outright awe – from someone with advanced college degrees.
Tools for home services entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs need to embrace various tools and technologies to run a successful and efficient trade business. One essential element is a professional website featuring an integrated booking system, allowing clients to quickly schedule appointments and access important information about the company. Equally important is implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software, which helps manage and nurture customer relationships, leading to better retention and increased sales.
These businesses also need job management tools like software solutions that help assign tasks, monitor progress, and facilitate communication among team members to streamline the overall operation. And integrating invoicing and payment processing systems not only saves time but also ensures prompt payments from clients. AI has opened the door to virtual assistants and utilities that can answer the phones and book new jobs, take payments, and answer questions while the tradesperson is out on the work site. Lastly, digital marketing tools, including social media management and email marketing, effectively promote the business and attract new clients.
The digital transformation of the home services industry promises significant economic growth, job creation, and technological innovation in a new e-commerce era. As businesses adopt innovative tools and strategies, they can improve efficiency and customer satisfaction and secure a competitive edge in this rapidly changing landscape.
This shift will redefine how tradespeople conduct business, opening up new opportunities for those seeking financial independence and a rewarding career beyond traditional office roles.
As a founder in this thriving industry, I am excited to witness our tradespeople and businesses’ remarkable progress and resilience. Together, we will continue to innovate and adapt, embracing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead to forge a prosperous future for the home services industry.
Brig Graff is co-founder of Trady, a free, AI-powered website builder, CRM, job management and pricing tool for trades businesses and home services contractors.