Home improvement industry sees boost during coronavirus

Chandler-based businesses with an emphasis on home improvement and real estate have seen a near-constant stream of work since the coronavirus pandemic forced more people to spend more time than usual cooped up in their homes, business owners said.

“With everyone at home, it creates the time and opportunity to schedule home repairs and improvements,” said Ryan Rogers, owner of Rogers Family Handyman, which services the Chandler area.

In March, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order for Arizonans to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy and Stay Connected.” The stay-at-home order was originally set to expire April 30, but it was extended through May 15 when the governor let it expire.

In that time, home improvement specialists, landscape businesses, Realtors and others saw an increase in the amount of business they were seeing.

“If I could work eight days a week, I would,” said Brian Nelson, owner of Handyman Brian. “It’s been nonstop since the virus started; it hasn’t stopped a bit. I never slowed down, and I never stopped working. Work keeps coming in, and I keep taking it.”

Homeowners looking to improve their interior and exterior spaces

Gregory Bodell is the owner of Artistic Landscape Solutions, a Chandler-based business specializing in landscape design, installation and maintenance.

Bodell said his business has picked up quite a bit since the many people began quarantining themselves in March due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

“There’s definitely been more business and more interest,” Bodell said. “We dropped off for about two weeks and then people started to get more proactive about it. A lot of the time we are finding that people have more free time and want to get to the things that they didn’t have time to do before.”

Bodell said he is seeing a lot of large landscape projects, involving the installation of pavers, barbecues, fire pits and fireplaces, plantings and more. Usually, he said, he schedules between three and seven meetings with clients to make sure he has a design, a plan and everything he needs to start a project. He said all his meetings have been scheduled very close together.

“I’m seeing everything from people,” Bodell said of the projects. “I’m seeing a lot of repairs. I’m part of a few Facebook groups and I see a lot of people working on everything from ceiling fans to water faucets to small handyman projects. A lot of people are doing plantings, new gravel and more.”

Nelson, owner of Handyman Brian, said he has gotten a lot of calls for roof repairs between March and May.

“I think a lot of people are getting roofs done now before monsoon season and they are at home and noticing leaks on their interior ceilings,” Nelson said. “I think a lot of people often put it off until it’s too late and there are already leaks, so I think people are trying to get that done before it starts raining more here.”

Other industries see increased business

Kraemer Design Services Inc., an engineering and architecture office in Chandler, has been so busy the company has needed to hire more employees, said Nick Vollrath, director and owner of the business.

“We’ve gotten busier. We do light-to-heavy engineering for commercial to heavy industrial work,” Vollrath said. “Other industries have slowed down for sure—anything related to restaurants is screeching to a halt—but there is still stuff going on. A lot of developers locally and regionally are very well funded and don’t see a reason to stop production.”

In April the company was looking to hire about five employees, Vollrath said.

“Even for companies where we may be doing OK or fairly well right now, it’s not that we aren’t seeing impacts on a business or personal level,” Vollrath said. “We are a partner to the community just like any other business. We will see more of an impact in the next few months.”

In Chandler, Realtor and principal at Local Listing Pro, Jason Dawson, said he has not seen business slow down at all since the coronavirus began closing down businesses and schools.

However, Dawson said he has had to modify some of his previous practices to adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing and cleanliness. They are doing virtual tours and offering booties in homes where tours occur in person and are taking other safety precautions.

“It’s been crazy; the real estate market is still doing well in pretty much all price ranges,” Dawson said. “Buyer demand has gone down a little bit, but our market was so strong heading into the pandemic that we really haven’t seen any negative declines in prices.”

Dawson said he thought home sales might have slowed down, but that has not been the case in Chandler.

“There is still a pretty big demand for our housing market,” Dawson said. “If you have a pretty nice home that is priced well and in a good area, it is not uncommon to get multiple offers. I anticipate that going into summer, we will have one of the biggest summers we have ever had. I am getting a lot of calls of people in Washington and California or [on the East Coast] who are tired of how their governments are handling this and are wanting to move here as soon as they can.”


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