Tracking duct installations in the field can help HVAC contractors save labor and manage costs.Warren Buffett once remarked, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.” He was referring to the financial crises of 2008-2009 when many Wall Street firms appeared to be financially sound but lacked internal discipline and operational control to weather an economic downturn.

Despite the pandemic, HVAC contractors today are similarly busy — especially if they are in a state where construction has been designated essential. However, whether HVAC contractors and sheet metal shops are in a position to manage difficult economic times ahead remains to be seen. One of the more effective ways to save money and manage labor — without laying anyone off — is to track the productivity of your fieldwork.

The US economy has been in growth mode since the Great Recession. Dodge Data & Analytics’ recently released 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts an economic slowdown that will have a broad-based impact on total U.S. construction growth; predicting that total construction starts will slip to $776 billion in 2020, a decline of 4 percent from the 2019 estimated level of activity.

“The recovery in construction starts that began during 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession is coming to an end,” stated Richard Branch, Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “Easing economic growth driven by mounting trade tensions and lack of skilled labor will lead to a broad based, but orderly pullback in construction starts in 2020. After increasing 3 percent in 2018 construction starts dipped an estimated 1 percent in 2019 and will fall 4 percent in 2020.