Photo Credit: Corey Hayes at Get X Media
Calgary is no stranger to the ups and downs that come with living in a predominately fueled oil and gas industry, when the market is hot the times are good, but when the market is bad the bad times sink in. But what happens when your city is effected by lower gas prices and a government that puts the ringer to small businesses?
Over the last 4 years, every Calgary plumbing company has been facing this trifecta of low oil prices, high small business tax, and a high unemployment rate. Its factors like these that have had drastic impact on plumbers in Calgary.
Calgary plumbers are well paid in comparison to other parts in the country, but so is our cost of living. We have heavily relied on persons in oil and gas industry to be buying new houses or building or renovating office towers or private residences in order to keep us employed. Service plumbers who are constantly fixing common house problems for example ; hot water tank replacement, leaking faucet, toilet repair or even poly b replacement.
These service plumbers are hit most of all during down turn times, as the higher the employment rate goes the least likely someone is to call a plumber out to fix such items. instead they leave the problem to fester or try to repair them selves, this puts additional strain on the work force as now the service plumbing companies don’t have the work load to keep there employees employed and are forced to let even the best of the best plumbers go.
Since April 17 2019 the whole economic climate of Calgary has changed, the day after the election was like a new dawn in Calgary, most long time plumbing companies who had weathered the political and economical storm for the last for years could see the light. Phones started ringing for services that people hadn’t called for in a while ; gas lines for outside bbq, new water lines for refrigerators, tankless water heater installation.
Now to say the UCP winning the election caused the phones to start lighting up and projects to start up again over night is a long short, but from my perspective it was more the certainty that most Calgarians were waiting for, they needed to be certain of what the future held in store for them, whether it be employment/ new projects/ or contract extensions, the conservatives winning the election provided that hope and certainty enough for for the people who had been holding off on that purchase or repair to finally pull the trigger.
As plumbers in Calgary, we are not out of the woods yet. Provincially the economic outlook is looking good, but now we face the issue of our own cities municipal cost and deficits. Right now our small business are being attacked by the city property taxes, and we have seen many plumbing companies who weathered the last 4 years only to fold in the last 4 months due to sky high property taxes.
I personally am optimistic that with all the new business tax cuts and a surge in employment this year is provide the city of Calgary with secure long term leases in the downtown core and relive the radical tax assessment that was needed to float the cities corporate spending.