Companies in this industry install and service plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning equipment. Major US companies include Comfort Systems USA, EMCOR Group, Rescue Rooter (owned by American Residential Services), and TDIndustries.
Global demand for plumbing and HVAC services is increasing as economies expand and middle class consumers increase. Although other countries have been slower than the US to adopt central air-conditioning, some of the world's fastest-growing cities are located in warm climates. Growth in air-conditioning use in countries such as Brazil and India could be significant if economic expansion continues. Plumbing and HVAC contractors typically operate regionally, but some large companies are beginning to expand globally.
The US plumbing and HVAC contractors industry includes about 93,000 establishments (single-location companies or units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $145 billion.
Demand for services depends partly on new residential and commercial construction. Demand for maintenance and repair work on existing structures is also substantial. Profitability depends on the volume of work a company can acquire, since most costs are fixed. Larger companies may have a competitive advantage in winning projects that require both design work and installation and in serving businesses with facilities in multiple markets. Small companies can compete by specializing in individual markets and by focusing on customer service. Most companies in the industry are small: about 60% of US plumbing and HVAC contractors have fewer than five employees....