The demand for plumbers all around the world is always high, so starting a plumbing business is indeed a lucrative prospect.
However, are you truly ready for being your own boss? Even if you are an experienced plumber and are confident about your technical plumbing skills, running your own business is a different beast, and this is why you need to be prepared to put in the extra work and learn new skills along the way. Yet, it will be worth it!
If you are thinking about starting your plumbing business, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about starting a successful plumbing business.
Without further ado, let us begin.
What You’ll Need To Start a Plumbing Business: a Checklist
In starting a plumbing business, you’ll need the three most important things:
#1. License and certification
Depending on your location, you might be legally required to have proper certification as a plumber before you can start your own plumbing business. However, even in areas where you aren’t legally required for it, it can be more difficult to secure clients if you don’t have the right certifications. Typically you’ll need to first obtain education and training from a certified plumbing trade school, or join an apprenticeship program before you can get the right license.
Alternatively, you can partner up with a licensed plumber and just take care of the business side of things.
This one is fairly obvious. Starting a new business, not just a plumbing business, will require money and other resources. The actual amount might vary depending on your location, the scale of the business, and other factors, but in most cases, you can expect the number to be significant.
In raising capital for your business, you typically have two options: using your own money or borrowing from a third-party source. This third-party source can be a bank, an angel investor, a partner, or even a family member.
#3. Business plan
Without a solid business plan, it’s going to be very difficult for your business to achieve success. A well-made business plan will provide structure for your business while defining its purposes/objectives, and most importantly, strategy to achieve these objectives.
Your business plan should include all the important business details like financial projections, marketing strategies, SWOT analysis, short and long-term goals, and others. If necessary, hire a business consultant to help you set up a business plan, but nowadays there are plenty of online resources that can help you in creating your own business plan fairly quickly.
How Much Capital Should I Have At Hand?
In starting your plumbing business, you will need a vehicle to store your equipment and transport your team to your clients. You can get a used vehicle for just several thousand dollars, but a new truck can cost more than $40,000.
Depending on your location, you’ll need between $1,500 to $10,000 to get your plumbing certificate and the training can take up to 12 months.
You will also need other pieces of equipment like assorted pipes, pipe wrenches, several types of saws, propane torch, drill, and office equipment like a laptop/computer, chairs, and a mobile phone. If you are being modest, you can get these essentials for around $3,000 to more than $5,000. Obviously, used equipment may be cheaper if you can get ones in the right condition.
How Much Should You Charge?
You can charge your clients by the hour or at a flat rate (by the job). The average price for plumbing services in the US is between $160 and $450 per job or around $45 to $150 per hour. You can also charge a flat service fee on top of your hourly rate or a per-job flat rate.
Do I Need To Be Insured?
The answer will depend on your location. Some locations do legally require your plumbing business to be insured before you can serve your clients. However, again, even if you are not legally required to be insured in your area, it’s a good idea to get insured. Not only insurance policies can protect your business from future risks and accidents, there are potential clients that only want to deal with insured businesses.
You should at least ensure your vehicle and equipment, general liability insurance, worker’s compensation, and income protection insurance, among others.
Find Your Competitive Advantage
Chances are, you won’t be the only plumbing business providing service in your area. So, it’s important to deliver unique values and differentiate yourself from other plumbing businesses.
Ask yourself what you can do better than anyone else. The more creative you are about communicating this competitive advantage, the better you can attract more clients.
These competitive advantages can be:
- If you are specializing in a particular issue. For example, if you can tackle difficult issues other plumbers shy away from, this can be a huge competitive advantage.
- Guarantees. For example, if you can offer a 1-week money-back guarantee if the same problem returns.
- If you are using a technology no one else is using.
Whatever sets your business apart from others, communicate it aggressively.
Deliver Your Promise
This is a very important tip to execute if you want your plumbing business to be successful: deliver on your promise.
This is how you can impress new clients, encourage them to leave good reviews for your business, and preferably, recommend your business to their friends, peers, or family members, effectively converting them into advocates that will bring you referrals.
For example, if you promise to always show up on time, do so. This is where a plumbing scheduling and dispatch software like fieldd can help to create a unique competitive advantage. So, you can not only advertise a unique advantage only your business has over your competitors but actually deliver on these promises.
Now you have a solid foundation to finally start a profitable plumbing business. While starting a business from scratch isn’t always the easiest path to take, by using the tips we have shared above, you can take a more strategic approach to start and grow your plumbing business.
Define your target audience and tailor your plumbing business and its marketing approach to help this particular target audience.