Have you completed the plumbing apprenticeship and are looking to start your career? Are you wondering how to start a plumbing business? If so, the timing is ideal because, according to research, the plumbing market is currently worth $134 billion.
You have the opportunity to be your own boss and earn thousands of dollars if you go ahead with your plan. Everyone dreams, but very few take action to make their dreams a reality. If you believe you have the right skills, expertise, and leadership qualities, then fear no more. You have everything to start a successful plumbing business on your own.
Nevertheless, building a business from scratch isn’t a walk in the park. Therefore, please do not take it lightly, as 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. We have covered everything in this guide to ensure you thrive in your upcoming adventures.
The 7-step Guide on How to Start a Plumbing Business
1. Identify your purpose and make it legalised.
Ask yourself honestly, why are you thinking about how to start a plumbing business? Is it because you want to earn more, be independent, have flexible hours, or build an empire with exceptional plumbing services?
This is a crucial question that you should answer for yourself. It will give you the motivation to carry on with your business, even on bad days. Once you know the concrete answer, it is time to make it official.
The essential legal steps you must take are as follows:
- Register your business. You will require a company name and a legal structure for your enterprise. You can choose a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC) as your business structure.
- Obtain a plumbing contractor licence or master plumber certification. The licensing requirements in each state differ significantly, so it’s important to first check with your state’s regulations.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the government. Using this tax identification number will increase customer confidence in your company.
- Obtain a complete insurance package to ensure the security of your business and any future hires. You might choose the following insurance options for your plumbing business:
– Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) covers general liability, business property, and business interruption.
– General liability insurance covers your business in case of injury or property damage claims.
– Workers’ compensation insurance: It covers the costs of worker injury, covering medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation.
2. Identify your target market and the niche.
Identifying these two is very important for the success of the business. Plumbing involves many tasks, some of which may be specialised for a particular clientele. For example, the quality you bring to your plumbing work differentiates your business from your competitors if you are an expert.
You can either select the niche first or the targeted market. There is no hard and fast rule on what should be done initially. However, it is proven that identifying the target market and the client base has helped plumbers to streamline their niche.
You can identify the target market by analysing market segments based on:
- Demographic data: Age, gender, location, income, educational level, relationship and occupation of people
- Psychographic data: Interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, and lifestyle preferences.
- Competition: Examining your rivals can help you identify market trends and establish benchmarks for future expansion. For this, identify your top competitors, research their marketing and sales strategies and assess your brand’s relative strengths and weaknesses.
- Primary research can also be conducted by interviewing potential clients, running a product trial, and researching your competitors.
After collecting this data, it can now help you identify what plumbing niche you can choose from. You can choose from the following list of specialisations.
- Slab leak detection
- Trenchless sewer repair
- Backflow testing and repair
- New Construction
- Water filtration
- Water heater installation
- Fixture installations
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is not the focus; instead, the new businesses you intend to launch are. Just like market research is essential to know about the market, a SWOT analysis is vital to know about the company. This can give you clarity on how to start a plumbing business.
A SWOT analysis is a great tool for identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths and weaknesses refer to internal aspects of your company. Threats and opportunities are both outside forces that can affect your company favourably or unfavourably. Based on these findings, the company will benefit in unimaginable ways.
- Strengths: Your company’s greatest assets and how to safeguard and improve them.
- Weaknesses: Areas of vulnerability and how you can minimise or improve them.
- Opportunities: The best business opportunities and information on how to access and seize them.
- Threats: Your greatest threats and tips on how to reduce them and perform better.
4. Put together a business plan.
The first section: Executive Summary
This is everything about the company. This section’s objective is to briefly summarise the key points of your entire business plan. You should, for instance, outline the management team, customer-focused strategies, daily operations, and business practises at your company.
In this section, you will outline what your business objective is and what your goals are. What services will you provide to clients, and how will they differ from existing clients?
Remember the market analysis you conducted? Make sure to include this too. For example, who are the customers you intend to serve? What can you provide that is not already available in the market?
This section also outlines the requirements for hiring and firing employees as well as your future hiring intentions.
The second section: Financial Strategy
This has everything to do with money, money, and money. This section aims to identify what you can expect to make in your plumbing business. The most crucial part of your business plan is this section. As banks and investors assess this to determine the viability of your business model.
Your objective is to have done your research on how much money is realistic to start and expand your business. Working capital, equipment and vehicle costs, marketing expenses, and other financial outlays must be considered.
This section provides the financial forecasts explicitly for the future, including projected profit and loss. Therefore, margins, fixed costs, outlays, and the expected cash flow should be provided.
If you are thinking about how much it costs to start a plumbing business, then a well-detailed financial plan is your answer.
5. Acquiring financing and tools
Once your business plan is complete, you can start looking for funding from banks, venture capitalists, and other sources of investment. With a solid business plan, it is likely to receive the expected financing.
Once you identify an investor for your new plumbing company, you can begin planning how you will use the funds. The first would be to spend money on long-lasting, high-quality equipment.
You might need plumbing supplies for the upcoming work, including pipe components, augurs, chemicals, hand tools, and staff uniforms. You might also want to purchase a dependable van or truck for business.
Even though the initial start-up costs may seem like a lot to handle, there are other financing methods too. For example, loans can be taken from friends and family, or even self-funding can be done via credit or savings.
6. Hiring and retaining employees
Employees are the greatest asset for any plumbing business. Therefore, it is crucial to be selective when choosing employees.
You should answer three essential questions:
- What kinds of plumbers will you consider?
- How can your employees help grow your customer base?
- How will you train them?
To lay a firmer foundation for the business, you can also provide employees with onboarding training. Remember that it is essential to clarify how employees can grow from the start. This is why training, workshops, and team-building exercises can improve company culture and employee cohesion.
As an employer, providing strong leave policies, retirement plans, and health benefits may initially seem expensive. Nevertheless, the value of having productive employees can quickly outweigh the cost of the initial investment.
Additionally, give employees incentives and promotions based on their performance. As compared to monetary compensation, growth opportunities are more alluring to employees.
7. Implement a high-efficiency marketing strategy.
As you have made plans to recruit employees, the next step is to find and expand the client base. Therefore, the initial step is recruiting a sales and marketing team that understands your target audience and completes the work.
Plumbing companies demonstrate value to potential customers with the tool of marketing. More importantly, a recognisable brand, a robust online presence, and an easy-to-use website can significantly impact the company’s growth.
Wondering how to start a plumbing business with the right brand visibility? Here is the list that will work in your favour.
- Website: Make your company one step ahead to professionalism. You can now get new clients by following the best search engine optimisation (SEO) practices.
- Social media: Everything you do is Instagram-worthy, you can showcase your work and get potential customers. For example, you can post pictures of before and after work.
- Google My Business: Strive to be a featured result on the Google map for local searches to increase your visibility over time.
- Paid advertising: Pay-per-click advertising on sites like Facebook, Angie’s List, and Google. This is a common way for plumbing companies to acquire leads. However, it might be more expensive than necessary. Therefore, choose wisely based on your financial plan.
- Reviews: You should include reviews because customer recommendations can be very effective at luring in new customers.
- Networking groups: Join a networking group to help fuel word of mouth and find potential customers in the neighbourhood.
- Partnerships with contractors: Growing allegiances within the local tradesman community can uncover new leads. Try introducing yourself to joiners, builders, and electricians for subcontracting and referral trades for future surprises and collaboration.
Your job is still not over after you find a client base. Now you will have to look at retaining these clients forever. Below are a few ways to keep in touch with your client base.
- Develop a membership plan: It’s not just an upselling tactic to sign customers up for service plans. It allows businesses to check in, address minor issues, conduct yearly inspections that benefit the customers, and develop relationships.
- Follow-up calls: You can potentially generate revenue by following up with customers from time to time.
The phrase you have heard is true, nothing is impossible! You can achieve all your dreams with the right business strategy, employees, and a solid client base.
Aim to achieve your goals and objectives, continually improve your competitive advantage, and watch your company soar. While you are busy growing your plumbing company, remember that a “great leader” is what makes a company successful.
Therefore, taking on a vital leadership role is a crucial first step if you want to expand your company. Clear-sighted, effective communicators with strong organisational skills are better able to overcome obstacles and reach well-informed conclusions. So, do not forget to be this person.
Moreover, if you are wondering how to start a plumbing business without being a plumber, then do not worry. You can still make your wishes come true by following this guide.
However, it is recommended that you first obtain training and learn everything to do with plumbing before you start the business.
Finally, we hope that all your questions on how to start a plumbing business are answered via this post. All the very best for all your future adventures.
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