Starting Your Own Plumbing Business
As the Great Resignation continues, all types of workers, including those from the field service industry are looking to enjoy their jobs more and feel more fulfilled at work. For some this means finding a company that provides a flexible work environment, for others, it means taking the leap and starting their own business. If you’ve landed on this blog page, chances are you’re thinking about starting your own plumbing business.
Are Plumbing Businesses Profitable?
So you’re entertaining the idea of starting your own plumbing business but, are plumbing businesses profitable? While we can’t give you a definitive yes or no answer, the good news is that most businesses can be profitable if you do your research, have a strategic plan in place and put in the long hours to scale your field service business.
How to Grow a Plumbing Business
Once you’ve decided to start your own plumbing businesses, there’s a few steps you can take early in your journey to make your business as successful as possible.
Study the Market and Opportunities
Research is critical when it comes to starting any business. For example, while you may think there is demand for a plumbing business in your local area, you need to confirm this before launching. Market research helps you identify if there is demand for your services, which businesses you would be competing against to win business and types of customers you will provide services to. The best way to research market opportunities is to perform a PESTLE analysis that will help you analyze the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors that could impact your new business. Another analysis you’ll want to run is a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). A SWOT analysis helps you understand how to best position and differentiate your business. And, last but not least, you will need to run a detailed competitor analysis.
Set Business Goals
Setting field service management goals is an important step in creating success in your business, even when you’re just starting out. In fact, research shows businesses that plan for the future grow 30 percent faster than those that don’t.
But what goals should you set? When you’re just starting out your goals could be as simple as, having a specific amount of clients on your books or identifying the profit you’d like to make in one year. Our blog, How to Set Field Service Goals is a great place to start if you need more guidance for setting business goals.
Choose an Area to Grow
Choosing a location to build your business can be tricky. You may be tempted to build your business in your local area where you have connections, or go a bit further out where you know services are desperately needed. No matter your choice, the SWOT and PESTLE analysis will help you identify if the location you choose to grow your business will set you up for success or not.
Define Your Target Audience
Are you going to work on residential plumbing jobs or commercial? Or both? Identifying who your target audience is and who your potential customers are is a pivotal step in business planning. You’ll also want to clarify whether you’ll be focusing on break-fix jobs or whether you want to target larger contracts or monthly recurring revenue opportunities.
Create an Action Plan
As we’ve seen, starting a business is a long process so it’s important to understand the steps you need to take to make your business a reality. By looking at the bigger steps you need to take, you can narrow these down into smaller more actionable steps. From here, you’ll be able to create a strategic action plan to help guide you through the process of starting a plumbing business.
Set Up a System for Measuring Your Success
Have you thought about the systems you’ll need to support your business? The software you’ll use? Or how you’ll measure your success? These are important questions to answer before you launch your business.
The best way to measure success is to run your plumbing business on an all-in-one field service management software. This type of software helps you run your business with one system rather than a couple of different software systems which may struggle to integrate with each other.
Having one single source of truth allows you to store all of your business data and information in one place, which in turn, helps you report on your success. Want to learn more about measuring success in your field service business? Check out our eBook, Business reporting for trade contractors in the digital age.
Evaluate Results and Improve Your Strategy
A large proportion of growing a plumbing business is learning as you go. Sometimes you’ll take risks and they’ll work out, other times you’ll take risks and you’ll need to use them as a learning experience. Luckily, if you have your business set up with a field services management software, you’ll be able to gather data and evaluate whether your decisions were the right move or whether you need to change your strategy.
Solid reporting processes are essential for an efficient and successful field service business. Want to know how long it takes field staff to arrive on site? Keen to find out where you are making and losing money? Or do you just want to know the number of jobs scheduled for the week? Business reporting allows you to answer all of these questions and many more.
But it’s not just about collecting the data, you need to evaluate and communicate the results to others in your business.
A study from Deloitte found that companies on average spend 48% of their time creating and updating reports versus 17% spent communicating the results with the business, meaning a lot of businesses are logging a lot of data, but are not using it as a reference when making decisions.
To be a successful plumbing business you need to have the right software to collect important data and evaluate that data to make strategic decisions that will improve your business.
How to Market a Plumbing Business
To get customers to use your services, they need to know your business exists. That’s where marketing comes in. The key to marketing in the digital age is to be anywhere online your customers may be looking for you. This could include websites like Google and social media.
Claim Your Google Business Listing
The first step to getting found online by customers is to appear on Google. On the right hand side of the search results you’ll often see a map with a business and links to its website and contact information, this is a Google My Business listing. When you start a new business you need to add or claim your business profile on Google to make sure you show up in the search results for your business. Google provides some helpful tips on how to claim your Google My Business listing here.
Build an Amazing Website
The best way to kickstart your success is to have a user-friendly and appealing website for your plumbing business. With your customers using every piece of technology from smartphones to tablets and desktop computers, you can be assured they’re influenced by the ease in which they can find you on the Internet, the ease in which they can find information about your business and how easy it is to book a job with you. Quite simply, if you haven’t got a website, you’re already losing potential business.
Once you’ve decided to build a website, ensure that you add key business details to your site. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Contact number
- Email address
- The physical address of your business
- The areas you service
- An appointment form
When you really want to add to the online presence of your business, you can build out a blog. A blog allows your business to showcase its expertise, share updates and provide analysis on industry news. It also keeps your website updated with new content, supports your organic ranking on Google and provides relevant content to share on social media. But, most importantly, a blog will drive traffic to your website. Don’t know where to start with writing a blog? Check out our blog on How to Blog for Your Field Service Business for a step-by-step guide.
And, once you’ve got your website up and running, think about extending your online presence to social media such as Facebook, as well as other local business listing websites.
Leverage Customer Service to Boost Sales
It’s cheaper to retain customers than convert new ones. So, any time you work with a perfectly-suited customer for your business, it’s worth going the extra mile to increase the chances that they’ll want to hire you again. Go beyond simply completing their initial job and instead find ways to build genuine relationships with existing customers who might need, or have, recurring work.
You can also look for repeat customers already in your contacts and segment them into a list. Then offer those specific customers discounts when they purchase recurring services, such as a monthly, quarterly, or yearly inspection package. incentivize new customers to become repeat customers by offering special discounts or referral bonuses on top of any bundled services.
It’s also key to listen to your customers. Taking feedback from your customers will not only give you insight into how to keep them, but will also show you what prospective customers might be looking for.
Partner with Builders in Your Region
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is network with others in your industry. A great way to expand your plumbing business when you’re ready to take on more work is to partner with builders in your region. Once you’ve built up a strong rapport and proven your reliability, you could become the builder’s go-to plumbing business for projects and construction jobs!
In addition, you can also send someone out to look for apartment buildings, retail spaces, or facility maintenance companies that might contract out plumbing work (i.e. shopping centers). Then, ask for the building manager and offer them a list of the repairs and maintenance services you provide.
Often the building manager has the authority to hire you, or they may work with a facility maintenance company that contracts out plumbing work. If that’s the case, they can often put you in contact with the facility maintenance company instead.
While growing a plumbing business can be a long journey, the reward is worth it. Being your own boss in an industry that is booming, can be quite fulfilling. And, while we haven’t provided everything you need to do to grow a plumbing business in this blog, we think it’s a pretty good place to get some ideas of where to start.
And of course, once you have your business up and running, the learning doesn’t stop. Lifelong learning is a vital part of any plumbing career progression. Stay on top of the latest industry news and must-have certifications for your plumbing career with our quick roundup of the top five informational resources for plumbing contractors.