How to Successfully Start a Plumbing Business: A Comprehensive Guide

December 5, 2023

The Nitty Gritty

  • Understand the important steps you need to take to start a plumbing business
  • Discover what it takes to grow your plumbing business
  • Learn how to start a plumbing business
A person wearing all black and a toolbelt is performing maintenance on a radiator

So you’re ready to start your own plumbing business. What’s the first step? Well, there are a lot of things you need to know before starting a plumbing business. With so many regulations and requirements to follow, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, with the right guidance and preparation, it doesn't have to be an uphill battle. This comprehensive guide will help you understand how to start a plumbing business, from understanding the basics of the industry to developing your brand strategy and optimizing operations.

So if you’re thinking about it, rest assured that you’ll have plenty of demand to meet. To start, let’s get to grips with the basics of starting a plumbing business.

Understanding the Plumbing Industry Landscape

For those looking at starting a plumbing business, it is essential to understand the industry landscape and how you stand out from your competitors. Where do you want the business to be based? What services would you like to offer? How much will you charge for plumbing work? To begin, research what plumbing services are currently available in your area, and any trends or conditions. This helps you identify what services you’d like to offer, and potentially any gaps in the market. Additionally, investigate local regulations and ordinances that could affect operations, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary licences and permits.

When it comes to necessary tools and supplies, plumbers utilize a variety of things including wrenches, plungers, drain augers, sewer snakes, pressure washers, water heaters, water pumps, sump pumps and more. Make sure you have everything ready before opening the doors so you can provide quality service at competitive prices without delay.

Understanding customer needs is also integral when learning how to start a plumbing business. Assess preferences by researching current demand for specific services, to inform decisions about pricing models along with which materials or tools should be stocked. With this set of knowledge to hand you’ll have a good footing to start off strongand over time, encourage business growth.

Practical Steps to Start a Plumbing Business

Starting a plumbing business requires more than just having a plumbing license and access to the necessary tools. It takes careful planning, investment, and hard work to make it successful. Preparation before rushing into business sets you up for success no matter how fast you grow. So let’s take a look at some of the things you need to do first.

Craft a detailed business plan

Start by developing a business plan that details how you’ll allocate all of your resources across the business. Planning how to spend your initial investment and balance profit and loss is vital to maintaining cash flow. But you’ll also need a plan that covers the minor details of your company. For example, how many staff will you need on hand to complete the amount of work you’d like to take on? How much will you pay them? Which tools and equipment do you need on hand to complete jobs and projects? And where will you store equipment, complete office work and keep your vans when they aren’t in the field? Plus, you’ll need a plan for marketing and sales.

Another vital part of your business plan? Setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). First, make sure the goals you set are smart (no, we’re not talking about intelligence here). SMART is an acronym used to describe business goals that are:

Smart - Measurable - Achievable - Realistic - Time based

Make sure any goals you set meet the criteria above to focus on how you will manage your resources and properly align them with your overall business strategy. KPIs help to determine how well you’re meeting business goals. They also help measure the overall health of your business.

Common plumbing business KPIs measure things like field staff time to complete service, cost per job and even time from invoice to payment. You might also want to measure your variable and fixed costs or even customer satisfaction. All of these factors play into your plumbing business's overall productivity and profitability.

Get clear with your niche

Niching your services is a great way to avoid competing with too many other plumbing businesses in the same area, and allows you to build a specific customer base with many opportunities for recurring revenue and repeat business.

The clearer you are with your niche, the better you can also plan successful marketing that targets your ideal customer and speaks to their specific pain points and challenges which you can help them solve.

Secure necessary licensing and certifications

Don’t forget to check your local regulations to understand what type of licences you’ll need, as this can vary depending on where you live and operate. You’ll likely also need to get a business permit. Understanding how to start a plumbing business means you’ve got to get to grips with the necessary certifications required for your staff too. There are a heap of different types of plumbing jobs, so you need to ensure your staff have the knowledge and know-how to complete the job to the best of their ability. At the end of the day, it results in unhappy customers, and reflects badly on your business if jobs aren’t finished up to a standard you and your customers expect.

On top of that, you may need to register your business with the government. When in doubt, visit your government’s website and look for information on registering a new business.

Manage your finances effectively

If you’re starting a plumbing business from scratch, you’ll need to secure funding from either friends or family, banks or investors. Banks sometimes provide you a loan to get started with the expectation that you’ll pay them back over time, plus interest. On the other hand, investors may ask for a certain share of the revenue in exchange for funding.

You can also secure financing through industry-specific lenders or dealer programmes. The benefit of industry-specific lenders is that they may better understand your business model, especially if you plan to focus on recurring monthly revenue (RMR).

Identify what expenses are required to start operations, such as purchasing supplies or hiring employees so that you are not blindsided by unexpected costs down the road. Cash flow is tightest during those early stages of development before revenue begins coming in consistently.

Establish a strong brand presence

Now that you’ve covered the essential, but not always exciting pieces of starting a plumbing business, it’s time to tap into your creative side and establish your brand.

Your brand is a combination of things like your business name, your logo, website, colours, uniforms and even how you talk and interact with customers online and in person. When choosing a name for a business, brainstorm ideas and tell potential customers exactly what you do. You can also add part of your family name to the business name if you’d like. This is a great way to differentiate and help you stand out from the competition.

Then, you’ll need to set up a website. There are free tools out there like Wix, WordPress, Weebly and more which you can use. Or you can hire an individual or a marketing company to develop a website for you. At a minimum, your website should list all of your basic contact information, some information about the services you offer and become a way for people to contact you if they’re interested in hiring you. Think carefully about what message you want to convey through your brand – this will guide all future decisions related to marketing campaigns or advertising materials.

Growing Your Plumbing Company

Anyone can start a plumbing business. But growing a successful business requires hard work and dedication. To keep your business in the green, and take it to the next level there are a few tips you should follow.

Develop a robust marketing strategy

Get ready to show off your brand and get your plumbing business in front of potential customers. Marketing is vital to your success. It helps you build brand awareness, win new business and generate revenue through new sales.

When it comes to developing an effective marketing strategy for your plumbing business, there are several components to consider. Website design, content creation, social media, email campaigns and search engine optimization (SEO) to name a few. Furthermore, traditional forms of advertising such as print ads and radio spots should also be taken into account. All these elements will help ensure customers know about your services and where to find them.

At a basic level, your website will serve as an important marketing tool. It will help you show up online when potential customers search for a plumbing business near them. Plus, you can ask happy customers to leave online reviews and share their experience with your business with others, so that potential customers might flock to your business simply through positive word of mouth.

Embrace technology for enhanced operations

Technology is everywhere these days, it’s almost unavoidable. And fortunately, you can use technology in your plumbing business to stay ahead of the curve. It enables you to streamline your workflows and make smarter decisions, as well as bringing teams and departments together to one central hub. For example, with field service software you can have one seamless work through for quotes, jobs and invoices. Plus with accounting integration you can streamline even further, without the need for multiple programmes or software to complete daily finance tasks.

There are a lot of different software options available, and most of them include a mobile app to help your field staff stay connected to the office. Whether it’s job updates, scheduling details or payments, having a dedicated mobile app helps your team stay connected and minimizes the need to make countless phone calls throughout the day. You’re able to get the information you need, when you need it.

Create a positive customer experience

There's a well-known saying in the business world—it costs more money to find new customers than it does to retain existing ones. Acquiring new customers costs five times as much as keeping your existing ones. This is why it's important to leverage customer service to boost customer retention and sales when starting a plumbing business.

Any time you work with a customer, go the extra mile, and you'll increase the chance they hire you again. Go beyond showing up and just getting the job done. Keep your customers informed with updates via email or SMS. Providing excellent customer service is key here so that customers are inclined to leave positive feedback about their experiences with your services. This creates a positive footprint for your business and only entices more people to choose you for their plumbing needs.

Optimize Operations with Simpro

Simpro offers powerful tools to capture key metrics such as profit margins, average job hours, and customer satisfaction ratings. You can streamline operations with the functionality to create leads, quotes, jobs and invoice all from one platform. This gives you the ability to spend time focusing on other areas of the business that need your attention. Plus there are hundreds of different integrations such as Gmail calendar integration, Xero accounts integration, Square payments integration and a whole lot more to further streamline your processes.

When your’re in the early stages of building your plumbing business, it can often feel like time is running away with you. By automating your manual processes with field service software, you can take some of that time back. You’re able to view schedules, manage your staff and ditch the paper trail. Plus, with detailed reporting tools you can schedule important data to be sent across on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So you have all of the right information at the right time, without having to lift a finger.

Simpro also provides features that help improve customer service, by providing automated reminders when an appointment is scheduled or rescheduled. This helps minimize missed appointments and delayed response times, plus builds trust with your customers and shows them you treat jobs with care.

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How Simpro supports plumbing businesses

There are different paths you can take when learning how to start a plumbing business, but with Simpro by your side the aim is to smooth out any kinks along the way. Monitor service jobs from the office to the field with features for scheduling, quoting, job costing, invoicing and more. Know exactly how much inventory you have for a job and how much the job should cost all while making real-time updates when timing or costs change. Plus, keep projects on track with overview dashboards, Gantt charts and comprehensive reports. Once the work is complete, easily get the invoice out to the customer so that you get paid faster.

With Simpro being cloud-based, managing your projects from start to finish is simple. See where you are and what you're spending on any project or job at any time. When projects look like they may fall behind or over budget, immediately make the necessary changes. In addition, you can view where your business is most profitable and unlock growth potential with detailed and automated reports. Simpro’s robust reporting tool provides insights into your financial position including Profit/Loss, Sales Invoices, Monthly Breakdown and Aged Receivables.

And, with optimized scheduling functionality allowing you to manage your staff and teams, you don’t have to worry about schedule clashes. Choose from a variety of scheduling options to maximise the efficiency of your field service management processes, you'll know where your staff is at all times without the hassle of spreadsheets and whiteboards.


Starting a plumbing business is no easy feat. In fact, starting any company at all is a challenge. However, the reward that comes from hard work, grit, tenacity and maybe a little bit of luck is well worth it in the end.

Embark on your plumbing business journey with confidence! Now that you know how to get started, read on to get some tips on how much you should charge for your work.

Editorial Note: This content was originally published June 2022. It has been updated for accuracy and comprensiveness.