The overall revenue for the plumbing industry in the U.S. is currently $102 billion and had an annual growth of 2.6% between 2012 and 2017. It’s no surprise why. Pretty much anywhere you are in the world, there’s a need for plumbers.
If you’ve gone through the proper training and have become a journeyman plumber, you may be thinking about starting your own business. This is a perfect way to serve your community and make a great living in the process.
However, you need to be smart during the startup process. A few wrong decisions could lead to financial loss and a short life for your startup.
That’s why we’re going over eight tips on how to start a plumbing business. Keep reading to find out how to get your business off the ground.
1. Determine Your Target Market
You probably already know whether you’ll focus on residential or commercial plumbing. But there are more factors to consider when establishing your target market.
If you’re providing residential services, will you target high-end, wealthy customers or try to provide more affordable service to families on a budget? Deciding this early on will help shape your marketing campaigns down the road.
If you’re getting into commercial plumbing, what types of businesses do you want to go after? Casting a wide net may not be the best approach here. Try to narrow it down to specific businesses in your community.
2. Create a Business Plan
You’ll need to come up with a business plan, which will act as your roadmap when starting a plumbing business. If you hit a snag, your business plan is something you can look back on for guidance.
You need to go into detail when creating your plan. It should include an exact description of the services you provide and what your specialty is.
You should then lay out some goals for the first year of business. Where do you plan on being one year from now?
You then need to determine your competition and devise a way to set yourself apart.
3. Find a Partner or Employees
Depending on your resources, the size of the market you’re targeting, and your startup finances, you may need and/or want to have a partner. You may also need an employee or two.
Just remember that things may start slow. You’ll need to build up your client base first, so you may want to hold off on employing someone until you need them.
Regardless of whether you decide on partnering with someone or employing a helper right off the bat, make sure they’re qualified and reliable. The last thing you need is internal issues right away.
4. Make Sure Your Licenses Are in Order
Your state issues licenses for plumbing services and you absolutely must make sure this gets squared away before you start doing business.
Licenses for plumbing depend on the stage of your education and experience. Apprenticeship is first, but you shouldn’t think about starting a plumbing service company at this level.
If you’ve reached the level of journeyman, you’ll need to take an exam to get your license. A journeyman must still be supervised by a master plumber, so you’ll need a partner if you’re starting a business at this level.
A licensed master plumber requires additional education requirements. This is the highest level and something you should shoot for if starting a plumbing business.
5. Get Insured
Having the proper insurance is crucial. Without it, you risk potential legal issues. Plus, many people simply won’t do business with you.
The insurance you get depends on the type of plumbing work you’ll be doing.
You’ll want to secure liability insurance, as you’ll be working on private property. If you plan on going after larger commercial jobs, they’ll require proof.
If you end up employing someone right away, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance. Different states have different requirements with regard to workers’ comp.
It’s also a good idea to carry property insurance. This covers you if a customer’s property gets damaged during a job.
6. Develop Pricing
Of course, the size and details of a job will determine the rate you charge. However, it’s a good idea to develop a pricing structure for all your services.
You also need to decide on whether to charge a fixed rate or by the hour.
Think about whether you’ll offer emergency service and how much extra to charge. Or, if you offer specialty service like trenchless sewer repair, how much will that cost?
As a startup, it helps to keep your prices reasonable. If a person can get a better deal with a direct competitor who’s been around longer, they’ll likely go with them.
Try bundling a few services together and offering them at an affordable price. This is a great marketing tactic.
7. Create a Web Presence
Any business today needs a website in order to survive. When providing services to your community, your website is going to be how people initially find you.
There are a number of services that allow you to create your own website. However, having a modest, but effective website built by professionals is a great investment.
There’s some fundamental information you must include on your site. Make sure and list all the services you provide and include a little information about yourself.
You also need to display your location, hours of operation and contact information prominently throughout the site.
8. Market Yourself
Now that you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to start marketing your new business and getting clients.
Your website is a huge marketing vessel, but there are plenty of other things you need to do.
Get quality business cards made and make sure you hand them out. These are especially effective if you know other contractors personally. Ask if they’ll recommend your services and give them your card to pass along.
Make sure and set up a Google My Business account. This helps you get found online for people searching for a local plumber.
How to Start a Plumbing Business the Right Way
Anyone can start a business, but unless you do it the right way, you risk losing money and time. Consider each of the tips discussed above when thinking about how to start a plumbing business. Taking your time and doing your homework will pay off in the long run.
For more informative articles on startups, check out our blog.