If you’re an experienced plumber who’s worked for someone else for a while, the thought of becoming your own boss has probably crossed your mind.
The path towards starting your own plumbing business is not always easy so before you decide if you’re ready to take the leap you have to do some rigorous research.
This article provides the information you need to know about how to start a successful plumbing business.
But first of all, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before venturing into a plumbing business of your own.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 The Plumbing Profession Is Always in Demand
- 2 Training Requirements for Plumbers
- 3 Starting a Plumbing Business Doesn’t Come Cheap
- 4 Steps Towards Starting Your Own Plumbing Business
- 4.1 Create Your Business Plan
- 4.2 Getting a Loan
- 4.3 Investing in the Right Gear and Tools
- 4.4 Taxes and Government Regulations
- 4.5 Insurance
- 4.6 Analyze the Market
- 4.7 How to Differentiate Yourself from Other Plumbers
- 4.8 How Do You Set The Right Pricing?
- 4.9 Finding Your First Clients
The Plumbing Profession Is Always in Demand
All buildings have pipes and all pipes need maintenance work from time to time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for plumbers in the United States is projected to grow by 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Good plumbers have a variety of work opportunities, they do maintenance and repair work on existing plumbing systems and design and install new systems on construction projects.
The demand for plumbing services may fluctuate depending on the region and the time of the year but if you’re an experienced plumber who knows how to use Building Information Modelling software, your job prospects will generally be good.
However, before starting your own business is best to make sure that you have what it takes because being your own boss doesn’t automatically mean more money and more time.
The road to starting your own plumbing business is a long one and it usually begins with a good plumbing school.
Training Requirements for Plumbers
If you want to start a new plumbing business you first have to become a plumber and this requires some special training and qualifications.
The first step is to complete an apprenticeship or a training program at a trade school.
Plumbing apprenticeships can take anywhere between two and five years, depending on the region and the local requirements.
The next step, after finishing your training, is to earn official certification by passing a licensing exam.
After earning your plumbing license you may also need a few years of work experience at the journeyman level and a Master Plumber license before being ready to start your own plumbing business.
Starting a Plumbing Business Doesn’t Come Cheap
Once you’ve earned your credentials, the next step is to fund your business.
Starting your own business is not cheap and you will need to cover some initial expenses, such as a vehicle and high-quality plumbing equipment.
You can either fund your own venture or you can seek cash from an investor, a bank, a family member, or another third party.
Financial grants are also available for small businesses who qualify.
Steps Towards Starting Your Own Plumbing Business
Once you have earned your license and all the credentials required in your state, you are ready to begin the process of establishing your business.
There are several important steps that you should take before landing your first client.
Create Your Business Plan
If you want to start a successful plumbing business, a solid business plan is essential.
A good business plan includes a detailed description of your business, financial projections, a marketing and financing strategy, short and long-term goals, and other data that give your business a purpose and a structure.
You can hire a business consultant to help you with this task but there are also many online resources that teach you how to draft your business plan.
Getting a Loan
If you don’t have the cash needed to invest in a vehicle and tools, then a small business loan can be really helpful.
Many banks have a small business department which is designed precisely to help people who want to venture into a new business on their own.
They provide you with a variety of options: accounts, credit cards, and loans and you will also be assigned to an expert who will guide you through this entire process.
At this point, the business plan that we have talked about will come in handy because you will need to prove to the bank that you have done your research before asking them for money.
Getting a loan is not the only option available to you, there are also other methods to finance your business.
For instance, you can apply for a grant or look for an investor or a business partner.
Investing in the Right Gear and Tools
If you want to start a plumbing business then you need the right tools and vehicle that will help you move from one client to the next.
One of your biggest investments will be in a van that will house all your tools and equipment.
Because this is a mobile business, you have to make sure that you have everything you need when responding to a customer’s site.
A van can cost anywhere between $5000 and more than $50,000 depending on the brand and how old the vehicle is.
Equipment costs also vary depending on your preferences but if you want reliable tools then you have to invest in high-quality products.
For the beginning, you will need some essentials such as fittings, pipes, valves, elements, thermostats but also crescents, grips, pipe cutters, hacksaws, cordless battery drills, impact drivers, and saw grinders.
All these stocks and tools can be quite expensive but you should bear in mind that these are assets that can be resold if necessary.
Taxes and Government Regulations
You will also need a reliable tool that will help manage your business data and assist you with quoting, scheduling, invoicing, and task management.
In order to avoid expensive fines that could have a big impact on your business, you should make sure that your taxes are correctly calculated.
Finding a good accountant will help you save time and keep up with government regulations.
If your bank has assigned you to a consultant, the package that they have designed for you probably includes insurance but if you don’t have the help of an expert then you will need to make sure that your business is covered.
You will need not only insurance for your vehicle and equipment but also general liability insurance.
Depending on your business you should also consider income protection insurance and other policies.
Analyze the Market
Unless you live in a really small town, it’s unlikely that yours will be the only plumbing business in the area.
For this reason, analyzing the market where your business will operate is an essential step.
Before deciding where and how to operate and market your business, you have to find out more about the economic outlook for plumbers in your region.
A new suburb where there’s a lot of construction work going will most likely offer you many work opportunities for years to come.
Although your business will be mobile, you should think in advance about the areas where you want to operate.
If the area where you leave is already saturated with plumbers then focusing on a nearby region where there’s a shortage of skilled professionals can be a smart business choice.
How to Differentiate Yourself from Other Plumbers
You have to know your competition and find a way to make your business stand out.
In order to set yourself apart from all the other plumbers that service your area you have to find your competitive advantage- a thing that you do better than everyone else.
You can find this by answering some questions, such as:
What is your specialty?
If you’re better than everyone else at solving a specific set of problems or your deal with complicated issues that other plumbers shy away from- then that’s your competitive advantage.
Do you offer guarantees?
Another way to make your services stand out is by offering guarantees.
For example, a 12-month guarantee on all new installations can be a very attractive offer.
Do you use some sophisticated new technology?
If you’re using some cutting-edge tools or technology in your work, then use this advantage to sell your services.
Once you’ve found that thing that sets you apart from everyone else you also have to know how to market it.
How Do You Set The Right Pricing?
Setting the right price for your services is not an easy task because you have to find the right balance between quantity and quality.
Although there are clients who choose the plumber solely based on price, offering the cheapest service is not always a good solution.
Price your services in accordance with the quality you deliver.
You should also take into account fuel costs and time spent driving to the worksite when providing a quote for services.
There are many online sources that can help crunch your numbers to make sure that you price your work correctly.
Finding Your First Clients
If you’ve got all your tools ready, the next step is to test your business plan by actually finding new clients.
Your most valuable network as a new business will be your friends and family.
All houses need plumbing work at some point so you may find your first clients in your close circle of friends.
Afterward, you can also use social media and other channels in order to find new clients.
Word of mouth is very valuable and having a good reputation is essential in starting a solid business.