The demand for plumbing services is growing considerably, making the aspect of owning a plumbing business lucrative. The market for plumbing services is massive, which means that your market potential is high, and you have a high chance of succeeding. If you are a plumber who wants to go on your own, then here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.
Step 1: Understand the plumbing market
Many first-time entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of market research and skip it. Without a good understanding of the market, it is challenging to compete and sustain. To make a successful business plan, you need to identify the plumbing business opportunities and market trends.
Listed below are some of the best resources for market research
- Consulting with industry experts
- Following up industry market trends reports
- Using market analysis tools like Google Trends
- Conducting online surveys to understand your customer’s perception
Learn to plumb
Plumbing is not complex to understand, yet you may feel lost if you don’t have prior experience in plumbing. So, before you start, find a plumbing expert and become their apprentice.
Getting enough training and technical skills can come in handy while running your business. You can enroll in free online business training programs; acquiring advanced business management skills and strategies can help you become a successful plumbing owner.
Step 2. Write a complete business plan
A well-written business plan is an essential document that describes business activities that need to be carried out in quick succession. It helps potential investors understand your business and guides you every step of the way. It lets track your progress and find out where you are falling short.
One of the first things you should include in your business plan is finances. It helps you assess your business and make informed financial decisions. Since every decision you make in your business will revolve around your financial budget, strategize your financial plan before legally starting a firm.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the market trends and plumbing industry, you can answer critical questions in the financial plan like ‘whether to buy specialized equipment or rent plumbing tools.’
You should use this phase to calculate the actual cost of starting a business. Consider everything from getting a license and insurance to purchasing equipment and arranging transportation. While you are at it, keep an eye on your working capital, whether you break even and what your projected cash flow is.
Create a strategic marketing plan that brings your plumbing company to the limelight. Initially, you can analyze your competitors’ marketing approach and try mimicking their efforts. You can get creative and develop your ideas or outsource the work.
It is not that you’ll need to spend a significant amount on marketing and advertising to brand your firm. You can find cost-effective strategies yet powerful tactics like search engine optimization to promote your business.
Initially, you need to establish your marketing goals and find out the tools you need to achieve those goals. Research offline and online marketing techniques and figure out which one works the best for you.
Some marketing strategies you may consider are:
- Referrals from your network and community
- Creating an exclusive website
- Providing helpful content like blogs, videos, and podcasts
- Enlisting your plumbing business on online directories
- Engaging with the audience through social media
- Sending a personalized email to customers
Step 3. Complete the legal basics
The process of establishing a plumbing company involves a lot of legal work. Obtaining all necessary business licenses, insurance, and permits is crucial. The steps involved in setting up a plumbing business are as follows:
Register your business name
Choose your plumbing business name wisely, and register it as a DBA (doing business as) name as per the state regulations. Get legal assistance while registering your entity name.
Choose your business structure
You must grasp the importance of business structure while establishing yourself in the industry, no matter you’re starting a new business or expanding the existing one. There are so many different forms available, so compare the pros and cons of each before you kick off. Get assistance from a lawyer to choose the better option that suits your business needs.
Some of the business structures you may consider
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability company (LLC)
Open a business bank account
It is always better to have an exclusive business bank account for your plumbing business. LLC and Corporation fall under different legal entities, so you’ll need to open a business bank account if your business structure is either one of the above.
In another case, if you are operating under a DBA(doing business as) name, irrespective of the business structure, opening a business bank account with a business name filing document is mandatory.
If you’re either running a business in sole proprietorship or partnership, it doesn’t mean that you don't need to have a business bank account. Open a separate bank account to manage your business finances and track the cash flow for a stress-free organization of your funds.
Before you apply for a business bank account, you’ll be required to produce the following documents.
Licenses and permits
Many states require proper business licenses and permits to perform plumbing activities involving installation, repairs, and replacement services in commercial or residential plumbing. Hence, obtaining necessary plumbing licenses and permits is mandatory.
Also, ascertain that your plumbers have obtained and maintained the necessary individual practice licenses. Since the requirements for getting a permit differ from state to state, refer to the state government website to know the regulations and requirements.
There are a lot of risks involved in plumbing jobs. Choose the right business insurance to suit your needs and protect your plumbers at their job site and your business from financial liabilities. At a minimum, you’ll have to obtain general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
Also, you can have additional coverages like professional liability insurance, business property insurance, and commercial auto insurance. Contact a certified insurance agent to obtain the right insurance policy for your business requirements.
EIN ( Employee Identification Number)
If your business comes under LLC or partnership form, you need to apply with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to get a federal tax ID and state tax ID. An EIN (Employee Identification Number) number will be assigned to your business by the IRS for identification. You can get an EIN by filling out the IRS form SS-4.
Step 4. Set up your business
Buy equipment and tools
You'll simply need to purchase all essential tools and equipment depending upon the type of services you offer. When beginning a new firm, though, you may be able to do without modern technology and tools. In some circumstances, you may need to rent specialized tools or equipment on a case-by-case basis.
Consult with plumbing professionals to determine what equipment and personnel are required for the services you provide. Make a list of the plumbing tools that your plumbers should have on their toolbox. Consider your startup budget and just buy the tools you'll need to provide basic services.
Hiring the right employees is a challenging task. Start hiring by utilizing numerous resources and tools like Field Nation to get licensed plumbers and other employees. You are legally allowed to hire employees once you’ve acquired EIN(Employee Identification Number).
Try to get qualified plumber referrals from your network and community. LinkedIn would be the most recommended social media to post your job needs with detailed descriptions to increase the visibility of your hiring post.
You may need to recruit additional personnel as your firm grows, but hiring only those that are necessary now can save you money in the long run. Before you allocate a project to your plumbers, ensure they receive advanced training to scale up their expertise.
Step 5. Be productive
Now, you’re ready to go. Promote your plumbing business and start getting plumbing projects. As a new business owner, your business will require basic paper-works, a telephone, and spreadsheets.
But, as your business grows and gets multiple plumbing at times, managing your workflow would be a daunting task. As delivering on-time excellent customer service is the ultimate goal of a plumbing company, you need to be more productive to provide the best service.
It is better to have an end-to-end productivity tool to streamline the process to enhance your plumber's productivity and simplify complex business operations. Encourage your plumbers to use plumbing mobile apps to get their work done on time with increased efficiency.
Improve your business productivity with plumbing software to get the advantages listed below:
- With automated scheduling and dispatch, you can improve your plumbing service management
- It helps streamline the work order management and reduces administrative time
- It helps you make data-driven decisions faster
- You can get real-time visibility in the field with a mobile-friendly app
- You are able to create estimates and invoices and share them with customers instantly
- You can monitor the technician’s productivity and performance
Long way to the finish line
Put all your efforts into understanding the market through research, developing a business plan, and completing the legal formalities with the help of a lawyer. Along the way, don't forget to hire the right set of employees, and purchase all equipment and tools you'll need.
Increase your business productivity with plumbing service software to provide an excellent customer experience. Learn more about how the right plumbing service software can make it effortless to manage a plumbing business.