Starting a plumbing company can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor.
As a skilled plumber, you can provide valuable services to your customers. Plus, you can fix your own toilet.
But running a business also takes a lot of work, different skills, and considerations.
In this article, we’ll get into why starting your own plumbing business really is a good idea. Then, we’ll provide an overview of the steps you need to take to launch a successful one.
Let’s get started.
Why Should You Start a Plumbing Company?
Before we explore how to start a plumbing company, let’s start with the why.
Launching a plumbing company can be a lucrative journey. The plumbing industry is a large and growing sector. The U.S. market size currently sits around $129 billion and employs over 550,000 people.
Here are some reasons you should get in on the action:
Demand for plumbing services
Plumbing is an essential service that’s always needed. Individuals and businesses rely on plumbing for many vital functions. And no one wants to take a cold shower.
So, owning a plumbing company can provide a reliable and sustainable source of income.
The demand for plumbing services will likely grow as the population rises. It will also continue to grow as the construction industry expands.
With this demand comes many opportunities for growth.
Many people who start plumbing companies find personal satisfaction in helping others. They often enjoy solving real-world problems too. Plumbing can also be a rewarding career for those who enjoy working with their hands.
If you want to start a plumbing company, then you probably fall into these categories.
High earning potential
Plumbing can be a profitable career, especially for those who are skilled and experienced.
Plumbers can earn high salaries depending on experience level, education, and geographic location. And you’ll have the potential to make even more as a business owner.
As a business owner, you gain the autonomy to be your own boss. This means you get to determine your own schedule and work-life balance. You can also work on projects that align with your passions and interests.
It can be exciting and rewarding to be able to shape the culture and values of your business. You’ll have the opportunity to create a positive and supportive work environment.
What You Need to Do Before Starting a Plumbing Company
Before you can take the leap into your own plumbing empire, you need to do some research and planning.
Let’s look at the tasks you should check off your list before you start a plumbing company.
Identify your audience
Researching the market is critical for new entrepreneurs.
Start by assessing the demand for plumbing services in your area. Get a clear picture of the local population, demographics, and economic conditions.
Then, identify the types of customers you’ll serve. These could be residential, commercial, or industrial customers. And research their needs and preferences.
Consider your potential competitors, too. Look at their services, pricing, and marketing strategies.
Researching your competition will help you understand what you’re up against. It’ll also help you make informed decisions about your business and position it for success.
Create a business plan
After doing your market research, you can begin to shape a plumbing business plan.
A business plan outlines your business goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational procedures. It serves as a roadmap for the future development of your company.
It can also serve as a reference point for aligning on goals and tracking progress.
Here’s a quick overview outlining the steps you might take to shape your business plan:
- Define your business goals. Clearly define your business goals, such as growth, profitability, or market share. Then, outline the steps you will take to achieve these goals.
- Identify your target market. Detail the types of customers that you’ll serve. Be sure to list their unique needs and preferences too.
- Outline your marketing strategies. Create a loose marketing plan with some tactics for promoting your business. This should include things like building a website, using social media, and networking.
- Forecast financial projections. Develop financial projections based on your expected revenue, expenses, and profitability. This will help you understand your business’s potential financial performance and viability.
- Develop an operational plan. Outline the processes and systems you’ll use to run your business. Think about components such as your employees, equipment, and suppliers.
By developing a comprehensive business plan, you can set the foundation for your success and growth.
How to Start a Plumbing Company: 9 Steps
Okay, now it’s time to get to the good stuff.
After you’ve done some market research and made a business plan, you can start putting your work into action.
Here are 9 steps you can follow to get your plumbing business off the ground:
Step 1: Get licensed
If you haven’t already, the first step is getting your plumbing license.
In the United States, plumbers are typically required to be licensed at the state level. The specific licensing requirements for plumbers vary by state. Generally, though, plumbers are required to meet the following criteria:
Complete an approved plumbing program
Most states require plumbers to complete an approved plumbing program. These programs typically involve coursework in plumbing principles, codes, and practices. They also usually include hands-on training.
Pass a licensing exam
Aspiring plumbers may also be required to pass a licensing exam. This is to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The exam typically covers topics such as plumbing codes, safety regulations, and best practices.
Meet additional requirements
Along with completing an approved program and passing a licensing exam, plumbers may need to meet other conditions. For example, you may need to complete a certain number of hours of work experience, pay a fee, or undergo a background check.
Step 2: Choose a business structure and register
Next, decide on the legal structure for your business. Common business structures include sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs).
Here are some of the key differences between these structures to consider:
- Ownership. A sole proprietorship is owned by a single individual. Two or more individuals own a partnership. Shareholders own a corporation. And members own an LLC.
- Liability. In a sole proprietorship, the owner is personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. In a partnership, the partners are responsible. In a corporation and LLC, the shareholders or members are not personally liable. The business is considered a separate legal entity.
- Taxation. In a sole proprietorship, the owner reports business income and losses on their personal tax return. In a partnership, the partners report them on their respective personal tax returns. A corporation pays taxes on its profits. And an LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, depending on the number of members and their election.
- Management. A sole proprietorship is managed by the owner. A partnership is managed by the partners. A corporation is managed by a board of directors. And an LLC is managed by the members or a board of managers.
When you’ve decided and established your business structure, you can register your business with the appropriate state and local authorities, such as the Secretary of State and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Step 3: Decide on your specialty
Some plumbers serve both commercial and residential customers. Others choose just one.
To help you make an informed decision, here are some key differences between the two:
Scope of work
Commercial plumbers typically work on larger projects. For instance, installing or repairing plumbing systems in office buildings, schools, and hospitals.
On the other hand, residential plumbers typically work on smaller projects. For instance, installing or repairing plumbing systems in houses and apartments.
Skills and expertise
Commercial plumbers often need a higher level of knowledge and specialized training. This is because commercial plumbing systems tend to be more complex.
Residential plumbers may have a more general skill set. They won’t necessarily need as much specialized training.
Commercial plumbers may work in various settings. This includes healthcare facilities, warehouses, and other large commercial properties.
Residential plumbers typically work in dwellings where people live.
Commercial plumbers may work longer hours. They might also be on call to handle emergency repairs in commercial properties.
Residential plumbers may have more regular work hours. They may only be required to be on call sometimes.
Step 4: Take out the appropriate insurance coverage
Plumbers in the United States typically need the following types of insurance coverage:
- Liability insurance. Liability insurance protects plumbers from claims made by customers or third parties for bodily injury, property damage, or other losses. This coverage can help you preserve your assets in the event of a lawsuit.
- Workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to plumbers and their employees if they’re injured on the job. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
- Automobile insurance. Plumbers who use their personal vehicles for business may need special automobile insurance.
- Property insurance. Property insurance covers damages to your business’s property. For example, your tools, equipment, and supplies.
- Professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance protects plumbers from claims related to professional negligence or mistakes.
Assess your plumbing business insurance needs carefully and be sure to obtain the appropriate coverage. You could find yourself and your business in hot water without adequate coverage.
Step 5: Create your brand identity
Branding your business is an exciting step in the process. Elements like your company name and logo help to establish and differentiate your reputation.
A good business name should be easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. It should also reflect the values, mission, and focus of your plumbing business.
Your logo should be visually appealing and convey your brand message and personality. It should also be scalable, so you can use it across different mediums and applications. For example, on your uniforms and vehicle decals.
Most importantly, don’t forget to ensure that the business name and logo you choose are not already in use. This can lead to legal issues and confusion in the marketplace.
Step 6: Purchase the necessary tools and equipment
Once your business is up and running, you’ll need a range of tools and equipment to complete your work.
First, secure your basic tools, equipment, and fittings, such as
- Pipe wrenches
- Pipe cutters
- Basin wrenches
- Adjustable pliers
- Copper pipes
- PVC pipes
- Pipe and tubing benders
Then, consider any specific equipment you’ll need for niche services. For example, you might need specialized equipment to clean and unclog industrial drains.
The specific tools and equipment you need will depend on the type of work your business does.
Step 7: Hire your team
The people running it are the heart of any business. As yours grows, you may need to hire employees to help you handle the workload and uphold a high level of service.
Quality employees are crucial for success. Here are some steps that you, as a business owner, can follow to hire exceptional employees:
Define your hiring needs
Clearly define the skills, experience, and qualities that you need in your employees. This will help you attract suitable candidates for your business.
Create a job description
Develop a detailed job description that outlines the position’s duties, responsibilities, and qualifications. This will help attract qualified candidates and set clear expectations for the role.
Use various sources to find potential candidates. Job boards, social media, networking events, and referrals from current employees are all good options.
Review resumes carefully to identify candidates who meet your criteria. Set aside those who have the necessary skills and experience.
Use structured interviews to assess candidates’ skills and knowledge. You should also assess whether they fit with your business’s culture and values.
Contact references provided by your top candidates. This will provide you with information about their work history and performance.
Step 8: Market your business
Marketing is an important aspect of running a successful plumbing business. After all, you can’t become the best plumber in town if no one knows how great you are.
Here are a few things you can do to spread the word about your plumbing business:
- Build a website that showcases your services, prices, and contact information.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website’s visibility.
- Use social media platforms to promote your business and connect with potential customers.
- List your business in online directories to make it easier for customers to find you.
- Network with other professionals and join local professional organizations.
- Offer promotions and discounts to attract new customers and encourage repeat business.
- Provide excellent customer service to build a positive reputation and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.
Step 9: Encourage online reviews
Online reviews are critical for today’s businesses.
Reviews help you attract new customers and build trust and credibility. A study by Trustpilot found that 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a business with a high-star review rating.
By encouraging reviews, you can increase your visibility and ultimately drive sales.
3 Tips for Running a Successful Plumbing Company
Just like a plumbing system, you can’t set up your plumbing business and then stop paying attention to it. You must constantly be investing in ways to keep it running smoothly.
Here are three key tips for success in the plumbing industry:
1. Focus on customer service
Providing excellent customer service is crucial for the success of a plumbing company. And here are some numbers to prove it:
- If a company has excellent customer service, 78% of consumers will return to do business with them. Even after a mistake has been made.
- 58% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known for providing good customer service experiences.
- 93% of consumers are more likely to return to companies that provide excellent customer service.
These statistics highlight the importance of good customer service. They also highlight the potentially dire consequences of poor service.
So, make sure to respond to customer inquiries and requests promptly. You must also be professional and courteous and go above and beyond to meet customer needs.
2. Invest in your team
Employees are a vital component of any successful business. They’re the ones who interact with customers, perform the work, and drive the business forward.
It’s critical to attract, hire, and retain talented, motivated team members. Investing in employee development and creating a positive work culture can help you do that. This ultimately leads to improved performance and business success.
In addition, having a diverse plumbing workforce can bring a range of perspectives and skills to the table. This diversity can also contribute to long-term success.
3. Keep up with industry trends and best practices
Stay informed about new technologies, products, and techniques in the plumbing industry. This will help ensure that you offer your customers the best possible services.
For example, new technologies are likely to emerge in the coming years. You might see an increase in the implementation of smart plumbing systems. Or maybe an increased demand for eco-friendly plumbing solutions.
Start Building Your Plumbing Business
By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can build the foundation for a sustainable plumbing business.
Before you know it, your plumbing company will be flush with raving customers.
If you’re eager to get started building your business, here are a few easy steps you can take right now:
- Do your market research. Before you can build a plumbing business, you need to know who you’re building it for. Check out your local demographics. See where the demand for plumbing services lies and how it aligns with your skill set.
- Fill out a business plan template. Once you know your audience, you can move on to your business plan. Use one of these free templates to help guide your strategy.
- Make a list of logistical tasks to complete. Getting the “businessy” stuff out of the way will be much easier if you’re organized about it. Start by making a checklist of what you have left to do to legally start a business. This might include getting licensed, registering your company, and getting insurance.