Thinking about opening a plumbing business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Demand for Qualified Plumbers
The good news for prospective entrepreneurs is that demand for quality plumbing professionals is at an all-time high. With scores of older plumbing professionals throwing in the towel and basking in the glow of retirement, the relatively low number of new plumbing contractors entering the field is creating an environment tailored for skilled entrepreneurs.
However, strong demand doesn't mean that the success of your plumbing startup is a slam dunk. There are still plenty of ways to drive an otherwise profitable business into the ground, starting with undercapitalization. The process of raising startup capital isn't easy -- but without sufficient startup capitalization, your operation won't have the assets it needs to function effectively.
Additionally, pricing can play a role in the success or failure of a new plumbing business. Although economic principles dictate that prices rise with demand, it's very easy to price yourself out of the market. If competitors don't pick up your customers, many individuals will utilize DIY plumbing solutions rather than spring for professional services.
Making It As a Professional Plumbing Contractor
The transition from a plumber employed by someone else to a plumbing business owner can be bumpy if you aren't prepared for it. When you are sitting in the big chair, there are several concerns that will require your attention on an ongoing basis.
- New Customers. Finding new customers is a constant struggle for plumbing professionals. Even though most plumbers employ a variety of marketing mechanisms (e.g. print ads, online directories, yellow pages, etc.), referrals may be your best source of new business. Proactively network with other contractors and homebuilders to create possibilities for customer referrals and strategic partnerships.
- Hiring & HR. Many plumbing businesses are small, owner-operated enterprises. But for ambitious entrepreneurs, growth and expansion requires the hiring of additional staff. Unfortunately, hiring and HR concerns can quickly consume a disproportionate amount of your time. To streamline HR, create an employee handbook that discusses policies and disciplinary procedures, and consider outsourcing payroll or other functions to third-party providers.
- Administrative Tasks. Employees have the benefit of kicking back after a hard day of work in the field. But plumbing entrepreneurs come home to a long list of administrative tasks demanding their attention. Accounting, billing, scheduling -- the list can be overwhelming. For many plumbing business owners, it's worth the investment to hire a competent office assistant to handle administrative tasks.
How to Write a Top Quality Plumbing Company Business Plan
A business plan is the skeletal framework for your plumbing business's mission, goals and strategic vision.
But from an outsider's perspective, your business plan is also a reality check. Third-party stakeholders want to make sure that the most important parts of your plan are based on real world information, including your business plan's market analysis section.
Early in the process, it's worth your time to learn how to write the market analysis section of a business plan. It includes the identification of your target market and in many cases, the inclusion of supporting research to back up your claims and sales forecasts.
Take a Look at the Competition
Prior to launching a plumbing business in your town, it's worthwhile to determine how strong the competition is. Try our link below to find competitors in your city. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of plumbing businesses near you.
It's important to be aware of what the competition is doing. Take the time to visit the competition to properly assess their strengths and weaknesses.
A Good Source of Advice
If you are interested in starting a plumbing business, be sure to speak with somebody who is already in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
But, a person who owns a plumbing business outside of your community may be more than happy to give you a few tips, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
The key question new becomes: how to find an owner of a plumbing business outside of your area who is willing to talk?
It's not that hard. Just use the handy link below and enter in a random city/state or zipcode.
Getting Started in Plumbing Business Ownership
As a prospective plumbing business owner, your entry options are limited to buying a viable business or building one from scratch.
A startup gives you the ability to create a plumbing business that conforms to your personal goals and leadership style. From a funding perspective, however, you may have a hard time finding lenders who are willing to take a chance on your plumbing business concept.
Acquired plumbing businesses are known quantities - and are less risky for lenders. Although buying a business doesn't guarantee success, it substantially increases your odds of obtaining financing and achieving profitability.
Consider Buying a Franchise
If you are launching your first business venture, you may want to consider the pros and cons of franchising.
Prior to starting a plumbing business, you should assess whether franchising might make sense for you.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to plumbing businesses, this isn't the right place for you. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.