Being a plumber is still one of the most respected jobs in the world. Most of the time, the job offers higher pay, benefits, and financial security.
Today, the plumbing business in the US brings in about $124 billion a year and employs more than 500,000 people.
That is a very big number. But for many technicians, like plumbers, becoming self-employed is a way to stop having to work hard every day.
By running their own business, these professionals will make more money and have more freedom than if they worked for a privately owned plumbing business.
You're not the only licensed professional who wants to learn how to start a plumbing business and be your own boss. On the other hand, we're still here for you if you're brand new to the business.
With these simple steps, you can start your own plumbing business.
8 Simple Steps to Start a Plumbing Business
1. Obtain a plumbing license
Before you start your own business, the first thing you should do is get any training or licenses you need to do plumbing jobs on your own. Some plumbers get their licenses through an apprenticeship, but others choose to go to a local trade school instead.
In many states, to get a plumber's license or master plumber certificate, you have to finish a four-year program for journeyman plumbers.
Because licensing requirements vary greatly from state to state, you should check with the right government agencies in your state before starting your new plumbing business. Other requirements could include a minimum amount of money to put up as a bond in case something goes wrong and proof of liability insurance.
Once you've done everything you need to do, you can register your plumbing business with the city government. Check the business tax laws in your state and think about starting an LLC to protect your personal assets from debts and liability claims.
2. Draft a thorough plumbing business plan
For your plumbing business to succeed, you need to make a detailed business plan. It shows you how to get where you want to go and how things like branding and working capital fit into a consistent growth plan as a whole.
A business plan for plumbing can help you get investors and business partners to back your business. And the following parts should be part of the structure of your plumbing business:
- Executive summary: Discuss your plumbing business, staff, management, and customers here.
- Business summary: Here, you describe your plumbing business's goals and services.
- Market Analysis: This is where you identify your niche and focus on developing your distinctive services.
- Strategy: In this part of your business plan, you decide how you will market your services and set a budget for your business.
- Personnel Plan: In this plan, you outline the procedures for hiring a management group and plumbers.
- Financial Plan: In this area, you provide an overview of your financial projections, including your cash flow and anticipated profit and loss. You also set your fixed rates, costs of doing business, and profit margins. Once you've decided on the prices and profit margins, you can make the plumbing invoices.
Your goal should be to find out how much money you really need to start and grow your plumbing business. Your research should also include costs for working capital, marketing, advertising, vehicles, equipment, and business expenses.
If you want to get a small business loan to start a plumbing business, your business plan must also have a section on how you will pay for it.
3. Be sure to account for revenue and expenses in your business plan
A business plan will show how much money you think your plumbing business will bring in. You can use the following prices as benchmarks for the average residential customer in your business plan:
- Bathtub installation: $2,750
- Septic tank repair: $750–$3,000
- Faucet replacement: $500
- Toilet installation: $615
- Sink unclogging: $300
- Toilet unclogging: $350
- Dishwasher repair: $450 or less
- Main water line installation: $3,750
- Garbage disposal installation: $325
- Gas line replacement: $1,450
- Water system drainage installation: $3,300
- Holding tank replacement: $1,700
- Water heater installation: $1,000
- Emergency after-hours surcharge: $85/hour
Most plumbers who own their own business make more than $80,000 a year. A master plumber who makes $40 an hour and works 8 hours a day will make $100,000 a year. However, this profit will be cut by the cost of basic supplies and the time spent running the business.
For each plumber they hire, a plumbing company can make an extra $25,000 to $50,000 per year. You can expect to make more money as your plumbing business grows and you hire more plumbers and more trucks.
The price you can charge for plumbing services in your location will also affect your earnings. Using a flat-rate pricing model, a plumber's prices for small plumbing jobs range from $150 to $350. Your plumbing business will estimate the work and give the client a final quote.
4. Buying the necessary plumbing tools
If you keep a few basic plumbing tools in your service van, you won't have to run to the hardware store as often. Don't spend all of your money, though, on expensive new tools.
Start with what's most important. If you can, consider buying used tools and equipment. You should only rent or buy specialized plumbing equipment if you have the necessary permits, skills, and the job is in high demand.
You should always have these plumbing tools, supplies, inventory, and safety gear on hand:
1. Tools and equipment for plumbing:
Sets of battery-powered tools like drills, screwdrivers, saw grinders, and impact drivers
- Hand tools, including pliers and adjustable wrenches
- Pipe cutters
2. Inventory and supplies:
- Fittings for the bathroom and toilet
- Temperature Sensors
- Copper and plastic pipes
- Valve Inlets
3. Safety Gears:
- Safety Glasses/Goggles
- Heat Insulators
- Knee Guards/Pads
- Safety Plumbing Gloves
5. Identify your target audience
Before deciding where to start up your plumbing business, spend some time evaluating market conditions and plumbing industry trends. Talk to other plumbers and electricians in the area to find out who your competition is and which plumbing specialties are the most in demand.
You should also think about which possible clients you want to be your main source of income. Consider their needs, challenges, and existing relationships with other plumbing companies or contractors.
Check to see if most of your potential clients are construction companies with more reliable contracts and schedules or homeowners who need plumbing help right away.
If you know your target market well before you start your plumbing business, it will be much easier to make a name for yourself in the field.
6. Plan your budget
Plumbing companies can make a lot of money, but if they don't keep track of their money well, they can fail quickly. So, how much money should you start your business with? There are many different ways to answer this question.
Some people who want to start their own small businesses trade in their cars for vans and collect the tools they need over time. At first, they advertised for free and required less than $1,000 to sign up. If you don't already have any tools or vehicles, you should be ready to spend between $10,000 and $60,000 or more.
When starting a plumbing business, the following costs may come up:
1. Insurance, licenses, and registration
In most states, the cost to form an S-corp or LLC is between $400 and $1,200. This includes filing the paperwork needed to make the company a legal entity, getting any licenses needed (like those for plumbing and running a business), and paying the first premiums for liability and workers' compensation insurance.
2. Business setup
Depending on the resources you already have on hand and can function without as your business is just getting started, business expenses can vary greatly.
Be prepared to pay for things like business cards, ads in the local paper, and a website that people will want to visit. You must also buy a computer, accounting software, online invoicing, Google's pay-per-click system, and a customer relationship management system. These investments would all cost between $2,000 and $4,000.
Since putting together a service van can be done in stages, many plumbers prefer to buy a low-cost used van for around $3,000 and then add on to it over time. You could also put down some money for the service van as a down payment to get started for less money. Also, think about how much insurance, maintenance, and gas will cost.
4. Tools and Equipments
Up to $5,000 can be spent on a full set of simple tools. So check to see what tools you already have. Find out if you need power tools, cameras, or if you can do everything with hand tools.
Consider renting some tools only if you really need them and can plan for them on your budget, since it will save you money in the short term but cost you more in the long term.
It can feel like a huge drain on your money to pay for everything. But there are many ways to get money for your new plumbing business. There are many ways to get money for a new plumbing business, such as
- Getting the support of investors
- Apply for Bank Loans
- Family or friend loans for small businesses
- Spending money using your savings
7. Let people know about your plumbing business
The first step to building a steady client base is to reach out to new customers. But there are five cheap things that many plumbing companies don't do:
1. Asking for recommendations and reviews
Ask new clients for reviews and referrals. Also, incentive programs that offer services or discounts in exchange for referrals can get current customers to say good things about your business.
2. Establish a membership program
Getting people to sign up for a membership plan is more than just a way to make a sale. It lets businesses check in, fix small problems, do annual inspections that meet customer needs, and build better relationships.
3. Follow-up phone calls and emails
By sending emails or calling customers to follow up, plumbing businesses can make sure that their customers' problems are fixed during their downtimes, which could lead to new business in the future.
It lets plumbers offer discounts and build a good reputation at the same time.
4. Community Groups
Join a networking group to help get the word out and find people to work with in the community. This can be done by taking part in relevant forums, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook communities and groups.
5. Partnerships with local contractors
Plumbers can find new customers by getting closer to other tradespeople in their area. Try to get subcontracting and referral work from builders, landscapers, and electricians.
8. Set up your online presence
If you don't build your online presence and instead focus on your local visibility, your plumbing services business may not grow as fast as it could. Think about the following ways to get known in your area and get more good leads:
1. Business Website
Having a good website for your business can make you look as good as other top companies. If you use search engine optimization (SEO) on your website, it can make it easier for people in your area to find you.
When you use keywords and do SEO, search engines like Google and Bing will be able to find your business and give it a higher ranking on their pages.
2. Google My Business Profile
Setting up a Google Business Profile as soon as possible is important because most potential customers use the internet to look for new businesses in their area.
From your Google Business Profile page, people can go straight to your website to learn more about your plumbing business and the services you offer. Customers will start to rate and review their experiences on your Google Business Profile at some point.
3. Paid advertisements
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Angie's List, Google, and Facebook are used by many plumbing companies to get leads.
Experts say that search engine advertising can work, but you should keep the cost of the leads below your profit margin for a typical plumbing job. Keeping tabs on how many jobs you're able to successfully close will help you find your sweet spot.
4. Advertising on social media
You could also market your business on social media to get more customers.
Every day, millions of people use social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to look for new businesses like yours.
As you start to build an online community, your plumbing business will slowly grow and become more successful. This will bring you more customers and make you more money.
Take Advantage of Blinksale
We hope that this blog will give you a good idea of how to start a plumbing business and get more customers.
But you must remember that if you don't get paid faster, your business won't grow as fast as you thought!
As a way to get around this problem, Blinksale, an estimate and invoicing platform made just for the plumbing business, is offered. It is an estimating and invoicing system that lets you make estimates and invoices without making any mistakes.
With Blinksale, you can make invoices from anywhere, at any time, and email them to your clients. If you want to get paid faster, you can even track these bills.
However, Blinksale can do a lot more than just make invoices. You can also make estimates and purchase orders quickly and easily with it.
Sign up for our 14-day free trial period today to find out about all the ways we can help your business run more smoothly.