Interested in pushing your plumbing business to the next level? Plumbing is an essential service, but business growth doesn’t happen without careful planning. When you set achievable goals and build a plan of action, you can see your chances for expansion grow exponentially. This is especially important if you’ve just started looking into how to become a plumber and want to open your own business in the future.
That’s why we’ve put together five helpful tips for growing a plumbing business.
From digital marketing to metrics, we’ll explore actionable advice to get your business where it needs to be. Whether you’re hoping to expand across the country or develop a bigger stake in your local community, the power is in your hands with this list of practical tips.
#1 Track your data
Plumbing is usually a hands-on job. Between making service calls and interacting with customers, it can be easy to lose sight of all the numbers involved with your business.
Of course, a business owner is often most concerned with the bottom line, but there’s more to understanding your business than just looking at profits and losses. Consider reevaluating your financials and tracking the data involved with your business to get a better handle on where you can improve.
Some key data interests include:
- Parts and tools – Where would you be without the trusty tools of the trade? Pipe wrenches, hacksaws, torches, and snakes are all essential. Plus, replacement parts are necessary for nearly every plumbing job you take on. Track market prices as well as your overall expenditures to figure out where you might be able to cut costs while still providing top-notch service.
- Service charges – Is your hourly billing in need of repricing? If your service charges are lower than market averages, it may be time to up your billing. On the other hand, if you’re looking to attract more customers, a small decrease in hourly billing could increase the number of jobs you receive, ultimately raising your profits.
- Vehicle expenses – Getting to and from jobs requires reliable transportation. Vehicle upkeep and repairs can be a major expense for the plumbing business, so it’s ideal to do a full analysis of your vehicle expenses. You may find it’s cheaper to replace your current fleet than to continue to make costly repairs.
With the advent of user-friendly data-tracking software, it’s easier than ever to keep your finger on the pulse of your plumbing business finances. However, if you’re looking for a fast and effective way to get a clear picture of your data, consider seeking outside help from a financial professional.
#2 Modernize your website
Many plumbers capitalize on personal referrals for building up their client base. While referrals are still a useful tool, today, more consumers are searching the web when looking for a qualified plumbing professional. In fact, data suggests shows that 21% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in November 2021. That certainly includes your plumbing business.
You don’t need to be a coding expert to craft a solid website for your business, but there are some useful tips to keep in mind while building or modifying your site.
Consider the following aspects for your modernized plumbing website:
- Easy to find business information – If someone’s searching for a plumber, chances are they have a problem they’re hoping to solve immediately. That means including your contact info, plumbing services, and a call to action right up front. Getting in touch should only be a click away.
- Testimonials – Establish yourself as an industry leader by providing testimonials from your best customers. First-hand accounts of your business’s successes go a long way to building consumer trust. Give curious potential customers another reason to trust you with their plumbing needs.
- Pricing – While you may not know the exact cost of a plumbing job until you arrive on the scene, it’s helpful to give consumers an idea of your general rates. Be transparent and clear with your pricing to avoid complications during billing.
- Payment options – Include an online payment option to simplify the billing process, and provide a sense of security for you and your customers. Be sure to factor in transactional fees and hosting costs before finalizing this process, as these unexpected charges may impact your bottom line.
Additionally, you may want to include a little about your business’s story. When you started and how long you’ve been in the business can increase consumer confidence and underline your expertise.
Take a note from Georgia-based Henry Plumbing, a family-owned and operated business that proudly touts its 50 years of service. “it’s in the blood, I guess. And plumbing never goes out of fashion. It’s a necessary and needed skill. We just continue to try to make companies and property owners happy,” co-owner Tonya Reed says.
#3 Invest in marketing
It’s time to get your name out there. Whether you operate a single trunk or oversee a fleet of plumbers, establishing a recognizable brand through marketing will bring more eyes to your business and help bolster profits.
No matter your marketing budget, there are several venues and mediums to advertise your business, including:
- Print ads – Take out an ad in your local paper to connect directly with your community. Additionally, fliers, billboards, and bulletins can offer a low-cost, high-return marketing strategy to further cement your local audience.
- Digital ads - Online banners, pop-ups, and social media ads can drive more traffic to your business. In addition, consider connecting with your neighbors through a local, online platform such as Nextdoor to interact directly with potential customers and get the word out about your plumbing business.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – Ensure your business comes up first when customers search for local plumbers by developing your search engine optimization or local SEO. Through carefully constructed keywords and phrases, you’ll boost your business’s searchability, and stay ahead of the competition.
Develop a plumbing marketing strategy with both short and long-term goals, and investigate every potential venue to get your name out there. Discovering what marketing works best for your business can take time and experimentation, but with a cohesive plan, you can build a seamless way to expand your business and increase your market share.
#4 Sharpen your branding
Branding is the face of your business. It’s a way to make a strong first impression and stick in the customers' minds for the long haul. You can represent your brand through your logo, website copy, even your uniforms, and the wraps on your plumbing service vehicles.
But what goes into branding? Consider the following aspects when honing your business’s brand:
- Stay Consistent – Keeping your brand image consistent across all venues is essential for recognition and success. From color schemes to font choices, no matter where your customers are looking, they should find a strong and unified image of your business.
- Establish your persona – Do you specialize in commercial plumbing? Are you the go-to business for sprinkler installation? Delineate your business from other plumbing businesses and establish what makes you one of a kind. This could also include your brand values. Are you known for providing a luxury service or super-fast turnaround for jobs that needed to be done yesterday?
- Simplify – Too many words, images, and ideas can clutter your message. If your trunks are covered in words and numbers, or your plumbing website is stuffed with text, it’s time to pare down to the bare essentials. Who you are and what you do should be clear from the moment someone looks at your business.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to branding, but by honing in on what makes your business unique, you’re sure to craft a memorable brand. Not only can quality branding attract new customers, but it can also increase repeat business by solidifying your business in the minds of current and former customers.
#5 Support your community
Plumbing is a local business. Whether you serve a single neighborhood or an entire city, the work you do goes back into the communities you serve. Additionally, you can offer direct ways to give back, garnering positive attention for your business and showing your neighbors that you’re a business with both feet planted firmly in your community.
Consider using your plumbing business to support various community projects including:
- Local charity – Pledge a percentage of sales to a local charity of your choosing. Let your customers know that when they support your business, they’re also supporting positive action in your community.
- Humanitarian aid – Plumbing businesses can act as major support for local crises, offering their services to underserved communities and those suffering from natural disasters.
- Friends and neighbors promotion – Show your community they’re special by offering deals and discounts for residents and businesses. Craft hyper-localized promotions, focusing on individual streets or neighborhoods, giving each of your neighbors a reason to seek out your services.
Dave Parker, the owner of E.R. Plumbing Services in Mint Hill, North Carolina, established a community service program called “Do Good With Dave” where he gives back by giving emergency help to people who need it quickly. “You’d be surprised at how many phone calls we get from people who see us on TV and say they want to help,” Parker says.
Besides providing positive PR and boosting your company’s image, community support work can also strengthen company morale and create a positive company culture.
Build your plumbing business with Nextdoor
With all these tips for how to expand your plumbing business, it can be hard to know where and how to start a plumbing business. Growing your business takes time, but there is something you can do right now to get a headstart—check out Nextdoor.
Start building connections and developing relationships with your neighbors by creating a free Business Page at Nextdoor. Nearly 1 in 3 households are already on Nextdoor, and those neighbors are interacting with local businesses and making millions of recommendations. Introduce your plumbing business to your neighbors and start discovering everything Nextdoor has to offer today.