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How to Start Your Own Plumbing Business

If you’ve been languishing in the trenches – literally and figuratively – while working for someone else, and you long to be your own boss, what are you waiting for? This article offers practical tips to help you launch and run an independent plumbing business or advanced drains and plumbing repairs services. There are a lot of factors that you need to carefully and wisely consider. You’ll be required to think outside the tank in terms of business practices that have nothing to do with snakes, hip-waders and sewer systems, but if you’ve been saving folks from septic tank backup and catastrophic toilet blockages for more years than you care to recall, the business-related tasks you’ll need to promote your business should be a piece of cake.

  1. Acquire the local permits, licenses and certifications your community requires of professionals in the plumbing industry. You may work independently once you launch your business, but regional and state laws are set up to protect critical waste and water infrastructure systems from catastrophic problems that can result from professionals who haven’t enough training or experience.
  2. Affiliate with your local plumbing union if that credential is essential for doing business in your community. Unions are like brotherhoods; they offer networking, job referrals and camaraderie while providing some of the most comprehensive training classes available anywhere on the planet. Master plumbers with impressive certifications help turn novice plumbers into experts using the auspices of the union, so if you allow yourself one splurge, make it a union membership.
  3. Cement relationships with other trades people in your area. It’s common knowledge that referrals are the lifeblood of the service industry and making connections with carpenters, electricians, air conditioning and refrigeration contractors and other specialists will serve you well in the future once you open your doors.
  4. Build a consumer and business client base. Start out with your personal universe and reach out to friends, neighbors and service professionals you’ve hired in the past. Most everyone needs plumbing services so don’t be shy about approaching your hair cutter, child’s tutor, carpet installation professional and florist by giving out your card to let them know that you’re open for business.
  5. Offer your services to do-it-yourself stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menard’s and hardware stores. These retailers are always looking for skilled people to provide install services once sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets are purchased. These businesses get a cut of the action, but every well-completed job adds to your client list.
  6. Resist the urge to advertise in the Yellow Pages. That tip may appear counterintuitive ’cause consumers regularly turn to phone books, but if you open your local directory and turn to the “Plumbers” section, the competition could be daunting. Established plumbers can afford to buy full-page ads. Unless you’re well funded, you probably can’t afford one. Instead, launch a website and use word-of-mouth referrals to add to your client list.
  7. Launch a loyalty program for trades people and consumers. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding others for referrals. If a consumer gives you a lead, offer a discount on your next service call. Carry business cards that state your discount so they’re ready to be handed out.

Jaime
Jaime London is a writer, contributor, editor and a photographer. He started his career as an editorial assistant in a publishing company in Chicago in 2009.