Discover powerful advice to help grow your plumbing business and unlock your full potential using a blend of traditional and modern marketing strategies.
From Wrench to Riches: How to Grow a Plumbing Business
As customer demands continue to expand and the number of competitors in your area skyrockets, growing your plumbing business becomes increasingly challenging. However, provided you take a strategic approach, are prepared to work hard, and take advantage of emerging trends, your plumber contractor company can flourish.
The road map below reveals top strategies for growing your plumbing business, including advice about traditional and digital marketing techniques, and delivering exceptional customer service, plus tips for scaling up and the pros and cons of owning a plumbing company.
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How to Grow a Plumbing Business
If you dream of growing your plumbing business enough to hire a team and take a step back, you'll need to plan meticulously. Assess your current operation and develop or refresh your business plan to include unique growth opportunities. Strengthen partnerships in your local area, invest in marketing your plumbing business, and ensure you offer strategic upsells and monthly, quarterly, biannual, and yearly maintenance contracts to maximize profits.
Importantly, develop a strong company culture that prioritizes people — customers and employees alike. Provided you're organized, diligent about cash flow, and use data to drive decision-making, you can foster long-term growth for your plumbing business.
You've taken the first step toward being an entrepreneur and have — or are starting — your own contractor company. Maybe you've just opened your doors, or maybe you've been operating as a one-man business for some time. Either way, you should be super-proud of your achievements. But that doesn't mean you can't go further and start scaling up your plumbing company — keep reading to learn how.
Pros of Owning a Plumbing Business
Owning a plumbing business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture, primarily because plumbing is essential to every household and business. Let's look at the pros of being in the plumbing industry:
- Demand: Whether you work with consumers, business owners, or industrial clients, there's work out there. There's always going to be a steady demand for plumbing services as individuals and organizations maintain and upgrade their systems.
- Profit: Because plumbing is a specialized trade, you can add comfortable profit margins to your services and generate an impressive income.
- Learning and development: New technology enters the market every day, which means you have plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and offer novel innovations to customers.
- Scope: One of the biggest growth advantages of the plumbing industry is the scope available to work with residential, commercial, or industrial clients. That's because, as a small business, one of the best strategies for growth is starting with a small service offering and steadily diversifying as your reputation and revenue build traction.
Cons of Owning a Plumbing Business
Being a plumbing business owner is a fantastic option for someone who's proven their mettle and worked their way up. However, there are certain challenges anyone attempting to establish or grow a plumbing company should be aware of.
By understanding the following potential setbacks, you can mitigate risks and maximize the benefits of being a plumbing owner-operator:
- Seasonality: Demand for plumbing services can fluctuate based on the season, with fewer calls typically coming in during the colder months.
- Compliance: There are a number of permits, licenses, and regulations you're required to comply with — and neglecting them can be very expensive. It's crucial that you have the time and money available to always maintain compliance.
- Competition: Plumbing can be a highly competitive field, with innovative new companies and long-established contractors vying for space within the market. You'll need to stand out and have a strong brand to attract and retain customers.
- Physicality: Plumbing work can be physically demanding for you and your team. You'll need to have best practices in place to protect yourself and your crew from injuries or burnout.
- Liability: Working in people's homes and businesses puts you at risk of liability, which could lead to reputational damage and hefty fines.
- Upfront cost: There's a significant up-front investment required to open any business, but the specialized equipment and tools plumbers require make this type of business particularly expensive to set up. That's why we'd recommend starting off by offering a smaller number of services and then adding more as you grow.
- Staffing: If you want to succeed as a plumbing business owner, it's imperative that you build the necessary people management skills to hire and retain skilled staff.
Growth Opportunities in the Plumbing Industry
Expanding your plumbing company means finding gaps in the market to exploit before your competitors do. To get started, conduct market research to see which of the following strategies plumbers in your local area are using:
- Sustainability: As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, the demand for sustainable plumbing practices and products continues to grow. Water-saving fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, and cost-effective systems can help you attract and retain an eco-minded audience.
- Diversification: Expand your offering to include specialized services, such as commercial and industrial projects, preventive and maintenance contracts, remodeling and renovation, and aging infrastructure repairs.
- Geolocation: Expand into new regions that are underserved or have a high demand for specific services that aren't offered locally.
- Technology: Embrace cutting-edge technology that streamlines your workflow and improves customer experience before your competitors. Investing in plumbing software, operational software, a CRM, IoT-enabled devices, and advanced tools can help you capture a tech-savvy, high-spending demographic.
- Digital marketing: Developing a strong online presence by using digital marketing tools is a cost-effective and fast way to increase online visibility and website traffic. Lead generation, search engine optimization, and conversion rate optimization are just a few methods available to plumbing contractors.
- Strategic partnerships: Canvass business owners in your local area, offering them the chance to form strategic partnerships with you. You can start by contacting property managers, architects, interior designers, builders, and fellow tradespeople.
Once you've pinpointed an opportunity no one else is using locally, build a marketing plan around it.
The 10 Best Growth Strategies for Plumbing Contractors
For long-term growth and success as a plumbing contractor, delivering exceptional service is just the foundation. You'll need to strategically implement growth strategies to attract a wider customer base and keep them coming back.
Below, we take a deep dive into the 10 best ways to grow a plumbing business.
When it comes to building a website that does your plumbing business proud, conversion rate optimization is key. Think of your site as an online storefront and the first impression people get of your brand. It must be well-designed and enhanced to turn visitors into paying customers, with compelling calls to action, glowing customer testimonials, and intuitive site navigation.
2. Lead Generation
Every successful business has a steady pipeline of leads trickling into its website, ready to learn more about your plumbing company. Lead capture forms are a good start, but you should team up with a respected lead generation partner to maximize the number of hot leads your company website attracts.
The effectiveness of SEO can't be overstated. Ensure your homepage, landing pages, service pages, and mobile site are SEO-friendly by including relevant links and keywords and ensuring the technical elements of your page meet the standards Google's algorithm expects. To go the extra mile, optimize your Google Business Profile for local SEO and include a regularly updated, keyword-enriched company blog.
A blog constitutes part of your content marketing strategy, which helps establish you as a thought leader and expert in the plumbing industry. By sharing tips, guides, and informative videos with customers, you can become an indispensable resource and stay fresh in clients' minds long-term.
Every business that stands the test of time has done the hard work of establishing an excellent reputation. Thankfully, due to the internet, word of mouth is no longer limited to recommendations from friends and family. Consumers turn to review sites and Google to gauge how trustworthy and reliable plumbing companies are — so be sure to ask every happy customer to write a review online.
As a business owner, you can never have too many industry friends. Plumbing professionals can develop mutually beneficial partnerships with fellow local operators to share audiences and tips. Property management firms, real estate agents, home improvement stores, and construction companies are a few examples of smart partnerships you can make.
Although the internet offers an array of opportunities for recommendations, referrals are still important sources of revenue for home service business owners. If you deliver exceptional customer service and exceed expectations when completing work, the recommendations will flow naturally. Implementing a referral program can take this strategy a step further by incentivizing customers to recommend you to friends and family.
Trade shows, trade organizations, local small business events, industry conferences, and webinars offer opportunities to help you expand your network and grow your business. Not only can networking connect you with prospective clients, it can also present you with potential collaborators.
Direct mail, print ads, and flyers are still great ways to reach new customers — especially if your target audience is older and prefers to search for services offline. When you complete a job and have a happy customer, don't hesitate to post flyers or place door hangers in the neighborhood to capitalize on your success.
As a business owner, you should take every opportunity to engage with your local community. That means sponsoring local sports teams, attending local events, and supporting local charities. Not only does this establish you as an upstanding pillar of your community, it also makes your brand more locally recognizable and can help you foster trust and loyalty with local customers.
What to Consider When Growing Your Plumbing Business
Let's explore some less obvious considerations when growing your plumbing business.
No matter how amazing you are as a plumber, your business is only as good as your whole team. Take recruitment very seriously: Be sure to write comprehensive job descriptions, create a code of conduct, and have a strong onboarding process — and link everything back to your company culture, brand values, and mission and vision statements. Never hoard knowledge; be sure to pass your expertise down to your workforce. Following this advice is critical for building a company that's strong enough for you to step away from.
Customers are more eco-conscious than ever, so focusing on environmentally friendly plumbing services and products is an excellent way to differentiate yourself in the local market.
As an owner, you must be competent with every element of your business — from team-building to project management. It's crucial to remain organized and maintain watertight records, even with multiple projects underway. Completing jobs within budget and on time is essential for long-term success in the plumbing industry.
Cash Flow and Budgets
Another skill successful plumbing contractors have is financial management. The ability to budget and forecast effectively helps you keep cash flow healthy and ensures you can allocate resources for maximum profit.
Technology integration can help you improve quality and consistency while saving money long-term. Smart devices, software, and communication tools make it easier to keep clients happy without making your workload unmanageable.
Your plumbing company's website and social media platforms offer deep insights into your customer base's behavior and preferences. If you're not capitalizing on this information and using it to create targeted marketing campaigns, you're at risk of falling behind and losing customers to competitors.
Positive employee experience is vital for home service business owners who want to go the distance. Being an excellent people manager who inspires staff to do their best work every day will help you retain top talent. Hiring and training are two of your company's biggest expenses, so take the steps necessary to hold on to your best workers.
Happy Customers Help Plumbing Businesses Grow
It's an age-old saying, but the customer really is king. They pay your company's bills, your employees' salaries, and your annual bonus. The happier you're able to keep customers, the better your reputation — and the more money you make. When you deliver high-quality work and your customers are delighted with the results, everyone's a winner.
For a small business owner, customer retention is key for growth. Build strong relationships, preempt needs, and inspire them to tell other people how great your company is. That starts with being an outstanding plumber but remember that customer service and how consumers feel about interacting with your business is just as important. Ensure you and your staff are always friendly, responsive, and attentive to customer needs — and never stop emphatically striving to exceed expectations.
Harness the power of personalized service to surprise and delight customers. Do this by using technology to take note of specific preferences and add personal touches, such as remembering names and the reasons for them seeking your services. Aim to never make a customer repeat themselves, no matter which team member they're speaking to, and send out customized thank-you cards after a job is done.
Always ask for feedback by email immediately after completing a job as this can prevent your client from posting a bad review online, in the unlikely event they have a bad experience. By keeping negative viewpoints between you and the customer, you can learn from their criticism without it impacting how prospective clients perceive your brand.
Tips for Scaling Up Your Plumbing Business
Scaling up a plumbing company is a risky undertaking. This makes it vital to leave no stone unturned when conducting research about the best way to increase your specific business in your local area. Here are some general tips to help:
- Develop a business plan: Define your growth objectives in a detailed business plan to guide scaling effort. Think about your current operation and the steps you need to take to reach your goals, including new target markets, strategies to reach those markets, and in-depth financial projections for the short, medium, and long term.
- Secure financing: Completing your business plan makes it easier to secure capital, which is essential for growth. Investors, small business loans, and bank loans are just a few avenues available for financing.
- Invest in your plumbing team: Hire skilled professionals with the experience and attitude required to fit into your growth plans. Be sure to invest in their training, ongoing development, and quality of life to maximize ROI and maintain a strong employer brand.
- Optimize processes: Your operational processes impact whether you're able to succeed long-term. Find ways to streamline your processes and workflows, such as implementing software to automate time-consuming tasks like inventory management, scheduling, payroll, and documentation.
- Build a brand: Having a strong brand isn't only effective for big companies. If you're able to develop a recognizable visual brand, brand personality, and brand voice, it's easier for customers to remember and recommend your plumbing services.
- Monitor cash flow: A great way to measure financial health is by monitoring cash flow and ensuring you're never spending more than you earn.
- Keep suppliers happy: It's just as important to build relationships with suppliers as with customers and employees. Being able to get a good deal during economic downturns could depend on how well you get along with your vendors.
- Live and breathe company culture: As your plumbing company develops a reputation and grows, it's important to preserve the company culture that brought you success. Failing to pass your wisdom on to your staff by not documenting processes, policies, and procedures could halt your growth plans in their tracks.
Become a Household Name in Your Local Area
Want your company to be the first name that springs to mind when locals need to call a plumber? Start getting more high-quality plumbing leads with CraftJack today.
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