The key to being successful plumbing business is to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine, create and maintain solid relationships with your team and clients, and above all else, you need a solid business plan. A good plumbing business plan is the best way to set clear expectations for yourself, your employees, and your clients.
While there are many plumbing businesses out there, it’s helpful to realize that there are many sectors you can specialize in, and the need for essential services plumbers provide to business and homeowners is likely to stick around for a long time to come. Creating a plumbing business plan will alleviate many headaches down the road.
How Do I Create A Useful Plumbing Business Plan?
1. Calculate the true cost of doing business
First and foremost, you need to understand the true cost of doing business. Once you know this, you can figure out the number you need to break even in your business. From there, you can begin to realize your desired margins and begin to budget.
The cost of doing business covers the basics such as tools to perform the job, but there are many other expenses to consider, especially in the startup phase when you need to remember upfront costs such as licenses & legal fees. Ongoing expenses include marketing, insurance, equipment maintenance, transportation costs, phone and internet, and possibly rent.
Once you have an indication of those numbers, use an average hourly market rate to determine how many hours you would have to work to break even on those costs. At this point, you can begin to figure out how much you will charge and how much you can budget for your day-today business costs. Use our free breakeven calculator here.
2. Put Together a Budget
Once you’ve determined the cost of doing business, find your break even number, and desired margins, it’s time to make a budget. After setting aside costs for insurance, equipment, etc, it’s important to budget for all of the expenses that help make your business run like a well-oiled machine. This includes marketing, training, and team member recruiting and retention. All of these are key to success in the long run.
3. Create A Specific Marketing Budget & Plan
Your business cannot succeed if no one knows about it. This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many small business owners fail to invest in the marketing their business deserves. Remember that paying money upfront to gain a new client may result in a lifetime business relationship, along with valuable word of mouth connections.
Taking the time to come up with a catchy logo may seem like a waste of time and money, but with the plethora of plumbing businesses out there, you NEED to stand out. You need potential clients to know right away why you’re different and why you’re the person they want to hire. But it goes far beyond a logo.
It’s key to understand marketing options, how much each costs, and which work best for you. Running a website, taking out ads, digitally or otherwise, business cards, are all expenses that will factor into your marketing budget. Additionally, budget to attend networking and community events to get your business out in the open. Find plumbing advertising ideas here.
Once you start marketing, you need to track it. Understand where your clients are coming from, and pay attention to advertising techniques your competitors are using. Which techniques are successful? If you’re finding areas that are lacking, tweak and modify as necessary. It’s not worth paying for a weekly newspaper ad if no one is seeing it.
Remember how important word of mouth is in the service industry. You may find that as your client base and reputation grow, you may be able to cut down on advertising costs.
4. Budget For Training
Training is one of the MOST important parts of running a business. Unfortunately, when money and time are tight, it’s often one of the first things that gets overlooked. Setting up a budget and plan for training will help you keep on track.
Well-trained employees are a pillar of your business. When employees are well trained, they are happier and more engaged in their job, they are more engaging with their clients and more likely to provide top notch customer service. Well-trained employees will do the job right the first time, saving you time and money from costly mistakes.
When creating your training budget, try to determine areas your employees can most benefit from. In plumbing, that may be best safety practices, new techniques and tools, or a new service you might offer. It’s also important to train your employees on sales and customer service skills, as they are often the face of your company.
Consider where you will get your training from. It may often be worth it to shell out for an outside agency to train on a specific area, but there may also be some areas senior members of your company can offer training. There are also valuable classes available online. Determining where your training comes from will be in direct correlation to how much you have budgeted for training.
It’s important to keep in mind that training your employees is not a one-time thing. Employees need to be trained and retrained and trained in different areas. This will keep your employees engaged and ready to perform their best work.
5. Make A Plan To Attract And Retain Top Techs
You can never underestimate the value of investing in your team. Your team members are your business’s greatest assets. You probably know how important it is to hire the right people, but it’s equally, if not more important to retain your valuable employees.
Employee engagement programs and processes may not seem like a big deal, but having employees engaged in the company leads to better employees, better service, and happy customers. Time and money spent letting your employees know you care about them will help you grow your business by developing relationships with your clients, saving money on recruitment, and having happy, well-trained employees that do their best work the first time.
Team member recruiting and retention is an area you don’t want to skimp on. Make sure to keep room in your budget to hire recruiters as necessary, as well as outside agencies that can help you run successful engagement programs.
The keys to a successful plumbing business are getting your name out to the right people, having properly trained employees, and making time and effort to hire and retain the right team. Before you can do all of this, you need to have a plumbing business plan so you can understand your costs and margins, and then you’ll know how to budget for success in these areas.
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The Blue Collar Success Group trains plumbing business owners and their employees how to implement processes and systems for a successful business. From sales training, tech training, office training, management training, and more, the Blue Collar Success Group helps plumbing companies build and achieve goals from start to finish.