What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Plumbing Business

A longtime Arizona plumber offers some wisdom for those just getting started on their entrepreneurial journey

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Plumbing Business

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Starting a plumbing or septic services company comes with a unique set of challenges and understanding certain aspects of the business beforehand can help set you up on a smoother path to success.

Three areas I wish I knew more about before starting my company are customer relations, acquiring the right equipment, and the recruitment of skilled workers and how to
retain them.

Maintaining positive customer relations

Creating and maintaining good relationships with customers is an essential aspect of running a successful plumbing business. Here are areas you must prioritize.

Work on developing your communication skills, both verbal and written. Having the ability to clearly convey the scope of projects, costs and any challenges helps manage a customer’s expectations when going into a job. Being upfront and transparent about these issues will help you build trust with your customers.

The customer service standards of your business must be at the top of your mind. Always respond promptly to any questions from customers, be courteous and ensure your workers embody this aspect of the business. Satisfied customers are more likely to call you back in the future for other projects and will also help in spreading word about your business to friends and family, helping to create organic customer growth.

All companies will get the occasional complaint. How you deal with these complaints will set you apart from other plumbing businesses. Successful businesses handle complaints graciously and keep the customer’s needs in mind. Solve issues swiftly and in a professional manner to show your commitment to making sure the customer receives the best outcome for their situation. 

Recruiting and retaining skilled workers

Having reliable and quality workers is the backbone for any plumbing business. When hiring and working to retain your employees consider these areas. 

Prioritize candidates with the right certifications and experience. If your state does not require licenses or certifications, focus on experience. A worker with hundreds of hours in the field may be the better candidate than someone who just received their first certification. 

Invest in your employees. Continuous education is important even for the most experienced veteran plumbers. Plumbing technology is constantly evolving, so staying on top of the latest tech, tools and trends is important to keep your business moving forward. Investing in your employees’ education shows them that they are wanted by your business and will help create loyalty to you and the company. 

Always maintain a positive work environment. If the workplace becomes hostile, employees will start looking for an exit. Encourage respect amongst the staff, be open with your communication and allow for collaboration of ideas. Recognize and reward excellent work, and if possible, provide ways for your employees to advance in their careers. This can be by promotions or providing additional training and education. 

Managing equipment costs

Equipping your plumbing company with the right tools to complete jobs is important for the efficiency of your business and for providing customers with quality service. Managing the costs for these tools often requires you to prioritize certain jobs over others until your business reaches a financial level where you can begin purchasing more equipment. 

Identify the most important tools you need for your business. Focus on high-quality and durable tools rather than the cheapest possible option. This will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to keep replacing tools as they break. Stay away from the latest trending gadgets. These are often more expensive and unnecessary in order to get your jobs done. 

Look into financing options. Equipment can cost a lot of money. Exploring different financing options such as renting or short-term loans may help put you in a better position financially while still securing the tools you need. Look into the interest rates, time limits and conditions to set up your financing to be in line with your company’s financial goals. Leasing is a popular option when starting out, especially for equipment you may only need from time to time. 

Look into building partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers to receive discounts on equipment. Once you are in a stable financial position negotiate bulk purchases and join loyalty programs to lower your costs even further. Building relationships with suppliers will go a long way in getting the tools you need in a timely manner. 

While challenges are inevitable when starting any business, arming yourself with knowledge in these areas will better equip you for success with your plumbing or septic services company. 

About the author: Joe Hammer is the owner of SAK Electric Plumbing Inc in Phoenix, Arizona. SAK Electric Plumbing Inc has been providing professional plumbing services to the Greater Phoenix area for over 30 years.


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