How to Start a Plumbing Business

Once you get your master plumber certificate, you can start thinking about being your own boss and opening your own business.

As you are reading this, you probably want to know how all the process goes, and we are here to help you.

Many people work for someone else for a while before deciding to start their own plumbing company, and this usually happens once they realize they got enough experience.

Launch your own plumbing business is not at all easy, as you need to be well prepared, work hard, but it is definitely worth it.

In the following article, we have covered everything you need to know about turning your plumbing skills into a successful business.

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Plumbers: A Global Shortage and Always in Demand

It is a fact that this is the best moment for staring a plumbing company, being that globally speaking, the demand for plumbers is always high.

According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment website, there is a huge demand for qualified plumbers and is expected to keep growing.

BusinessTech says that plumbers are in high demand in Australia, and the Able Skills website says that demand for qualified plumbers is increasing in the UK.

When it comes to the USA, the Career Explorer informs aspiring plumbers that the plumber job market is expected to keep growing throughout the decade and that there is a shortage of plumbers there, too.

Before you even start thinking about becoming your own boss, you need to ask yourself a question: why do you want to start your own business?

The reasons can be various.

It can be the need to grow your income, work flexible hours, and free up more time to spend with your family.

Also, working for others and earning them money is not how you see yourself in the future.

All these are very good reasons, and once you are clear on what is hiding behind your decision to start your own business, you can start thinking about the practical stuff.

Four Things You Need to Start a Plumbing Business

  1. Training and qualifications prior to starting working as a plumber, you are required to obtain education and training from a certified trade school or apprenticeship program. Even though you have the skills for the job, official certification is critical, as you cannot start a business without it. It will be difficult to find clients if you are not qualified due to the fact that customers first check you out online and see your credentials and only then decide to hire you. the programs you can choose from vary not just from country to country, but also between states, regions, and provinces.
  2. The money side – you need to think about resources and capital, as starting up any new business is not cheap at all, and will almost always require that you possess an initial outlay of cash. As you will be an independent plumber, you will need to invest in a vehicle and equipment. The way you will get the money varies depending on what sort of market you intend to service. You can either fund your own project or seek cash from a bank, an investor, or a business partner.
  3. A solid business plan – just as it is the case with any other businesses, your plumbing business will need a decent business plan. Even though it takes time, it is worth it, since a comprehensive plan gives your new business structure, purpose, and a clear-cut strategy. What needs to be included in your plan are all of the key business details, such as financial projections, growth opportunities, marketing strategies, financing, short/long term goal outlines to mention a few. There are two options to make a good business plan – either to hire a business consultant to help you, or follow the tips available to help you do it yourself.
  4. The right attitude –you can succeed in any business only if you are positive and prepared. Every beginning is difficult and you will have to work hard to start with, but you should never give up. As long as you are enthusiastic about that, you can expect to succeed, and success is all about your attitude.

What You Will Need to Get Your Plumbing Business Started

The cost of starting a plumbing business

The first thing that you might need when starting a plumbing business is a small business loan if you do not have enough cash.

You can get it from your bank as all major banks have small business departments, which are designed to provide a range of financial options to its customers such as accounts, credit cards, loans.

You will meet a business expert who will be your support throughout the whole process and be available to you on an on-going basis.

His/her job is to give you advice and guidance when needed, but only if you have already made a well-thought-out business plan.

If you do not bring your business plan with you, your bank is going to lend you any money.

You can choose some other options when it comes to financing, such as applying for a grant and cooperation with investors.

An investor can be a family or you can look into angel investors, who are successful entrepreneurs in search of investment opportunities with promising businesses.

It is true that they are looking for a piece of the action to work, but they also have investment criteria and expectations that your business and you must meet.

Investing in gear

So as to be able to work, and if you do not already have your own equipment, you will need to invest an amount of money in tools.

Many people believe that this is the biggest outlay, due to the fact that the administrative costs of setting up a business are fairly low, while other costs can be quiet high.

Usually, plumbers first need a van where all of their equipment and tools can be put and driven.

Plumbing is a mobile business, and you will need to take with yourself everything you need, as you travel around your customers’ sites.

The amount of money that can be spent on a reliable is around $5000, but if you want to buy a brand new one, you will likely pay more than $50K.

Besides giving a huge amount of cash to drive away in a new van, plumbers will need to cover equipment costs that will also vary pretty significantly.

It will depend on plumber’s needs and preferences, but we suggest not buying cheap tools which can be unreliable and will deteriorate much faster than their better quality counterparts.

You should have in mind that in order to be the best plumber, you will need to invest a little more, but it will pay off.

Customers will rather call again a plumber with good quality tools.

Accounting, taxes, and government regulation

So as to take care of your scheduling, job management, and invoicing processes into one streamlined system, we suggest that you take advantage of Tradify.

This is considered a must-have tool by the majority of plumbers and they take control of their plumbing business with its intelligent, trade-specific features designed to keep your business in top gear.

As a small business, you definitely do not want to get hit with hefty back payments, interest rates, and fines that destroy your business.

You can successfully avoid this if you find a knowledgeable accountant.

It is advisable not to work on your taxes by yourself and simple math can show you that this is perfect advice.

Your salary is, approximately, $65 per hour.

If you do your own taxes, it takes you two hours of this daunting task per week, which equates to a cost of $6,760 a year.

On the other hand, if you pay an accountant, you will spend around $2,000 on him/her but will free up two extra hours a week, which will earn you back that $6,760 a year.

The other annoying thing you cannot ignore is government regulations and the right decision is to make sure you get it right from the start.


Insurance is another very significant this and you need to cover your plumbing business with it.

The insurance should cover your vehicle and equipment, as well as other essentials like general liability insurance.

Depending on your priorities and financial opportunities, you may take out some other policies like worker’s compensation, a general business owner’s policy, and income protection insurance.

You should talk to your small business expert at your bank, as sometimes they offer the package that will probably include insurance.

In case it does not, you will need to find a reputable provider of business insurance.

What Market Will Your Plumbing Business Operate in?

Scope out the competition

As your business will not be the only plumbing business in town, scoping out the competition cannot be skipped.

This is not an easy task but it is an important step and what you need to do is to find out about their strengths and weaknesses, according to which you will know how to beat them.

That is the only way to succeed.

Another path to start earning money among other similar businesses open and already working is to decrease your prices, but at the same time, not to be so low as to underestimate your skills.

You need to determine how much should you charge for your labor/time and the trick is to find a balance between quality and quantity.

You will meet clients who always choose the cheapest plumber, but competing on price is not always the best business model.

There will be clients who would rather hire a professional with high prices and those will be clients with superlative standards who will respect your work.

So, you need to think about what kind of service you will be delivering, and price your it accordingly.

Growth Opportunities

As a small business, growing into a greater company is something that is normal to expect and this is the goal that you should strive to reach.

It is not unusual that you start thinking about what your retirement might look like and getting there is possible only if you think well and find out more about the economic outlook for plumbers in your area.

You can choose to set up a business in a new suburb, which will likely translate into increased demand a few years later on.

It is better to open a company in an area where there are not so many similar businesses.

Where is your plumbing business going to operate?

It is in the nature of a plumbing business that it is a mobile job.

And the area that you will cover is very important when setting up your plumbing business.

What you need to think about are the areas you would like to service, and how you can take a geographical approach to optimize business.

We would give you an example to make things clear.

Living in an area that is full of plumbers and starting another plumbing company is not such a good idea.

Yet, if an hour away from this place there is hot demand, it could be worth the time and petrol to include that area.

It is true that you will need to pay for the trip, but the trip will pay for itself with lots of new customers.

The Importance of Finding Your Competitive Advantage

As you will not be the only plumber providing a service in your local area, the most important thing is to differentiate yourself from other plumbers.

That is a competitive advantage and it includes what you do better than all the others.

We suggest that you should be smart about developing and promoting your competitive advantage, thus your business will be better placed.

You will need to think about the following questions:

  • Do you specialize in a particular area?
  • Can you build a reputation for dealing with difficulties that other plumbers do not want to work on?
  • What kind of guarantees can you offer?
  • Is there a tech solution you could harness, something that no-one else is using?

You will need to discover whatever it is that sets you apart from everyone else.

That will help you win more work and make your business advance.

Get Ready for Launching the Business

Trial and test your plan

Now that you have all your tools and equipment ready to go, your business plan is ready, and you have your vehicle ready to go on a journey, it is time to launch your business.

We suggest that you first start by testing your plan and working your way towards a business model suitable for you, but you need to remember to spend less time planning and more time doing.

You should test ideas quickly, build on your success, and learn from your failures.

You can also make use of the Lean Start-up Methodology which is considered quite solid when it comes to learning to drive your start-up, set it the right direction and eventually, switch into top gear.

Scoring new clients

Your business will not function if you do not have enough clients and getting new ones is your main task.

So, when launching a new plumbing business, you need to make use of your family and friend whose households will definitely, at some point, need plumbing so you can start working there first and then, later on, you can start to build clients via other channels, as there are marketing channels like social media.

Your good or bad work will determine whether you will earn new clients or lose those that you already have, so be wise and do the best you can.

Potential Marketing Channels for Plumbers

The first very important thing is to be realistic and honest with yourself.

We live in a time when technology and apps develop so fast for trade businesses, so you need to be sure that you have checked out the plumbing software available to help save you time and make your business more efficient.

Your relationship with clients and the way you are dealing with customers also affects your success.

Plumbers sometimes need to solve problems customers might be embarrassed about – like blocked toilets – which should not be the case.

It is the best solution to identify weak points and take steps to work on improving your aptitude.

As your business would require some processes like accounting and web development, it is good to be familiar with them as well.

SWOT Analysis – this is a great way to understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as identify opportunities, and anticipate threats.

You are probably wondering what a SWOT analysis is, and we are here to explain this to you.

Usually, Strengths and Weaknesses are internal aspects of your business, and Opportunities and Threats are external forces.

The external factors can make an impact on your business in a negative or positive way.

  • Strengths – top strengths or benefits of your business, and how you can protect and enhance them.
  • Weaknesses – your top weaknesses and how you can minimize them or do better.
  • Opportunities – top opportunities for your business and how you can take advantage of them.
  • Threats – your top threats, and how you can minimize them

You should use this template, write them down, and have clear thoughts about your future business.

It Is Time to Launch Your Plumbing Business

When you think about the most critical aspect of starting and growing a plumbing business, we have to mention that you need to stay honest and loyal to your customers.

Do not be dodgy and ripping people off, charge fair, and always do a great job.

That way you will secure that they keep coming back and tell others about you which should be your goal.

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