5 Valuable Tips for New Plumbing Professionals

Jun 17, 2019 by

Plumbing has traditionally been the territory of small, family-owned companies and independent workers, but making the jump into owning your one-man show is still a huge personal milestone. From the excitement that follows every phone call to the hard work involved in expanding your client base, the baby steps you take during your first year will be first and foremost a learning process.

Put together by trusted plumbers in Lancaster, Texas, the following five tips will help you turn that process into a success story.

1. Pick a Niche and Turn it into a Brand

Most available plumbing work will always be small home repairs, but this is where you’ll also have the largest amount of competition. Start specializing early on and carve yourself a niche where you’ll be the only (and best) provider in town.

At first, aiming at healthcare sanitation, bathroom remodels, or Jacuzzi installations will feel like wishful thinking. However, the aim here is not to reject the “generic work,” but to create a recognizable brand name and image that sets you apart from the hundreds of local listings.

2. Never Stop Learning – or Showing it Off

Even after becoming a fully licensed plumber, the chances are that there are many procedures you’ve never had a chance to perform. If you are specializing in a specific industry, such as healthcare or kitchen installations, the doors for continuous learning expand even further.

Taking small courses covering extra OSHA regulations, handling of materials, or interior design tendencies are more than just habit; the classes themselves are also a great opportunity to network. Attending manufacturer-sponsored workshops also gives you an opportunity to appear on their local “preferred providers” list and to negotiate supply prices directly with their agents.

3. Cultivate Transparency and Professionalism

Your business and your name should always be associated with good, old-school values, including transparency and reliability. Clients want to know exactly how much they will pay, when, and why. Turn yourself into the plumber they want to hire by being open about your suppliers, the insurance coverage you have, and your billing practices. When you give an estimate, always be specific about what it includes and what it doesn’t.

Your public image and the kind of first impressions you provide also matter. Whenever you’re meeting a new customer, make sure your work overalls look neat and ready to work. Keep a fully stocked toolbox with you and make sure you have all your commonly used supplies nearby. Don’t forget to protect your reputation by being extra candid about deadlines, and if you are not ever sure about one, try to under-promise and over-deliver.

4. Find the Affordable (or Free) Advertising Spots around You

Emergency repairs are a valuable source of new clients for plumbers. In order to harness these opportunities, you’ll need to be at the tip of your client’s tongue. If a traditional advertising campaign is prohibitive at this stage, go below the line to find free (or nearly free) marketing opportunities.

Local job boards, home improvement shops, and hardware stores are full of people planning new constructions. Talk to local taxi or Uber drivers and leave them with some call cards and fliers in their cars. Play around with the name of your Facebook page and add a location to your website to ensure you are shown in area searches, directly below the sponsored ads.

5. Get Recommendations Ready

One of the first things that most people recommend to homeowners looking to hire a plumber is to ask about references or pictures of past jobs. This can be tricky for new professional plumbers, but telling them that “you don’t have any yet” simply won’t cut it.

Remember that quality often beats quantity; you don’t need a portfolio with 10 different names. Instead, talk to an old instructor or trainer to give a personal reference instead, or get a well-respected local figure – sports coaches and religious ministers are particularly reliable – to stand for your work ethics.

Getting a new business off the ground is hard work in any industry, but for plumbers, both competition and the required trust needed before hiring someone can make it especially difficult. It’s never too early to build a name and a reputation for yourself.

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