Starting a plumbing business is an excellent career choice because your services are constantly in high demand. Every building has pipes, drains, and valves – and there’s a shortage of licensed plumbers who know how to repair and maintain these parts. Setting up a plumbing business puts your destiny in your own hands.
Here are the 10 steps you need to follow so that you can learn how to start a plumbing business.
1. Finish your plumbing apprenticeship
Before starting up a plumbing business, you must earn your state-required certifications and licenses. In most states, the requirement for becoming a master plumber is to serve as an apprentice for 4-5 years. Through this paid, on-the-job training, you’ll earn your license and learn everything you need to know to set up your own plumbing business.
Click here for a state-by-state guide to licensing requirements, or check the website of the government department responsible for accreditation in your state.
2. Write a business plan for your plumbing business
Whether you’re starting a plumbing business or any other type of business, it’s crucial to have a business plan. Your business plan is where you list your operational and financial goals and explain how you are going to achieve them.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Which types of plumbing will you specialize in?
- Who are your target customers?
- How much capital do you need to begin (and do you need financing)?
- How long will it take you to become profitable?
3. Name your business
Your name is the first thing people see when they encounter your plumbing business, so it needs to be good. The trick to naming your company is to strike the right balance between standing out and inspiring trust.
Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Your company name should preferably have between two to five words.
- It should contain the word ‘plumbing’ or a word associated with plumbing, like ‘drains’ or ‘pipes.’
- It can be humorous or contain a pun, like some of these great plumbing business names, but obvious enough for people to understand it’s a plumbing business.
Once you have a name, check your local Yellow Pages and do a domain name search to make sure it’s available.
4. Register your plumbing business
Each state has its own fees and requirements for how to set up a plumbing business, although the types of business entities are pretty much the same across the country. A sole proprietorship (or partnership, for two or more people) is easiest to form, but an LLC protects you from personal liability if someone sues your business.
5. Register for a tax ID number
As a condition of forming an LLC, you will be required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Don’t let the name mislead you: even if you don’t plan on hiring any employees, you will need an EIN to file tax returns, open a bank account, and borrow money.
On the subject of tax reporting, syncing your invoices with QuickBooks or other accounting software will make your life easier in the long run.
6. Open a business bank account
If someone sues your business, being registered as an LLC isn’t alone sufficient to protect your personal finances. When starting a plumbing business, it is essential to maintain “the corporate veil,” or a fancy way of saying, separate your business and personal life. This includes having a dedicated business bank account and business credit card.
7. Get equipment and tools
They say a person is only as good as their tools, and this remains true to this day. Knowing your plumbing will only get you so far. To really succeed in the business, it’s worth investing in a high-quality toolkit containing all the usual wrenches, pliers, and everything else you think you might need. You will need to factor this into your initial costs, but the good news is it’s a one-off.
8. Get business software
One of the most surprising things about setting up a plumbing business is just how many things need to get done behind the scenes. From scheduling to invoicing, and job tracking to communicating with clients, every day involves countless little tasks that take crucial time away from getting out into the field. Thankfully, we live in the digital age, which means there are software programs like Workiz plumbing field service management, that can automate all those admin tasks and give you more time to do actual plumbing work
9. Get a vehicle
Having a work van isn’t only necessary for getting you and your equipment to where your customers are. It also provides free advertising space! There are broadly three ways of painting your vehicle: full wrap, partial wrap (covering ¼ to ¾ of the vehicle), or auto decal (which can be cut to any size). Your wrap/decal should contain your business’s name, logo, contact information, and perhaps some imagery.
10. Establish an online presence
Even in an industry like plumbing, where all your work takes place in a physical location, having an online presence is essential. That’s because these days, it’s more common for people to search for a plumber on Google or social media than to open Yellow Pages.
Here are three ways to get online:
- Create a website. All you need is a domain name, web-hosting service, and a cheap website building service like Wix or SquareSpace to go ahead and get started.
- Create social media channels. Facebook and Instagram are good places for advertising and getting likes and reviews. YouTube is a great place to promote your business with videos, e.g., free plumbing tutorials.
- Advertise online. Set up pages on Thumbtack, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or similar websites where you can advertise your services and get more work.
In one way, starting up a plumbing business is similar to installing a plumbing system in a building. Both involve many different parts. Without a bank account or scheduling app, your business can’t function properly. Without all the proper pipes and valves, the plumbing system won’t work. Starting a plumbing business involves a fair amount of legwork, but it’s worth going to the trouble to have control of your destiny.