Small Business Brief


7 Steps to Get Your Plumbing Business Off the Ground

If you’re just starting out with your plumbing business, you need to know how to market yourself so you can get to work. Here are seven tips to get you started.

Want to start your business, but not sure about the nuts and bolts of launching it?

82% percent of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. There’s a lot that can go wrong in the launch phase and chip away at your profits. To succeed, you need to have a solid idea of how to get your business off the ground.

That’s why we’ve put together 7 steps to help you get your plumbing business started without springing a leak.

1. Plan It Out

If you know anything about plumbing, you know it’s a bad idea to get stuck in without a plan.

The same’s true in business. Just like in plumbing, you need to have an overview of the situation and understand how A connects to B.

Take the time to create your plan of attack. Decide your company’s focus. You’re looking at a plumbing business, but you can narrow that down to your particular niche. Perhaps you specialize in commercial properties, for example.

Your business plan should be a document you return to time and again. You should refresh your memory of it constantly, and turn to it when you don’t know what to do next.

Create a general idea of what your company’s growth will look like. Include expectations for how many people you’ll hire, your starting budget, and your estimated profit. These all shape how you’ll develop your business.

You’ll also want to spend some time thinking about your target audience. Are you providing services to individuals or businesses? Is it a local area, intercity, or national enterprise?

Construct Your Brand

Every business needs a brand, including a plumbing business. Your brand communicates a lot about your business to your customers.

For instance, a local plumbing business might choose a friendly, light-hearted brand. That tells people that your company is the helpful neighbor type, the kind which customers trust to complete small jobs with a smile. You could come up with a fun mascot and use a tongue-in-cheek name or a local reference.

A local, friendly brand even suggests practical elements of your business. In this case, it could imply you’re likely to focus on smaller jobs and have high availability.

On the other hand, you might be aiming to build a larger company with a view to working for other businesses. If so, you likely want a more professional image with a name to match. You’re communicating that you’re serious about your job and ready to work with other businesses.

With just these two examples, you can see how your brand sets the tone for your business and tells your customers about your purpose.

Ideas about your brand should emerge as a natural part of your planning process. When drawing up your plan, you’ll get an idea of who you intend to work with.

Build a Website

A website is now a vital tool even for a plumbing business.

It’s fair to say there’s a market for everything these days. But the biggest problem for small businesses remains discoverability. It’s much easier to find the larger brands than it is the smaller ones.

Websites help level that playing field somewhat. A site gives you a space on the internet, which you can then use to promote to other sites. It also means people can discover you through a search engine.

Just as your plan shaped your brand, your brand will shape your site. Whether it’s appealing to local people or business-to-business selling, you’ll need your site to align with your aims.

Your site will be the home of your brand online. A cheap, tacky site might do the basic job, but it’ll limit the growth of your brand in the long term.

Make sure your site is easy to use and well presented. We’re deep in the age of mobile browsing now, so it’s also important it looks great on any device. Each failure of your site is another chance to lose a customer.

A good website will serve as a solid foundation for your business. From here, you can build outward to extend the reach of your company.

Get Help

Being an entrepreneur isn’t the same as doing everything alone. Knowing when to get help is the trickiest part of running a small business.

It’s your job to be an expert in your niche. You can’t expect to be an expert in everything else. Work with those other experts to get what you want.

For instance, you can hire someone to build your website. Or hire a marketing company to promote your brand. By farming out work in the right way, you can greatly increase your efficiency and reduce time spent on things not directly related to your core plumbing business.

Even calling in favors from friends and family can make all the difference. Your immediate social circle is your ready-made audience. Even if they don’t use your services directly, they’ll be more than happy to promote them by word of mouth.

This also helps you get over the initial embarrassment about self-promotion. Most of us don’t self-promote in your daily lives, but businesses live and die by it. Asking for help will train your brain to think like a business, not an individual.

No business is an island. Smart businesses don’t let pride get in the way. They know they can’t survive alone, and they’re not afraid to find help where they need it.

Make Connections

Speaking of social elements, the right connections can make or break a business. In a practical trade like plumbing, they’re even more relevant.

Strong connections are the best route to new opportunities. Word of mouth referrals generate a lot of custom for maintenance services, so you want to connect with the right people.

Some of your connections will come from businesses you work with. But you should also connect to other businesses in your niche to carry your brand forward.

You might have some reservations about working with direct competition. That’s natural, but you could always aim to connect with businesses just outside your niche. For instance, a plumbing business could connect with a company like Custom Fittings Ltd. It’s the same customer base, but a different service.

Make sure you’re known for being easy to work with and gregarious. The more open you are to working with others, the more connections will drift your way. Building a strong reputation is key.

Market Your Business

Marketing may sound intimidating, but it’s the only way to overcome that discoverability problem we mentioned earlier.

Your customers need to know you exist before they can engage with you. It’s that simple.

You’ll decide how much time and money you pump into marketing by looking at your plan. You need to fit it to your means and your overall goals for your business.

If you want to start small, consider promoting through social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are great for getting the word out – and it’s easy for people to pass your details on, creating a snowball effect.

Take it a little further by purchasing paid advertising on social media. This’ll put your business details in front of your target customer groups.

You can take marketing to almost unlimited lengths, so it’s up to you to decide on your budget. You’ll want to refer back to your plan and adjust your marketing spend to suit your goals.

Take Feedback

Want to keep your business improving? Listen, listen, and listen again.

You can use feedback to improve almost every aspect of your, from your service delivery to your website and business finances.

Feedback is how you’ll adapt and find new ways to do more for less. For instance, speaking to your customers will tell you which services they value.

It could be you’re providing an extra level of customer service which doesn’t create any notable increase in satisfaction. By cutting that service, you’ll free up more time without losing goodwill.

Learn from people more experienced than you. Work closely with your accountant to ensure you’re using your money as effectively as possible. Speak to others in the trade to learn the pitfalls to avoid. When someone with experience talks about the future of the plumbing business, pay attention.

Use your website analytics to figure out who’s coming to your site, from where, and why. That’ll give you a starting point to tweak your site to better match your customer base. Or you can double down on a particular marketing stream which is generating a lot of customers.

This shows just a few ways feedback shapes your business and drives greater efficiency.

Get Your Plumbing Business Off the Ground

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If you follow these tips, you’ll get your plumbing business off the ground and on its way to becoming everything you dreamed it to be. But the most important part of business is to keep learning. Stay humble and keep your ear to the ground. Keeping the mindset of a newbie will ensure you’re always ready to learn new things.

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