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How to start a plumbing business

Partnering with an already experienced plumber or employing a raft of plumbers can be an effective way to set up in the plumbing industrys How to start a plumbing business

Whether it’s to mend a dripping tap, install a new bathroom, or upgrade an entire house, plumbers are always in demand.

To start up your own venture it’s recommended you’ve worked for at least two or three years as a plumber, but this isn’t the only way to get into the biz.

Partnering with an already experienced plumber or employing a raft of plumbers and making it your remit to focus on the business side of the set up can also be an effective way to set up in the plumbing industry.

Skills and qualifications

To become a plumber with the aim of setting up your own business as a long term goal, you’ll need to be a practical, hands-on kind of person who’s not afraid of getting wet and dirty. You’ll also need good people skills, the ability to follow plans and drawings, and have a head for figures. GCSEs in maths, science and English are a usual requirement. You’ll also need an industry-recognised qualification such as a level 2 NVQ in plumbing and heating. Depending on where you study, there may be loans and funding to pay for your course. You could alternatively take a more basic course in plumbing skills which might help you find a trainee position with an established plumbing firm. You can also apply to become an apprentice plumber where you will earn as you learn.

What the job involves

You’ll service, repair and install water, heating and sanitation systems, and if you have the right qualifications, you may also work with gas appliances, including boilers. Working in domestic and commercial premises, your day to day tasks might include finding and fixing faults, installing water, drainage and heating systems, and giving cost and time estimates for potential work.

Start-up costs

You’ll need a reliable set of plumbing tools and a van to carry it around in. You will also need to budget for marketing and branding costs. Your reputation is also critical to winning work, so include too prices for joining trade schemes such as The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE). Being able to use these logos in your marketing will make you look more professional and reassure potential clients as to the quality of your work. Being a member can also provide support to manage your business and keep up with changes in legislation. You will also need to take out public liability and product liability insurance - and as plumbing can be a pretty risky business, premiums can be quite high.

Getting the work

Ask around - efficient, reliable plumbers that don’t cost the earth are in short supply. This should mean that it isn’t difficult for you to get work – but marketing is still going to be key. Come up with a catchy name and an original, visually attractive logo and repeat it on all your marketing materials including your van. A door-to-door leaflet drop is a great way to get your name out there - to start, do every job, no matter how small. Do it well, you might might get asked back, or recommended to a friend. Social media is free and great way to raise your profile in the local area, while low cost ads in community magazines can also be an effective way to bring work in.

Stand out from the crowd

There are lots of plumbers out there, so how come finding a good one is so hard? The reality is that many plumbers get the basics wrong. However good you are, if you charge too much, you’ll be short on work. Likewise, if you do a shoddy job for cheap – you’ll never get asked back. Nor will anyone recommend you. Word of mouth is key to drumming up work, so getting it right on the day is crucial. Doing a good job for a reasonable price is obviously important, but what will make you different to everyone else is turning up on time, tidying up after yourself and being polite. It isn’t rocket science, but it works. Read more like this

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