Tom Mascari is the President of Mendel Plumbing & Heating. For 30 years, Mendel established a reputation for being a premiere commercial plumber in Fox Valley, IL. Mendel Plumbing & Heating also specializes in residential plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical services.
Some of the main factors necessary for running a successful plumbing business are the same for just about any other type of company: Provide a service your customers cannot do without, and do it so well that yours will be the first name they think of when they have a plumbing issue. However, you obviously have a lot of competition out there, so how do you separate yourself? These are just a few of the ways you can build a sustainable business.
Build Word of Mouth
If you are just starting, you may not have the budget to promote your company in the newspaper, or on TV or radio. Though word of mouth still remains the best advertising vehicle. People want to do business with someone they can trust; the higher profile your customers, the better. If, for example, you do a job for a local governmental entity or the school district, make sure people know. Get testimonials and put them on brochures that you distribute throughout the city.
Generating Leads and Converting Leads to Sales
Most plumbing companies have a goal of breaking even within a year or two, but there is nothing wrong with turning a profit sooner. There are a few strategies that can help you get to that point. For example, provide rewards for customer referrals, or offer discounts to return customers. Offer follow-up services to make sure your customers are still happy with your work. Consider establishing a frequent buyer program to reward loyal customers and keep them coming back.
If you do not have a website, it is time to embrace the Internet and all that it can provide. A well-designed, well-built site can drive a steady stream of customers to your business. There are several Internet marketing companies that can help you establish an effective online presence that will take very little day-to-day effort on your part.
As great of a plumber as you may be, there is only one of you. If your goal is to build the most successful plumbing business you can, that will mean taking on far more jobs than you could ever complete on your own. You will very likely need to fire yourself as a plumber and hire yourself as a business manager. You will need a solid grasp of the administrative components of your company, such as personnel, marketing and finances. There is no way you will be able to focus on those areas if you are still making service calls every day.
Learn About Overhead
One of the main stumbling blocks to building a successful plumbing business is not having a clear understanding of your costs. If you do not have the most accurate picture possible of the expenses associated with providing your services, you will have an extremely difficult time correctly setting up your pricing structure. As a result, it will be nearly impossible to make a profit. You need to take a close look at all of your costs, including labor, equipment (don’t forget to take factors such as depreciation of vehicles into consideration), marketing and materials. You also need to have an idea of how many jobs you need to earn in order to start making a profit.
Do Not Become Complacent
It is natural for some people to get to a certain level in their business and then lose the drive that got them to that level in the first place. If you want to build the must successful plumbing business you can, complacency can never be allowed. Your reputation is your most important asset; you would be shocked at how quickly your business could fail if you allow a lackadaisical attitude to set in and your work begins to suffer as a result.
In order to increase profitability, you need to continually improve wherever you can. The stronger your reputation, the more trust you build among your customers. The more trust you build, the more work will come your way. As long as you remain passionate and love what you do every day, your chances of success will be very good.
Thoughts? Any tips missed that you would include? Let us know in the comments!