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Ideas For Running A Successful Plumbing Business
Written by Laura Cocker
As a small business owner it can be hard to compete against the big guys. Your secret weapon is your personal touch. The fact that you are a local, community business is your unique selling point, and you need to exploit it to make your plumbing business a success.
When clients are looking for a plumber, who are they going to choose: some guy out of the phonebook, or the ‘community plumber’? The community plumber is the go-to plumber for the whole of the local community. He is the plumber that is most recommended by friends, family and respected local businesses. He is a man whose face and vehicle can be recognised. He will always do a good job, and always charges a fair amount.
This article gives a few ideas about how a small plumbing business can raise its profile in the local community. The key to a successful plumbing business is building loyalty and trust so you can get regular, repeat business.
Plumbing Business Idea #1: Recommendations
Every plumber knows that word-of-mouth recommendations is the most effective promotion for his business. But have you considered the importance of who is recommending you?
Recommendations from the most respected people in your community will have a greater impact than the recommendations from your regular customers.
Identify the most influential people in your community. These are the people that you need to win over first. Make contact with the local school and ask to quote next time they have work that needs doing. Name-dropping is fine when carrying out a job. If you worked at the Town Hall, mention it to a customer. It all helps build your profile as a plumbing operation that is respectable and can be trusted.
Plumbing Business Idea #2: Networking
All entrepreneurs need a solid network of contacts who can help their business thrive. Write a list of potential contacts that could benefit your business. For example, realtors and builders will have information about homes and business where plumbing work may be needed. They will also come into regular contact with potential customers, so the could win you new business by recommending your services.
Once you know who you need to network with, you need to establish how you are going to do it. Are there trade fairs in your area? What community events can you attend? Do you have friends that already get along with a potential contact? Work slowly to establish a relationship with each of your potential contacts. Then, don't let them go. It may be harder to re-establish a relationship that has gone cold, than it was to make the contact in the first place.
If you can make these people care about you, then they will care about your business. When they see a good opportunity for you, they will contact you. If they hear someone needs a plumber, it will be your service they recommend.
Plumbing Business Idea #3: Collaboration
The other plumbers in your neighbourhood are not your competition, they are your team mates. Together you will be stronger. There will be times when you are asked to attend an emergency and for good reasons you won’t be able to. Instead of disappointing your client, put them in touch with another plumber who can help, and you trust. That client may call you again in the future, instead of just scrubbing you from the address book. And one day the other plumber may return the favour. Similarly, there will be times when a job is too big for one person.
Your unique selling point is that you are a local service. But that can be your downfall, since large nationwide companies have the resources to be open 24/7, and to staff large projects. Don’t let that work go to a huge national plumbing company. Join forces with another local plumbing business and deliver the project together. Better to have half of something, than all of nothing.
Reputation Is Key
The key to running a successful plumbing business is your reputation. It can be tough to find the time to reflect on your business, its achievements, and how it needs to develop. Continuous improvement is essential to maintain and further your plumbing business' profitability. By building the reputation of your company in your local community, you can establish a brand people can trust, and with that will come a stream of profitable work.