Do you want to start a plumbing business with no money? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a plumbing business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample plumbing service business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample plumbing service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for plumbing businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a plumbing business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Plumbing Business?
If you are good in installing, replacing or fixing plumbing fixtures to enable them function properly in your home and those of your friends or family members, then you might need to consider going into plumbing as a business. With this kind of business, you need to ensure that you have been properly trained either as an apprentice or have attended a trade school to learn about plumbing, this will enable you to handle major projects. If you want to know the ins and outs of the business, then you need to consider becoming a plumber’s assistant.
Before you can start your plumbing business, it is necessary that you apply for the appropriate licensing and permit. Also, you will need to find out the laws guiding plumbing in the location where you intend to operate your business from.
This is because some areas make it mandatory for plumbers to be apprentices for several years before they can take the plumbing examinations and tests relating to local plumbing codes that will allow them to get their licenses. To stand out, most plumbers have resorted to taking additional training that will allow them become certified.
You will then need to research thoroughly about the market you intend to go into. This research will allow you decide if you intend to focus on a particular niche such as installation of new plumbing, sales of plumbing tools and supplies, or repairing of existing plumbing work.
If you however feel that you have the capacity to handle all the services, then you can as this has a chance of attracting more customers to your business than offering just a single niche or service. Another opportunity that a market research offers is that you are able to know what it is your target market want and what your competitors are offering and where you should step in to get the attention of your target market.
You also need to decide on the appropriate location for your plumbing business and have all the necessary tools and equipment in place, and then you need to strategize on how to attract the right customers to your business. To be able to successfully market your plumbing business, you have to fully know your competitors and know what they are offering to the target market in terms of services, offers, pricing and other factors.
Starting a Plumbing Business With No Money – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
The plumbing industry is one that has been lumped with heating and air conditioning by the United States Census Bureau. Therefore, businesses in this industry are nearly 154,000 and employing more than 715,000 employees. The recession of the economy in 2008 where there were many credit crises saw a decline in the industry by the rate of 1.3 percent annually. The economy is however expected to return to full health and activities are expected to pick up to make the rate rise to more than 2.5 percent especially as new construction and remodeling activities are expected to pick pace.
According to IBISWorld, there are no companies with a dominant share market in this industry and revenue generated by this industry amounts to $105 billion with a 4 percent growth from the period of 2011 to 2016. There are more than 116,000 plumbing companies in the United States of America employing more than 468,000 people.
According to reports by IBISWorld, residential construction is expected to increase therefore causing an increase in the industry demand. Also, operators in the industry are expected to grow as a result of the recovery in the real estate sector as this will allow businesses to increase their capacity.
According to IBISWorld, there is a very low level of market share concentration in this industry as no single company in the industry generates more than 5 percent of the overall revenue. Most operators in the industry are small scale and compete only in regional and local markets. More than 60 percent of plumbing companies according to the United States Census and IBISWorld, employ between one to four people, while only one percent of plumbing companies employ 100 or more people. According to the Occupational Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 10 percent of plumbers are self-employed.
Services and demand in this industry depend majorly on increase in new commercial and residential construction. Other demand services are for maintenance and repair works on structures that are existing. Due to the fact that most of the costs are fixed, individual profitability for companies usually depend on how much volume of work that the company can acquire.
Most of the large scale companies usually have an advantage in getting projects that usually require design and installation work, while small scale companies usually compete by specializing in individual markets and also focusing on customer service.
According to a report by Freedonia, plumbing services in the United States of America are expected to generate revenue of over $12 billion annually by 2019, rising at a rate over 6 percent. Large scale companies especially those in niches that involve installing or fixing high end fixtures will generate more profit than regular companies regardless of the scale and this is due to the fact that there are more clients going for high end fixtures especially with the recovering economy.
Technology and the rave for ‘green’ has made its way into this industry and to remain relevant, companies have begun to invest in training their staff to install new models of fixtures and fittings that comply with the new rave. Those that sell these fixtures and fittings have started stocking up on such products as manufacturers are constantly seeking for better ways fixtures and fittings can be produced to align with clients who are environmentally conscious.
According to U.S Bureau for Labor Statistics, demand for plumbers will grow by 12 percent between the period of 2014 to 2024 and this will be due to the fact that there will be new building constructions and systems requiring a more efficient form of plumbing systems. Also, plumbers that are into repairs and maintenance are expected to continue to receive demands even during economic downturns than those that work in constructions.
Starting a Plumbing Business With No Money – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a plumber is not restricted to just residential and corporate clients but also government agencies, hospitals, educational institutions, industrial clients and everyone one who lives in a building. This is because plumbing is available in every building that exists in the United States of America.
Therefore, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your plumbing business, then you would need to make it all encompassing in order to help you make the correct analysis about your target market.
List of Niche ideas Within the Plumbing Business That You Can Specialize in
The plumbing industry consists of operators who have to install and maintain plumbing fittings, fixtures and equipment. Most of the activities in the industry usually revolve around working on pipes and drains in households, installing cooking gas as well as heating appliances for bathrooms and toilets.
The services provided by plumbers such as unclogging of drains and repairing water pipes that have burst are usually very important and cannot be done without plumbers no matter how bad the economy has become. Because of how large the industry is, operators usually choose a niche so that they can easily stand out.
Therefore, some of the niches that a plumbing business might decide to major in include;
- General Plumbing Services
- Building Sprinkler System Installation
- Mechanical Services
- Steamfitting and piping services
- Lawn sprinkler installation
The Level of Competition in the Plumbing Services Industry
The level of competition in the plumbing business industry is fully dependent on the location of the business especially as this is a business that depends on having to physically meet with your clients in order to be able to offer your services.
When it therefore comes to how services are being offered in this industry, distance is a major determinant in terms of competing for clients in this industry. What clients want are those that would be able to deliver services on time and have a good track record of getting to the work site on time. This is why mostly local operators survive in this business as this is majorly a regional business.
To compete however, companies that are operating on a large scale usually sell franchises and in this way are able to spread their tentacles to other locations. Also, large scale companies can afford to open multiple locations for their businesses and are usually able to compete by offering more services and having more employees, therefore being able to handle more than one client at once. Small scale companies usually compete by offering more personalized services and choosing services that are needed by those in the target market.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Plumbing Industry
In every industry, there are brands that have stood out and have become popular to not only those within the industry but those outside it as well and this industry is no different. There are several reasons why a plumbing company would stand out from the rest and these include the fact that they are known for their reliability in terms of quality of service and or prices.
Other reasons could be their marketing and promotional activities and how long they have been in the industry. Therefore, some of the most popular plumbing companies in the United States of America include;
- ABC Plumbing and Rooter
- Crane Plumbing
- American Plumber
- General Electric
- The Plumbing Works
- American Standard
According to a research by IBISWorld, the plumbing industry as at 2013 was worth $95 billion, with most of activities in the industry dependent on the state of the construction industry. However, while this might look like the plumbing industry would largely be affected when there was a downturn in the economy that will see less construction of new homes and commercial buildings, demand for plumbers still are ongoing especially for already existing installations.
Operators in the plumbing industry aren’t just limited to installing and servicing plumbing systems, most have expanded into other services such as water treatment, installation of heating and cooling systems, fire and landscaping sprinkler systems as well as maintenance and emergency repairs of already existing systems. Also, due to growing environmental concerns, the plumbing industry has started promoting the application of technology that would further expand the activities of the industry.
The plumbing industry is a fragmented one that is made up of many independent plumbing business owners with none having a major share of the market. There are franchises in the industry but only one or two are well known. These franchises offer intending plumbing entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive training, have their business receive marketing and promotions for better visibility and also certain management tools that will elevate the average plumber and make them more professional and consistent in their services and values.
Starting Your Plumbing Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
Starting your plumbing business from the scratch or having to buy a franchise depends on what the desired goals and objectives of your business are. Whatever option you choose as an entrepreneur comes with pros and cons, therefore it is important that you conduct a research on each option in order to understand what is best for you.
If you are up for knowing how your business should work from scratch and being in charge of making all the major decisions for your company, then starting your business from scratch will be well worth it. Also, in starting from the scratch, you can easily change your decisions to adapt to changing trends should there be a need for that.
In buying a franchise, you will be skipping some of the more rigorous processes involved in starting your business from the scratch. This is because the company where you will be buying your franchise from will be taking the major decisions off your hands, leaving you to concentrate on building your business to the desired level you want for your business. You must however study the franchises available, their costs and their mode of operation to see if it aligns with yours.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Plumbing Business
Every business faces threats and challenges when starting or running their business and so as an entrepreneur, you should be ready for whatever challenges and threats will crop up. Some of the threats and challenges are those that you might not be able to handle and so if you aren’t adequately prepared, your business might end up crumbling.
Therefore some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to face during the course of starting your plumbing business include; having to face already existing competitors, competing with new entrants, changing government regulations and economic downturn which will affect how many projects you might have to undertake. There isn’t much you can do about threats and challenges except having laid down strategies that will allow you to successfully combat them.
Starting a Plumbing Business With No Money – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
There are four major legal entities that an entrepreneur looking to start a business in the United States of America has to choose from and they are; sole proprietor, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). In a sole proprietorship, the owner is solely responsible for all the decisions and actions taken in the company. All the profits incurred by the company go directly to the owner but so does all the losses incurred by the company.
Most entrepreneurs just starting their businesses especially on a small scale usually choose a sole proprietorship form of legal entity. The disadvantage with this legal entity is that the owner is held personally liable for any debts the company incurs should the company crumble.
The partnership kind of legal entity is one where two or more people come together in agreement to run a company. In a corporation, owners are considered separate from the business. This therefore means that should the business run into any sort of trouble, the business will be sued as a separate entity and the assets of the owners will be protected. However, a corporation is usually difficult to set up as it involves a lot of paper work and too much legality. To set up this legal structure, it is best to get an attorney or an accountant to help out.
In an LLC, the owners are often regarded as being separate from the business just as in a corporation, but the difference between the two legal entities is that an LLC is easier to set up than a corporation. Also, in an LLC, owners have the taxation benefit that partnerships have. With this kind of legal entity, it is usually easy to source for funds from external factors.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Plumbing Business
When starting a business, it is necessary to think up suitable names for your business that will not only be catchy and memorable but also one that is unique and indicative of the industry you are in. You should ensure that you pick more than one name for your plumbing business so that if the intended name you want to choose has been picked, you would readily have another name at hand to check for its availability.
Below are some catchy names you can consider choosing for your plumbing business if you cannot readily come up with names;
- All Things Plumbing Inc
- Plumbing and More
- Bob Plumbing Services
- Triple Gee Plumbers
- Screws and Faucet Plumbing
- T Minus Plumbers
Having the right insurance policies for your business is very necessary especially as you would be running a business where anything could go wrong during repairing or installations either with your employees or your clients. Knowing what insurance policies to purchase for your business will allow you know how much to set aside for your business and so you might need to engage the services of an insurance agent or broker to help you in choosing the right insurance policies for your plumbing company.
Below therefore are some of the basic insurance policies you might need to consider purchasing in order to start and run your plumbing business successfully;
- General Liability
- Plumbers Liability Insurance
- Independent Contractor’s Liability
- Health Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Overhead Expense Disability Insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Business Owner’s Policy Group Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
This is a business that deals with installations and or repair of plumbing facilities and therefore there is no need to apply for intellectual property protection of any sort. There have been instances though where entrepreneurs who are plumbers have built equipment and pieces for use but these ones are those who are into manufacturing. If this is a niche for you and you have built something then you might need to get in touch with an attorney to file the necessary paper works for you.
If however, you are only offering basic plumbing installation and repairing services, then you might not need to bother with applying for an intellectual property protection except where you intend to protect your logo or company name.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Plumbing Business?
Before one can become a plumber that will work either in residential, industrial and commercial situations, it is necessary that one gets certified. The certification allows the intending plumbers to know about plumbing theories, safety procedures, system layouts, pipe identification, tools of the trade and also the trade terminology. It is expected of intending plumbers to not only get trained and become apprentices but to also pursue certifications as well.
Therefore some of the certifications that you would need to work towards achieving if you intend running your own plumbing business include;
- Plumbing Techniques
- Plumbing Tools and Equipment
- Heating, Ventilations and Air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
The more qualifications and experience you garner for your business, the better you will be able to bid for industrial, government and corporate jobs.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Plumbing Business
The plumbing business is a very serious one and as such it is important that you have all the required documentations at hand before you can start or run this business without hitches of any sort in the United States of America.
Once you do not have the necessary documentations at hand, you will get into trouble with the law and you might not only be financially penalized but you might also be banned from running the business in any part of the country. Therefore, it is necessary that you find out all that is required of you before starting or running the business by either going to your city hall or engaging the services of an accountant.
Below are some of the legal documents that you will need to have in place if you intend starting your plumbing business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Business License and Permit
- Business Plan
- Contract Documents
- Federal Tax identification Number
- Insurance Policy
- Retail Licenses
- Employment Agreement
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Financing Your Plumbing Business
While starting a business might seem fantastic on paper, it is the ability to bring the business to reality that makes an entrepreneur become closer to achieving his or her intended goals and objectives. One of the reasons why businesses remain ideas on paper is usually due to the fact that there isn’t available finance to make it become a reality.
Sourcing for finance is one very daunting task that an entrepreneur must face, which is why having a comprehensive business plan at hand can help the entrepreneur source for funds more easily, as he would be able to convince potential investors of his commitment to the business.
Below are some of the financing options available to entrepreneurs who intend to source for funds for their plumbing business;
- Raise part of the capital by using personal savings and sale of certain properties
- Source for soft loan from friends and family members
- Approach investors for a loan
- Apply for loan from the bank
- Raise money by getting a business partner
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Plumbing Business
There are certain factors that you would need to take into consideration when choosing the right location for your business and this includes; nearness to your target market, your overhead and operating costs, as well as convenience for your employees.
If you are starting this business on a low scale, and aren’t yet ready to employ anyone, then you might consider running this business from home. This will save you a lot of overhead and running costs, however, it might limit your market severely to just those around you and might not allow you expand your business as you will.
If you intend to run your business from home, then you will need to build your online presence – such as website and social media platforms – well so that you can easily catch the attention of your target market that would not have otherwise known about your company.
Entrepreneurs starting this business and intending to run a business that is able to bid for corporate and industrial projects usually rent or lease a facility and employ more people to help them achieve their desired goals and objectives. If you intend to compete favorably against your clients and have certain perks, then it is necessary that you consider leasing or renting a commercial facility to run your plumbing business.
In leasing or renting a facility with which to run your business, you have to ensure that your facility is easily accessible for employees and clients and that it is conspicuous and not too far out. You can engage the services of a real estate agent to help you choose the right location for your plumbing business.
It is also important that you set aside a budget so that you do not end up spending more than you are supposed to and then causing a strain on your overall budget.
Starting a Plumbing Business – Technical & Manpower Details
The plumbing business is one that requires a substantial amount of money to start up, therefore as an entrepreneur, you would need to ensure that you have your start-up capital ready before starting this business. The cost that you would need to start and run your business will vary greatly depending on what experience you have and where you intend to locate your business.
Having the necessary tools and supplies is very necessary to running a successful plumbing business. However, while some of the equipment you need can be gotten at a fairly used rate, and others rented, some have to be gotten as brand new in order to serve you for a long period of time.
Some of the supplies that you will therefore need in order to run your plumbing business successfully include; pipes, fittings, a truck, pipe wrenches, propane torch, reciprocating saw, extension cords, circular saw, computer, phones, printer, fax machines and scanner.
While some plumbers running a very small operation might work by themselves, if you however intend to run a medium to large scale plumbing business that is very successful, then you will need to hire a team of employees to help you attain your desired goals and objectives.
This is called building a business structure and it is therefore important that you only hire those who are competent, have the best experience and qualifications, understand and are also committed to helping you achieve your stated goals and objectives.
Therefore those that you would need to hire in order to successfully run your plumbing business are; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), office manager, human resources and admin manager, plumbers, accountant, marketing and sales executive, business development executive, front desk officer, driver and cleaner. From the above break down, you will need at least 12 key staff in order to run your plumbing business successfully.
The Service Delivery Process of a Plumbing Business
The process involved in the plumbing business depends on niche you intend to major in. However, you are expected to have the necessary license and certification with which to start and run the business.
Also, it is important that you have all the equipment and tools that will allow you run your business efficiently. Some of the tools that you would require for the business are those that can be rented, gotten for fairly used or bought brand new.
Clients usually love to see a profile of the successful jobs you have completed, especially if you are bidding for an industrial or corporate job. So, it is essential that you build up your profile with low profile jobs before aiming to go for high ranking clients.
Starting a Plumbing Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Marketing is very crucial to the growth and success of a business, which is why entrepreneurs usually take this aspect very seriously because not only do they get to generate revenue for the business via marketing, they also get to increase awareness for their business to their intended target market and other stakeholders in the industry.
To however craft marketing strategies that will be effective, it is essential that a market research be conducted first. Conducting a market research will enable the entrepreneur know all there is to know about the industry, competitors, and target market. This will then allow the entrepreneur use the information gathered to craft the right marketing strategies that will enable them penetrate the market and also stand out.
New entrepreneurs starting this business always look for experienced marketing executives or consultants with knowledge about the business to help in drafting the right marketing strategies that would push the business to the forefront.
The marketing strategies created have to align with all the core values and objectives of the company so that intended goals and milestones can be achieved.
Below are some of the marketing strategies and ideas to be used for a plumbing business;
- Ensure that you place adverts in newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Introduce your plumbing business to industry stakeholders by sending a formal letter that has a brochure containing your services, rates and your contact information
- Ensure that your plumbing business is listed in online directories as well as in yellow pages
- Install billboards in strategic locations to market your plumbing business
- Pass out handbills and fliers in strategic locations
- Empower your marketing executives to market your plumbing business physically and via online
Strategies to Boost Your Plumbing Service Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
Every company in existence – either profit or nonprofit – knows the importance of creating the right strategies that would help boost the awareness for the brand while also creating a corporate identity for the company. The benefits that publicity brings for a company are innumerable, which is why already existing and large companies do not mind spending a fortune each year to generate the right publicity for their company.
Another reason why you would need to take publicity for your brand very seriously is because not only will you create awareness for your business but increased awareness most often translates to increased revenue, which is what is needed to sustain and grow your company.
Knowing the right publicity strategies to draft might not be so easy, which is why most entrepreneurs in this industry usually seek the services of a publicity consultant who has enough experience and knows the industry well, to come up with the right publicity strategies that would make them stand out from other competitors in the industry and attract the awareness of the target market.
The internet and technology has made it easier for companies to reach more of their target market at costs that have been deemed cheaper. Creating a website and having social media platforms are some ways companies are taking advantage of in order to boost awareness for their brand.
Below therefore, are some of the ways you can boost awareness for your brand whilst also creating a corporate identity for your company;
- Ensuring that you make use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus to create more awareness for your plumbing company
- Participating in local and community events in order to create more awareness for your plumbing company
- Distributing handbills and business cards and pasting fliers in strategic locations to create more awareness for your business
- Creating a website and having a distinct logo that clients and stakeholders in the industry can easily identify
- Placing adverts for your plumbing business in newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Ensuring that your staff wears customized tee shirts that clearly has your logo when out during field work