Plumbers are an integral part of everyday life, providing a valuable service to their communities. But, owning a plumbing business is no easy feat. Here are some ways that a plumbing business owner can keep his or her business running smoothly.
Think like a business owner, not a contractor
If you’re a plumbing business owner, then you probably began your plumbing career as a contractor. It’s important to recognize the many important differences between working for someone else and running your own business.
As a business owner, actual plumbing work is only one part of what you have to do to keep your business running. You now need to take responsibility for marketing, finances, employee management, and more.
All these tasks can be overwhelming. Luckily, technology can help with many of them. Hate scheduling jobs and tracking down payments? Struggling to manage leads? You can outsource these duties to a field service management software.
The transition from employee to business owner can be difficult. You probably enjoy being out in the field — that’s why you got into this career in the first place. Keep in mind that if you realize that you really prefer fieldwork over business management, that’s fine too. Plenty of plumbing businesses would be thrilled to hire you.
Know the cost of doing good business
Setting your prices appropriately is key to running a profitable business. Not sure how much to charge? Consider all the costs involved, including your time, tools, materials, and business expenses. Add everything up and convert it into overhead dollars per billable hour, and then set your rates.
Don’t make the mistake of missing hidden costs. For example, many plumbing business owners use their own trucks or tools they purchased years ago, so they don’t consider these items as additional costs. But, the wear and tear you put on these materials will add up, and you’ll eventually need to buy new ones. These costs should be included in your prices.
Understanding all of your costs is crucial to your overall business strategy, too. If you don’t know how much doing good business costs you, you won’t be able to predict your profits or achieve cost-lowering goals.
Take the time to recruit and train qualified employees
Your employees are another factor that will make or break your business. Of course, it’s important to have great employees, but perhaps you’re wondering how to attract them. Get started by implementing great recruiting and training.
When recruiting, write clear job descriptions. Make sure your employees know the expectations of their positions and follow up with them to ensure they’re meeting these expectations. Invest in your new employees with extensive training to get them up to speed with your performance standards.
Clear communication and valuable training also help create a positive company culture. Your employees will see you as tough but fair and know that you care about their success in their jobs. Great company culture is ultimately what causes people to stick around and contribute to your company for many years.
Later on, maintain the business family you’ve created by sharing team success stories, offering bonuses for good work, and hosting team events.
Have checks and balances in all areas to ensure smooth operation
You’ve set up strategic goals for bookings, materials costs, and time spent per job. But, you still need a system that checks whether those goals are being achieved.
Compare your booking rates to the number of jobs actually completed. Pay attention to what materials are used in each job. Check-in with your employees frequently to see if there are any issues that you are overlooking. ServiceWorks can help you easily track bookings, payments, and inventory.
When you keep everything organized and on track, your employees and customers will notice the difference as well. This is just one more way for you to stand out among competitors.
Welcome progress to move the business forward
The most effective plumbing business owners are not afraid of progress. In order to stay competitive, you have to keep up with new trends and technology. For example, in the past, most people made appointments with a plumber via a phone call. Today, more and more customers expect to be able to book online and receive an instant appointment confirmation.
You may be thinking, “my customers like things the way they are!” You could be right, but remember that plumbing businesses face at least some natural customer turnover every year. You need to constantly attract new customers, and these days customers are expecting more.
You probably know all about the newest plumbing tools, but you should keep track of innovative business management tools as well. Software that makes your everyday processes more efficient can save you time, money, and stress.
Following these five tips for plumbing business owners will make you, your employees, and your customers more satisfied with your work. If you need some help on the technical side of things, consider using ServiceWorks to manage your business. Try ServiceWorks for free for 14 days to see the difference it makes for you.