What’s the Hardest Part About Running a Plumbing Company?
If you are thinking about starting your own plumbing company, you may wonder about the ups and downs this type of work can offer. While you gain a lot of hands-on education when it comes to running a business in general, a plumbing company can have its own set of difficulties you may not consider.
Learning the Language
If you’ve been around the plumbing industry for several years, this may not be much of a concern. However, if you are somewhat new to the industry and thinking about making that first big step into business ownership, learning the language can be difficult.
Not only will you need to learn and understand a wide range of business entrepreneurship terms and phrases, but you will also need to understand the complete ins and outs of plumbing terminology.
In addition to understanding these terms and phrases yourself, you will need to have a good enough grasp on them to simplify it for your customers. In most cases, your customers will not know what most fittings are or why they are important, but will still want to be kept up to date on the service. It’s your job to explain the damages and repair possibilities to them in a simplified and easy to understand way.
Dealing with Regulations
Regulations for the plumbing industry can be incredibly complex, covering everything from insurance and licensing to permitting, workman’s comp, and much more. Requirements can also apply to very specific parts of plumbing systems, and city-level restrictions can complicate things even more.
The best way to make sure that you’re meeting all necessary regulations is to work with a local business planner. They can help you through the process and connect you to other resources to simplify the process, so you don’t have to spend as much of your own time untangling the regulatory framework.
Working with Customers
Customers can sometimes be the biggest hurdle when it comes to your own plumbing business. Not only will you be dealing with a variety of issues when it comes to setting foot on another person’s property, but you will also be forced to establish the groundwork that comes with getting paid.
On large jobs, you may offer a payment plan. This can become a major hassle in some cases as customers refuse to pay, become unable to pay, or start questioning the validity of the charges.
Always keep your composure when dealing with difficult customers, and ensure you have legal action on your side in case a non-payment claim needs to be filed against a homeowner.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Attracting and retaining good plumbing technicians can be a huge challenge, and for good reason. Many plumbers would rather put a few years of work in, and then go to work for themselves, rather than work for another company.
The best way to attract and retain great plumbers is to think about the value proposition from their perspective. Many of these plumbers want to be in business for themselves because they value the freedom, dignity, and potential profit from owning their own business, and they’re willing to trade stability and a straightforward job for it. Therefore, it can be a smart move to find new ways to support and incentivize your plumbing employees:
- Provide free on-site snacks and refreshments for all employees, including high-protein energy bars and energy drinks, to help keep them energized
- Don’t overdo it with excessive company policies, restrictions, and meetings
- Give them the freedom to make decisions and solve problems on their own terms whenever possible
- Provide them with fun incentives, such as rewards for earning glowing reviews on Google or Yelp
- Give them opportunities to give good, constructive feedback and voice their concerns
The best way to attract new talent is to take good care of your current employees.
Plumbing work can be physically demanding. The constant bending, kneeling, lifting of heavy fixtures or pipes, and other physical demands can ruin your joints, strain your muscles, and more.
Getting pinched fingers, a variety of scratches and burns can quickly turn a once rewarding job into a painful case of self-abuse. Installation is probably one of the most demanding parts of plumbing.
Having to install porcelain or cast iron toilets and tubs in an upstairs room requires you to carry the heavy and large item upstairs without damaging it. This can lead to pinched fingers, stubbed toes, and bruises on your legs.
In addition, working with hot water pipes that reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more can lead to scalds and burns on various parts of your body. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the chance you may get covered in sewage or have to crawl on your stomach in extremely tight spaces under a house or other building.