Here's a question we get asked a lot.
Can a plumbing business be really profitable?
Often the person asking finds our answer difficult to accept.
The simple truth is, there are many hugely successful businesses operating in the plumbing space here in Australia. Companies that make good money, year in year out.
The challenge most small plumbing business owners face is not scarcity of good work. It's not scarcity of customers prepared to pay a good price, either. There are heaps of both.
What's lacking are the skills needed to grow and manage a business that can consistently handle the work at scale.
They don't yet know how to build and manage an organisation that employs other people besides themselves and immediate family.
You don't train to solve those problems as an apprentice. And they're not skills that tend to come naturally.
Not convinced? Check out this list and cross out the problems you think any decent certified plumber should be expected to know how to fix.
The 7 most common complaints from struggling plumbing business owners
- I can't get paid what I'm really worth because competition is all about price.
- I can't find and keep plumbers that care as much about customers as I do.
- I can't get my subbies to deliver consistently according to my standards.
- Cash flow is unpredictable because I need to pay for labour and materials, but end up waiting to be paid.
- My margins keep shrinking because I face rising costs I can't easily pass on.
- I'm working ridiculously long hours and can’t afford to take time off.
- Success of the business depends too much on one person –me! I have to wear all the hats.
All those problems are things that can be fixed. But not one has anything to do with the technical knowledge a plumber needs to get a license. They're all business management problems. And that's what keeps us busy as business coaches.
Do you want to grow and scale a plumbing business?
Our specialist Business Coaching and Mentoring program for trades and services has been running for years. It gives plumbers and HVAC contractors strategies, tools and training to:-
- Grow their reputation and sales and consistently attract better, more profitable work
- Build and manage a high performance team whilst maintaining profits.
- Master the financial aspects of the business.
- Comfortably handle the increased workload with the help of systems
- Get off the tools and take at least as much holiday as your employees.
How will business coaching help your plumbing business?
This is by no means the full list, but here are some of the most important areas our coaching will help you with.
Helping You Free Up Your Time
Making more time for yourself is a strategy everything else depends on. To improve your plumbing business you'll need to free up your time from working long hours on the tools. Besides improving your quality of life and giving you more energy for what you do, you're going to need more time to work on your business.
As such, a good deal of our coaching program focuses on how to do that.
Helping You Develop Systems
Systems allow you to delegate effectively and improve quality, efficiency and consistency in your plumbing business. Only when you have systems in place for your most important processes will your team be able perform well without your constant supervision.
For many plumbing businesses we coach, systems proved to be the gateway to success they were looking for when we first started working together.
Ultimately, it's going to be the quality of your systems that determine how many clients you can service at once, and how well you can handle more business when it comes your way.
Lack of skilled labour is one of the most common barriers to growth every plumbing businesses has to deal with in Australia. Whether you're hiring your next member of staff, or just trying keep the people you've got, you'll always be competing with least one other plumbing company for the same recruit.
So if you really want to grow your business, a lot's going to depend on mastering the arts of attracting, training and keeping staff. Otherwise it won't be possible to scale and run your company effectively.
That's why, we put a lot of effort into helping you develop strategies to increase the size and quality of your workforce.
Sales Strategy and Training
Plumbing is a competitive industry. As you go about selling your services you can count on having to compete with rival businesses, especially for the better paying jobs.
Just as you need proper plumbing skills to do the work of a plumber, you're going to need proper sales skills to convince customers to choose your service over the competition on a consistent basis.
Amongst other things, your sales strategy covers whom you spend your time talking to, the steps you take to qualify customers and win their business, and the resources you use along the way.
Before you can go out and splurge $2k+ per month on a digital marketing package from that highly recommended agency, there's some important groundwork you have to get right first.
Neglect it and you might as well put your marketing dollars in a pile in your back yard and set fire to them. It'll be quicker and a lot less less painful.
But get this groundwork right and it will be hard to fail.
Some of it revolves around coming up with clear answers marketers need from you in order to do good work. The rest of it is all about high level management of their activities and ensuring you get value for money from them.
The two most important aspects of financial management we coach you on are:
- Optimising Cash Flow: for a profitable business, this means reducing the time it takes for debtors to pay you and extending the amount of time you have to pay your creditors. But note, to create consistent positive cash flow, you also need to make a profit.
- Ensuring You Make a Profit: Assuming it has a flow of business, there are two crucial requirements for any business to ensure consistent profits.
- A detailed financial reporting system that provides up to date information on income and outgoings.
- Accurate knowledge of the breakeven point for every service it provides. In our experience, most small plumbing businesses get this wrong!
It's very hard for a business to survive unless it's making a consistent profit and has positive cash flow. That's why financial mastery features large in our training.
As already mentioned, this is not a complete list of what our coaching service covers - but these are some of the big areas of focus.