Plumbing is an excellent trade to be in. There is a steady stream of residential and business customers needing these services on an ongoing basis. However, plumbing businesses differ from one another in terms of their pricing, professionalism, and skills. Below we look at the five things you can do to make sure your plumbing business stands out from your competitors.
1. Terms and Conditions
If you are yet to realise the importance of having terms and conditions in place, you are quite possibly unaware of the dangers inherent in this business (see here). Having to defend yourself in a court case is costly and there is no guarantee that you will win. This could potentially destroy your business overnight. Also, make sure that you are properly insured.
Get the customer to agree to a price before you start working on the problem. Often, the bill is more than the customer expected to pay and they may refuse the amount. Your quote should include materials, your hourly rate, and your profit margin. You should give a rough, rather than exact, estimate of how long the work will take so that you can fairly claim those hours if the job takes longer than anticipated.
3. Upfront Deposits
Wise owners of plumbing businesses always insist on an upfront deposit. For a job where the mass of the cost lies in the price of equipment, such as replacing a geyser, you can request 100% upfront. If the customer cancels the work order, you will be left holding onto an expensive item you do not need and risk your cash flow. Deposits must, therefore, always cover at least the materials and markup from suppliers’ prices.
4. Professional Work
Always deliver work of a high standard. Make certain that you leave the property in the condition you found it (or better). Respect your customers’ homes, family, and possessions. If you are asked to leave a door closed to keep pets in safely, be sure that you listen to this instruction and do not become liable for a missing pet, or worse. This could ruin your reputation.
5. Business Software
Modern, competitive businesses make effective use of the software that technology makes available. Your processes will be improved. You will be able to monitor the plumbers who work for you. Electronic solutions do away with a lot of the paperwork you would otherwise deal with. You will always know at what stage any job is.
Some software will enable you to record work on grids that drill down to individual plots and give you a view of the whole system. You will be given a percentage of work orders to inspect for quality control. These inspections will identify when your plumbers need extra training.
Essentially, you need a job management software for your plumbing business. This will schedule and track every job and plumber, calculate operational costs (labour, vehicles, and materials), close jobs, and issue invoices automatically. This enables customers to settle their accounts quickly online.
In addition to job management software, you should consider plumbing project management software. This will allow you to operate your business online completely, including giving quotes. It will assign labour (teams of workers and a supervisor) to jobs and plan your schedule. Inventory will be monitored by the system, with items used from the store being allocated to work orders and subtracted from inventory on-hand. New supplies will be added, enabling you to have this information at your fingertips upon demand.
This guideline gives you the edge over your peers in the plumbing business.
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