If you're thinking of launching your own plumbing business, you should first decide on what kind of plumbing business you want to run: service-oriented or product-oriented. You can either go it alone or hire on others to work with you. You can choose to be an independent business or belong to a network of franchised plumbing services or co-op of plumbers that use the same brand. As with all business ventures, there are specific state, local, and professional guidelines, as well as certifications and licenses that are required in the plumbing trade.
Don't forget to utilize valuable resources in your area such as the local chapter of SCORE or a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Find out if there is a local chapter of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) that can provide you with information and the requirements of setting up a plumbing business. After being established, a membership in such organizations can provide you access to business and management training, along with professional development resources. Once you have the proper certifications necessary to work as a plumber, you are going to need a business plan. Figure out how much money you're going to need to get your business going and how you're going to pay it"cash, investor funding, business loan? The Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to assist you with this process.
A product-oriented plumbing business acts as a supplier of pipes and tubing equipment. Plumbing supply businesses also sell tools and other gear. As a micro-entrepreneur, you can do this business right out of your house. If you have the skills and tools to do the job, don't bother with a sophisticated setup until growth requires it. (Registration and licensing are still required, regardless of where you operate.) Plumbing is an industry that does a lot of traveling around, reducing the need to have an office.
A service-oriented business means you will be a contractor. If you want a crew to work with you, you'll need to find reliable, skilled, and experienced plumbers, if you don't already know some. As a contractor, you're required to buy the equipment and tools your workers will need along with managing all business operations (when hiring plumbers, be sure to ask if they have their own tools"some of them likely will, thus reducing your costs). Plumbers are a skilled lot, and below are just some of the things that make a good plumber:
" Proficient at handling soldering torches and other plumbing-related tools.
" A creative mind and ability to problem-solve.
" Willingness to work in tight spaces.
" Willingness to travel around the city for jobs.
" Good in math and adept at measuring. Knowledge in chemistry and physics is also important.
Get your business out into the public eye by placing an ad in the Yellow Pages, advertising on the internet, and asking all your customers to refer you to some great new clients (the service industry always does best by word-of-mouth referrals).