How to Start a Plumbing Business

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First of all, you need to decide what kind of plumbing business you wish to engage in, whether it is service-oriented or product-oriented. This article discusses what it is essential for service-oriented plumbing business. Obviously, you would need a plumber for this trade; as well as registering your business and acquiring a license. You would also need to advertise your services.

The age old question remains, “Where’s a plumber when you need one?”

Well, if you are starting your own business involving skilled workers working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures for water systems and drainage, then you should know exactly where your plumber is. If you wish to launch your own plumbing business, the first thing that you should decide on is what kind of plumbing business you wish to start: service-oriented or product-oriented.

If you are a business entrepreneur and you want to start a product-oriented plumbing business, you basically act as a supplier of pipes and tubing paraphernalia. You can also sell tools and other equipments to supplement your plumbing supply business. On the other hand, a service-oriented plumbing business can go two ways: a plumbing and heating business, and a fix-‘er-upper.

The former is a business arrangement where you set up the necessary components of plumbing, heating and drainage in any architectural structure. The latter, on the other hand, is the most common type of small business plumbing type. The fix-‘er-upper (from the term fix her up) is when a house owner calls up a plumber to fix a broken sink or a clogged toilet, etc. This kind of business can still be categorized further as contractor and small business plumbing.

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For purposes of discussion in this article, we will detail what business entrepreneurs need to do in order to start a fix-‘er-upper plumbing business.

Obviously, you would need a plumber for this trade, preferably a skilled plumber who can install and repair piping systems, plumbing fixtures and water heaters. If you are a contractor, you need to know where to find reliable and trustworthy plumbers. Try to hire ones that have the most experience and are able to do quick work with minimal supervision. If you have inexperienced workers, it would be best to apprentice them with your veteran plumbers on their first few runs. As a contractor, it is your duty to buy the equipments and tools your workers need, get them to your clients when called and bill your clients accordingly. The plumbing business is a lucrative trade, if and when your plumbers can get to a job on time.

Starting a plumbing business like this entails registering your business, acquiring a plumbing business license, and even maybe acquiring plumbing business software so that you can bill your clients immediately and precisely. Transportation is important.

The other type of fix-‘er-upper plumbing business involves just you, provided of course that you are a plumber. As a micro-entrepreneur, you can start this business from home; you don’t even need a complicated business set up as long as you’ve got the skills and tools to do the job. A successful business of this sort still needs to be registered and licensed, so don’t overlook that.

Your business success is actually dependent on two things: how well you do your job (that your clients will seek and refer your services often) and how well you advertise your trade. As a plumbing business owner, you know that your services will not have a running start unless people know that you are a plumber, and that your services are available.

Plumbing business cards are essential. If you can’t afford these as of yet, putting up flyers and home-made posters can do most of the advertising for you. However, nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising. So tell your friends and family members that you are starting a plumbing business and ask them to help refer you to potential clients.

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56 Comments

  • 1. John Hawkes said on 6/11/2009 11:48:25 AM
    Thanks for the info. Was very helpful!!
  • 2. jon said on 8/15/2009 3:24:32 AM
    one question: how much would this all cost ?!?!
  • 3. humza said on 9/4/2009 6:40:43 AM
    how much will i earn in plumbing a week?
  • 4. James expert adviser said on 9/4/2009 8:03:30 AM
    @humza, It depends with the country you live in and your time invested. Your experience will matter in fixing things so more you are experienced the less time you take to repair and you become more popular at the same time.

    Jestin James
    Startup Biz Hub - Senior Advisor (Staff)

  • 5. john said on 11/21/2009 8:08:15 PM
    in Ponca city Oklahoma can i do the fixer upper plumbing myself without a contractor's license
  • 6. albert said on 1/4/2010 12:19:18 PM
    albuquerque, new mexico, united states. What insurances are needed and ball park price to start small plumbing business. Myself and one other worker. I have a pluming license, will i need a contractors license, if so what type. I plan to work out of my home to start.
  • 7. albert aycox said on 2/2/2010 11:02:14 AM
    i want to start a plumbing service business in Detroit Mi Wayne.
  • 8. Bill said on 2/11/2010 11:07:46 AM
    Pensacola FL USA. I would not start my own but open a branch off of another’s license. As of now I have a good job making over $20.00 hr. I do know a lot about plumbing but should I give up my current job to open a branch for my friend? What are the pro and cons of my own pluming branch?
  • 9. Linda said on 3/11/2010 6:21:55 PM
    MIDWEST- As with any business, there are many pros and cons of owning a plumbing company. First of all, you have to ask yourself if you are ready to not only handle the technical aspects of plumbing, but the business end of things as well. Can you deal with customers on a daily basis and handle their issues in a diplomatic and courteous fashion, day in and day out? Are you able to deal with the fact that once you own a business, everything is your fault? It's a major responsibility and I suggest anyone interested in opening up shop do a lot of homework. Being in business for one's self is one of the most challenging endeavors a person can be involved in. Your phone will ring, day and night. You will wake up in the morning (EVERY morning) and realize that you do not have a steady, guaranteed job to go to. But that every job is your responsibility to seek out and finish- or you will fail. I do not wish to discourage ANYONE at all- but everyone needs to understand that business is not a walk in the park. On the flip side, waking up in the morning and realizing that you are a success because of what YOU do (and not someone else) is probably the highlight of your day. Not having to answer to a boss and creating your own schedule is also very rewarding. In conclusion, if you can honestly say that your worst day as a business owner is better than your best day as an employee- GO FOR IT.
  • 10. Joe said on 3/23/2010 11:10:53 PM
    Total Plumbing solutions Decatur, TX. For those of you sitting on fence trying to decide if you want to go into plumbing business. You need to have a master plumber on board. You will also need to buy general liability insurance, at the very least. Yes you can start out with a few tools & a truck, be sure that your auto ins agent is aware of this, cause the sign you put on your truck is very valuable advertising space. Trust me you can grow from there, just remember do very good work & most important be honest with yourself & customer. There are a lot of self help things on the www. It is not easy as it sounds you will have to work a lot of long underpaid hours, but keep plugging. You will find that you meet a customer that will send you more buss. & that helps you on to the next one. It is very rewarding to find yourself doing what you enjoy for a living.
  • 11. Zeke Z. Zelch said on 4/22/2010 9:23:30 PM
    Zelch Plumbing & Mechanical Company in Mid-Missouri. I have been in business for myself since 2006 after switching from the active Air Force to the Missouri Air National Guard. I have enjoyed 100% of the good times and hated 100% of the bad times. With the current economy as it is, it is imperative that you do efficient advertising. As with any company, word-of-mouth is your most effective form of advertising. When you do a good job at a fair price, people talk. If you mess up, are sloppy or you are way too high, people talk even more. I have found a niche in Mid-Missouri offering a quality plumbing at rates on-par with my most expensive competitors. We have been very successful and are growing each year from barely nothing, to two service trucks and several employees. The best thing to do when starting a plumbing company, is to have some good capital to start with. Then you really need to have at least one Master Plumber on staff. If you are, like I am, a Master Plumber this is very simple. However, you should not rely on this business as your main source of income for a couple years. I am still amazed at how many people don't know we even exist after over four years of business. Oh well, just advertise and do good work and you'll be fine. Good luck and happy plumbing!
  • 12. Liz said on 7/17/2010 8:16:59 PM
    I would also recommend creating a business plan before you start your plumbing business. It's essential to plan out in writing the type of clientele you want to target, how you will be reaching your target market, what kind of marketing plan you may have. Try to assess the costs before you officially start, and save half to one year's worth of salary before you quit your current job. You may not have customers right when you start, so the extra cash will come in handy while you're growing your business.

    To keep costs low, you can find tons of low cost resources online and through your local small business government resource. One other suggestion I have is to keep on top of administrative tasks such as billing and collecting payment from customer. Instead of sending an invoice to customers after the service is complete and wait for the payment to come in the mail, or carrying around another set of equipment to collect payments (ie. your POS system to charge credit cards), you can opt to collect payments using your mobile phone. By doing this, the customer's credit card is charged immediately, and you know immediately the funds are secured in your bank account or not.

    One option is Payment Boss from Sage Software. Once you charge your customer's credit card, the funds are immediately secured. Your customers receive an emailed invoice. You don't have to write invoices or do additional paperwork. All your invoices are tracked through a billing software so you know who paid what amount and for what. Gives you an ability to better manage your business, and can keep track of your cash flow. I know this because I've used it myself, not for the same industry, but for a similar type of situation. Anyways, thought I'd share!

    Full Disclosure: This author has been compensated by Sage.
  • 13. adams said on 8/14/2010 6:36:40 AM
    I am interested in setting up a garbage collection and cleaning company in kampala uganda please help me with the necessary information. thanks.
  • 14. Abiodun Onasanya said on 9/3/2010 8:04:58 PM
    My father was a technical college instructor. He also practiced the trade. I have been a professional plumber since 1992. I understand it is very lucrative abroad and l want to go there to ply the trade. I need a mentor that i will work for over there till i can find my feet. I live in southwestern Nigeria(ogun state). abiodunonasanya@yahoo.co.uk. +2348081777801. Thanks.
  • 15. Brian Plett said on 10/3/2010 6:26:18 PM
    planning for starting a Plumbing business in Dayton NV 89403 USA
  • 16. kenny oyebanji said on 10/8/2010 1:04:54 PM
    i want to start plumbing business and i need financial assistant. Though, in the past i was only based on service oriented but now l m combine the two together. i had seventeen years experience in service oriented. i resided in south west part of nigeria. i'm looking forward favorably to hear from you.
  • 17. demetrice holland said on 1/18/2011 3:16:24 PM
    my business is located in douglasville ga i have my class 2 plumbing license,i would like to start a plumbing service need start up money,i have a business plan on hand.
  • 18. Varon Cook said on 4/4/2011 11:07:46 AM
    Owner / Operator of a successful Plumbing Company, Cook & Son's Plumbing, in West Georgia
  • 19. sambit rao said on 6/10/2011 1:35:02 PM
    i want to start a plumbing business in india,plz. guide me.
  • 20. Won Kim said on 11/7/2011 3:01:49 PM
    I am in small plumbing repair business right now in Los Angeles. I would like to expand my business to water heater provider. What do I need to set this business up? Do I need plumber's license? Do I need to buy bond? Thank you very much. Won
  • 21. Atimango Grace said on 12/31/2011 3:35:15 AM
    Am a plumber just fresh from the College (Uganda Technical College Lira) currently am working as private Plumber under the company Name Gramos Company Limited i just want to Know the better way to advertise my work to the local community of Uganda Gulu in Particular
  • 22. Collins said on 4/12/2012 2:53:30 PM
    I am plumber in calabar, cross river state, southern, nigeria. I have find out since when i was child up til now, this state has never knew any regularity board or plumber association, Lack of this it has make the state a dumping ground for manufacturer company and dealers to exploit our own plumber and the general public. Pls help me how can i start an association to help stop it. Or appropriate channel.
  • 23. Bonire abdulrahman said on 5/11/2012 12:48:28 AM
    I am a final year student of geography @ the federal university of technology minna, niger state nigeria. Started learning plumbing as a child and now a good hand in it. Am thinking of coming up with a small plumbing firm of mine in Abuja, nigeria before the year runs out (i.e immediately after graduation). Please, what are those things required of me to start up a good and successful plumbing firm. You can reach me through my email, bonireabdulrahman@yahoo.com
  • 24. Tshepo Mashego said on 6/5/2012 8:59:07 AM
    hi i'm from South African i need any information regarding the set up a plumbing business. Any input would be appreciated thanks in advance.
  • 25. daniel o'sullivan said on 6/28/2012 6:48:53 AM
    i am a qualified self employed plumbing and gas engineer in england, i install all kinds of domestic central heatings, boilers, bathrooms and kitchens, i have alot of different qualifications ie, water regs, unvented hot water, gas boilers, cookers, water heaters, nvq levels 2 and 3 i have ten years experience, what do i need to do to start working in texas? will i need to get different qualifications ? licenses? i would like to work for a plumbing company at first to get me started and then hopefully start out on my own as time and work progresses. i am a very hard worker and very experienced with customer relations, i just need to get a start somewhere new and texas is ideal as i have family out there. your advice would be highly appreciated
  • 26. suketu ahir said on 11/26/2012 1:03:20 AM
    i have many worker, i am good contractor.
  • 27. derrick said on 12/6/2012 9:03:26 AM
    Hello to all, After reading the great comments, I wanted to share a Free resource that deals with the most important part of running a business....... Marketing. I have run a successful Plumbing service company in Philadelphia for 14 years, and put the best advice I will give anyone in the guide. How can I share it with the group?
  • 28. daniel said on 12/11/2012 3:19:55 PM
    I'm a plumber and I like to work abroad...so I need help....thanks for will....
  • 29. msizi said on 12/12/2012 5:42:54 AM
    I have a certificate in plumbing, I currently self employed I fix every plumbing I hv 4yrs exp now, I need a job in a ig plumbing co to gain more experience pliz help(0027844687567)
  • 30. George said on 12/15/2012 2:49:34 AM
    Hi. I George i doing plumbing part-time 6yrs exp i stay in centurion Pretoria gauteng province.
  • 31. George said on 12/27/2012 4:17:49 AM
    hi i am doing plumbing maintenance i stay in olivenhuotbosch pretoria gauteng South Afriaca
  • 32. Faizz said on 12/30/2012 12:58:21 AM
    Hi, i am faizz from India, and i want to state that i want to do the plumbing business with repair and services. but i am not myself a plumber. so please suggest me some basic things which i require in initial stage for myself...?
  • 33. Pradeep kumar said on 2/3/2013 9:36:03 AM
    I'm a private plumber i residential area i have experience 6 year i live in (faridabad) city, (haryana) (india)
  • 34. anil kushwaha said on 2/26/2013 5:27:41 AM
    i am a plumbing contractor in Delhi badarpur area please call now
  • 35. brian said on 3/6/2013 1:18:13 PM
    Same as above: I have over 20 yrs. in new construction plumbing, remodels, service and repair.
  • 36. Ranjit Pradhan said on 3/23/2013 1:21:27 PM
    I WANT TO START MY CONTRACTRY OF PLUMBING
  • 37. Ranjit Pradhan said on 3/23/2013 1:28:55 PM
    how may i register for plumbing contractors business
  • 38. Bryan said on 4/2/2013 3:13:18 AM
    In the process of getting qualified in plumbing ( Red seal stamp) currently in construction on a big scale, and feel I need 2 do 1 trade I enjoy the most 2 master.. Starting my own plumbing biz shortly... Thx 4 ur tips.. All plumbing needs call me 082 0812220
  • 39. WILLIAM said on 4/15/2013 1:16:51 AM
    i own a small owner /operated plumbing service business in San Mateo calif been in business for 6yrs in the trade for 23yrs however I'm struggling financially to keep the doors open. I have great local " yelp" reviews one great running service truck 20yrs of tool& equipment I can't seem to grow my business I'M LIVING PHONE CALL TO PHONE CALL !!! SOMETIME ONE TO TWO CALL PER WEEK ! I NEED HELP PLEASE
  • 40. Thembelani yalezo said on 5/15/2013 8:18:18 AM
    Hi am a plumber i have 7yrs experience am working on a contract for municipality in south africa i would like to start my own plumbing business i have tools i would also like if there is someone to fund me help would be appreciated. thanx am from port elizabeth
  • 41. james matishi said on 5/29/2013 1:49:56 PM
    Am a Zambian plumber with 20 years experience in plumbing maintenance and construction plumbing. i understand it is lucrative abroad and i want to go their to ply my trade. i need a mentor that i should work with over their till i find my feet. James matishi
  • 42. oriel said on 6/23/2013 8:47:18 AM
    Write I have been in the plumbing new installation and service. I'm. In south Africa, johannesburg. I want to know what I can do to increase my clients? Especial on pricing. I do bath rooms, putting up geysers. Sometimes I under charge. When I try to charge a profitable price, the clients complain or don't give the job at all. Doing business have became very expensive. Any advice will help. Thanks
  • 43. Tapiwa said on 9/1/2013 9:23:01 AM
    I am a class 1 plumber, i have 1 year 9 months post apply, live in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe
  • 44. vertex said on 12/14/2013 4:34:49 PM
    I am a bachelor degree holder in educational administration and planning. Due to unemployment for about four years after graduation and a burning desire for a worthwhile life, i intend to enroll as a plumbing apprentice in lagos-Nigeria, by January 2014. ?
    1.What is the minimum duration for plumbing apprenticeship which skills can win me contracts from hotels, banks, homes and other would-be clientele?
    2.what are the major work tools required especially as a plumbing apprentice?
    3.Is plumbing actually a profitable and rewarding venture?
    4.Suggest other skilled trade you consider having a shorter apprenticeship span, more demanded, easier to learn and having more profitability prospects.
    Your professional advise and contributions will be most appreciated via e-mail: ogboliver2@gmail.com or sms-07033953922. Great regards!!!
  • 45. solwazi said on 1/10/2014 1:00:25 AM
    i am starting a plumbing company in jhb south africa how can i make people to know my business.
  • 46. Raymondmbewe said on 1/28/2014 11:58:54 AM
    I'm a plumber in zimbabwe southern Africa the problem which i'm facing is i find jobs like maintenance or new installations but when it comes to charges it becomes a problem even to pay i dont know what can i do
  • 47. Luke said on 3/17/2014 5:54:05 AM
    I am a graduate but i want to be self employed so am planning to go into plumbing and am also planning to set up a plumbing bizness pls I need someone to help me on where to do d apprenticeship pls my email is lukechielozona@yahoo.com I am residing portharcourt Nigeria
  • 48. donald said on 3/27/2014 4:25:48 PM
    i'm stding plumbing at fet , i have 2 yrs now at school and i like to be a construction plumber and to state my own plumbing company , gave me steps what should i do first before i state it. Follow me on my email is motebangd@gmail.com
  • 49. kathleen said on 4/14/2014 9:15:11 PM
    Where can you find the lowest plumbing supply inventory in the houston, tx area for a small plumbing business..
  • 50. kathleen said on 4/14/2014 9:19:40 PM
    My family member owns a small plumbing business, but part of the problem involves finding plumbing supplies. The other plumbing companies are charging too much for the supplies they need. Where can he buy plumbing supplies closer to cost in the Houston area. Other than this problem, they are growing each year.
  • 51. guri said on 5/15/2014 9:11:52 AM
    hello I want to start plumbing supply store in on. canada but have no idea what kind license I need. where should I get supplier contacts please help me
  • 52. Munyeti eric said on 3/21/2015 6:50:03 PM
    I have a certificate in plumbing from namulanda technical institute currently self employed lfix every plumbing i have 3 yrs experience, i need a job in big company stay in uganda kampala
  • 53. freddie said on 6/9/2015 4:12:14 PM
    I am a class 1 plumber in Johannesburg South Africa my contacts ar +27624657204
  • 54. Tsakani said on 4/4/2016 8:05:56 AM
    Hy I'm Tsakani who want to start my business as a plumber i want more info on how to start I'm from South Africa Pretoria. .contact me 0787078189
  • 55. pieter said on 5/5/2016 5:38:41 AM
    hallo everyone im from south Africa, Harrismith,want to start my own plumbing business,i got my certificate but need job sum were to gain exp,call me 0727845958 i would love to start a business with some one.im going to do my boilermaking if its not working!
  • 56. James said on 2/2/2017 11:44:48 AM
    Texas plumber for 12 years, getting set up to take my masters test. I know I have to take a RMP course, & get general liability coverage of $1 mill. Auto insurance that covers the moving of flammable gasses. I would like to know what else I need. It will be a solo start all expenses coming from me. What other requirements are required or rather what am I missing to protect myself and family? If you are a owner operator that is willing to advise me please contact me at iconsorchan@yahoo.com once I have a company name I will make a more professional email. Thank you in advance for your time in reading this.
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