Expanding Your One-Man Plumbing Business
Running a business by yourself is a daunting endeavor in any field. Running a plumbing
business by yourself, which requires you to spend most of your time traveling around to your customers’ houses, is doubly difficult. Nobody knows plumbing better than you. But the actual business part—taking calls and promoting yourself to build up customers—can be difficult just to maintain when you’re always on the go, much less to expand. How can you do it? Here are a few tips for increasing your revenue while easing the overall burden on yourself.
- Branch Out. Your existing customers know they can trust you for high quality service. Finding a contractor you can trust is a difficult proposition, and a lot of people are willing to pay extra to guarantee high quality service. And your customers know they can trust you to provide them with that high quality service. So if you started offering additional services, such as heating and air conditioning, home maintenance, etc., you could tap into your existing customer base and create an additional revenue stream. Rather than having them pay you by the job, offer them annual service contracts that guarantee prompt, quality service and regular maintenance when they need it, for an upfront fee. The customers who know and trust your work will gladly pay a little extra for that peace of mind.
- Generate Leads. Marketing to your existing customers is great, but if you want to keep your company running, you need to be continually on the lookout for new customers as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of good ways to get the word out about your business and generate leads. Offer existing customers a discount or other reward for referring new business. Send out postcards or flyers to houses in the neighborhood. Even having a sign on your truck with your company logo and phone number can generate interest in your business. Any way you can find to get your company’s name out to the public represents a source of potential sales.
- Use an Answering Service. When you spend most of your day making house calls, you’re generally too busy to answer the phone when a new potential client calls. So they leave a message, and you call them back when you can find the time. In the meantime, they could well end up finding a different plumber—one who picks up the phone when they call. However, you can rectify this by using an answering service, or a virtual receptionist. A service like this can keep your phones covered 24/7, taking messages, and making sure every call you receive is handled quickly and professionally. Not only will this ensure you’ll never miss a call again, it also makes a great impression with customers, making it look like you have a much larger and more organized business, rather than just a one man operation.
- Outsource. One of the best ways to expand your one-man plumbing business is to hire another person, to shoulder some of the load. However, many people are reluctant to do that, as it adds the extra responsibility of maintaining employees. Plus, if you hire another person, you won’t be a one-man business anymore. However, you can always compromise and outsource certain aspects of your business to other agencies. For instance, a marketing agency could help you bring in new business by building a presence for you online and on social media. Farm those aspects of your company out to experts who know how to get the best results. This in turn allows you more time to concentrate on your area of expertise: providing top quality plumbing. The result is better service and ultimately higher revenues. And if you don’t like what the agency does, you can always drop them, or switch to another agency, with less hassle than there would be in firing an employee.
Running a business by yourself takes talent, hard work, and dedication. And sadly, even with those elements, many one-man operations still fail. However, with a little ingenuity and a little help in the right places, you can build up a reputation, create a reliable revenue stream, and really make your plumbing business thrive. Good luck!
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