8 Strategies to Grow Your Plumbing Business Exponentially (Without Breaking Your Business) 🚀

Zaid's picture
Zaid Rahman
June 1, 2022

Installing water and septic in new construction.

Tackling remodels and renovations.

Unfreezing pipes.

Unclogging blocked drains.

It’s what you love to do … and you’re hoping to do even more of it.

Are you ready to take your plumbing business to the next level?

We outline how to define and envision your business goals and give 8 bulletproof tips on how to grow a plumbing business.

Table of Contents

Growth Should Be Customized to Your Plumbing Business

Are you staffed up and ready to take on double the work?

Are you a one-man/woman show and need to grow by bringing on a few new employees?

Are you hoping to grow geographically by opening up more locations and serving new cities?

Are you hoping to grow by bringing in more leads?

Every plumbing business is unique, and “growth” means something different to each company, so take the time to really dig into your strengths, weaknesses, and needs before shaping your business growth plan.

Define Your DREAM Business Situation 12 Months From Now

We call it the 🍾 moment.

Put yourself in this situation … 12 months from now, imagine you’re popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate your plumbing business’ incredible year of success. You reached all your goals — you deserve to celebrate. Now, what does that look like in detail?

It could be:

  • Revenue goals: For example, you doubled revenue and hit $2.5M in annual earnings by improving your emergency plumbing service channels.
  • Time goals: You were able to carve out family or recreational time and remove yourself from the business, dropping back to only 20 hours per week.
  • Culture goals: You have an amazing team that consistently produces incredible work.

Whatever your one-year goals are, make them as visceral as possible and write them down in the present tense.

Here is an example:

“We just broke $2.5M in revenue, which is double what we brought in last year. We launched two new cities/service areas and are consistently getting business from those cities. Our online presence has reached domination mode, and we get more phone calls and online leads than we know what to do with.”

8 Strategies to Help Grow Your Plumbing Business

Now that you have envisioned the dream, it's time to implement a plan to help make it a reality.

#1: Hire the Right Folks

If you've been in the plumbing business for any time at all, you know it's critical that you have just the right employees. But that's easier said than done.

Finding the right people to help grow your plumbing business may be challenging, but it’s possible.

To hire great employees the first time around, here’s what you need to do:

  • Provide a clear job description.
  • Invite potential hires to work with you for a day, so you can see their skills and how they interact with your team.
  • Get input from your team. If a new employee doesn't mesh, it’ll be a lose-lose for everyone.
  • Implement an employee referral incentive and let your team help do the legwork.

#2: Build Systems to Streamline Your Business

If you don't already have systems in place to simplify your plumbing business, now is the time to make that happen.

Streamlining your business processes not only speeds up growth and reduces the opportunity for errors, but it also helps to:

  • Clarify each employee’s job duties
  • Enforce employee accountability
  • Improve employee morale; and
  • Encourage employee engagement

Time Tracking Systems

Time tracking systems are what help you keep track of your hourly employees.

These systems make it simple for workers to:

  • Clock in and out
  • Keep track of their PTO; and
  • Request time off

While time tracking used to be done by hand, in-office, these days there are apps that eliminate all the former hassle.

The apps even make it easy to message your employees and allow you to see at a glance who is or is not on the job on any given day.

Invoicing Systems

Invoicing systems deal with both accounts receivable and payable, and make it easy for you to:

  • Invoice your clients for services and products they’ve purchased
  • Track your invoices
  • Make invoice payments to vendors and suppliers

Gone are the days of manually entering each invoice on an Excel spreadsheet. These days, most invoice management systems are automated — turning a once tedious and time-consuming process into a breeze.

Organizational Systems

Growing a plumbing business means you have to deal with lots of moving parts — and having the right organizational systems in place can be a lifesaver.

Simply put, an organizational system lays out how your business is set up.

Organizational systems:

  • Define each employee's job and how it fits within the structure of your business.
  • Outline your company’s chain of command.
  • Clearly lay out how specific activities need to be directed in order to achieve your business goals.

When you have great organizational systems in place, it helps your employees remain focused — and keeps your plumbing business operating at peak efficiency.

#3: Fix Cash Flow Leaks

Slow paying customers.

Late payments to suppliers.

Not enough revenue to pay your employees.

Covering business expenses with your personal funds.

Positive cash flow is the driving force of your business.

But cash flow leaks are a HUGE issue for a lot of companies — and a problem you will need to patch quickly if you hope to grow your plumbing business.

The Flexbase card can help improve your cash flow issues by offering:

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  • No annual fee
  • 0% interest for 60 days; and
  • No security

#4: Retain Existing Employees

A study on employee retention by Employee Benefits News found that 22% of employees who quit left their jobs due to “career development” issues, including a lack of:

  • Growth and development in their current positions
  • Promotions
  • Opportunities for career advancement; and
  • Job security

The study also revealed that the cost of finding and training a new worker is approximately 33% of the exiting employee's annual salary.

Keeping your current employees is far less expensive than training new hires.

Here are a few tips for investing in your company’s No. 1 asset — your employees:

  • Don't skimp on employee training
  • Build team cohesiveness through regular off-the-clock activities
  • Offer competitive pay rates
  • Celebrate employee milestones, birthdays, and “workaversaries”
  • Share company success stories
  • Mentor new employees
  • Be approachable as a boss
  • Offer flexible scheduling options, such as time off for doctor’s visits or sick children

#5: Increase Your Local Exposure With SEO

Local SEO helps to grow your plumbing business by making it stand out — and helps drive more traffic to your website through online leads.

Since these leads are from potential customers who are specifically searching for the plumbing services your business offers, they are also likely to produce a high conversion rate.

The following local SEO strategies allow your plumbing business to boost exposure by delivering relevant, location-based content to people in your community who are looking for it and allow you to position yourself as the go-to plumber in your area.

How to Rank in the Google Local Pack

If you don’t have a Google Business Profile, you are missing out on one of the key tools for growing a plumbing business.

This is what a Google Business Profile looks like:

Google Business Profile is an easy-to-use tool that helps you manage the online presence of your plumbing business across the Google platforms — and helps you rank in the Google Local Pack.

And that is important, because if you're looking to boost your phone calls and bring in new clients, one of the best ways to do it is by ranking in Google's “Local Pack.”

Here’s what the Google Local Pack looks like:

The Google Local Pack is a group of three local businesses that appears when prospective clients search for products or services in your area. The three top listings in the Local Pack originate from the Google My Business directory and include:

  • A local map of the relevant area; and
  • A link to "More Places," which opens up the complete list of local businesses (Google Local Finder)

The only way to become a part of the Google Local Pack is by utilizing highly-focused SEO strategies that help you reach your ideal clients.

Here’s how it works:

When someone in your area is looking for a plumber, they're most likely hopping on to Google and searching for terms like:

“Best plumber near me”

“Plumber in downtown (your town)”

“Best plumber in (your town)”

And if you want their business, you've got to show up at the top of their search list, in the Google Local Pack — which is why high-quality SEO is SO critical.

Why Google Reviews Are Important

Why do Google reviews matter?

It’s simple. Google prioritizes user experience.

In December 2021 Google updated its algorithm to place more emphasis on ranking performance and reviews for local businesses.

So if you aren’t getting consistent, quality reviews from your customers, you are not ranking at the top in Google — and you are losing customers.

Here’s an example of a Goggle review:

#6: Increase Your ‘Social Proof’ and Establish Your Brand

“What is social proof,” you ask?

Imagine you are shopping for a new electric drain auger. By checking out pictures on plumbing sites, you’ve found three that look like they will be able to get the job done.

One has over 500 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9 stars. The second one has 197 reviews and a 3-star rating. And the third has 5 reviews.

Which one do you buy?

It’s a no-brainer. The one with 500+ satisfied customers, of course.

By making your decision based on the experiences of others, you have just engaged in the psychological phenomenon called “social proof.”

Growing a plumbing business (or any service-based business, for that matter) is all about proof.

Proof that you are reputable and are who you say you are.

Proof that you are good at what you do and can compete with even the biggest dogs in the plumbing industry.

And proof that you’re the best option for the money.

Here are a few ways to increase your social proof and establish your brand:

Social Media

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Pinterest

TikTok

When it comes to social media, your social proof lies in the engagement your customers have with your brand.

It’s the number of times they mention your plumbing business and interact with your content.

It’s the number of likes and views you get.

It’s the loyalty.

You can up your social proof on social media by posting pictures of:

  • You and your satisfied customers
  • Jobs you are especially proud of
  • Customer reviews and testimonials

Third-Party Directory / Review Sites

Third-party reviews are reviews left on non-Google sites, like:

  • Angi
  • Trustpilot
  • TrustATrader
  • Foursquare; and
  • Yelp

Competing on third-party review sites is all about how many reviews you have — and about the quality of those reviews.

But it's about more than just the number of stars. This is where you want your customers to rave about the amazing way you solved their problem and how much they love working with your plumbing business.

Comments are persuasive, so encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews.

P.S. you can also share third-party testimonials on your social media accounts.

Your Website

Showcasing testimonials and reviews on your site is a great display of social proof, but there’s so much more you can (and should) be including.

Here are a few other things you will want to be sure to include on your website to boost your social proof:

  • Licenses (from the Better Business Bureau, for example)
  • Awards and certificates you've earned
  • Media attention and recognition

And don’t be afraid to brag about your numbers — such as how many years you’ve been in business, or the grand total of toilets you’ve unclogged.

#7: Use Referral Marketing to Dominate Your City

People talk — and existing clients are your plumbing business' very best advocates.

In fact, a 2015 report revealed that 83% of people who responded to an online survey said they trust the recommendations of family or friends.

If you're wondering how to grow your plumbing company, referral marketing is a strong tactic that you won’t want to miss.

Here’s how it’s done:

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Remember the time you ventured out in the middle of the night, in a record-setting blizzard, to fix a broken pipe?

Or how about when your entire team worked through the weekend to be sure your client's bathroom remodel was finished before their holiday company arrived?

And don't forget the calls you made all over town to find “just the right” bathroom fixture for the client who changed her mind — for the third time.

Another great way to encourage referral marketing is by “wowing” your customers with your amazing customer care.

By providing an unexpected level of customer service, you will get your customers chatting about your plumbing business in the best of ways.

When you go above and beyond what’s expected, you will be giving them something to talk about in the break room, on the commute to work, or around the table at their next family dinner.

Consider Offering Referral Incentives

From the sticker you got each day you made your bed as a kid, to incentive bonuses at work — everybody loves a reward.

Lots of companies are now offering referral incentives to their customers, and this is one idea you’ll want to jump in on.

Encourage your customers to spread the word to their family and friends by offering them …

  • Discounts on future plumbing service
  • Branded products, like shirts or hats with your company logo; or
  • Gift cards to area shops, Amazon, a local coffee shop, or an eatery

… for every successful referral of a certain amount or type of service.

But don't let your referrals stop there. Think outside the box, network, and share leads with other plumbing companies in your community.

#8: Measure Your Success Over Time — Clear KPIs Are Critical

To be certain your strategies for growth are working, you have to measure key performance indicators or KPIs. Here are some important KPIs that you will want to keep an eye on:

Keyword Rankings

It used to be that a business might track, and base their strategy’s success, on only a handful of keywords.

But in the current world of SEO, just one page of content ranks for hundreds or even thousands of different keywords.

That's why it's so important to not only know the keywords you want to hit, but also how to track your rankings for your most valuable keywords.

Are your keyword rankings changing week by week? How about month by month?

Monitoring the position of your target keywords lets you know how your business growth strategy is performing at all times.

Website Traffic

Where is your website traffic coming from?

Social media?

Paid ads?

Organic traffic from Google?

Besides knowing how you are getting your leads, you will want to keep a close eye on your website’s traffic-to-lead ratio — in other words, the percentage of visitors that come to your site at any given time period that turns into actual leads.

No matter how your potential customers are finding their way to your site, it is essential that when they get there, you are able to capture their attention long enough to turn them into customers.

If not, you might as well be flushing your time and money down the toilet.

Online Lead Submission

Form fills

Calls

Live chat sessions

Are you seeing an increase in your online leads and form submissions? What does your monthly lead generation look like?

Tracking your online leads and form submissions is another great way to measure the success of your plumbing business’s growth strategy.

But if you are struggling to track those leads, or simply not trying to track them at all, you are draining the lifeblood out of your plumbing business.

Understanding your online leads is essential to figuring out which of your campaigns and marketing channels are actually working.

Phone Calls

These days, there are so many types of phone calls for businesses:

Call from ads

Clicks on a phone number on your mobile site

Calls to the phone number on your website

Import call conversions

Nobody needs to tell you how critical phone calls are to your business. But how can you tell how each caller got to you so know which advertising strategies are working?

When we talk about evaluating phone calls as key performance indicators, we want to find out which …

  • Keywords
  • Campaigns
  • Ads; and
  • Ad groups

… are driving the most valuable phone calls to your plumbing business.

  • How many phone calls are you getting each month?
  • How long is the average call?
  • Are your phone calls from Google increasing?
  • By keeping a close watch on your KPIs, you’ll be able to measure your success and will be equipped to make informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

Most importantly, revenue

This is something you should be tracking incredibly closely.

For many plumbers, work can be seasonal. For example, things slow down during the holidays.

       We recommend you track revenue KPIs in multiple ways:

  • Year-over-year data: how does your revenue in October of 2022 compare to October of 2021?
  • Month-over-month data: how does your revenue in October of 2022 compare to September 2022?

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