While most plumbers will inevitably start their career with an apprenticeship in an existing company, it is not uncommon for plumbers to go out on their own and work as independent contractors. Whether you are an independent contractor just starting out or a long standing entrepreneur, following these guidelines and practices is sure to make you the top on anyone’s call list.
Decide what kind of plumbing contractor you want to be
The first thing you need to decide is if you want to be an independent contractor through an existing company or if you want to be completely your own boss. There are pros and cons to both sides.
When you own your own business you make your own hours, decide who to hire, and are responsible for the reputation of your business. You are also responsible for payroll, taxes, insurance, and more. Even working with an established business does not mean that none of these responsibilities will fall to you. Be sure to understand the full terms before entering into any contract. When you work for an established company, you may not get full leniency with your hours you would on your own. Often though, training and certifications will be provided by the parent company. Advertising and the listing of your services may be included in the contract, plus there will be an established sales base.
Establish a quality reputation
It is never too late to make your business the best it can be and make sure that is how people think of you. When you are first starting up your business, the quality of your work will depend just as much on the quality of your work as it does on your advertising dollar. This being said, do not confuse advertising with Social Media because they are two separate, but similar ideas.
Put your image where your customers are
There is a term in public relations called the “shotgun approach.” This means sending your message out to as many people as possible and hoping your message gets out. This is not the most beneficial approach, nor is it the most cost effective. Instead you want to think about who you are trying to reach.
It is okay to ask clients who are happy with your work to write a testimonial for you to use on your website and/or social media. When you are beginning these testimonials will be the beginning of your reputation backbone. Ask some of your clients to be references. Do not get upset if they say no, many people are very protective of their privacy. If you have been in business a while, remember to check with your references every year or so to make sure they are still fine with being contacted and that their information is the same. Their information should not be publicly displayed online, but can be used on an “as needed” basis.
People who need a plumber are going to be home owners mostly. Reaching them in the car on their morning drive to work is effective, especially if you have an easy to remember phone number. Having many plumbing related articles will make you more searchable in the database, making it easier for customers to find you. These three steps are the basis, the foundation for founding a business. It should be assumed that having ethical work practices is a given. Everyday is an opportunity to practice the areas you need to strengthen and become a better plumber than your competitor.