How to Start a Plumbing Company and Minimum Requirements


    Working for someone else entire life is not what you call a dream career. America is full of opportunities for small businesses and our article today is about starting a plumbing company with minimum requirements.

    Statistics tell us that only 20% of trade specialty workers end up starting their own firm and 25% of them succeed by growing it into profitable operations.

    Most successful organizations begin with personal experience for 5+ years in the field with their own involvement in work. Hiring apprentice or helper is necessary.

    Let us know your experience or if our ideas are not aligned with your thoughts on how to start a plumbing company in US.

    Does Plumbing Start-up need a Business Plan? No!

    We keep on hearing that trades need to come up with business plan before starting a business plan. This is one of the most misleading suggestions and we want to make it clear once and for all.

    Two reasons when we think business plan is actually required would be either purchasing exciting business and trying to grow it or creating a company structure with expansion that requires high investments and large management team.

    If you are not one of those two, than business plan will not or should not cross your mind. And we believe that 95% or more of those who start a plumbing company will not be in these two categories.

    Business plan is too detailed and absolutely not necessary for small contracting company that grows from experienced workers who want to step up a notch.

    Simple expectation of expenses and growth should be analyzed, but guys that already work as plumbers know all of it anyways. Also in this article you can learn how to start a plumbing company and suggested minimum requirements.

    First Direction and Specific Niche to Start With

    Common mistake that is seen amongst newly established plumbing companies is that they just at every opportunity in the field. Plumbing industry is very wide and has tenths of subsections of work.

    Our suggestion is to prioritize one or two specific fields where you can build clientele and necessary authority to grow and expand. Being known as best plumbers in even small direction can build awareness and trust.

    It could be residential rough ins during renovation projects, emergency calls for water leaks, drain repairs and replacement, commercial service for water and drain, or any other work within the trade.

    For example you can start working as a subcontractor for builders and remodelling companies. Becoming the best in your area will give ability to get more work and hire another crew. Tiny marketing techniques can attract potential clients and other directions within plumbing filed can be captured.

    Understand Finances and Costs – Initial Budget

    We all know that miscalculating costs in first two years of establishing the business often leads to bankruptcy and shutting down. Remodel On Point pointed out recommendation to work as a plumber for several years prior to starting your own company. It helps not only to gain experience and technical skills, but also understand the costs and save money for first year expenses in business.

    Never expect your company to blow up and have tons of work. This almost never happens and additional funds are obtained to cover marketing or salaries.

    Main expenses to keep in mind:

    • Paying yourself
    • Salaries to workers or associates
    • License, insurance and other registration fees
    • Equipment, trucks and tools
    • Marketing costs
    • Having extra cushion

    Money will go fast if you don’t control it. A crew of 3 people with all above stated expanses can add up to $15000 per month. Of course securing several jobs ahead of time and building relationships can help sustain the company for longer and create opportunities.

    Licenses and Certification

    Plumbing profession requires certification and local licensing. There is no way around it and you can get into big trouble operating without required documents.

    Education and Study Certificate – Education is not mandatory, but rather complimentary for plumbing trade. Some start with school diploma or go as high as college degree. States don’t always require education and this step is often skipped. However for those who absolutely must get education completed, adult courses and evening classes can be the only way to combing work with studies.

    Plumbing Field Experience – To get a chance at plumbing license and future career, standards mandate to get necessary experience. Normally you would need to work as apprentice with master plumber for 2-5 years, depending on location. Hours are collected and signed as a proof of knowledge and learning process from licensed professional.

    State Plumbing License – The work is complicated and can cause a lot of harm if not done properly. Therefore states have plumbing codes and regulations to follow. To become licensed plumber, individuals need to pass an examination developed by plumbing association. Prerequisites for such examinations include education and experience as apprentice.

    Another way to start a plumbing company is to hire master plumber that will represent the business. His/her license number is appointed to company for operations. If master plumber or licensed plumber leaves the business, the company can be ordered to stop operating until obtaining license again.

    Registration of Company and Insurance

    Every operating business needs to be registered and insured. In simple words the government needs to make sure you are in the system and pay appropriate taxes.

    There is absolutely no way around it and you should not be trying to avoid registration of business. After all the idea is to start and grow a company.

    It is not complicated at all, and costs should not be more than few hundred dollars for registration and insurance combined. Have reminders or notifications for renewals to make sure it does not expire.

    Caught working as a plumber without proper documentation can shut down operation by local authorities and order penalty payments.

    Get Equipment and Tools

    Every job requires specific set of tools. Unfortunately plumbing trade is wide and you may need to spend thousands of dollars before starting a business.

    With tight budget and careful planning, larger equipment can be rented for specific jobs, but there is need to own day to day tools.

    As Remodel On Point team suggested in previous statement, going into specific category of plumbing work is the way to go. It minimizes needed specialties, expenses for tools and marketing.

    If you plan ahead of time, the tools and equipment can be acquired through the years of apprenticeship. Otherwise expect to spend up to $10 000 on tools alone.

    Company truck is one of priorities in how to start a plumbing company. You have to get to work with tools and equipment fast. Branding and contact information can be advertised on car as full wrap or stickers.

    Suggested Company Attributes for Growth

    In order to stand out and stating general public to know your company, new businesses can obtain specific attributes. First steps into big league can either make your company different or completely crash it with lack of conceptual growth.

    These all combine do not cost as much as some of you may think, but the difference in having them is huge. Plumbing companies that have all suggested attributes get more trust and with it more sales.

    Here is what new plumbing companies should get within first few months:

    Company Name – First of all you need to register company legally and use it literally everywhere. Spend some time deciding on the name but don’t overthink it. Always expect the business to be memorable with brand that can grow. Funny slogans or copying other brands only will create problems.

    Logo – Remodel On Point team thinks that logo is important but not as crucial as some business owners think of it. Unless you are Nike or Google, this will not make or break the company. Within lifetime of any company we see logos being changed and redesigned every few years.

    Phone Number – Don’t use personal phone number in business. Get a second line on the phone or even better separate cellphone dedicated only to company related calls. Progressive thinking on how to start plumbing company may lead to creative ideas. A trick that can drive extra business and contribute in growth is a phone number to buy.

    Website – Real expenses start with building website. In the beginning it can be something really simple to outline services and plumbing business you are trying to build. Unless the ambition to grow and expand fast is there, new companies should not spend more than $2000 on fully functional website. Take some time and do SEO afterwards.

    Reviews – Potential clients want to know how others speak of you. Google maps and other similar services are free to register. After each completed project ask clients to rate your work and start getting those 5 start reviews. It definitely adds trust and potential new clients that can find your new plumbing business by map.

    Appeal – Professional clothes are not expensive at all, but it looks extremely professional when a company comes on estimate with branded uniform. Few hundred dollars can get you printed logo, website and phone number on t-shirts, hats and jackets.

    Consistency makes all suggested attributes come together into one big platform. Within half a year of learning how to start a plumbing company people understand the importance of small details. Attach social media icons, logo, slogan, reviews, awards on business cards, quotations, email signatures, company car and see how different client’s response will be.

    Time Needed to Start Profitable Plumbing Business

    As already stated, recommendation is to know the profession from inside for at least two years. It gives initial ideas of how everything works and basic knowledge of company building.

    Once your own plumbing company is established always think about growing it, because keeping up with costs is not going to cut it.

    Normally from start it would be master plumber with one or two helpers. Let’s call it one crew. Get comfortable first half a year and create schedules that work for the company. Within first year it is time for getting bigger if the market is there.

    Successful plumbing companies aim to at least double capacity every year. That is of course if the goal to get as big as possible within plumbing industry.

    Within time, the office or commercial space is necessary to sustain business. Every company that surpasses 3 crews and company vehicles should get dedicated physical location as an office.

    How Much Money to Start a Plumbing Business

    Probably one of most common questions in how to start a plumbing company is related to financing. Jumping into management of a company, even small one, without knowing exact expenses is very tough.

    If you think that without initial contacts and some sort of knowledge where to get clients can work, you will shut down within a first year. No budget can get the confidence and experience of selling jobs.

    20% – 40% of all costs should be covered by existing contracts and the rest with invested money. The idea is to grow sales and eventually within first year stop investing personal money.

    It all depends on admission, ability to get new clients and spending for marketing. On average overall costs are $15000 per month and more than half of it is from your pocket. Every month sales take care of it and by our calculation to become profitable business it can take a year and $80 000.

    Steven H.
    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.