- Great Customer Service
To have a great plumbing business answer the phone professionally, schedule the appointment when the customer wants service, arrive promptly, provide an education to the customer, and clean up after the job is finished. This will give you a good start. Those owners that feel the need to answer the phone themselves are making a big mistake. You will never be as professional as a trained office person whose main responsibility is to capture jobs for the business. They are the first impression and relationship builder for the business and they are much better at it than you.
- Proper Pricing
Owners go to great length to set up pricing either by attempting to do it themselves, or pay for a flat rate pricing guide. If you have never done this, you will make a lot of mistakes. How much markup is needed on materials? How much markup is needed on labor? Do you know the difference between markup and margin? If you don’t know the answer to these simple questions, leave the flat rate guide development to someone else.
Do you monitor if your technicians are all charging the same prices and by the book? Consistency in pricing means a lot to your business. Neighbors do talk with one another and they will compare what they paid. It needs to be consistent or they will be a thorn in your side with bad online reviews and constant complaints.
- Inventory Control
Do you have a standard truck inventory? Who is responsible for replenishing each truck? How do you know what to buy? Do you use purchase orders? All of these areas are critical to keep your costs under control. If your price book says an install is $500 with $150 in materials and you spend $300 on materials because one supply house is closer, what do you think will happen?
Inventory control is one area that is always an issue. Either you count everything and have a fancy scan system and actually go way too far on controls, or there are none at all. Controlling your inventory is quite simple, and if done properly will save you money and time.
- Holding Employees Accountable
Your technicians should be on time every day; should arrive at the job on time; should price out of the price book only; should accept all jobs during their shift; are expected to work their full schedule; are expected to go to only approved supply houses and purchase only approved materials; and take care of the customer like they are family. If you determine there are better systems that will cost the company less, don’t be afraid to make changes just because your techs have to learn something new. If your techs are not following all the rules, why not? Are you afraid to correct them because they might leave? Who is running your company?
- Run Your Business
Unless your employees are reaching into their pocket when you can’t pay all the bills at the end of the month, then they have no say in how your business is run. I would rather lose a few jobs due to lack of personnel than let the technicians run the show. You can treat people well, but still have rules. How do you think the military does it? They have a lot of rules and discipline and generally, those military people are some of the best you will ever find. Don’t ever neglect the business because of some uncooperative employees that you don’t want to deal with.
Following these simple rules will make your business better. Running a plumbing business is not hard, but you have to do a lot of little things right to make it successful. If I can help you, let me know. For more information go to ThePlumbersCoach.com.
The Plumbers Coach™ Detailed personalized business coaching and training for plumbing contractors. Like us on Facebook @ThePlumbersCoach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach and on LinkedIn at KeithGlass15.
P.S. Our next tech training class, The Professional Tradesman© is on November 6th and 7th! There are limited seats! Contact us right away to reserve yours!
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