Plumbing is NOT HVAC!

There is a well known best practices group that is getting ready for a big event with all types of speakers. Of course, everything that this event will do is just going to change your business and is the best thing since perforated toilet tissue. One speaker is inspirational, one knows digital marketing, one knows some key performance indicators, etc. They have even supplied some additional information and “tools of the trade” for you to use in their plethora of emails. What I always find interesting is all the information is truly about HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Folks, HVAC is NOT plumbing.

The general public relates the two trades because plumbers provide hydronic heating – boilers, hot water baseboard, steam radiators, and the like, primarily in the northern United States. The average HVAC person would not know what to do with a circulation pump even with instructions.

The key performance indicators for HVAC and plumbing are very different. Yet, all these HVAC best practices groups take their numbers and try to apply them to the plumbing trade. The percentages are based on sales. Labor is different, materials are very different, the gross margin is different and yet, some of our plumber brethren will believe these numbers and continue going into the poor house. They even talk about sales lead conversion and attempt to compare closing the sale of a new air conditioning system to selling a new sewer line or water heater.

Service calls between the two trades are also very different. If you attempt to run a HVAC company like a plumbing company, you will fail. In return, if you attempt to run a plumbing company like an HVAC company, you will also fail. They are like dogs and cats. Both are pets, but very different from one another.

I do find it deplorable at what some of these groups will do just for the money. They will bring in the plumbers and electricians, feed them incorrect information, take their money and feel good about it.

Plumbers, your field labor should not exceed 18% and total labor 28%; standard service materials should not exceed 12%; and your gross margin should be at 60% in order to cover all your operating expenses and make a decent profit. If your financial Chart of Accounts is set up properly, you will know these numbers easily. If now, you may still be scratching your head. If anyone tells you differently, they have never run a plumbing business properly.

If you want a plan on how to get your plumbing company there, contact me. This is what I do – all day, every day.

The Plumbers Coach™ Detailed personalized business coaching and training for plumbing contractors. Like us on Facebook @ThePlumbersCoach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach and LinkedIn @KeithGlass15. Get more information from our web site –

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