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Starting a plumbing business is one thing—growing it is another.  

Getting a new business off the ground involves a lot of heavy lifting, but the work doesn’t stop there. In fact, it can be much harder to expand a business than to start one. 

Expansion is the most effective way to increase the scope, capacity, and earnings of your plumbing services.  

However, expansion only works when done correctly, at the right time, and for the right reasons. A poorly planned attempt at growing your company could even do more harm than good. 

So, how do you expand a plumbing business strategically and successfully? 

That’s exactly what we’ll be answering in this article. We’ll go over everything you need to know about expanding a plumbing business, including: 

  • The pros and cons of expanding your plumbing business 
  • Ensuring efficiency in your current business before expansion 
  • Growth planning  
  • Marketing strategies  
  • Expanding with customer service excellence 
  • Next steps for how to expand your plumbing business 

Let’s get started. 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Grow & Run a Successful Plumbing Business 

The Pros and Cons of Expanding Your Plumbing Business 

Business growth can take several different forms.  

You can expand your plumbing enterprise by branching to a new location, employing more workers, or offering new services. Whatever direction you want to take, it’s important to first weigh the pros and cons. 

But before you do that, ask yourself why you want to expand your plumbing business. And, more importantly, will the expansion be worth it?  

As a small business with limited resources, you can’t afford to chase expansion plans that lead nowhere. 

Factors to Consider Before Expanding Your Plumbing Business 

Answer these five questions when considering a plumbing business expansion: 

1. What problem are you solving? 

A good expansion plan should ultimately solve a pressing problem. It could be a marketing, logistical, or image problem. 

Say, for instance, you’re struggling to complete plumbing jobs. Hiring more workers could easily solve that problem. With more hands on deck, you can take on more clients without stretching yourself too thin. 

2. Is the business ready for expansion? 

Successful business expansion is all about timing. There’s a right time to expand a plumbing business. The trick is figuring out when your business is ready. 

  • The demand for your plumbing services is outpacing your capacity to deliver. 
  • The plumbing industry in your service area is growing. 
  • You’re hitting all your business performance metrics (revenue, customer acquisition, job flow, etc.). 
  • Competitors are biting at your heels. 
  • You have enough capital, time, and manpower to see the expansion through. 
  • There’s a clear vision for fruitful business expansion. 

3. What will the expansion mean for your plumbing customers? 

In the service business, the customer always comes first. Ask yourself what the expansion will do for customer service. Will it make your business more appealing to customers? Will it boost customer satisfaction? 

Keep your customers in mind when growing your business. Determine what customers like about your plumbing services and take care to preserve that throughout the expansion process.  

Also, find out what’s lacking in your customer service and incorporate it into your plan. 

4. Does expanding lead to sustainable growth? 

The main goal of expanding a plumbing business is to increase the capacity for growth. But not just any growth. 

You want consistent, sustainable growth. This is the kind of growth that many small business owners struggle with

Keep in mind that you’re not necessarily looking for rapid growth. Growing too quickly can easily overwhelm your company. 

Instead, set achievable goals for sustainable growth.  

For instance, expansion may be geared toward acquiring new long-term clients, widening your portfolio, or sharpening your competitive edge. The important thing is to align those goals with your expansion strategy. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Grow a Plumbing Business 

5. Will the market accommodate the expansion? 

Market research is a must when planning a business expansion. Find out if expanding your plumbing enterprise makes sense in the current market. 

Take expanding to a new location, for example. You must check whether the new market is large and stable enough to justify the expansion. Will expanding bring in a reliable flow of plumbing jobs, leads, clients, and revenue? 

The Pros and Cons of Business Expansion 

Business expansion creates new opportunities for company growth and success.  

However, expanding a plumbing business is not without risks and challenges. You should carefully consider both sides of the pros and cons list.

The Pros  

  • Expanding enables you to reach new plumbing customers and markets. 
  • Expansion reduces external risks such as competition and labor shortage. 
  • A larger enterprise cuts costs through economies of scale. 
  • Business expansion improves customer service as your team scales. 
  • A marketing-focused expansion increases your influence in the local plumbing scene. 

The Cons 

  • Expansion increases your capital requirements (bigger building, larger crew, more equipment, etc.). 
  • Expansion requires resources and commitment. 
  • If planned poorly, expansion can ruin your plumbing business. 
  • You might lose control of or touch with certain aspects of the business. 
  • You risk compromising productivity and quality of work. 

Ensuring Efficiency in Your Current Business Before Expansion 

Preparation is arguably the most important phase of expanding any business. One way to prepare your plumbing business for expansion is by ensuring it runs as efficiently as possible. 

Business efficiency basically means making the best use of whatever resources you have. It comes down to minimizing waste and maximizing productivity. In other words, business efficiency is doing more with less. 

Efficiency and growth go hand in hand. Only when you’ve fully used every available resource should you consider expanding. 

Assess and optimize efficiency in these key areas before expanding your plumbing company: 

Employee Productivity 

Are you getting the most out of your plumbing crew? 

Don’t get it wrong, though. Maximizing employee productivity does not necessarily mean working your crew harder. It’s more about working smarter. 

First things first, ensure you have the right team. Fill all your roles with qualified and experienced workers. That will minimize errors and guarantee quality work. 

Second, manage your staff with efficiency in mind. For example, allocate tasks according to each crew member’s capabilities and performance. And schedule jobs in a way that maximizes the crew’s engagement. 

Financial Health 

Did you know that 82% of small businesses fail due to cashflow problems? Some SMBs fail when trying to accelerate growth without the financial muscle to back business expansion. 

Expanding a plumbing business is a considerable investment. Depending on the scale and scope of expansion, the endeavor can even cost millions of dollars. Ensure that your business is in good financial health before investing so heavily. 

Keep cash flow in the green, debt to a minimum, and forecasts high (but realistic). 

RELATED ARTICLE: Plumbing Advertising Ideas to Create More Profit 

Service Quality 

Ensure you’re still delivering high-quality plumbing services before expanding the business. If existing customers are satisfied with your work, expanding will only bring more happy customers. 

Find out what customers say about the quality of your plumbing services. Do so by gathering customers’ reviews and feedback.  

Also, check your position in the market, number of referrals, and rate of repeat business. These speak volumes about your service quality. 

Job Flow 

A consistently growing job rate is a good indication that it’s time to expand. But only if the incoming plumbing jobs are overwhelming your capacity to deliver. 

A high job rate means you’re doing everything right. It means your marketing, pricing, and service quality are on point. 

Market Dominance 

How are you faring in your current market? If you’re still struggling to source leads or get your brand out there, you must level up your marketing game. 

Ensure you’ve conquered the available plumbing market with what you have before expanding. You don’t have to be the most preferred plumber in town, but at least have your marketing plan nailed down. 

Tech Utilization 

Digital prowess is another essential hallmark of an efficient business.  

Plumbing business tech, such as field service management software, enhances business efficiency in the following ways: 

  • Streamlines and speeds up business operations 
  • Eliminates human error 
  • Reduces managerial and administrative workloads 
  • Boosts crew collaboration and productivity 
  • Provides accurate and detailed financial records 
  • Processes and tracks financial transactions 
  • Improves customer service 

Growth Planning for Your Plumbing Business Expansion 

What’s the verdict after making all the necessary considerations and weighing all the pros and cons? 

Is your plumbing business ready for expansion? If it is, you need to develop a business expansion plan. 

Your expansion plan should be a roadmap highlighting the action needed for a successful expansion. It also identifies the opportunities, challenges, and risks ahead. That way, you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and what to expect. 

Here’s a breakdown of an effective plumbing business expansion plan: 

Business Planning 

Start with a solid business plan. A business plan is a formal document containing business goals and ways to achieve them. 

What do you want to achieve by expanding your plumbing business? You may want to increase your customer base, cut costs, increase your workload capacity, etc. 

Once you’ve identified your goals, you need a strategy to realize them. The strategy could be branching to a new location, hiring more workers, or growing your inventory. 

But business planning doesn’t stop there. 

Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis. Explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential threats of expanding your plumbing business. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Create a Business Plan for a Plumbing Company 

Market Research 

Market research is another essential part of business planning. 

Don’t make assumptions about the plumbing market. Learn all the ins and outs of your current/target market. 

Here are some market research tips to get you started: 

  • Identify your target market. 
  • Size up the competition. 
  • Create your buyer persona (demographics, spending power, location, preferences, etc.). 
  • Identify the needs, opportunities, and challenges of the market. 
  • Collect feedback data from existing customers. 
  • Run a marketing demo to test the waters. 

Running the Numbers 

Like with every business decision, expanding comes down to the numbers. Do the numbers justify the money, time, and energy you’ll spend growing your business? 

Put another way—will the expansion pay for itself in the long run? 

Remember, you’re working with lots of variables and unknowns here. So, take every prediction with a grain of salt. 

Also, get your timeframe right. Some expansion ventures take longer to execute and yield more results than others. 

Taking Action 

If the numbers add up, it’s time to take your plumbing business to the next level. Your next steps will depend on your expansion goals and strategy. 

Examples of expansion action for plumbers include: 

  • Adding new service locations 
  • Partnering with other businesses 
  • Acquiring or merging with other plumbers 
  • Diversifying your plumbing services 
  • Franchising 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Effectively Manage Your Plumbing Company 

Marketing Strategies to Help Expand Your Plumbing Business 

A finely tuned marketing strategy can accelerate your expansion. In fact, marketing is an integral part of business growth. 

Here are five marketing strategies to help expand your plumbing business: 

Search Engine Marketing 

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that increases your online visibility.  

With SEM, the first thing you’ll need is a search engine-optimized website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the heart of SEM. SEO enables your website to appear in plumbing-related Google searches. 

Second, get your business listed on online directories. There are dozens of credible online directories, such as Google Business, Porch, and Best Plumbers. These also boost your brand’s online presence. 

Social Media Marketing 

With over 5 billion users, social media is a marketing powerhouse. Create profiles for your plumbing business on all the big social platforms.  

We’re talking Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even TikTok. Once there, you can reach and engage potential plumbing clients. 

Email Marketing 

Emailing is a simple and effective way to expand your plumbing customer base. Professional marketers use email to engage/inform audiences, nurture leads, and promote offerings.  

You, too, can do the same for your plumbing business. All you need is a contact list and a solid messaging strategy. 

Local Marketing 

Traditional marketing methods can be very effective, especially for local service businesses. Spread the word about your plumbing business in the following ways: 

  • Broadcasting on local radio stations, TV stations, podcasts, etc. 
  • Hanging posters in public places 
  • Using branded signage on buildings, benches, billboards, vehicles, etc. 
  • Handing out business cards, flyers, and pamphlets 
  • Cold calling to local homeowners, building managers, and other contractors 
  • Advertising on local print media such as newspapers and magazines 
  • Participating in local events such as trade fairs, sports, and charity drives 

Paid Online Ads 

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to boost your online presence using paid ads. Most search engines, social media platforms, and online directories support paid promotions.  

Paid advertising can increase online traffic, lead generation, and brand awareness. 

Expanding with Customer Service Excellence 

Customers are the lifeblood of your plumbing business. They have the power to make or break your growth plans. 

You obviously want customers on board with your expansion plan. So, focus on providing excellent customer service. Customer service matters a great deal in a hands-on, service-based business. It can boost repeat business while turning customers into brand ambassadors. 

Customer service is all about improving the customer experience. Think about the impression your brand leaves in your customers’ hearts and minds. Do they feel valued, well-served, satisfied, or happy? 

Optimize your customer service by following these essential tips: 

  • Be professional in every aspect of the business. 
  • Provide high-quality plumbing services. 
  • Gather feedback from customers on ways to enhance your plumbing services. 
  • Reward loyal customers. 
  • Create a referral program to incentivize word-of-mouth advertising. 
  • Ensure customers can reach and communicate with you at any time. 
  • Personalize customer interactions and experiences. 
  • Offer bulletproof guarantees. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Make Customer Service a Competitive Advantage 

Next Steps for How to Expand Your Plumbing Business 

If your plumbing business is thriving, expansion is the next logical step. Are you ready to take your plumbing enterprise to the next level? 

Expanding a plumbing business can seem overly complicated. But if you break it down into actionable steps, you can tackle it with success. Here are the steps for you to focus on next: 

  • Assess your current situation. Evaluate your financial health, market standing, and job flow. Check whether the business is ready for expansion. 
  • Set your goals. Figure out why your plumbing business needs to expand. Is it to accommodate more jobs, reach new markets, offer more services, or become more competitive? 
  • Consider all your options. Determine the best direction to go with the expansion. This will depend on your goals and the problem you’re trying to solve. 
  • Crunch the numbers. Is expanding your plumbing business really worth it? Run the numbers to find out. 
  • Take action. Draft a solid business expansion plan and put it into action.

If done right, a business expansion can be highly rewarding. It could be just what your plumbing business needs to reach its full potential. 

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