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Expanding a plumbing business isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. You’ve probably considered the financial angles. You may have even considered what it will take to hire new employees and support staff. 

But first things first: You need to have the customers to support the expansion. If you’ve wanted to grow your plumbing business, this article is for you. You’ll learn how to grow a plumbing business using your unique value proposition. You’ll also get expert tips on networking, digital marketing, and encouraging customers to leave Google reviews.  

Define the Unique Value Proposition for Your Plumbing Business  

Determining your unique value proposition is the first step in growing a plumbing business. This is also sometimes called a USP or unique selling proposition.  

Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. With plumbers, that might mean a specialty that no one else in your area provides.  

For instance, you might be the local expert at redoing bathrooms in historic homes. Perhaps your business focuses on sustainable plumbing or dealing with burst pipes and water damage.  

Usually, your unique value proposition is what you do best, coupled with the greatest needs of your customer base. Your USP often grows out of serving the community and discovering where you can fill a niche.  

It may also come from what you discover in online reviews. For example, you might find that your reviews rave about how punctual and clean your technicians are. You can use this as a selling point, too. We’ll cover this in depth below.   

The more populated your location, the easier it is to have a plumbing specialty. For example, if you’re in a big city, you need to find a way to separate your business from hundreds of others.  

Your USP Doesn’t Have to be a Service Specialty.  

Keep in mind that plumbers serving rural areas may need to provide a broader range of services. This is because there are probably fewer plumbers to compete with. To grow your plumbing business, you will likely need to do everything from installing hot water heaters to remodeling kitchens and baths.  

Therefore, when you’re a generalist, your unique value proposition may need to be something unrelated to your services. It could be your reliability or 100% satisfaction guarantee.  

Another great USP opportunity for plumbers is in providing emergency services. Customers with a burst pipe or clogged drain on a Friday night can’t wait until Monday to get help. Give them 24/7 access and service within a few hours, and you can hang your hat on that to build your reputation.  

Why Networking Is Important for Home Services Providers  

We’ll talk more about marketing your unique value proposition below. But first, let’s discuss how networking can assist with that.  

Networking Connects You with Customers.  

Networking is the process of creating a web of resources. These people and companies can help build your business in a variety of ways.  

Your networking should include creating a list of existing and potential customers. They are folks who will either give you repeat business or sign on as new clients. If you market your business properly, your current clients can help you reach new ones. They do the marketing for you through reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.  

Networking Also Connects You with Industry Colleagues.  

There’s another side of networking that many plumbers unfortunately forget about. That’s connecting with other home service providers.  

You don’t necessarily have to network with other plumbers if it feels too competitive. However, if you and another plumbing business complement each other, it may prove beneficial.  

For instance, you might specialize in installing water filtration systems. Another plumbing business in your town concentrates on kitchen remodels. Together, you can provide better service for the client by each offering your own unique skills.  

You can also network with other types of home service providers. Forge relationships with electricians, HVAC technicians, or landscape and pool specialists. Some are more directly related to plumbing than others. But all these businesses may work on jobs where a plumber is needed, too. You want to be the first plumber they call when that need arises.  

As you develop a network of resources, you can exchange leads. This is what’s known as a mutually beneficial relationship.  

Say you’re working on a bathroom renovation where new wiring is needed to accommodate light fixtures. You can recommend electricians in your network. This saves the client or general contractor the hassle of finding a provider. And it carries the weight of your approval.  

How Do You Build a Network of Resources?  

You could look through the phone directory or online review sites like Yelp to see who else provides home services in your area. Then call them up to introduce yourself or mail a brochure and some business cards.  

Do use caution here. If you email a brochure, the attachment might get your email tossed as spam. Save that for once you’ve established a relationship. 

For online connections, you could also join local construction forums. Networking through Facebook or other social media platforms is another option.  

Many home service providers still network the old-fashioned way—in person. Your local chamber of commerce is an ideal way to do this. They often hold frequent networking events. These events are perfect for mingling and exchanging information with other providers.  

Take a look at your community to see how people connect. It might be through membership organizations like Rotary International. Or maybe everyone turns out to support the local youth sports teams.  

Every interaction you have is a networking opportunity. Always carry business cards with you for those who prefer traditional methods. But be ready to swap contacts via mobile device, too, as some people go paperless.  

Digital Marketing Basics to Help Grow a Plumbing Business  

Referrals from existing customers are definitely a cornerstone of any solid plumbing business. But you also need to market online to bring in new clients.  

Digital marketing may sound daunting. It’s easy, though, once you break it down into steps. Here are five components of a basic digital marketing plan that you can start using today:  

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: 4 Marketing Tips for Plumbers  

1. Build an Optimized Website.  

Your digital marketing plan starts with a professional website to establish an online presence. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include these elements at a minimum:  

  • A home page where you give an overview of your services and USP  
  • An about page outlining your background, qualifications, staff basics, etc.  
  • A services page where you go into more detail about each of your services  
  • A testimonials page that contains reviews and recommendations from clients  
  • A contact page with a message form, email address, and phone number(s)

If you do a lot of renovation or remodel work, consider adding a photo gallery page to show off your results. Before-and-after images can help clients see how you could transform their properties.  

Your website needs to be responsive. This means it can be easily viewed on mobile devices, not just desktops and laptops.  

It also needs to be search engine optimized (SEO). That means including keywords from your specific service menu that customers would use in searching for a plumber, like:  

  • Emergency plumber  
  • 24-hour plumber  
  • Clogged drain
  • Toilet won’t flush  
  • Plumber for kitchen remodel  
  • Pipelining  

Using strong SEO keywords will help your website rank higher in online searches. That lets new clients find you more easily. Your goal is to get to the first page of search engines like Google and Bing.  

Therefore, you also want some local SEO on your website. Include words about your location, such as:  

  • The name and zip code of your city or town  
  • Your county and state  
  • Local major landmarks
  • Area businesses you serve  
  • Your service area  

Ideally, you also want a blog page on your website. This is where you can provide value-added content for would-be customers.  

For example, a blog article on how to fix a toilet that keeps running is helpful. But, if your DIY suggestions aren’t a fit for their problem, customers can call on you.  

You should also have several spots on your website where you collect email addresses. Offer something in return, like a discount on new customer first appointments or a free downloadable plumbing safety checklist.  

2. Develop an Email List.  

The email addresses you collect can be used in different ways. 

Send customers a quarterly newsletter with tips, announcements, and coupons for savings. Develop a sales funnel for potential customers who have not yet booked services. This is sometimes called a sales nurture campaign.  

Every once in a while, send prospects an email with some valuable information. Add the opportunity for them to call you for an estimate. The idea is to move them through the funnel from thinking about a job to committing to a project or service.  

You don’t have to do this yourself. There are many email services like Mailchimp that will handle all this for you once you set it up. They’re free until you reach a certain volume of emails.  

3. Maintain an Active Social Media Presence.  

Social media accounts are an easy way for prospective clients to check you out. Social media both legitimizes and humanizes your plumbing business.  

You don’t have to have accounts on every social media platform. Rather, pick a couple and shine there.  

Which ones do you choose? Go where your customers hang out most. If you’re not sure where that is, conduct a brief survey.  

Facebook probably has the best ways to connect with the actual communities you serve. In addition to having your own Facebook business page, you can join local groups. Most allow area businesses to post free ads. And you can answer questions or be there when people from your service area are looking for a plumber in a hurry.  

You also want to consider which platforms will best show off your services. YouTube, for instance, lets you post how-to videos and review plumbing products. That’s a great choice for home service providers.  

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Use Social Media the Right Way for Small Businesses  

4. Create a Google My Business Profile.  

Google My Business is a way to set up a Google Business Profile (GBP). You can have a Google Business Profile even if your plumbing business is 100% mobile.  

This helps customers find you more easily via Google Search and Google Maps. Maximum visibility on Google is key to gaining clients who might not find you otherwise.  

You’ve probably seen other businesses’ GBPs when searching for services yourself. You would no doubt recognize the local “map pack” with flags for various businesses. On the left side is a list of these businesses, which you can click on for more information.  

The map pack sidebar also shows overall Google review ratings, business phone numbers, and hours. Setting up a Google Business Profile is a breeze. Google walks you through the process step-by-step.  

5. Encourage Online Reviews.

Every time you perform a service for a client, ask them to give you an online review. Google, Yelp, Angi, etc., are all places prospective customers go to look for trustworthy plumbers.  

Always thank customers who give you a good review. If, by chance, someone leaves a bad review, don’t ignore it. Instead, respond, offering to fix whatever the problem is. This way, potential customers see you stand behind your work.  

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Ways to Keep Your Online Reviews Positive  

How Important Are Online Reviews for the Success of a Plumbing Business?  

These days, nearly everyone looks online for plumbers. Sure, recommendations from existing customers are wonderful. But you can’t build your business on those people alone. You need new clients coming in, too.  

Part of why people seek plumbers online is the nature of the business. Many plumbing jobs are emergencies. A customer doesn’t have time to talk to their cousin to find out who fixed their kitchen sink.  

When potential customers look for plumbers on the web, they look for online reviews. When other customers speak positively about a business, people are more likely to contact that business.  

It’s particularly important to garner top Google reviews. Google is by far the dominant search engine, with a market share of over 90% worldwide. In 2022, 87% of consumers used Google reviews to hire local businesses, up 6% from the previous year.  

Still not convinced? Here are some statistics on the value of online reviews for you to mull over:  

4 Ways to Get Customers to Leave Google Reviews 

  1. Follow up after appointments with an email and/or text message to remind customers to leave their review. Include a link to Google to make it a no-brainer for them.  
  2. Make sure the customer is satisfied before finishing a job and invoicing. Check to ensure the plumbing in question is functioning properly. Ask the client if everything meets their expectations regarding cleanup and aesthetics. Check back a week later to be certain all is still well.  
  3. Show up on time for appointments. Customers usually mention punctuality in their reviews and hate being kept waiting. Use scheduling and dispatching software to stay efficient.  
  4. Make payments simple for customers, especially for small or emergency jobs. Give them a variety of payment options. For larger projects, you could offer a discount if paying a portion up front or payment in full within seven days of invoicing.  

RELATED ARTICLE: How Plumbing Dispatch Software Can Help You Grow Your Business 

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