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How To Start a Plumbing Business
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How To Start a Plumbing Business

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What To Expect

How To Start a Plumbing Business

For anyone looking to start a Plumbing business, we want to wish you all the best and if you need any further information once you have read this article, feel free to send us a message.

Taking control of the direction of your career and being incredibly rewarding and unlocking life rewards such as time, money and mind. Starting up on your own you will get to experience:

  • The accomplishment of building your own business from the ground up
  • The ability to run your business your way.
  • Take the next step in your career
  • Exploring other avenues and new challenges that will keep your business moving forward

Many tradesmen are technically very good at what they do and see what their employer is doing and think they can do a better job than them at running a business. This might be true however there’s a difference between being a tradesman and a businessman. 

Roofers start roofing businesses. Electricians start electrical businesses. But no one teaches you how to run a business, how to sell, market, finance, scale, comply with health & safety rules and regulations.

Making the jump from being an employee to a business owner might feel risky however with the right guidance you will be amazed at how quickly your business can progress.

The need for high quality plumbing companies is always in demand and is a great business to get up and running with quick turnaround times. It can be great to get your name out there early by speaking to local contractors, builders and engineers about their scaffolding needs building your scaffolding around your ideal clients.

If you are looking to start a plumbing business, here are some of the tasks you can be looking to do:

Installing hot and cold water, sanitation and drainage

Setting up rainwater harvesters and lead soakers

Installing central heating systems and domestic fuel-burning appliances using gas, oil or solid fuel

Designing water and heating systems

Cutting and joining pipes and fittings

Measuring or assessing sites to provide clients with an estimate

Servicing systems and fixing faults

Responding to emergency call-outs such as floods or boiler breakdowns

What Tools Do I Need To Start A Plumbing Company?

The tools you need will be pretty general tools however for the larger projects you might need some bigger equipment and you will have to start thinking if it is worth purchasing the equipment outright or hiring it for a specific amount of time. Here are some common plumbing tools:

  • Tube Cutter
  • Telescopic Tube Cutter
  • Wrench
  • Water Pump Pliers
  • Mole Grips
  • Hacksaw
  • Spirit Level
  • Allen Keys
  • Drain Rods
  • Radiator Key/Spanners
  • Isle of Man Key
  • Mains Tester
  • Heater Spanner

Qualification and Associations

Getting into the plumbing industry is quite competitive currently especially when it comes to getting qualified.

City and Guilds

City and Guilds is a global leader in learning development and apprenticeship schemes. Its courses are widely recognised across the trade and its Level 2 or 3 NVQ qualifications are designed for anyone who wants to become a plumber or domestic heating engineer. It provides all the basic training and requirements to start work in the industry.

• Level 2/3 NVQ Plumbing and Heating


BPEC is dedicated to providing education and lifelong learning to all who work in the Building Services Engineering (BSE) sector. It’s Level 2 NVQ Plumbing courses are regulated by Ofqual or UKAS and the courses are specifically designed for new entrants into the industry.

• Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Plumbing and Heating

You’ll need:

2 or more GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) (level 2 course)

4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) (level 3 course).

If you are thinking about being a plumber, here are some useful skills that will help you:

Able to use, repair and maintain machines and tools

Knowledge of building and construction

Be thorough and pay attention to detail

Knowledge of maths

Able to work well with your hands

Customer service skills

Able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

If you are looking for extra support and credibility you can join the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors who are committed to helping their members run successful plumbing and heating businesses. 

As all members are vetted and their competency checked, the APHC logo can be used as an independent ‘stamp of approval’ to visually differentiate yourself from competitors and rogue traders. Members can also use a consumer focussed flyer that explains the benefits of instructing an APHC member.

Preparing Ahead

Getting started with your plumbing business is a great moment for your career and it’s good to start getting around what you will be doing. Deciding on what services you are going to offer is very important from the start so customers know what you do.

For example, are you looking to do emergency plumbing work? If so you will likely be working unusual hours and you need to be prepared for out of hours calls or you will need to look at the possibility of hiring employees to work during these times for you.

As you are starting out, the amount of work you can take on is going to be limited and restricted to local areas. It's very important that you know who your competitors are and how they compare to you.

Do they offer more or fewer hours than you?

How fast are their delivery times?

Are they approachable?

Do they offer the same services? 

Company Size? Can they afford the larger projects?


What extra value do you bring compared to your competitors?

A massive tip which we can give for free is to answer your phone! Although it may sound obvious you may be surprised to find out that 70% of construction business owners do not answer the phone… If you think this might be a problem for you, take a look at Saint Virtual Assistant Call Handling service to ensure 100% of your calls are answered and in your business name.

Building a business roadmap can be great to get some ideas down on paper on how you want your business to turn Its out and how you believe you will get there. A business plan can also be a great way to provide a level of accountability to yourself and your team.

Some tips on building a business plan are:

  1. Funding

How much do you need to start up and fund your new business? Deciding how you’ll fund the initial costs i.e. through loan, credit card (very risky), savings or is there any Government schemes available?

We always recommend having at least 1 year saved up before you start a business full time as the survival of a business needs all the time it can get.

A plumbing business can initially have a low start up cost compared to other trades depending on the equipment you will be needing. A rough guide on the start up cost is between £5,000 - £20,000 depending on the tools, materials, type of van, insurances and business support services (accountant, media, admin etc).

  1. Customers

Every business needs to build who its ideal client is. This will help you ensure you are working with the right companies that will grow your business in the right direction. Using your ideal client outline, you can target them using advertising or social media or networking with other trade professionals.

Saint Global is the perfect way to market your electrical company, you’ll receive expert marketing guidance and proven strategies to put your new company on the map for your ideal clients to find you.

  1. Finances 

One of the many areas many businesses, especially in the construction industry undervalue… Having the right finance team around you can change your business overnight and provide insights into your business you never knew you could have had for your business, no matter how long you have been in the industry.

An accountant is so much more than just helping you pay the right tax, they should be involved with any strategic decision making in your business. There’s a reason why many of the top CEOs in business today are from an accounting background.

  1. Prices

Another area an accountant/business coach can help you with is your pricing. Deciding how much you are going to charge is a critical part of the business. You need to make sure that you are covering your costs and getting a good profit from the work you are putting into your business.

It may help to look at competitor prices as a rough guide. If you need help with pricing methods take a look at our free Construction Survival Guide.

  1. Legalities 

Every business needs to keep in line with the legal requirements. Some of the things you will need are insurances, licenses, H&S guidelines and any compliance requirements such as registering your company with company house.

You’ll need the right licenses and insurance before you start working to cover your business financially and legally and against any accidents or mistakes. 

Some examples of insurances are:

  1. Public liability insurance - in case of injuries caused by your work
  2. Van/tool insurance - to protect your van/tools
  3. Professional indemnity insurance - to protect you if clients claim the service is inadequate
  4. Employer’s liability insurance - required if you employ at least one person
  5. Plant and machinery insurance - to protect your P&M

Take a look at our free Start a Business e-book and other free resources here to find out more.

Licenses are a legal requirement to carry out certain work and for you to continue operating your business such as local authority licenses, goods vehicle operator licenses or public highway licenses for example.

How Much Can You Expect To Pay An Plumber?

As always the more experience, the more the expected salary will be. A rough guide on salary pricing is:

Newly trained plumbers can earn in the region of £19,000 - £25,000

Trained with experience plumbers can earn in the region of £25,000 - £30,000

Senior/master crafts plumbers can earn in the region of £30,000 - £60,000

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

Frequently asked questions

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This article has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

PS. Whenever you are ready, here's how to grow your construction business...

1. Join our Facebook Group which built completely for businesses within the construction industry. Real people, real support. - Now also available on LinkedIn.

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3. When you are ready, Become a Saint Financial Group client, and we will provide you with the highest quality solutions to effectively scale your construction business. Book your meeting here!

How To Start a Plumbing Business

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