Leading & Managing Your Plumbing Business

Most plumbing businesses are started by a plumber who does great work but grew frustrated by having to do things someone else’s way. They might not agree with the short cuts their employer asked them to take or the level of customer service the company provided. They didn’t want a boss any more and wanted to control their own destiny.

The plumber starts their business and picks up a few customers. He does great work and the word gets around. The phone starts ringing more often and the plumber is now working 60 hours per week. It’s time to hire his first employee. He is desperate, so he hires the first clean cut, presentable looking plumber he talks to.

The business starts to get complicated. The new employee is making mistakes and customers are complaining. The extra expense of having a 2nd plumber on the road is eating up cash flow. The owner is making less money than before and is more frustrated than ever.  What went wrong?

Leading and Managing your Plumbing Business in 3 Steps

Every business owner needs to understand that the moment they hire their first employee and continue to grow, the success of their business becomes less and less reliant on their technical knowledge and more dependent on their ability to recruit, train and motivate people. In other words, it comes down to leadership and management skills. Becoming an effective manager and leader will determine whether the plumbing business succeeds or is destined for years of personal and financial stress for the business owner.

The first three leadership and management skills any business owner needs to develop are:

1. Ability to Attract Quality People

Many owners of plumbing companies and other trades businesses often hire people in haste.  Business is hectic, and they need a body. This often results in unnecessary turnover and stress.  Create a profile of your perfect employee. What are their skills, attitude, and values?  Be sure to have a proper job description written.

Take time to write a good job ad.  Remember the phrase “You get what you ask for”.  Write the Ad in such a way so it reaches out to the exact type of person you want to attract. Always remember, “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”.

2. Ability to Train 

Owners of plumbing and trades businesses take their own specialized skills for granted. They just can’t understand why their employees are not as good as they are.  The key is to break down what you know into steps and a process. Identify what can be taught and repeated by others.  Create a system and have your team follow it.  There will be less “fires” to deal with if they follow your system.

3. Ability To Motivate

It is great to have talented people who know what they are doing but an uninspired employee is no better than an unqualified employee.  How often have we seen a talented sports team underachieve and almost instantly turn around their fortunes when a coaching change is made.  Inspiring the players to achieve is often the single ingredient that turns things around

If you find yourself struggling with the management of your business, start gaining knowledge and developing your skills. Leading and managing your plumbing business can be accomplished by reading books, registering for management training programs, or finding a mentor or business coach that can help you with real world problems.

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Christine