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7 Questions Every Plumber Should Ask

March 17, 2020
Why are you in business for yourself instead of working for someone else?
Plumbers are action-oriented craftsmen who can be counted on to get the job done. As a rule, they are not given to Hamlet-like introspection. Yet, there are a number of questions plumbers should ponder to improve their businesses and themselves. Here are seven.

1. Why Are You in Business?

Why are you in business for yourself instead of working for someone else? After all, running a business entails a lot of risk. It entails hardships. It requires you do deal with local, state, and federal bureaucracies and tax authorities. You work long hours and miss family events. While most people are great, you still risk the unscrupulous customer or employee betrayal. It would be a whole lot easier to throw away the shingle and work for someone else.

So why are you in business? What is driving you? Is it a lifestyle you want to attain for yourself and your family? Is it a need for independence? Is it pride in participating in the American free enterprise system through business ownership?

Understanding the real reason you are in business helps to determine the type and size of business you want to create. A business built to create wealth for the owner looks far different from a lifestyle business.

2. How Are You Different?

Think about the plumbers operating in your service area. How is your company different from everyone else? Don’t just say quality service, fast. Everyone says that. Truly, what separates you? If the answer is nothing, what could separate you? How could you be different? How could you stand out and stand apart? How could you be memorable?

3. Why Should Someone Work for You?

How are you a better option for a plumber than any other plumbing contractor? What makes your company more attractive to prospective employees? How are you different? Better? Do you have better pay, benefits, working conditions, time off, perks, vacations, training, tool allowances, etc.? What do you have?

4. What Do You Hate?

Is there a task you consider pure drudgery? Is there something about your business you simply hate doing? Why not assign the task to someone else? If you do not have the right person, hire him or her. If the business is not in a position to support hiring someone to take on these tasks, this should be motivation to grow. Why not work on what you enjoy and are good at?

5. What Keeps You Awake at Night?

What is the worst thing that can happen? What if it does? What will you do? What actions can you take to minimize the chance it occurs? Why not take them? If you can live with the worst case, why stay up worrying about it?

6. What Are Your Key Performance Indicators?

What are the essential measurements that let you know in an instant if the business is humming along or starting to sputter? Do you know your average ticket? Gross profit? Breakeven per day, week, and month? Call conversion ratio? What about labor cost as a percent of sales? Do you utilize a daily report to track cash in and upcoming payments?

7. What is Your Exit Strategy?

One day you will exit the business. You can exit standing on your feet or wheeled out on your back. You can exit with something to live on or with empty pockets. If you want to walk away wealthy, it takes planning. It takes an exit strategy. These are not formulated and executed overnight.

Why You Need to Answer These Questions

Roughly 40% of plumbing contractors are just going through the motions. They own jobs, not businesses. They do not run their companies. Their companies run them. They earn enough to get by, but not enough to get ahead. It’s a shame. Plumbing is too good of a profession to just get by. Running a plumbing business is too good of an opportunity to wind up walking around on the concrete floors of a big box answering consumer DIY questions because you need extra income to supplement your “retirement” savings.

If you feel stuck in a rut and cannot figure out how to escape, start by asking yourself these seven questions. You don’t need to “go it alone” either. Reach out to other contractors or to the business alliances for help. You can prosper in plumbing and prosper wildly!

Start your journey to prosperity with the Service Roundtable. It is filled with downloadable sales, marketing, and management templates for plumbing contractors. Reach out for help from top contractors across the country through the Plumbers Roundtable. Get cash back on your purchases through the Roundtable Rewards buying group. And, get it all for just $50 a month without the handcuffs of a long-term contract.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.

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