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7 Tools of professional plumbers

May 11, 2017
Tools of professional plumbers include:  Service agreements Company brochures Recruiting brochures Video brochures
Image: iStock/ThinkStock.

Few plumbing company owners would ever send their plumbers out in the field without tools and the training to use them. Yet, every day plumbers are dispatched without sales and marketing tools or the training to use them.

1. Service agreement: The service agreement is the basic building block on a long term sustainable plumbing business. The service agreement ties customers to a company. It transforms a company into a subscription business with a repeatable income stream. Grow the service agreement base and total sales with grow accordingly.

2. Company brochure: The most basic brochure a company can have is the company brochure.  This outlines the services you offer, the products you sell, and the reasons why a consumer would choose your company over all of your competitors.

3. Product/Service brochures: Beyond the company brochure, provide your plumbers with brochures for each product you sell and service you offer. These can be presented to customers at the start of a service call. The consumer can look over the brochures during the repair. After the repair is complete, the consumer asks the plumber about a product or service of interest. To sell, all the plumber needs to do is answer questions honestly.

Topics include service agreements, water purification systems, designer kitchen and bath options, tankless water heater, pot fillers, rainwater irrigation, water alarms and flood prevention, washing machine hoses, mixing valves and scald prevention, grab bar and safety measures for consumers to age-in-place, and more. Everything a company offers can be transformed into a brochure.

4. Recruiting brochure: A plumbing company can only grow as fast as it can add trucks and plumbers. Recruiting is one of the most important functions a company owner has. Yet, few plumbing companies have a recruiting brochure that describes the company culture, emphasizes benefits, and stakes out reasons why a prospective employee should join their company over another.

5. Video brochures: Your company brochure, product/service brochures, and recruiting brochures can all be converted into brief video brochures that can be hosted on YouTube, Facebook and the company website. Some people prefer to read. Others prefer to watch videos.  This makes it necessary to offer both.

6. Flat Rate price books: Given the long and successful history of flat rate pricing, it’s amazing that some plumbing companies continue to resist it. Flat rate is overwhelmingly preferred by consumers who see it as lower cost and more predictable. Consider all of the postal service advertising for flat rate. Ultimately, flat rate is merely a price presentation method. It’s one that eliminates consumer anxiety of an open-ended price under time and materials. 

7. Performance pay system: The complement to flat rate is performance pay where times are assigned to tasks and pay is based on the standard times. This encourages plumbers to think like owners so that they can be better organized and maximize the number of tasks completed in a day. When flat rate with fixed prices for a tasks is combined with performance pay with fixed labor costs for the same tasks, gross profit is assured.

Don’t forget training: You cannot hand an inexperienced, untrained apprentice a set of tools and expect good results. Neither can you hand your plumbers the tools noted above without accompanying training. Build a service agreement with your plumbers so they can understand and buy into its value. After all sales is the transference of belief.

Teach your team the features and benefits of each product and service you offer. One excellent technique is to have the recite the features and benefits while holding a burning match. The match simulates the pressure of standing before the customer. It also makes it fun for everyone.  If your plumbers can rattle off features and benefits holding a match, they can answer the questions of your customers intelligently and instantly.

Even something as obvious as flat rate pricing requires training. When plumbers are unfamiliar with a system, they need to practice its use so they feel comfortable and confident in front of customers.

Provide your plumbers with business tools to match your repair tools and watch your business take off. Yes, it really can be that easy.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable. Need a top-shelf industry speaker for your contractor meeting? The Service Roundtable provides complementary speakers on a variety of topics through its Speakers Bureau. Call 877.262.3341 or visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com to learn more.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable (ServiceRoundtable.com). 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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