• Plumbing Startup - Web and Software Essentials Sep 28, 2018
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    Any plumbing startup needs to invest hundreds in tools ranging from pipe benders to wrenches. Tools are obvious prerequisites for any plumbing business, but there are extra tools a modern plumbing business requires: A website, social media presence and specialist plumbing software.

    Your Plumbing Website
    Customers will search Google for nearby plumbing businesses. If you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist in real life.

    Other businesses will only employ you if they can check you out online first. B2B contracts will be larger than the typical consumer contract and clients will understandably be cautious about hiring a company you don’t know much about. Having a website reduces the perceived risk, so you need a web address before you even open for business.

    How Much Will Your Website Cost?
    You can use a website builder like WiX that includes hosting for $10 per month, or you can buy separate hosting for $6 per month and use WordPress to build a site using a free theme. Either way, your site has a very low setup cost, and when you look at the credibility you get from it, that money is a superb investment.

    You can find someone on Fiverr or other remote freelancer sites who will set up your site for $5, but you might be better paying $20 to get a recommended freelancer to build it for you. Once you have the site structure set up, you can paste your copy into the different pages.

    This site has an article about a 5-page builders’ website for £449 that you can edit yourself. Such a site can easily be modified for a building specialty such as plumbing.

    Take photos of yourself and your van and make them central to your page design, add referrals with pictures of happy customers, and include your phone numbers so prospective customers can contact you.

    Your Social Media Channels
    Many areas have a local network of homeowners who recommend tradespeople they are happy with. Having your own Facebook page will encourage satisfied customers to share your name with friends, which will bring you more business.

    Post plumbing advice on your social channels to help establish your reputation as someone who is helpful. People remember, and when things go wrong, they will contact a plumber whose free advice has helped them rather than a random tradesperson from a Google search.

    Software Essentials
    Work out what you need your plumbing software to do.

    The best apps will let set up prices for common jobs so your office receptionist can give estimates over the phone or email: This minimizes interruptions to your working day and helps you get home sooner ta the end of the day.

    Ideally, when you visit a customer to give a more definite quote, your app will let you compose a quote and send it by email for the customer to check while you are still with her. More of your quotes will convert to contracts if you can make it easier for customers to say ‘Yes.’

    As your business expands, you need to be able to add new employees to your app subscription: This will get around the exploding paperwork mountain that will otherwise turn you into a typist instead of a plumber.

    Integration with your accounting software is essential. This way, your accounts receivable will automatically update every time you mark a job as complete, much better than juggling multiple invoices, job sheets and receipts on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Of course, it would automatically remind you of overdue accounts, too.

    If your employees could check a job as complete on their cell phones, you could ring the customer within a few minutes to check she is delighted. If there are problems, you need to know about it and fix it, before the unhappy customer takes to Twitter or Facebook to express their displeasure.

    Insist on an app that hits every point on your wish-list at a price that makes sense.

    The Short Version
    A website and social media presence have become essentials to success in any plumbing business. You can get both for less than the price of a good restaurant meal, and they need to be in place before you place your first ad.

    It would be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on software relating to different parts of your work. However, you can get it all for less if you choose specialist software for plumbers that runs on your phones and tablets.
    Abhinandan Jain likes this.
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