10 Ways To Grow Your Plumbing Business Without Paying For Advertising

David Serna by David Serna on June 21, 2016

It’s not just about getting new customers, it’s about keeping the ones you already have! While Advertising for the plumbing industry is crazy expensive, with “clicks” going for as much as $50-60 in many US markets, most plumbers still choose to keep paying to get a quick job and then completely ignore the customer upon job completion.

The fact is that bringing in a new customer costs way too much to make most initial jobs profitable without a repeat job from the same customer or another referral job from a friend or colleague.

So, here are 10 ways successful plumbers use to stay profitable and thrive:

1. Build a detailed customer database and stay close

First things first. In order to be able to keep the relationship with your customers alive past the initial service call you need to have an organized way of keeping customer data and notes to help you remember who’s who and what history they have with your business.

2. Get Customer feedback and track customer satisfaction

It is very hard to get referrals and repeat business if your plumbing service is not good or not perceived as good by your customers. It’s not just about fixing the toilet right is about ensuring the whole experience from the initial call to the after service follow up is friendly and professional. It is important to be able to get direct feedback from customers and track the level of satisfaction so you can make changes and constantly improve your operation.

3. Develop a good online reputation

This one is key. The keyword here is “develop” :), that means you are in charge of your reputation by doing great work and influencing your customers to spread the word. Ultimately, you want a great Yelp and Google profile with lots of positive reviews that will bring you “warm” customers without paying a dime!

Showing the Yelp logo in your van or website and mentioning how important online reviews are for your business after a successful job is completed are great examples of active reputation development. You could offer a bonus to your plumbers for every online review associated to a job they did.

4. Use email to stay close to your existing clients

Email is a super efficient way to stay close to your customers without taking much of your time. By sending ongoing emails about special events and info about your business you stay on your customer’s radar and keep the relationship with your business alive.

5. Encourage customer referrals

Having an official customer referral program is a great way to incentivize customers to spread the word. People will refer you because you are great not because what you offer but you making a point that referrals are welcome and appreciated and giving a small reward as a thank you will make it extra clear to your most loyal fans that referrals are an important part of your business.

6. Use coupons to Incentivize repeat business

Coupons are a proven way to keep customers coming back. Create a special discount for first-time customers and give it to them after the first service call. It will be a great reminder that when a plumber is needed again not only they will have another great experience by going with you but also will save some money.

7. Educate people about plumbing

The more you explain what’s wrong, how it can be fixed and pros and cons of different options the more you are perceived as a knowledgeable consultant and less as a salesperson. When your customers understand what is involved they become ready to pay the price required for each job.

8. Cross-sell & Upsell

Use every interaction with your customer as an opportunity to learn about their needs now and in the future. Is the heater about to fail? Do they have old pipes? Don’t be afraid to point it out and provide a solution. If your customer is not ready yet make sure to make a note in your database for a future interaction. Also, make sure every customer you talk to knows about everything your company does… do you also offer Heating and Air Conditioning services? Tell your customers at every opportunity you get!

9. Set up a Plumbing Maintenance Program

If you don’t have one yet you are missing out! Nowadays you can even get one when you buy a toaster. People today want peace of mind and as a plumber, you can offer lots of that by making sure all preventive maintenance is taken care of and any other need is covered with special privileges part of whatever you decide your VIP program to include. Customers buying your program are customers that will be coming back for sure!

10. Bake it into your process to rinse and repeat!

All of this sounds great but it is easier said than done, right? The key is to bake every aspect of these points into your own process so these strategies are implemented routinely in the day to day of your operation. Otherwise, you’ll end up like most competitors… knowing a lot but not doing much to break free from outrageously expensive paid advertising.