Plumbing, Business Tips

11 Plumbing Business Management Tips to Streamline and Grow

October 26th, 2023
18 Min Read

In order to run your plumbing business like a well-oiled machine, you need to use business software. When it comes to plumbing business management, plumbing contractors must also know how to price their services correctly, create effective marketing campaigns to gain new customers, train staff to sell maintenance agreements, and more.

To ensure that your plumbers and CSRs do their jobs effectively, they need to feel empowered and well paid. They also need efficient operational procedures to support them so they don’t get bogged down by cumbersome processes and busy work. 

We work with hundreds of plumbing business owners to help them manage and improve their business operations with our plumbing software, ServiceTitan. 

Our tools focus specifically on:

  • Operations: Ensuring plumbing techs’ daily routines run smoothly so that they always know where they’re going and the details of each work order.

  • Pricing: Helping plumbers easily find pricing and product details so that they can create accurate estimates that are always up-to-date.

  • Contracts: Enabling plumbers to upsell and create maintenance contracts while out on service calls.

  • Mobile: Facilitating plumbers’ daily activities, from pricing to invoicing, with modern mobile technology.

  • Back office: Supercharging back-end office processes (like billing and payroll) to reduce mistakes and increase efficiency.

  • Marketing: Helping you focus on your marketing efforts and performance analytics to maintain a steady stream of new customers so that your business grows. 

In this post, we’ll share 11 plumbing business management tips and explain how our field service management software, ServiceTitan, can help with each. 

Management Tips for Streamlining Your Plumbing Business

1. Equip CSRs to turn calls into sales

2. Optimize dispatching and scheduling

3. Give techs the tools to sell your services

4. Streamline plumbing communications

5. Offer flexible financing options

6. Invoice customers swiftly

7. Pay staff accurately and promptly

Marketing Tips for Plumbing Business Growth

8. Stay on top of plumbing trends

9. Market smarter, not harder

10. Leverage online reviews

11. Track key performance indicators

Want to discover how ServiceTitan can help you implement your marketing strategy and other essential business operations for your plumbing business? Book a free, personalized demo.

Management Tips for Streamlining Your Plumbing Business

Tip #1: Equip CSRs to Turn Calls into Sales

Are your customer service reps properly prepared to make a good first impression with callers inquiring about your plumbing service company? Homeowners and commercial plumbing clients expect good customer service from the first moment you answer the phone, and it's up to your CSRs to set the stage for building a good relationship.

Give your CSRs the power to impress with business management software that automatically populates customer information as calls come in, instantly showing them an inbound caller’s information before they even answer the phone.

With ServiceTitan’s call booking tool, CSRs know the:

  • Customer’s name, address, and phone number

  • Customer’s profile (age of home, credit score, and more)

  • Customer’s complete service history with your business

  • Marketing campaign that prompted the call

With custom prompts (whether the customer is calling about plumbing maintenance, an installation, or the existing plumbing equipment they have), CSRs can give potential customers their undivided attention and collect the right information, which prepares your field technicians to get the job done right the first time. 

ServiceTitan’s software records all calls. This gives you a complete and accurate record for every job, and provides insight for when jobs don’t get booked. Then, you can provide training, if needed, so that you book more jobs.

Learn more on what to include in your plumbing business call center script here and how to turn your call center into a profit center here.

You can also read more about how Black Diamond Plumbing’s booking system improved when they started using ServiceTitan’s software here.

Tip #2: Optimize Dispatch & Scheduling Processes

If your plumbing business uses manual processes or even spreadsheets to organize workloads, not only is it massively time-consuming, it’s also unnecessarily complicated and can lead to costly mistakes.

Using plumbing business software to organize and schedule all your plumbing jobs means that your technicians will:

  • Always know where they are going and when.

  • Always have the correct job and customer information on hand.

  • Have the ability to flex easily when the unexpected happens.

ServiceTitan’s scheduling and dispatching software lets you organize all of your plumbing jobs weeks (or even months) in advance. Our simple user interface allows CSRs to see the available time slots for each plumbing technician without leaving the original screen, while tags can be used to note any special equipment that may be needed.

Dispatchers can plan plumbers’ workflows for upcoming jobs and busy seasons and ensure that the right tech is sent to the right job. This means that each day every tech’s workload can be optimized to maximize revenue and keep customers satisfied.

Our dispatch board shows the status of each job at any time (scheduled, unassigned, canceled, on hold, etc.) while our smart schedule optimization means CSRs and dispatchers can respond to traffic issues or unexpected changes such as an emergency call-out or a job over-running. Dispatchers can shorten or extend the duration of a job, or reassign a tech to another job, all from a universal screen.

ServiceTitan software also optimizes technician routing, so plumbers are assigned to the jobs local to them that maximize efficiency as well as match their specific skill sets. 

Our software also tracks each tech and job progress in real-time, so you can send out job confirmations and changes to customers via text. 

With ServiceTitan, everyone is kept in the loop.

Learn about best practices for scheduling here and how dispatch management software can improve your business in this post.

Tip #3: Give Techs the Tools to Effectively Sell Your Services

Is your plumbing company losing money, despite employing a team of plumbers with stellar technical prowess? Expertise and know-how only go so far in today’s world of on-demand home services. Today, field technicians must know better plumbing sales techniques.

Show your plumbing techs how to combine their skills and knowledge with a plumbing software solution, such as ServiceTitan, to easily present and explain good-better-best pricing on service calls. Not only does plumbing service software help to position them as true service experts, it allows techs to easily increase average tickets by converting more plumbing leads into on-site sales of new products and upgrades. Techs can also promote maintenance contracts for recurring revenue and work during slower seasons.

ServiceTitan’s Pricebook

Using a plumbing pricebook that’s easy for your techs to understand and execute is essential for them to be able to create and close estimates and proposals for your plumbing business. ServiceTitan allows you to use flat-rate pricing to set up a dynamic flat-rate pricebook that lets you and your team build accurate estimates that bring in profit.

Pricebook Pro comes loaded with curated content, detailed descriptions and vivid images already built in. Pricebook Pro also includes an “Upgrades and Recommendations” feature that shows customers good, better and best options, along with recommendations for required parts.

Learn about flat-rate pricing vs hourly rates in this post and more about plumbing pricing in this post.

Creating Estimates with ServiceTitan

Typically, plumbing contractors provide three service options (Good-Better-Best) for customers. This has been proved to increase ticket sales as customers sense flexibility and, most often, opt for the mid-priced option. 

ServiceTitan’s software makes it easy to prepare Good-Better-Best proposals, either in real-time when out in the field, or back at the office. Once a customer selects their option, ServiceTitan connects the estimate to the rest of the plumbing workflow, including scheduling, dispatching, and billing.

Learn more about how business software improves plumbing estimates in this post.

Selling Maintenance Contracts with ServiceTitan

In addition to creating accurate estimates for plumbing upgrades or new installations, ServiceTitan’s software gives your plumbing techs the tools to upsell maintenance contracts on all service calls. 

Without software like ServiceTitan, figuring out which customers would benefit from a maintenance contract, which already have one, and managing those agreements (when they need servicing or renewing) is challenging, and techs can easily forget or ignore upselling service contracts to customers.

With ServiceTitan, plumbing techs can use pre-approved maintenance agreement templates, present them to the customer, and get them signed while on a service call. 

Plumbing businesses can create the templates from scratch or adapt and improve on an existing agreement. You can set up and store as many templates as you wish, to suit different membership types, and customize them to include details such as membership duration, frequency, billing information, and pricing. 

Using ServiceTitan’s software helps organize selling and managing maintenance contracts into a streamlined process that’s easy for your plumbing techs to use and maximizes the opportunities (and profit) for your plumbing business.

Learn more about plumbing contracts in this post and read our ultimate guide on maintenance agreements here

Tip #4: Streamline Plumbing Communications

With mobile workers accounting for 60% of the U.S. workforce by 2024, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), it's never been more important to streamline your plumbing communications and improve workflow — from the first moment a customer calls to book an appointment with office staff to the follow-up after leaving the job site.

As mentioned above, ServiceTitan’s mobile app instantly connects your entire plumbing team through text messaging and GPS tracking, and integrates all the information CSRs collect on intake calls directly with your service tech's mobile tablet, so they never miss a beat.

Plumbing technicians can access customer information such as contact details, job histories, existing plumbing equipment, invoicing history, notes, and more, directly from their mobile tablet. 

As discussed above, they can refer to plumbing pricebooks, create and present estimates, and upsell maintenance agreements in just a few taps. Techs can also take payments from customers by capturing checks and credit cards via their mobile tablet camera.

Clear and timely communication from start to finish improves customer satisfaction, provides better customer management, and shows your plumbing company cares about helping customers save money and time. It also helps employees stay more productive and engaged, and keeps everyone on the same page.

Learn more about how to keep company tablets and mobiles secure in this post and how to manage a mobile workforce here.

Tip #5: Offer Flexible Financing Options

To win more customers, offer flexible financing options. With ServiceTitan’s integrated financing feature, you control which plans you offer and set the rules to suit your plumbing business. 

ServiceTitan software automatically calculates the options, based on your choices and the estimate being presented, so that financing can be offered to customers by techs directly from their mobile tablet. 

Statistics show customer financing is a proven way to improve sales in the field, increasing revenue by more than 17%, according to results from ServiceTitan customer data.

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One plumbing company saw a jump in its average standard and tankless water heater conversion rate, from 50% to 60%, after implementing better training and integrated financing. The company installs about 20 water heaters a day, which equates to over 5,000 water heaters per year.

“You start to think about 10% on 5,000 water heaters, what that conversion means,” says Mike Barnhart, Chief Financial Officer at The Eco Plumbers in Columbus, Ohio. “An extra 500 water heaters a year, from traditional to tankless being $2,000 to $4,500, it ends up being a pretty staggering number. Going up 10% could be as much as $1.5 million to $2 million in revenue.”

The ability to offer flexible financing options on the spot gives customers instant access to funds and increases the likelihood of techs closing bigger jobs and boosting sales.

Learn more about how to use plumbing financing to increase profit in this post.

Tip #6: Invoice Customers Swiftly

Collecting revenue as quickly as possible is crucial for keeping cash flow running smoothly. To do that, you need efficient and reliable billing procedures that integrate with your other operational processes. Otherwise you’re reliant on staff pulling together the relevant paperwork (hours worked, materials used, etc.) manually. Not only does this increase the chance of errors, it also takes techs away from actual work that brings in more revenue.

With ServiceTitan’s free Invoice Generator tool, plumbing techs can generate the invoices while they’re on site, by inputting the relevant information into a customized invoice template and sending it directly to the customer via text or email. 

Invoicing in this way saves time, looks professional, and reduces mistakes (such as pricing errors or lost paperwork). 

Note: If you already use accounting software, ServiceTitan’s invoicing software can be integrated with QuickBooks, so you can ensure all your financials are accurate, up-to-date and easy to access.

Learn more about invoicing best practices in the ServiceTitan Playbook and check out our plumbing invoicing tips here. You can read more about invoicing software in this post.

Tip #7: Pay Staff Accurately & Promptly

There are a number of ways to attract and retain good, reliable plumbing staff, including providing excellent training and giving them the right tools to do the job. You should also pay staff correctly and promptly.

SeviceTitan’s payroll software has been designed to help you track staff (via timesheets), and pay them on time.

Our timesheet software helps you manage the productivity of your business by monitoring time spent on specific activities, such as driving and collecting materials, as well as time spent on actual work. All these are recorded in real-time, and overtime and bonuses can be configured easily, too, as can part-time and full-time hours. 

Because our software features are fully integrated, plumbing technicians can access their timesheets for sign-off, so there’s no need to drive into the head office each payroll period. You can even configure ServiceTitan to apply confidential commission and bonus structures so that complex performance pay is completely automated.

Having these automated systems in place not only streamlines your payroll procedure, but your plumbing staff will be confident that they will always be paid correctly and on time. 

Learn more about how to retain staff here and here and how to drive success by leading well here.

Marketing Tips for Plumbing Business Growth

Tip #8: Stay on Top of Plumbing Trends

Knowing trends that improve operational efficiency for residential and commercial plumbing systems matters to today's tech-savvy consumers. They want to save money, time, and protect the environment.

Leaking pipes, fixtures, and seals — otherwise known as small leaks — quickly add up to gallons of water lost and wasted dollars, according to Energy Star. Provide better customer support by helping customers save water and energy. They want to know the benefits of smart plumbing products, such as tankless water heaters, drain-cleaning sensors, leak-detection equipment, smart shower heads, and touchless or voice-activated faucets.

​By staying on top of new plumbing technology, you can equip your field technicians to offer smart solutions for every plumbing problem.

Read the top 12 plumbing trends of the year here.

Tip #9: Market Smarter, Not Harder

Are your plumbing marketing strategies reaching the right audience? If you’re continually searching for ways to grow your plumbing business, focus on improving your plumbing marketing efforts first.

For Ismael Valdez — owner of NexGen Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing — marketing remains the most important KPI (key performance indicator) to know, understand, and track as a service business. It’s like the fuel that powers your vehicle, he says, and it’s how he took his blended HVAC-plumbing business in Southern California from zero profitability to $30 million in four years.

“If you don’t know how to make the phone ring, nothing else matters,” Valdez says. 

In addition to traditional marketing channels like direct mail, newspaper, billboard and radio advertising, small-business owners must navigate a multitude of digital platforms, often guessing at which avenues work best for attracting the most leads.

And what works today may not work next year, next month, or even next week, Valdez says. “It’s tracking what works now — that’s the most important thing,” he says. 

Note: We discuss tracking your marketing efforts below

Here are six key marketing activities to consider (and how ServiceTitan can help):

Optimize Your Plumbing Website for SEO

Sprinkle local keywords such as, “plumbers in New York” on your website’s landing pages, blogs, social media pages, headers, and meta descriptions to increase the chance of potential customers finding you when they search Google.

Make Your Plumbing Website Mobile Friendly

Most potential customers will search for plumbers via a mobile device. Ensure your website is uncluttered by images or excessive text and that it adapts to any screen size and device.

Activate Your Google Business Profile Page

Verify your Google Business Profile to attract new customers. It’s simple to set up and completely free.

Invest in Google Local Services Ads

These will appear at the top of the Google search listings where local customers can view a snapshot of your plumbing business. 

ServiceTitan integrates with Google Local Services Ads to allow homeowners to directly schedule online appointments with your company, and provides business owners with ROI metrics on every campaign.

Send Targeted Email Campaigns

To earn $40 for every $1 spent, focus on sending relevant email campaigns to specific audience segments. 

ServiceTitan Marketing Pro lets you segment your email audience by ZIP code, age of equipment, date of last service, new homeowner, and more. By using data already collected in ServiceTitan, you can set audience lists that focus on specific customers, such as those who are due to update their service contracts.

Sending targeted emails is easy. Choose from our huge range of email templates, adjust the text to fit your campaign, and deliver to your chosen audience. 

Read more email marketing tips for plumbing companies.

Boost Your Direct Mail Marketing

Use business software such as ServiceTitan to automate creative direct mail to existing and potential customers. 

ServiceTitan has a library of postcards that plumbing businesses can choose from to execute their direct mail campaigns. Setup takes minutes. Simply choose your design, adjust the text, then print and mail your postcards to your chosen audience. 

Bill Highsmith, Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric says:

"The ROI is definitely there. With our first few campaigns, we paid for a year, easily. We made over $4,000 in the first week of the first campaign."

Read our full plumbing marketing guide here

Below, we discuss the importance of leveraging online reviews.

Tip #10: Leverage Online Reviews

A well-optimized website design, combined with glowing customer reviews, produces more leads for your plumbing company through organic Google results when a customer in your area searches online for plumbing services. Using a management system to monitor and respond to online reviews is a proven business strategy for many who own a business in the skilled trades.

Travis Ringe, who co-owns ProSkill Services, a full-service air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, water heater, and water treatment home services company in Arizona, focuses his marketing efforts on getting more 5-star Google reviews. He says ServiceTitan’s built-in survey tool helps him customize a personal message, and the plumbing software automates the process for better results.

“We get between five and 15 Google reviews per day, on average,” Ringe says. 

With 82% of customers saying they read online reviews for local companies and more than half saying they won’t consider hiring a company with less than four stars, managing online reviews can make or break a service company in today’s digital world.

ServiceTitan’s customer experience software automatically sends survey requests to customers after a job has been completed. This makes it easy for customers to share their experience on an online review site (Google, Yelp, etc) while it’s still fresh in their mind.

Our software also offers a reputation management tool that automates sending review requests to customers, lets you reply to reviews, and gain insights into which plumbing techs they relate to.

Learn more about how to ask customers for reviews to improve your online rankings.

Tip #11: Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

For best plumbing business management, contractors also must understand which financial KPIs to closely monitor and track so they make smart, data-driven decisions to grow their business.

For Valdez's blended HVAC-plumbing company, he identifies the top three financial KPIs as: gross profit margin, set overhead, and break-even point. He says it basically comes down to tracking monthly expenses and gross profit to know exactly how much to target in revenue.

“Profits and cash flow are the two biggest KPIs to stay on top of,” says Ellen Rohr, Chief Operating Officer of Zoom Drain. Just be careful to not overextend your plumbing company in good times and bad, and insist on payment upon delivery to keep accounts receivable in good shape.

Likewise, whichever marketing strategy works best for your plumbing business, keep track of gross revenue per lead source, the number of leads generated by each source, and the closing percentage on each marketing lead. Then calculate ROI to determine true marketing value, and adjust marketing spend accordingly. 

With ServiceTitan’s cloud-based software, you can view specific KPIs via the dynamic dashboard for every marketing campaign, plumbing job, technician, and CSR.

With our technician scorecard, you can stay up-to-date on every plumbing tech’s stats, such as: number of calls per day, generated revenue, memberships sold, response times, and more. This helps monitor which techs are outperforming expectations and which may need assistance. Likewise, our CSR scorecard lets you monitor metrics for your customer service team, such as number of calls handled, conversions, etc.

You can also create a marketing scorecard of all your current campaigns, and tie all new customers to the specific marketing campaign that brought them to you. Then, you can boost spending on campaigns with higher returns, and drop channels with poor performance. 

ServiceTitan lets you view your metrics at a granular level as well as the big picture of your business so you can see exactly what’s driving revenue and where there’s room for improvement.

Want to Try ServiceTitan to Improve Your Plumbing Management?

The plumbing industry continues to grow. According to a recent market research report by IBIS World, there were 127,343 plumbing businesses and 565,537 industry jobs by the end of 2021, and revenue reached approximately $124 billion. 

To keep up with demand — while successfully growing your business — it’s essential to ensure your operational processes run efficiently and your plumbing staff are empowered and well rewarded for their work. Using ServiceTitan’s plumbing software to streamline your plumbing management processes and execute your marketing strategies will help your plumbing business thrive.

Book a free demo to find out more about how ServiceTitan can help you run your entire plumbing business and implement an effective marketing strategy.

ServiceTitan Plumbing Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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