It’s not a joke to say that, as long as people and animals produce waste, there will be a need for plumbing. Homes, businesses, factories, schools and every other type of building require water and a means to remove wastewater. Plumbers are skilled craftsmen who use knowledge of water pressure, fittings, pipes, tubes and valves to install plumbing in new buildings and maintain water systems when the building is older. Opening a plumbing business may seem like a sure bet because of the demand for this service, but even the most skilled plumber should carefully consider all aspects of owning and running a business before deciding self-employment is a reasonable option.
The self-employed plumber will be his own boss--the primary benefit of self-employment; however, what anyone wanting to start a plumbing business should understand is that, in fact, every customer is the boss, as customers are the source for all income. Plumbers must be able to respond at all hours to emergency situations (water leaks, stopped drains, flooding), and have the resources to deal with any plumbing situation. Opening a plumbing business is an announcement that the plumber is now at the beck and call of any potential customer needing plumbing services. Any different self-employed approach is a sure way to end up with no customers, no income, and out of business.
As a plumbing business grows, the owner may decide to expand and hire other workers to take on some of the workload. The advantages are obvious: more workers means more production and more money. The disadvantages are taking on the responsibility for payroll, managing workers on the jobs, and maintaining certain productivity levels to justify the employee head count.
Employees can also be assets as customers learn to appreciate the quality of their work. On the other hand, the business is also responsible for any poor workmanship, personal relations between customers and workers, and worker liability (injuries or damage resulting from poor workmanship.)
Running a Business
Few are “natural business people.” Starting a plumbing business means taking on the responsibilities of running a business. The self-employed plumber must deal with issues such as taxes, vendors for materials, and vehicles to get employees to the various job sites with the necessary work materials and tools. On the positive side, all of these demands will mold the plumber into a solid entrepreneur, which can provide immense self-satisfaction, as well as business-growth opportunities.
Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.