How to set up as a self-employed plumber

Are you thinking about setting up as a self-employed plumber? Industry data suggests there are somewhere between 120,000 to 150,000 plumbers and heating engineers in the UK, so you’re certainly not alone – and that can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd.

But it’s an occupation that is largely futureproofed in that there will always be leaky pipes, blocked toilets and broken boilers to fix. And if you build up a solid business, there is good money to be made in the plumbing trade.

But how do you go about getting started? Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Get your paperwork in order

You’ll need to take out public liability insurance, which offers you protection in the event that you cause any injury or damage to any person or property during the course of your work. And if you’re going to be working with gas, you’ll need to be on the Gas Safe Register.

Define your working radius

How far will you be willing to travel for work? Casting your net further afield offers you the chance to pick up more business, but there will come a point where a long journey for a relatively small job is no longer cost-effective. So, you need to think carefully about the geographical area in which you’re prepared to operate.

Build relationships with your suppliers

If you’re in the middle of a big job, for example installing a new combi boiler for a customer, the last thing you need is to be let down by an unreliable supplier. Take the time to speak to the plumbing merchants in the area and build up a mutual respect, so that you can depend on them to deliver what you need while they can be sure that you’ll pay on time.

Obtain the necessary equipment

You’ll need all manner of tools on a daily basis, including pipe cutters, spanners, pliers, PTFE tape, gauges, soldering equipment, sealant and much more. You should also invest in a tool box to keep everything organised and easy to find.

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Market yourself

You might find that you receive a lot of your business through word of mouth, because people like a tradesperson that comes highly recommended. But on top of that, you can promote your services via a website, social media, business cards and with signage on your van and workwear.