One Man Plumbing Business: Should You Start Solo in 2022?

Is a truck full of supplies all you need to make big profits?

By
George Leon | Updated August 23, 2022
man exiting a van

It’s great news that you’ve decided to open a plumbing company. You’re probably wondering how you’ll manage to own a successful plumbing business with your never-ending list of tasks.

It can be challenging to decide between a one-man plumbing business or hiring subcontractors or employees. Each option has its benefits. However, it is important to weigh all options and decide what is most important for you.

We’ve broken down the advantages and disadvantages of starting a one-man plumbing company to help you get started.

Knowing the pros and cons of owning a plumbing business will allow you to navigate it more effectively.

Do You Need to Hire Workers for Your Plumbing Company?

Are you unsure if you can handle all the leads that come in? You might consider hiring employees or subcontracting your plumbing jobs to complete more monthly work.

Understanding the differences between subcontractors and employees is essential before you make the right decision for your company. You will be responsible for the legal obligations if you hire permanent employees.

An employer is responsible for:

  • Hiring a skilled and competent team to do the job you have given them.
  • Provide all materials and supplies for your employees to complete their jobs
  • If your employees are eligible, you can offer them health benefits, paid vacations, sick leave, family leaves, and other benefits.
  • Paying them a salary even if you couldn’t give them 40 hours of work each week.
  • Processing payroll and handling taxes.

Key-Takeaway: Although it is nice to have the same people working on your projects, hiring employees can be costly when you start as a new plumbing contractor.

Many plumbing business owners choose to hire subcontractors or perform the work themselves. We’ll get into that next.

Are Subcontractors a Good Idea for plumbing Jobs?

Hiring subcontractors can prove cost-effective for those just starting. Hiring subcontractors allows you to take the stress out of managing your team, training new employees, and payroll.

Plumbing subcontractors differ from employees in the following ways:

  • For each job, they send an invoice.
  • Instead of depending on you for supplies and equipment, they can purchase their own supplies
  • They are not eligible for paid time off or employee health benefits
  • They can work for several plumbing companies simultaneously
  • They can accept or decline to accept jobs offered to them

An excellent way for a plumbing business to scale is by using subcontractors. However, they won’t cost extra if sales slow down due to seasonality.

If you need extra help, you can contact them and ask for their help. Otherwise, you can do all the work yourself.

One-Man Plumbing Business: The Benefits

A one-man plumbing company is a great way to make a living, especially if you are starting your plumbing business. There are many things to think about, from managing your own time to protecting your bottom line to maximizing your profits.

Here are some of the many benefits of being your sole employee in your plumbing business.

  • Enjoy higher plumbing profit margins. As a business owner, revenue is your number one priority. You can run your entire business on your own, and there is no need for employees to cut into the earned profits.
  • Keep your prices lower. However, as your plumbing staff grows, you may need to increase your expenses to pay for the salaries owed to them. You can keep your costs competitive in the local market as you are the sole owner of the plumbing business. Customers are likely to get estimates from several companies. Having one of the lowest estimates will win you more business.
  • With a simple marketing strategy like plumbing Facebook ads, you can get all the leads you need.
  • You don’t have to manage a team. Although having a team can be rewarding, it can also be a massive headache. You might find yourself in the office dealing with employees who aren’t performing well.
  • It’s easier to keep an eye on the business. When you are the only person involved in day-to-day business operations, you can have a better view of everything going on — from customer relations to equipment stock and revenue growth.

There are many benefits to starting your own plumbing company by yourself.

The Drawbacks of an Individual Plumbing Contractor

We’ve already discussed the benefits of owning a one-man plumbing business. Now it’s time to discuss the downsides. Understanding both sides of the coin will help you make better business decisions and achieve your goals.

The most significant disadvantage of one-man plumbing companies is limiting business growth.

In five years, where do you see your plumbing company? In ten years? Do you think you will still be a one-man operation, or do you have plans to build your team?

Although being the only employee in your team can be a great way to increase your profitability, you may not have the time or the capacity to handle all the jobs.

You’ll start seeing leads come in through your local outreach and marketing efforts. You might find that there are more leads than you can handle.

You are losing customers who don’t want to wait and will schedule appointments weeks in advance. They’ll hang up if they have to deal with defective plumbing in their home for weeks.

It is not a good idea to lose out on jobs that could become recurring businesses simply because you don’t have the workforce.

If your plumbing business is receiving a steady stream of leads that you cannot handle, it may be time to consider hiring subcontractors and employees.

This will impact your profits, but you can handle twice as many jobs.

The Verdict: A One-Man Plumbing Company is Possible

Is it possible to own a plumbing business as a sole proprietor? Yes. However, you need to be aware of the limitations.

You’ll keep all the profits because they won’t have to be divided among a team. However, being a solo operator can impact the number of jobs you do in a given year. Your business will be more profitable if you have more jobs.

You will ultimately need to weigh all the benefits and decide which aspects of the plumbing trade you value most.

Written by

George Leon is a Managing Partner at Scalebloom (Parent company of BusinessHue). He used to be a partner at a painting company in Charlotte NC. George loves to help business owners scale their business with modern marketing strategies and branding.