What do I mean by that?
I find there are three types of plumbing and heating businesses in the UK. Either a premium, high end plumbing and heating business, a standard, mid-range plumbing and heating business or a cheap ‘stack em high, sell em cheap’ plumbing and heating business. All of them are completely different.
“From a marketing perspective, you need to pick a path and stick to it”
Let’s look at the high-end plumbing and heating business first:
This tends to be boutique businesses who looks after luxurious properties up and down the country. They are set up to service this type of clientele, i.e. their vans are clean and brand new, their workwear is clean and tidy, they have high- end call centre and office staff who are always available to answer any demanding questions from the kind of customers they attract. Now these premium businesses do charge more than the mid-range and budget businesses, but this doesn’t mean they make more profit. I find that by being a high-end plumbing and heating business, you’ve also got other associated expenses. For example, if you are targeting wealthy clientele then you need to be advertising in prestigious places, magazines, golf courses, in luxury hotels or wherever the super rich congregate. That won’t be cheap!
Next, we’ll look at the mid-range plumbing and heating businesses:
These tend to be the run of the mill, average plumbing and heating businesses who appeal the average household. They’ll consider work for anyone. They are unbiased with their acceptance of jobs. They have their day rate and they generally don’t falter from that.
And finally, at the other end you’ve got the budget plumbing and heating business:
They may drive old vans, wear scruffy clothes with no branding. Their target market is the lower end stock of the housing market in the UK. They probably work alone, self employed as opposed to having an office with staff. They have a cheap charge out rate which is complimented by low overheads so therefore they can justify their cheap price. Now what I find with the cheap, low end plumbing and heating businesses is that they are busy fools. They usually don’t price effectively, working many hours because they are in demand as they are known as the cheap option. They are breaking their back for a low profit margin.
So, what type of plumbing and heating business are you? Are you premium, mid-range or budget?
From a marketing perspective you need to pick a path and stick to it. If you’re a premium business and you’re getting calls to fix a tap or change a washer then your business and your cost structure isn’t set up to be profitable for these jobs. So, if you are a premium plumbing and heating business and you are getting these calls you might want to filter them out. You might want to say you are fully booked because going out to jobs where you can’t charge a lot of money isn’t going to do you any favours.
“What type do you want to be?”
I’ve heard of a high-end plumbing and heating business in London who have got the keys to luxury properties in Mayfair. Multi-million pound houses. What they do is charge a monthly reoccurring fee to their clients. They have keys to the houses and in the house is a store cupboard with a spare part for anything which could potentially go wrong in a large luxury home. So while their clients are swanning off to Dubai or the Maldives, the staff from this business can go to the property, service what they need, replace what needs replacing, and leave. But because of that they can charge and do charge a couple of thousand pounds every month to their clients for the privilege of being on their books.
What type do you want to be? What is your desire? Have your vision in mind and stick to it. But, be warned that you shouldn’t cross over into an area that you can’t service and satisfy because in my opinion it just won’t work.
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