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2 mins customer stories

How to start a successful plumbing business


Content Producer

It’s not work, it’s a lifestyle. That’s according to plumber and business owner Andrew Smith.

He’s two years on from setting up his first business - Watersmith Plumbing and Gas - based in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, and he hasn’t looked back.

He’s grown the business from a one-man band operation to taking on a full-time employee and a handful of contractors and is looking to expand further.

The best part - Andrew’s still spending most of his time on the tools and just a few hours every week taking care of quoting, invoicing, managing Health and Safety and everything else that comes with running your own business.

“It never really seems like work to me, it seems more of a lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine going back to working for anyone else now,” says Andrew.

The secret to success

So, what’s Andrew’s recipe for getting his business working for him and not the other way around?

He says it’s actually pretty simple.

Find a great accountant, find an expert to take care of your website and social media and take on great job management software.

In Andrew’s case, he knew Fergus was the job management system for him after using it when he was working for another plumbing business.

“One of the first things I started up with my new business was Fergus. It’s all just gone from there.”

Cash flow convenience

Andrew’s new favourite feature - Fergus Pay - the secure online credit card processing solution that’s done wonders for his cash flow.

Why? Well like all small business owners, Andrew needs to make sure he’s getting his invoices paid on time to keep on top of his finances. In fact, he even runs monthly reports in Fergus, and in his accounting software provider Xero, to find out exactly how long it takes his customers to pay him.

He’s noticed his customers who use Fergus Pay settle their invoices at least twice as fast, on average, compared to those who prefer to pay using bank transfer.

“It’s great for the cash flow and a convenient service for the customer which they seem to appreciate.”

Andrews says Fergus Pay is also keeping his accountant happy too.

“The money comes through straight away. I don’t have to deal with handling, processing fees or credit card fees. It’s all taken care of.”

Taking care of business

Along with Fergus Pay, Andrew is making the most of Fergus’ full set of job management features.

He uses it for everything from creating quotes and invoices, communicating with his team, to getting an in-depth overview of his financial performance and productivity.

And because Andrew is out on the tools 80% of the time, he’s often getting it all done when he’s out on the road.

“That’s why Fergus is such a good match for me because I can do everything from my phone or my computer or from a tablet, I can do everything really which is awesome.”

Andrew’s team are also using Fergus. They know to check the mobile app the night before their working day to find out what they’ve got on, where they need to be and what equipment they’ll need.

“Everything goes through Fergus. They’ve all got the Fergus app on their phone and all of our (supplier) invoices get attached to the job. That then makes my life easier when it comes time to sending invoices.”

And now Fergus has integrated with Plumbing World, Andrew and his team simply hand over the job number when they buy materials either in-store or over email and the invoice automatically syncs against the right job in Fergus.

“The integration with Plumbing World seems to work effortlessly which is great.”

So, what does the future hold for Andrew?

He says the business is getting busier and busier. He knows he’s going to need to take on more plumbers to deal with the workload - a prospect he finds exciting and a little daunting.

Over to you

Not sure whether you can afford the labour you need to hire for your next job? Download our Free Profit & Loss Calculator and work out how much you need to charge on rates or materials to make sure you’re looked after.

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