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You Plumber Case Study: Quality focused

You Plumber Case Study: Quality focused

Your Plumber offers the ideal opportunity to exploit leadership skills and build a lucrative service business

Think about stressful situations and water cascading through the ceiling due to a burst pipe will usually be on most people’s list. Equally as stressful can be the task of finding a reliable plumber to provide a fix.

The heating and plumbing market is huge. It’s estimated to be worth £9.2 billion, but is highly fragmented, comprising over 19,000 plumbers, most being independent tradesmen.

Varying standards

This fragmentation has contributed to service standards of varying quality, with examples of rogue practice being regularly publicised. It also presents a great opportunity, which was spotted by Dan Morris when he set up Your Plumber six years ago.

Dan says: “Mention plumbers and invariably the perception that arises is one of suspicion and mistrust - apparently we’re all cowboys out to exploit naïve, vulnerable customers. But it’s a very distorted view.”

With in-depth knowledge of the industry, Dan recognised the problem for the plumbing industry is that the focus tends to be on the technical side of the business and not on customer service.

He continues: “There are many good plumbers, but they’re often great at plumbing, not so good at running a business. It was clear to me that an opportunity existed for a premium heating and plumbing service with technical competence matched by excellent customer service.

“It was also clear that achieving this required technical skills to be blended with proven commercial expertise.”

With this aim in mind, Dan realised that franchising provided the ideal platform and has developed Your Plumber as a dynamic management franchise opportunity. It has been designed for people seeking a business that enables them to apply proven leadership and business development skills.

Franchise owners focus on building their customer base, efficient administration and establishing a team of committed technicians.

“We look for franchise owners with a solid commercial background,” Dan explains. “Their vision, ambition and experience when combined with our brand and business support systems is powerful. It helps to create a compelling heating and plumbing business.”

The service provides a range of repair, maintenance and installation options for both domestic and commercial customers. Your Plumber franchise owners do not have to be plumbers or have any experience of the heating and plumbing industry. A basic understanding of plumbing and an empathy with the repair and maintenance market are both helpful, but the key requirement is the drive and ability to build a multi-van operation.

The training provided puts emphasis on administration, business development and the effective management of technicians and subcontractors, which are used to provide flexibility and efficiency.

Dan is aware that the absence of any technical knowledge in the list of attributes required by a franchise owner will often raise doubts, but he sees it as the key to success.

“Your Plumber is a management franchise,” he adds. “Our franchise owners are geared to running a premium service that employs or subcontracts well qualified technicians to deliver the service. We train them to effectively recruit and manage their team. They may occasionally help out if necessary, but they don’t spend their time rummaging under sinks. They manage and develop.”

Dan cites Stuart and Angela Randall as an example of how people with no prior experience of plumbing are able to apply their commercial skills to develop a Your Plumber business.

“Stuart and Angela left good jobs in banking to buy their franchise four years ago,” he says. “They were both tired of corporate life and were seeking a business they could run together.

“Neither of them knew much about plumbing. Stuart was a keen DIYer, but not a plumber. Today they have an excellent multi-van business providing a range of heating and plumbing services in West London, including emergency repairs, boiler installations and landlord safety certificates.”

Dealing with the many tasks that running an efficient plumbing business demands is not easy. So a priority for Dan when creating the Your Plumber franchise model was to develop a works management system designed to make it easy to administer the business.

Highly efficient

As a result, Your Plumber franchise owners are able to run highly efficient businesses because key functions such as job booking, estimate preparation, financial control and marketing are automated and simple to manage.

He is also focused on maximising Your Plumber’s competitive edge with innovative marketing. For example, franchise owners are able to build a portfolio of monthly fee paying customers through HeatCare, a bespoke service and repair contract scheme.

Also, Your Plumber is authorised to offer finance packages to clients and is accredited as a Which? approved contractor.

“The demand for a professionally managed, quality focused heating and plumbing service is unquestionable,” Dan says. “We have the brand, systems and marketing expertise to help motivated franchise owners to exploit this demand and achieve a dominant position within their local market.”