the complete plumber hiring guide for your business

The Complete Plumber Hiring Guide for Your Business

One of the biggest challenges in running a plumber business is finding the right employees. Use this plumber hiring guide to take the guesswork out of finding new plumbers, and hiring the best ones in your area.

By the end of this plumber hiring guide, you’ll know how to:

  • Attract the best local talent before your competitors get the chance
  • Discover the best interview tactics to narrow down potential candidates
  • Uncover the top strategies for keeping your best plumbers from leaving

Before you know it, when you take advantage of the plumber hiring strategies in this guide, you’ll start hiring the best plumbers in your area!

When It’s Time to Hire New Plumbers

When it comes time to hiring plumbers, you need to make sure you’re ready to begin the hiring process. In other words, you need to legally prepare to hire plumbers.

In the United States, you’ll need to acquire an EIN (Employee Insurance Number), and in Canada, you’ll need to acquire a SIN (Social Insurance Number).

After you’re legally prepared to hire plumbers, questions like these will help you determine when the time is right:

  1. Are you growing fast enough to put a full-time plumber to work?
    • Are your best employees feeling tired and overworked? This likely indicates a need for additional employees.
  2. Do you have the resources to adequately train a new plumber?
  3. Are your customers becoming increasingly dissatisfied with your plumbing services?
  4. Does your business have the ability to reasonably withstand a short-term profit loss during training?
  5. Have you implemented a proper plumber hiring process?
    • For example, you must be able to put your new employees on payroll and meet government requirements based on your local laws.

If your answer is yes to the questions above, then you’re ready to hire a new employee.

How to Find and Hire the Best Plumbers

Once you know it’s time to begin hiring plumbers, you need to know how to find and hire the top talent in your area.

These are the top three ways you can begin your hunt for amazing plumber candidates:

1. Create an Application to Capture Top Talent

As you’re on the hunt for amazing plumbers, it’s important you know how to create an application that captures top talent. Plus, this application will help you later on during the phone pre-screening.

Fortunately, your application doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, it can be as simple as:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Years of experience
  • Resume (or list of previous employers)

While this is a great standard list of information to get you started, feel free to include any additional information you need in your application.

2. Use Marketing to Attract the Best Candidates

Just like you use marketing to attract ideal clients, you need to use it to attract great candidates.

Take a look at some of the best ways to attract great plumbers:

  • Organic and/or paid social media posts (e.g. LinkedIn or Facebook)
  • Great reviews showcasing your happy clients and amazing services
  • A business website to establish a reputation of authority
  • Flyers and door hangers pinned up on local bulletin boards (e.g. community centers)

Even though these aren’t hard-and-fast ways to find great plumbers, these strategies give you a great foundation to get started. Since reputable candidates know their value, they’re going to be looking for plumber businesses that are trustworthy and have authority.

One key way to get directly in front of talent is to use Facebook and LinkedIn to advertise your open positions.

When you know how to create effective hiring ads, they can serve as a faster way to attract qualified candidates.

Need help with job posting on social media? Here’s an example you can use in your next hiring ad… 

Are YOU a certified plumber? How would you like to have a better job at a friendly plumbing business? Here are 13 reasons you should work for [plumber business name]:

  1. Clients love us
  2. Get paid weekly
  3. Health insurance
  4. 401K retirement plan
  5. Never miss a paycheck
  6. We prioritize quality work
  7. Holiday AND vacation pay
  8. Friendly and easy to work with
  9. In-house equipment maintenance
  10. Use NEW equipment EVERY year
  11. We train you to be successful in your career
  12. Our plumbers have been with us for a long time
  13. Fast-growing business with many career opportunities

Call XXX-XXX-XXXX to start your new position at [plumber business name]. Positions fill up FAST, so call today!

When you create effective hiring ads like the one above, you’ll ensure that only the right candidates apply to your plumber business.

3. Use Referrals and Networking to Find Great Candidates

Referrals and networking are a fantastic method of finding some of the best candidates in the plumbing industry.

By far, one of the best ways to find great candidates is by replicating the amazing ones you have on your team. So, if you already have great plumbers, consider implementing an employee referral program.

Keep in mind, employee referral programs can be as simple as offering $200 after the referred employee has been successfully employed for 90 days.

Also, don’t forget to consult your professional connections too! You can use relationships you’ve built with vendors to find out if they know anyone who’d be a great applicant. Plus, it’s always a great idea to ask your friends in the business who know people from certification programs and such.

Pro Tip! As a word of caution, if you get referrals from your close friends and family, be careful as these hires can cause unforeseen complications.

How to Interview Your Plumber Candidates

Once a candidate has submitted an application that you love, you’re ready to interview them to see if they’re the right fit for you.

Take a look at this simplified two-step process for interviewing your plumber candidates for the job… 

Step 1: Pre-Screen Your Candidates Over the Phone

Instead of wasting countless hours scheduling in-person interviews (only to find they’re not the right fit), it’s a good practice to pre-screen your candidates over the phone first.

Use a quick 10-minute pre-screening by phone to filter out unfit candidates.

Take a look at a few examples of questions you should ask in your phone screening:

  1. What types of experience do you have in the plumbing industry?
  2. What licenses and certifications do you have in plumbing?
  3. Why do you think you’re a good fit for plumbing?
  4. What plumbing jobs have you previously done?
  5. What would you bring to our plumber business?

When you’re conducting your phone screening, always pay attention to your gut feeling. For example, if something doesn’t feel right, then ask additional questions for clarification, and then toss their application if you still feel uneasy.

Step 2: Conduct an In-Person Interview

When a candidate passes your phone screening, it’s time to conduct an in-person interview to dig a little deeper.

Before you even begin the interview interview, be sure to observe what they’re not saying:

  • Is your candidate punctual?
  • Do they have a professional attitude?
  • Are they clean and dressed appropriately?

After assessing their appearance and presentation, it’s time to get to know your candidate a little more. Here are a few basic interview questions to ask:

  1. Why do you want to leave your current position?
  2. What tools, equipment, and chemicals do you have experience using and for how long?
  3. Why are you excited to join my plumber business?
  4. What would you bring to my business?
  5. How have you handled a situation where a client was wrong or upset you?
  6. Why are you different from the other plumbers applying for this position?
  7. Can you drive a manual transmission? (If company trucks require it!)
  8. Pitch me an upsell on a plumbing job.
  9. Are you legally able to work in the United States, or do you have/need a visa?
  10. Could you provide four references – two professional and two personal?

Throughout the entire interview process, it’s important to continuously spot red flags and other concerns. After all, you don’t want to hire someone just looking to make fast money, you want to hire someone that’s dependable.

As always, if you decide to interview a family member or friend, be extremely careful. Many times, your family and friends feel more entitled, and can potentially use their relationship with you in order to justify misconduct.

Pro Tip! Hiring first-time plumbers has its pros and cons. However, keep in mind, new plumbers require more training. As a result, it’s important you ensure that you have the right resources to properly train and incentivize them before deciding to hire them.

Keep Your Best Plumbers and Make Great Ones Want to Work for You

Once you’ve found the perfect plumber candidate, your job doesn’t end there. Oftentimes, great candidates have plenty of irons in the fire and will need convincing to take the job.

Since great plumbers don’t land on your doorstep every day, you’ll need to find unique ways to make your plumber business stand out from your competition (who might also want to hire this amazing candidate).

Here are a few great plumber tips to make top candidates want to work for your business… 

Pay Your Plumbers What They’re Worth

In order to ensure the best plumbers want to work for you (and not your competitors), you need to pay your plumbers what they’re worth.

Here’s a few ways you can ensure that you’re making enough money to properly compensate your plumbers:

  1. Properly price your plumbing services.
  2. Find the average plumber pay in your area, and pay more!
  3. Offer year-round incentives for your plumbers.
  4. ALWAYS obey overtime laws.

When you maintain higher profits, you’ll have more money to allocate to properly compensating your plumbers.

Pro Tip! When you use great plumbing software (like FieldEdge), you’ll be able to automatically track time, which will help you determine proper employee pay. Plus, FieldEdge can help with spiffs and commissions for these incentive efforts.

Book a demo for FREE today to explore how FieldEdge will help streamline your everyday operations!

Book a FieldEdge Demo!

Offer the Right Perks and Benefits

When you offer the right perks and benefits you’ll not only be able to attract great candidates, but you’ll also be able to keep the amazing ones already on your team.

Take a look at some great perks and benefits you can offer your plumbers so they’ll never want to leave you:

  • Reward employee loyalty with annual raises and incentives.
  • Establish a reputation for providing high-quality plumbing services.
  • Lay out a clear career path that establishes advancement opportunities.
  • Listen to your team’s questions and concerns – particularly the ones they’re not happy about.
  • Offer perks they can’t get anywhere else (e.g. free snacks, rewards for reaching goals, etc).
  • Let your team share in your success (e.g. give a bonus to your team when you reach a profit goal).
  • Cultivate a healthy company culture to make your employees happy, encourage them to help one another, and provide a space for them to recognize each other’s goals and accomplishments.

Plumbers who feel properly compensated, appreciated, recognized, and valued are much less likely to leave you for one of your competitors. In addition, happy plumbers that love working for you are more likely to give you their best work.

When to Fire Your Worst Plumbers

Dealing with bad plumbers is one of the most unfortunate costs of doing business. However, before you make the decision to fire someone, it’s important you make a self-evaluation to ensure there’s nothing YOU can be doing better.

For example, have you given your worst plumber adequate training time? Have they been properly trained to fulfill their job expectations? Do you or another leader on your team regularly check in with this plumber? Would this plumber perform better if you’d given them proper training? In order to ensure you’re properly training your new hires, it’s essential that you consistently evaluate your training practices.

Once you’ve evaluated your plumber hiring process and have determined you’re not to blame, you need to then re-evaluate required credentials and interview questions.

After you’ve determined there’s nothing more you can do to set this employee up for success, then it’s time to explore your next course of action.

1. Is Your Plumber Costing More than They Make?

No matter the reason, if a plumber is costing you money, losing you jobs, or upsetting your clients, then it might be time to fire them. Keep in mind, your employees are a direct reflection on your plumber business, and your client satisfaction and loyalty affects your reputation.

For these reasons, it’s important to evaluate employee performance to make important, justifiable decisions about employee termination. For instance, having quarterly check-ins can help identify issues before they arise.

By the way, did you know FieldEdge helps you gather that information (e.g. time tracking, job notes, surveys, etc.)?

2. Are There Zero Signs of Improvement?

Before firing them, it’s important to talk to your employee and try to find out why they’re having issues performing their job. For example, is this sudden, new behavior? Do they have a history of being a good employee? Is this an unending pattern?

Since there could be something happening in your employee’s life to cause less-than-ideal job performance, it’s important you talk to your plumber. Give them a chance to explain their actions, and then give them time to correct it.

However, if your employee doesn’t have an excuse, and you know they’re fully capable of performing their job, then try re-training them.

Also, don’t forget to give your employee a list of goals and deadlines for improvement that you expect them to meet. In order to determine any visible signs of improvement, it’s important to track their overall progress before, during, and after your meeting.

Plus, don’t merely give them a list of goals and deadlines, and then tell them to run with it. Make sure you set aside time for regular meetings with your plumber. Also, be sure to take notes of the comments and suggestions you’ve given your employee. In turn, you’ll have the documentation and records you need to justify the employee’s termination.

Finally, when all else fails and there’s zero signs of improvement, it’s probably time to fire your plumber. Always remember, as you’re firing someone, be firm yet respectful. Even though firing an employee is never easy, keep reminding yourself that it’s what’s best for your plumber business in the long-term.

Tracking time and progress has never been easier than with FieldEdge! Book a demo today for FREE to find out how FieldEdge will help to automatically track employee performance for you!

Book a FieldEdge Demo!

BONUS: Hiring the Best Executive Assistant or Office Manager for Your Plumber Business

Even though an executive assistant or office manager doesn’t produce billable work, these positions can greatly benefit your plumbing business

Prior to hiring for this position, consider how many hours it takes you to complete office tasks. For example, how many hours do you spend on the phone, dispatching plumbers, answering emails, or helping with operations using your plumbing software?

Then, consider the average wage of executive assistants and office managers in your area. For example, if it’s $14 an hour, then that $14 an hour will give you more time to grow your business.

An executive assistant or office manager position has the potential to more than pay for itself. With this position on your team, you’ll have the power to do things like:

  • Sell more work
  • Win more customers
  • Focus on conquering goals

Just remember, taking daily operations off your plate is worth $14 an hour. As a plumber business owner or manager, being able to complete these everyday tasks is the lifeline of your business. 

Now, think about what your executive assistant or office manager will need to do in your office (e.g. answer calls, schedule jobs, etc.). Take a look at a few amazing qualities you should look for in a great executive assistant or office manager candidate:

  • Punctual
  • Organized
  • Friendly and personable (in-person and on the phone)
  • Tech savvy (needs to be able to use your plumbing software)

Once you hire a manager or assistant, it’s important that you don’t disconnect from your plumber business. For this reason, you need to hold a brief daily meeting with your executive assistant to catch up on your business. During your daily chat, be sure to ask your executive assistant or office manager questions like:

  • What did you get done today?
  • What do you need to get done tomorrow?
  • Is there anything you need help with? What can I do to help?

Questions like the ones above will help you determine how your executive assistant or office manager is performing their job. Plus, these daily chats will help you find out if there’s anything they’re struggling with or if there’s anything they need to complete.

In turn, by maintaining a healthy stream of open communication between you and your executive assistant or office manager, you’ll ensure smoother everyday business operations.

Take Advantage of This Plumber Hiring Guide to Hire the Best Plumbers TODAY

When you follow the strategies in this plumber hiring guide, you’ll have the ability to beat your competitors to the punch, and start hiring the top talent in your area.

Now, you have everything you need to know in order to:

  • Know when to start hiring
  • Hire the best plumbers in your area
  • Fire your worst plumber that’s costing you money
  • Keep the best plumbers satisfied with your business
  • Take advantage of the top strategies for maintaining the best plumber hiring practices

At last, you have all of the tools and information you need to take advantage of this plumber hiring guide, and hire the best plumbers today!

Related: Plumbing Business Management Tips for Growth

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