Posted by Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
July 16, 2019
Your surest ticket to success? Scheduling more jobs. And while that answer might be glaringly obvious, figuring out the path to more bookings isn’t so simple.
You can attend all of the plumbing trade shows out there in order to scour the best products at the lowest wholesale cost, effectively improving your profit margins. You can stay at the forefront of the latest trends in the plumbing industry to keep a leg up on the competition. But sometimes, driving business growth isn’t about generating new leads or exhausting your marketing budget… it’s about focusing on the customers you already have.
One of the best methods to build customer loyalty—and the easiest ways to fill your calendar with more plumbing jobs—is to establish trust. Do this by teaching your customers why preventative maintenance is important.
No, not because it gives you the opportunity to squeeze another sale; because it saves the homeowner tremendous amounts of time and money down the road. For example, they probably didn’t know that a faucet leaking at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 8 gallons per day and 3,000 gallons per year!
You can empower them to conduct their own preventative maintenance around the house using our plumbing checklist form. That way, they can trust that you have their best interest at heart and the second they notice that something’s up, you’ll be the pro they call. Word will spread around town about how you’re the trusted plumber who provides free help in addition to service—and you know the importance of referrals for business!
Here’s how to talk to your customers about why preventative maintenance is so important, including a plumbing quality control checklist they can use to monitor the status of their equipment.
Let’s face it: your customers simply do not want to spend money where they don’t have to. And hey, as a business owner, you can respect some frugality. But the real question here is, what preventative maintenance in plumbing is necessary, and what isn’t?
Here are the top reasons why preventative maintenance is super important; share them with your customers!
A large portion of plumbing systems operate behind the scenes, between the walls, inside of drains, and under the floors, so it can be incredibly difficult to detect a problem. While walking around with a toilet maintenance checklist doesn’t quite make for a fun Saturday morning, it’s important to do on occasion.
These checkups may allow your customers to detect a leak they never would have noticed otherwise, and can save them money on their water bill. The numbers speak for themselves: fixing an easily corrected household water leak can save homeowners about 10 percent on their monthly bill. Those recurring savings will be more than enough to justify the price of your quick service call!
Unless you can somehow inspire a mini-scavenger hunt game and get your customer onboard with checking the items off their plumbing inspection list, chances are that a preventative maintenance program is not something they’ll want to spend their valuable time on… but they might if you can show them how much time and money they can potentially save themselves.
Adding one more chore to their weekly or monthly household to-do list might seem like a drag, but these preventative measures could help homeowners prevent future catastrophes like a burst pipe due to a buildup of water pressure. Extreme failures and the resulting floods could lead to a pretty long stay in an Airbnb, especially if mold becomes a problem. Yikes.
If your homeowner values time, then they’ll understand that your time is a valuable resource, too. The fact of the matter is that emergency repairs demand immediate attention and they take way longer to complete. Whether or not you charge by the hour, that’s going to result in a much more expensive bill for your customer.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the cost of a repairing slowly-leaking toilet will be significantly friendlier on the wallet than it would cost to repair a geyser the size of Yosemite. You don’t want to be overly dramatic when teaching your customer about theoretical catastrophes, but throwing out some cold, hard numbers might help them realize why preventative maintenance is important.
Looking at these figures on various plumbing upsells, it’s easy to see how a simple service can cost an additional few hundred or few thousand dollars more in the event of an unexpected surprise. For example, low water pressure shouldn’t typically cost more than $250 to fix—unless the home was built before 1960 and contains galvanized pipes. If the homeowner used a plumbing checklist form and monitored their rust buildup, they could isolate the problem and prevent the need to replace all the pipes in the home.
Test a toilet by placing a drop of food coloring in the tank — any color in the bowl after 10 minutes means you have a leak.
To recap, here’s a list of bullet points that illustrate why preventative maintenance is important:
Big savings from small fixes
Catch small problems before they turn into large ones
Protects home from major failures, like a burst pipe
Saves time by preventing messy situations
Makes life easier and repairs more affordable
Now that your customer knows the value of routine checkups, give them this plumbing quality control checklist and help them stay on top of their maintenance program.
Not leaking (test by seeing if food coloring leaks from the tank into the bowl after 10 minutes, then flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining)
Lift lid and check that water does not continue to run after flush cycle
Wax ring properly seals base to drain opening (no seeping water, toilet does not rock)
Check sink, shower, and tub faucets weekly (replace bad washers or cartridges to remedy dripping)
Proper water pressure should be between 40 to 85 PSI (high water pressure stresses pipe joints and can cause leaks)
Spray pattern is regular (may otherwise indicate calcium build up on the aerator)
Remove calcium buildup on faucets with white vinegar
Test speed drainage (if bubbles appear while draining, it’s usually a sign of a slow drain, as drains should display a swirl while going down)
Periodically disassemble drain traps to remove hair and debris
Snake out the branch drains to remove clogs before they become blockages
Check all caulk beads along shower floors and walls to ensure there are no gaps (seal any gaps with fresh caulk to prevent water from getting behind the walls)
Look for signs of a leak (water stains or small puddles)
Clean drain occasionally with a mild solution to break up regular buildup
Do not use chemical clog removers that can erode cast-iron pipes and damage the cement that bonds PVC pipes together
Avoid pouring food scraps, cooking oils, and liquid grease down the drain
Monitor strainer area and the P-trap (replace once corroded and tighten fittings, if necessary)
Ensure faucet does not drip once lever is closed
Check beneath the sink for rotted wood that may indicate a leak
Always turn on water and disposal before adding food
Never put fibrous, stringy food wastes down the disposal
Run cold water for 15 seconds after
Clean garbage disposal whenever it begins to smell foul according to the manufacturer’s advice
Periodically inspect drain connection points at the sink and dishwasher for leaking
Tighten or replace gaskets if signs of leaking are detected
Run the dishwasher at night to maintain good water pressure throughout the day
Watch and listen to the dishwasher when running
Slow fills may indicate a problem with the water supply hose
Check discharge hose for clogs or pinching
Inspect water hose for signs of wear
Replace water and ice filter twice per year
Look for signs of bulging in rubber hose (hoses that burst when homeowners are away cause expensive damages)
Clean washing machine lint traps
Ensure valves completely stop the flow of water when shut off
Signs of leaking around the base may indicate a faulty valve
Also look for leaking at the inlet and exit pipes on top of the water heater
Have a professional perform a tune-up annually and flush the tank every three years (extends the life of your heater and decreases the risk of untimely breakdowns)
Have a professional snake the sewer main annually to clear tree roots (septic tanks should be pumped every few years)
Replace washers or cartridges on leaking outdoor hose spigots
Winterize lawn systems to prevent freezing and ruptured pipes in cold temperatures
You can also consider creating seasonal plumbing checklist forms to supply your clients with as the months begin to change—doing so will quadruple your odds of receiving a service call! As business begins to pick up, make sure to take advantage of Housecall Pro’s small business management software. Our tools can free you from sweating the small stuff so you can keep focused on driving new growth.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.