What is the current state of the plumbing industry in the United States?
It’s a hugely important question if you’re considering starting your own plumbing business, expanding, and just trying to keep a pulse on the competition. You want to know things like:
How much competition is near me?
Which states are most conducive to plumbing businesses?
Which cities and states have the most plumbing businesses?
The problem, of course, is how do you figure all this out? How can you possibly know how many plumbing businesses are in your city or state?
That’s where we come in.
We scraped data from hundreds of thousands of plumbing businesses on Yelp to determine which states had the most plumbing businesses overall, which have the most relative to the populations of the top 5 cities, and which particular cities have a significant number of plumbing businesses.
For each state and city, we assigned a concentration score that looks at the population versus the number of businesses. This allows us to compare states to each other.
We sorted and analyzed this data and now present it to you for your consideration.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
The States With The Most Plumbing Businesses
First, let’s look at the states with the overall highest number of plumbing businesses. This will give us a sense of where the plumbing industry is booming and where it is a bit more slack.
The state with the most overall number of plumbing businesses is California, with 3,202.
The state with the least number of plumbing businesses is Montana, with 31.
As you might expect, the total number of plumbing businesses tracks relatively closely with the overall population levels in each state. More people in a state translates into more plumbing businesses.
We can interpret this data in two different ways. First, a higher population means more plumbing needs. This presents more opportunities for plumbing businesses. If you’re considering starting a plumbing business, you may want to look at states like California, New Jersey, or Texas, all of which have large populations.
On the flip side, more plumbing businesses also means more competition. You may find it more difficult to generate traction for your plumbing business in states like California.
When it comes to hiring plumbing technicians, you’ll find that there’s more competition for jobs in states with fewer plumbing businesses. Because there are so few plumbing businesses in states like Montana, we should expect competition for those jobs to be relatively high.
The high number of plumbing businesses in larger states, like California, suggests that there will be significantly more jobs available in the plumbing industry. If you’re looking for a plumbing job, you may want to consider a state with a larger population.
However, this doesn’t give us the full picture. We also need to look at the concentration of plumbing businesses in each state relative to the state’s population.
States With The Highest Concentration of Plumbing Businesses
Looking at the states with the highest concentration of plumbing businesses reveals a slightly different picture.
The state with the highest concentration of plumbing businesses is Delaware, with a concentration score of 58.99.
The state with the lowest concentration of plumbing businesses is South Dakota, with a concentration score of 2.71.
This data is slightly more difficult to interpret, although we can make some educated guesses. Though Delaware does have a smaller overall population relative to other states, it does have some relatively large cities, such as Wilmington. These large cities will obviously require a higher number of plumbing businesses, thus raising the overall concentration levels.
New Jersey sits next to New York, and New York city is a relatively short drive away. We can assume that a high number of plumbing businesses in New Jersey also serve the New York area, raising the concentration in the state.
Maryland sits next to the District of Columbia, which also presumably requires a large amount of plumbing on a regular basis. The population of DC is not part of Maryland, and thus raises the overall concentration levels in Maryland.
On the other side, smaller states such as South Dakota have very few large cities and the population is scattered across the entire state. We can assume that a few plumbing businesses service large areas of the state, thus decreasing the overall concentration levels.
When it comes to starting a plumbing business, you may want to consider a state with a relatively low concentration of businesses. There will be less overall competition for plumbing jobs due to the fact that plumbing businesses must serve a much larger area. However, before you choose a state in which to start a plumbing business, you’ll also need to look at the cities within each state to determine the best overall location.
Cities With The Highest Concentration Of Plumbing Businesses
Looking at the top 10 cities with the highest concentration of plumbing businesses gives us yet another picture of the plumbing industry. The same goes for the bottom 10 cities.
The cities with the highest concentration of plumbing businesses relative to their populations are Rockville, MD, and Bowie, MD. On the surface, this may seem confusing given that the populations are relatively low and the number of plumbing businesses are relatively high.
But a closer look shows that both of these cities sit relatively close to Washington D.C., which has a much higher population than Rockville and Bowie. This, presumably, pushes the plumbing needs much higher. Additionally, with the government itself sitting in D.C., the plumbing needs are even higher still.
The same can be said of Yonkers, NY, which sits relatively close to New York City, a city with massive plumbing needs. Presumably, many of the businesses in Yonkers serve the greater NYC area, driving up the need for plumbing businesses.
On the other side of the coin, cities with very low populations such as Minot, ND, have very low concentration scores. This makes sense on an intuitive level. There are no major cities nearby, making the overall need for plumbing businesses relatively low.
Then there are those businesses that sit right in the middle, with a somewhat high population and a relatively low concentration score. It is these cities which are ripe for the picking when it comes to starting a plumbing business.
For example, Montgomery, AL has a population of over 200,000 and a concentration score of only 5.42. This means that there are few plumbing businesses relative to the overall population of the city. It is these cities where a plumbing business can truly thrive.
Several key findings emerge from this data. First, and perhaps most importantly, it’s critical to look at the concentration of businesses within a given state and city to get a true feel for the competition in a given area. If you simply look at the overall number of businesses in a state, you won’t be able to get the complete picture.
Second, when choosing a city in which to start a business, it’s essential to look at the proximity to larger cities. Small cities that sit close to larger cities have the potential to generate significantly more businesses than larger cities that are somewhat isolated (see Montgomery, AL).
Ideally, when choosing a location for a plumbing business, you want to find a city that has a relatively large population and a relatively low concentration score.
A quick note about our methodology for calculating the above numbers. First, we scraped data from thousands of businesses listed on Yelp. Then we totaled the population of the top five cities in each state and divided the number of businesses by the population total. This gave us a “concentration” score which represents the density of plumbing businesses in a state. Finally, we multiplied that concentration score by 100,000 to give us a number that is more easily comparable between states. We did not factor in whether or not these businesses were already using plumbing software to improve any workflows.
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