How to start a plumbing business

Starting a plumbing business in Australia is an exciting business opportunity with a constant stream of clients and never a dull moment. There are many different types of plumbing jobs available and ways to set up your business from being a sole trader plumber to operating as a subcontractor plumber for example.

This guide is here to give you some pointers about the fundamentals you need to consider when setting up your plumbing business.

1. Blueprint for success

Like any adventure, there needs to be a bit of a grand plan in place to help make it become a reality. Thinking about the nitty-gritty, the cogs and wheels that will make your plumbing business operational are essential to the long-term success of your plumbing business.

These are some of the areas of your business you need to have a think about:

  • Your finances – work out how much you need to set up your business, what you will need to stay afloat, etc. Having a chat to someone like your accountant or a financial planner will be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Tools of trade – do you have all the right tools to help you get the job done? If you find yourself a bit short for cash, it might be worth looking at hiring any special equipment that you may need to help get you started.
  • Future plans – what are your plans for the future of your business? Do you have any specific goals and plans on how you are going to achieve them?
  • A helping hand – do you need to look at hiring an apprentice or another team member to help with the overflow of jobs when things get busy?

2. Licences

It’s important to check that you have the right licenses in place before you start working on your jobs. Each state and territory within Australia has their own license rules and regulations so make sure you check with them directly. This is a list of the different contacts across the regions:

3. Choosing your business structure

There are a few different types of business structures that you need to consider when setting up your plumbing business. Within Australia businesses typically establish themselves as:

  • Sole trader – trading individually on your own
  • Partnership– running a business with other people together but not as a company
  • Company– listed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners
  • Trust– is an entity that retains property/ income for the benefit of others
  • Co-operative– a business organisation that is owned by at least five members.
  • Incorporated association– usually established as an entity for cultural, charity or recreational purposes. [1]

Recommended reading: How to choose the right trade business?

4. Making your plumbing business official

At this stage it is handy to have things like the details of your business like your tax file number on hand to help when filling out online forms and registration processes. To make your plumbing business official in Australia you will need to look at:

  • Registering your business name with ASIC
  • If required, registering for GST
  • Getting your Australian Business Number
  • Registering your trademark

Another important step in making it all official is giving your new plumbing business an online presence. This can be achieved by setting up a website and setting up and connecting to social media channels. Having your brand and business out there means people know you are open for business and can start getting in connect with you for any potential jobs.

Recommended reading: Registering a business name in Australia: A Guide

5. Insurance for your plumbing business

When you are looking at insuring your tradesman business with insurance there are many different options available. This is a quick guide to some of the typical types of insurance you may need to consider as a plumber.

Public Liability insurance*- Public Liability insurance is designed to provide protection for you and your business in the event a customer, supplier or a member of the public brings a claim against you due to their being injured or sustaining property damage as a result of your negligent business activities.

Professional Indemnity Insurance*- Professional Indemnity insurance is an important form of protection for businesses that provide specialist services or professional advice.  It is designed to respond to claims against your business for losses as a result of actual or alleged negligent acts or omissions in the provision of your professional service or advice. Professional Indemnity insurance will also assist with the legal costs associated with responding to or managing claims which are covered by the policy.

Business Insurance*- Business Insurance is an insurance package designed to provide cover for your business contents, stock, tools and commercial premises when an insured event occurs (such as fire, storm, theft or even accidental damage). A Business Insurance package can also cover your portable equipment, glass and for loss of revenue due to business interruption in specified circumstances. In addition, cover is available for public liability, tax audit, employment practices and statutory liability risks.

Portable Equipment cover*- Portable Equipment insurance (also known as General Property insurance) covers you for loss and damage to items of portable equipment associated with your business. These can include tools of trade and items of stock.

Personal Accident and Illness insurance*- Personal Accident and Illness insurance can provide cover should you become permanently disabled or pass away as a result of an accident. Cover can also include a weekly benefit for loss of income if you are unable to work as a result of an unexpected injury or illness (even if it occurs outside of your employment).

Get your plumbing business insurance sorted quicker than a flush with BizCover. While you’re busy laying the groundwork for your new business, let us do the shopping around for you, saving you time when it comes to comparing your business insurance options. Go online or give us a call today to see how we can help your plumbing business get protected.

[1] Australian Taxation Office, ‘ Choosing your business structure’- https://www.ato.gov.au/business/starting-your-own-business/before-you-get-started/choosing-your-business-structure/  Accessed May 2022
*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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