Running a plumbing business has its unique challenges. Unlike other industries that can target a specific audience or rely on seasonal upticks, you need to reach two distinct markets all year round:
1. The panicked customer with a burst pipe or other emergency who needs to find a nearby plumber ASAP
2. The routine maintenance or install customer, who takes their time to research and compare plumbing companies to find the best fit for their project
To grow your plumbing business, you need marketing strategies to address both types of customer, all while competing in a crowded market. We won’t pretend there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is, you can start small and still get great results.
What is the starting point to market my plumbing business?
Online marketing is the best place to start because it’s easy to scale; you can reach a wide audience with little cost and effort. Even if you’re just starting your plumbing business and have little to none experience with digital marketing, you can still get started without having to hire an expensive marketing agency.
So what do I do now?
1. Claim your Google Business listing
Search engines such as Google are the first place emergency call-in customers will go to find help. If you want them to find you, you need to set up your Google my Business listing. Setting up your local listing is easy—all you need is your company name, address, and contact info.
2. Create a plumbing website that converts
The second step to being found online is to beef up your online presence. A professional-looking website will increase your visibility and credibility to help you get more leads. The trick is to keep your plumbing website simple, clean and informative so emergency call-in customers can find the information they need, fast.
3. Set up a Facebook page
A professional Facebook page is another way to be found fast. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook has the most users and the most conversion-friendly features. Plus, it’s free, easy to set up and track.
4. Gather and manage online reviews
Positive online reviews are crucial to growing your plumbing business, you’re entering your customers’ home or business, after all, and often in unpleasant or stressful situations. Before they buy from you, they need to trust you. Plumbing businesses with bad reviews will ultimately work against you.
5. Use call-only ads
Put yourself in your emergency customer’s shoes. They don’t have time to research or fill out web forms—they want to speak to a real person who can help them now. If you’re ready to start advertising, try using call-only online ad campaigns. These ads show up only on people’s smartphones and offer direct click-to-call functionality. This is a simple way to target your ad spend straight at the emergency call-out customer at the exact moment they need your services.
6. Create expert plumbing content
Plumbing is a specialized industry, and most consumers don’t know much—if anything—about it. Help your market feel educated and empowered, and you’ll win their trust and their business. The IOPSA & PIRB websites have a wealth of knowledge that you could use as a starting point for this content.
7. Get more leads with work requests
Unlike emergency customers who want to talk to a plumber right away, the research-phase customer will probably want to send a brief description of their project and find out if you can help. In order to win their business, you need a system to respond quickly and professionally to these requests.
Emails aren’t a very good option because it’s easy for them to be lost in your busy inbox or sent to spam. Instead, give your customers the option to create a work request right from your website or social media page.
8. Use customer service as a marketing tool
Advertising and social media are pieces of the marketing puzzle, but excellent customer service is by far the most effective, cost-efficient, and long-term growth strategy for any plumbing business, providing impeccable customer service will help boost good reviews and testimonials which consumers trust.
9. Align yourself with an organization
Aligning yourself with an organization can help market your business in a multitude of ways. Showing on your platforms that you belong to an industry body helps promote professionalism and trust in your business. These organization’s will also market the use of their members over others such as the Institute of Plumbing SA who currently has over 220 customers searching for a plumber on their system EVERY DAY!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get marketing!
Written by Kaela Wilson
National Marketing Manager - IOPSA
The new National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 2019, recently signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, means prospective students or job seekers could face up to five years in jail for misrepresenting their qualifications. In short you can be prosecuted for saying you are a QUALIFIED Plumber if you do NOT hold a recognized SAQA Plumbing qualification.
Below are a few key points mentioned in the government gazette:
Act No. 12 of 2019: National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act, 2019
32B. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person—
(3) A person is guilty of an offence, if such a person falsely or fraudulently claims to be holding a qualiﬁcation or part-qualiﬁcation registered on the NQF or awarded by an education institution, skills development provider, QC or obtained from a lawfully recognised foreign institution.
(4) Any person, education institution, skills development provider, foreign institution is guilty of an offence if it falsely claims to be registered and accredited as an education institution, skills development provider or foreign institution in terms of the laws of the Republic or foreign law.
(5) If a person, education institution its directors or board, a foreign institution its agents or directors or board, or a skills development provider is convicted of any offence under this Act, the court that imposes the sentence shall consider as an aggravating factor the fact that the offence was—
(a) committed with the intent to gain ﬁnancially, or to receive any favour, beneﬁt, reward, compensation or any other advantage; or
(b) gained ﬁnancially, or received any favour, beneﬁt, reward, compensation or any other advantage.
(6)Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this Act, is liable, in the case of a contravention of sections32B(1),32B(2),32B(3)or32B(4)to a ﬁne or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ﬁve years, or to both a ﬁne and such imprisonment.
For the official government gazette click here
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
There is more to the NQF Amendment Act than just criminalising lying on CVs
12 September 2019
There is more to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Act, No 12 of 2019 than just criminalising qualifications fraud and lying about qualifications on CVs. Signed by the
President on 13 August 2019 and published on 19 August 2019, the NQF Amendment Act tightens the legal requirements and strengthens the hands of NQF bodies to inspire confidence in the education and training system.
For example, skills development providers now need to be registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training, which was not the case in the NQF Act of 2008. Private providers are also required to be registered. The Amendment Act also brings with it some new and revised definitions aimed at strengthening the legislation so that there is effective implementation of the NQF. For instance, it introduces the definition of authenticity concerning a national and foreign qualification and part-qualification.
On the one hand, an authentic national or South African qualification or part-qualification
a) Registered on the NQF;
b) Offered by a registered and accredited education institution or skills development
c) Lawfully obtained.
On the other hand, an authentic foreign qualification or part-qualification must be lawfully obtained from a foreign country and evaluated by SAQA.
If all education institutions and skills development providers are registered and accredited, and offer NQF-registered qualifications and part-qualifications, learners will have genuine qualifications. Education institutions and skills development providers that are not registered or accredited or offer qualifications and part-qualifications not registered on the NQF will face closure. Such institutions may also be declared unfit to apply for registration for a period not exceeding ten years. Similarly, those found guilty of qualifications fraud will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.
Also, the Amendment Act makes provision for the establishment of separate registers of misrepresented and fraudulent qualifications and part-qualifications. To ensure fairness and transparency in dealing with cases of misrepresented and fraudulent qualifications and partqualifications, SAQA will follow the provisions of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act,
No 3 of 2000.
The NQF Amendment Act also gives SAQA the legal responsibility to verify all national qualifications and part-qualifications. Employers, government departments, education and training institutions (both public and private), and professional bodies must first check if their employees or members’ qualifications are registered on the NQF. If the qualifications are not registered, they can refer them to SAQA for verification. Similarly, South Africans and foreign nationals who have obtained qualifications and part-qualifications from other countries must also have their qualifications and part-qualifications verified and evaluated by SAQA.
South Africa needs an effective education and training system where the movement between general and further education, higher education as well as occupational qualifications and the world of work is seamless. The NQF Amendment Act aims to realise this by ensuring there is a unified implementation of the NQF by SAQA and the Quality Councils. To this end, it compels SAQA and the Quality Councils to work together to ensure that the NQF works for the people of South Africa.
The NQF Amendment Act also amplifies the role of the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) to include a separate register for professional designations. The NLRD will also have records of qualification and part-qualification requirements and other related information, including details of education institutions and Quality Councils that awarded the qualifications and part-qualifications. It will also contain information about registration, verification and accreditation. The critical status given to the NLRD will protect the public against the claims from legitimate providers that they are offering registered qualifications when they are not.
An education and training system that is of quality has mechanisms embedded in it that deter misrepresentation of qualifications as well as qualifications fraud. However, misrepresentation and qualifications fraud are neither the only focus nor the sole purpose of a quality education system.
Ultimately, the NQF Amendment Act aims to protect the integrity of the South African education and training system and to address some of the challenges in the system. As envisaged by the NQF, such a system contributes to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the nation at large.
While the NQF Amendment Act was signed on 13 August 2019 and published for general information on 19 August 2019, it will only come into effect on a date that will be determined by the President. SAQA is ready and looks forward to implementing the amendments in their entirety for the betterment of our education and training system.
Issued by: SAQA
Enquiries: Joe Samuels, SAQA CEO
Contact details: 012 431 5001 or 082 833 1271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the original release here
On the 25th of August 2019 the Institute of Plumbing SA turned 30 years old! To celebrate this momentous occasion they gave away prizes in a social media competition, to enter all you had to do was like their birthday post and comment with a birthday wish.
And the winners are:
Duncan Stuart Keil - 1 Year FREE IOPSA Membership
Adrian Whitehouse - Solar course valued at R1980.00
Alpha Plumbing - 10 FREE PIRB Certificates of Compliance
Calvin Muggs - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Carike Nel du Buson - 10 FREE PIRB Certificates of Compliance
Carl Smit - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Collen Chikaka - 10 FREE PIRB Certificates of Compliance
David Gary Smith - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Emsie Geldenhuys - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Keegan Ashley Martin - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Kgopa Phaswane - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Mncedise Sangweni Ngwane - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Morne Mo Landman - Heat Pump webinar course valuded at R1335.00
Ryan Kumar - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Sibongiseni Mabhuti Ntunja - Plumblink Shower Rose and arm
Leon Swanepoel - 1 year free Plumbing Africa & SA Affordable housing subscription
Plumbsol Plumbing - Plumblink Shower rose and arm
Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone for all the amazing birthday wishes we received! All winners will be contacted directly in regards to their prize.
As a homeowner you do carry risk in almost if not every part of your home. Therefore you need to minimise that risk to ensure the safety and health of your family, friends and all visiting your home.
One the potentially biggest risks is plumbing or more so plumbing not correctly done.
The World Plumbing Council (WPC) of which the Institute of Plumbing of SA (IOPSA) is a member promotes four simple principles for the plumbers and it works just as well for consumers.
Known as the Four Pillars of Plumbing which are;
PRACTICES: this relates to compulsory standards, regulations and accountability. Plumbing is heavily regulated for the purpose of seeing that design and installations are done to protect health, safety of consumers and the environment. The accountability of the plumber is to ensure that he/she is correctly qualified, offers added value by their registration with a professional body (giving you recourse) and installs according to standards as well as using product approved by a recognised certification body. Membership of a voluntary association like IOPSA is an added benefit to reduce risk and provide you with comfort.
PRODUCTS: must be of quality accepted by the recognised SA National Standard. Inferior and sub standard products increase your risk of disease and is hazardous to safety. Indeed, these products will cost more as more is invested in their manufacture and ongoing process of ensuring manufacturing maintains its quality. Besides a cheap product will be replaced many times more than a quality one – so buy quality first and be hassle free. Also if there are problems with quality products the manufacturer will stand by the guarantee/warranty.
“Goedkoop is Deurkoop” is good to remember.
PROTECTION: sadly even the best installation or product can fault. As stated earlier quality and recognised product and manufacturer will stand by their reputation. Equally so will a qualified plumber and you have recourse to the professional body (Plumbing Industry Registration Board) and IOPSA.
PARTICIPATION: this is the pillar that grows the plumbing industry with qualified plumbers and being part of the process of providing safe water to all – a basic human right. As a consumer you can be part of the participatory process by NOT employing unqualified people and using only qualified plumbers. Again, Goedkoop is Deurkoop, and when using an unqualified person your RISK INCREASES and you endanger the lives of all on your premises.
No amount of public liability will cover the death of people when your geyser explodes, a potential bomb, when installed incorrectly. And husbands please leave plumbing to the plumbers. It usually ends up costing more -ask me I know!
Both IOPSA and PIRB will assist when you need a plumber or word of month is also a good reference.
Question for you: how is you risk management now?
Simply put there are two kinds of plumbers – one you can rely on and you will have no need to call back to fix the job he had ‘originally fixed’ or the one who charges incredibly low prices, is not qualified as a “plumber” and will rip you off if you can get hold of them after they have messed up your plumbing job. There is a third one but is not the plumber but the husband/DIYer that thinks plumbing is easy. Once finished they must call in the qualified plumber to a - repair the mess created by the DIYer and then b - fix the plumbing problem!
Let’s get rid of the negatives first.
The unqualified plumber cares or knows nothing about your health and safety that he/she is responsible for. YES the plumber is responsible for health and safety and that of you and your family. They know nothing about the disease that is caused by incorrect plumbing, water pressure, hydraulics and the damage that boiling hot water can do to you. He just wants your money and runs to catch another consumer who also works on price only.
So if you work on price alone you are your own worst enemy.
Lets look at the positives;
You must pay a fair price for work to be done according to the plumbing regulations that are compulsory by a qualified plumber. A plumber is not an idiot who could not get a degree but a skilled craftsman with knowledge learned over three or four years under the guidance and direction of an experienced plumber. He/she therefore is entitled to ask a fair price for work done. The regulations ensure that he/she does the work according to tried and tested methods that are continually improving as materials become more sophisticated.
Such a plumber will show you his qualification by virtue of his/her membership of voluntary body like the Institute of Plumbing SA (IOPSA) and/or the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB)
These are voluntary bodies so common sense does show that plumbers and plumbing companies are prepared to put their reputations on the line. Because some qualified plumbers choose not to belong to such voluntary bodies does not make them poor but one needs to check their qualification.
MORAL: don’t skimp on the HEALTH & SAFETY of you and your family – it is not just unblocking a drain but moving away waste that can, if allowed to linger longer, will cause disease to spread. Even the installation of a ‘geyser’ or hot water storage vessel must be done correctly, failing which it could explode and cause untold damage and death.
PAY YOUR PARTNER IN HEALTH & SAFETY -THE PLUMBER – TO DO THE BEST JOB WITH THE BEST PRODUCTS.
GIZ / SD4GE commissioned two studies aimed at deepening an understanding of the trends and dynamics of plumbers and electrical contractors in South Africa. The objectives of this study included the imperative to strengthen the range of institutions (public, private and not-for-profit) that impact these trades. An additional aim of the research was to provide an overview of current development in these trades, both at industry level and firm level.
The findings are useful for better planning informed by greater awareness of the transformations and changes emerging in the specific contexts of industry.
The study produced three publicly available reports. This first report provides a high-level overview of the available statistics. The research aimed to scan the publicly available statistics to understand better what is available, what is being tracked, and what is changing. This high-level overview also revealed how the two industries are structured, which organisations support these industries and what the dynamics are.
GIZ/SD4GE commissioned PEM Consulting and Mesopartner Africa to conduct the industry diagnosis. Dr Shawn Cunningham and Annelien Cunningham from Mesopartner led and coordinated the industry diagnosis. A team of researchers from TIPS (Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies) conducted research and statistical analysis. The TIPS team included Asanda Fotoyi, Sajid Sherif, Mbofholowo Tsedu while Saul Levin provided policy insight and guidance.
The research would not have been possible without the help and support of the industry bodies and their members. The Institute of Plumbing (SA) (IOPSA) and Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) contributed and supported the plumbing analysis. Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa (ECASA) and the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry (NBCEI) supported and contributed to the electrical analysis.
GIZ / SD4GE would like to thank all the stakeholders and industry members for their valuable contribution.
The outcome of this survey resulted in two reports which can be downloaded by clicking below.
Most people think that plumbing is dirty work or a non-skilled profession. This is false. To be a plumber you need to possess many different skills and competencies. Without plumbing, modern life would not exist. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds in history said: “If I had my life to live over again, I would be a plumber.”
One of the advantages of becoming a plumber is the reliability of this career choice. Regardless of the economic situation in the country there will always be a need for plumbers. By working your way up the designation tier, you control the ability to advance your career in a single field. There is massive scope for growth within the industry as specializing in different fields from part of the career ladder in plumbing.
Generally, plumbers are good at problem solving, possess the ability to follow technical plans, and understand the importance of health and safety. People skills are also important as dealing with consumers, municipalities and various other professionals are required daily. Plumbing will never be a mundane office job and the opportunity to up-skill or study further in the field always exists.
Plumbers do not need to have a university degree but industry-recognised training is required to become a qualified practitioner. A common entry into the plumbing industry is through an apprenticeship with a licensed plumber or plumbing company. During training you will learn how to install water supplies, find faults, fix domestic appliances and attend to emergency call-outs, among other things.
There are a variety of plumber apprenticeships and courses available in South Africa. It is just a matter of searching for opportunities available on Google.
Once you have joined a plumber or plumbing company, you can earn while you study, therefore student finance may not be a burden. Many families do not possess the funds to study once their children leave high school and this makes the plumbing industry the perfect gateway into the working world.
The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) are responsible for evaluating and accrediting all suitable training courses for use by prospective plumbers. You will need to complete CETA or QCTO accredited training in order to become a licensed plumber.
Once you have the required skills you will be in demand and own the ability to earn a decent wage as a plumber in South Africa.
The best way to start your career is as an assistant or learner plumber where you will work alongside an experienced and qualified plumber while servicing residences. As you gain experience you will be able to explore opportunities within the industry.
There are many opportunities for plumbers in South Africa. Some plumbers work for companies in the construction industry, as well as for plumbing companies, while others are independent contractors working on a self-employed basis.
Plumbing also has specialisations which would require proper training and accreditation. Plumbing is not just working with pipes and taps in bathrooms and kitchens, it is so much more! Plumbing is a huge industry with many different aspects involved.
Fortunately, in South Africa there are organisations that support the plumbing industry and plumbers such as the Plumbing Industry Registration Board/PIRB and The Institute of Plumbing South Africa/IOPSA and the Joint Acceptance Scheme for Water Services Installation Components/JASWIC. With these organisations supporting and encouraging the upliftment of plumbers and the industry as a whole, being a plumber is not only a rewarding job but one which is recognized as a valuable pillar of society.
Original article can be found on the PIRB website here
This week we’re exploring the characteristics of a sought-after plumber, to not only get the job, but pump the referrals. PIRB represents the best of the best, whether you’re starting your career or looking for the right guy for the job, look no further as we draw out a list of attributes that are essential to keeping your plumbing in good shape.
Increasingly more municipalities, local authorities and insurance companies require that any
person working on plumbing works within their jurisdiction must be registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB). These authorities require PIRB Plumbing certificates (CoC’s) when installing, repairing or doing plumbing works. A licensed PIRB plumber is also guaranteed to have the right certification and qualifications necessary.
As with anything, the more you work at it the better you will become. Experienced plumbers will have seen and solved a vast array of problems over the years and are more likely to know the right thing to do. While younger plumbers can still offer a great service, look out for those that have completed apprenticeships.
3. Communication Skills
Strong communication skills are important when listening and understanding a client’s problem and explaining the best way to solve it. A calm and easy manner of communication is essential to ease the client’s concerns and avoid chances of misunderstandings and potential conflicts.
Great plumbers are always on time. Punctuality is associated with good customer service and a great work etiquette. It will contribute to earning you a level of respect within the community.
5. Coordination Skills
Coordination skills come in handy when working in small spaces with many tools. Often, plumbers will find themselves negotiating tight, unfamiliar spaces and in order to do the job most efficiently, coordination can be the best tool of all.
6. Safety First
It is essential that plumbers have a strong regard for safety in their practice. Problems need to be tackled in a skillful way while still following safety procedures accurately.
A great plumber is a dedicated plumber. Plumbers that are dedicated to their customers and maintaining a level of quality will always outshine ones that do not. Dedicated plumbers are enthusiastic, ready to solve a problem and willing to put their best foot forward, no matter the hour. Real dedication to work and dependability is the fast track to success.
8. Mechanically Inclined
There are many mechanical and technical aspects to the plumbing trade. Plumbers need not only be good with their hands, but with their analytical and mechanical sides too. Knowing what type of tubing is most efficient, or how the water valve works are essential components to ensuring a job well done. Great plumbers are mechanically inclined, naturally navigating the minefield of plumbing troubleshooting.
9. Good shape
Being in good physical form is essential when navigating some of the tight spaces plumbers might find themselves in. A job may lead you to a rooftop, or a tight space under a sink, and in order to reduce injury it’s important to be in good shape so that exerting yourself physically is not the biggest problem you have to fix that week.
10. Problem Solving
Problem solving is important to any industry, but plumbers that are naturally problem solvers make for great ones. Often a job will call for a quick evaluation, great plumbers are able to navigate the options efficiently and find the best course of action to follow.
If you’re looking for a plumber, keep an eye out on our website as we have a section specifically designed for that purpose coming soon. If you are a plumber and you are not registered yet, do the right thing for your career and register now. Here is everything you need to know. We hope these top 10 characteristics of a great plumber helped you put your best foot forward today.
You’ve found your calling, you’ve got the certification and you’ve registered with the PIRB. You’re ready to go, but you’ve found yourself at the crossroads of plumber and entrepreneur, and you’re only the expert of one of these. It’s one thing to be a great plumber, it’s a whole other thing to start a plumbing business. Don’t worry, we’re going to help you through this by giving you some helpful tricks on how to start a plumbing business, with as minimal expenditure as possible.
#1 Decide What Kind Of Plumbing Company You Want To Be
The first question you need to ask yourself is do you want to build things or do you want to fix things? Are you interested in building new constructions, or do you want to do service and repair work? Do you want to work in residential or commercial plumbing? Figure out what you like most, and pursue that.
#2 Establish Your Business’ Core Values
First thing every new business owner should do is decide what is going to set them apart. So you’re a great plumber, are you always on time? Are you personable? Are you reliable and trustworthy? Establish your core values, and write them down so that you never waver. These are the things that get you referred for your next job, and the next…
#3 Never Stop Learning (Continuous Professional Development)
Ensure that you know plumbing better than your competitors. Study more, learn more, develop more and do more. Build your knowledge by spending just 30 minutes a day learning something new, whether it’s about tools, local laws or a new technique, continuing to grow and develop is what will put you ahead of your competitors.
#4 Build A Network
By word of mouth, social media or advertising in your local supermarket, get the word out there that you are a reputable plumber. Let people know who you are and what you’re doing. You don’t need to hire a billboard, just set up a Facebook page. Ask one or two previous clients to write a review. This establishes you’re real, you’re reliable, and you’re professional.
#5 Build A Bigger Network
Look at networking with other business owners. Building trusted relationships with companies operating in the same area can lead to referrals, for both them and you. Look out for people that you’d like to work with, or who you’d be interested in sharing business with. From estate agents, to carpenters, to mechanics, build a wider network in your area.
If you can set aside a small budget, look for small-scale marketing companies that can help get your name out there. If not, don’t worry, there are several tools available to start a plumbing business without investing in a marketing company: social media. As mentioned before, set up a Facebook page. Get friends and family to like and follow you, create a community. If you have a knack for it, look into other avenues like LinkedIn and Youtube. Just make sure you have one reliable place that potential customers can refer to when deciding whether to hire you.
Armed with these 6 tips on how to start a plumbing business, your plumbing certification and your PIRB Registration – you’re all set to go! Get out there and good luck.
The original article can be found on the PIRB website here
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