How to Start a Plumbing Business

How to Start a Plumbing Business
Looking to start a plumbing business? Here’s a step by step guide on how to start your own plumbing business along with requirements. Learn how Square can help.
by Square May 08, 2022 — 6 min read
How to Start a Plumbing Business

Do you prefer hands-on work? Would you rather spend time out and about than in an office cubicle? Are you blessed with an entrepreneurial mind? If the answer to each of these questions is ‘yes’, you might consider becoming the owner of a plumbing business.

Plumbing is a profession almost as old as civilisation itself – we can’t survive long without water, after all. This means that a plumber’s skill set will forever be in demand – unlike in other industries, you can be confident that your business won’t become outdated or that the work will dry up (pun intended.) This also means that a well-run plumbing business has incredible potential for growth.

As the owner of a plumbing business, you’ll provide plumbing services to anyone who needs them: homeowners, businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and more. While water is critical for life, it can also be a damaging force, so plenty of responsibility sits on the shoulders of a plumbing business… but the rewards can be more than worth it.

The opportunity is there. The question now is how to start your own plumbing business – which we’ll be answering below.

The benefits of starting your own plumbing business

Before we dive into how to start a plumbing business, let’s address why should you choose this form of business over another?

There’s plenty of work: We need water to drink, to clean, to cook and to work. There will always be a demand for the skills that a plumbing business offers.

Plumbers are paid well: Because plumbing expertise is highly sought after, and because Australian tradies are generally paid well, plumbers and plumbing business owners have the potential to earn a good wage.

You get to work with your hands: You don’t have to be stuck in an office (unless you’d like to be!) As the owner of a plumbing business, you have the opportunity to work on-site. As your business grows, you may also be given the chance to trade working in your business to working on your business and letting your team work with you.

You steer your own future: As a business owner, you’ll enjoy far greater control over your life. What you do with your plumbing business – the shape it takes, the size it grows to, how it is run, when and how much you work – is totally up to you!

Requirements to start a plumbing business

What skills, qualifications, permits and licences will you need to start your plumbing business? Let’s take a look at the main considerations in Australia.

Skills and knowledge

To own a plumbing business, you’ll first need to become a fully qualified plumber, which means you’ll need to earn a trade. This is done by undertaking a four-year apprenticeship, which sees you learning within someone else’s business while earning a Certificate III in Plumbing.

It should be noted that plumbing apprenticeships aren’t nationally regulated. While the same knowledge and skills are generally covered, the specifics of each apprenticeship will vary from state to state. And while a four-year apprenticeship will give you a solid foundation of plumbing knowledge, it won’t touch a number of more specialised areas such as gas fitting, fire protection and mechanical plumbing. You’ll need to undertake a dedicated certificate after you’ve finished your apprenticeship to upskill in these disciplines.

Plumbing contractor’s licence

In order to own a plumbing business you not only need to gain a plumbing trade, you also need to hold a plumbing contractor’s licence. The authorities in charge of distributing these licences change from state to state:

Some states don’t require much more than a trade certificate to gain a plumbing contractor’s licence. Other states require more boxes to be ticked, such as police checks and proof of the necessary finance/insurance.

Once you’ve gained your contractor’s licence, you can then go about setting up your business. Here’s a few key steps.

Business registration

Like any business owner, you’ll need to register your plumbing business by obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN) or an Australian Company Number (ACN). While more complex to set up, a company structure helps to shield you from liabilities associated with your business, so most plumbing business owners choose to obtain an ACN.

Insurance for plumbing businesses

Insurance is a key consideration in a plumbing business, as working with water can be risky. You need to think about public liability, worker injuries, equipment damage, theft, fire, and a wealth of other potential issues.

Many insurers offer trade-specific coverage, which tends to insure against the following:

Essential equipment needed to start a plumbing business

Speaking of equipment, what gear do you need to kit out your new business? The answer will depend on the type of work you plan to undertake, but here is a basic list:

Market your business

Qualified, insured and equipped, it’s time for you to open. But the world of contracting is competitive, so you’ll need to conduct some savvy marketing in order to lure customers in:

How much can you charge customers?

How much will you charge for your services? Plumbers can make money in three main ways: through call-out fees, labour and mark-ups on products and parts. Your rates should be set at a level that customers feel is fair, but that also ensures you can cover your costs comfortably – which means an inner-city plumber may charge more than a country plumber.

The average hourly rate for plumbers in Australia in 2022 is $110/hour, spread across a range of $80-$135. While the market will dictate your pricing to a degree, at the end of the day what you charge is up to you!

How Square can help plumbing businesses

Now that you know how to set up a plumbing business, how can Square help? With our complete suite of affordable and easy-to-use business tools, we aim to make the technology side of your plumbing venture a little bit easier.

Payment systems



Online booking system

That, in basic terms, is how to start a plumbing business – what you do with this information is entirely up to you. If you decide to dive into the world of water, know that Square will be there with all the tech you need to make your new venture as smooth, enjoyable and successful as possible.

Get in touch with our friendly team to learn more.

This article is only for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. Make sure you consult a professional regarding your unique business needs.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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