How to ensure repeat business

Ensuring repeat business is a key consideration in a buoyant marketplace. Arran Leighton – National Plumbfix Manager – explains how professional plumbers are meeting the demands of busy diaries through effective time management.
screwfixfull#According to many heating engineers and plumbers, 2015 has got off to a busy start for the UK. 97% of the tradesmen questioned by Screwfix in its Trade Pulse report are currently working. In fact, nearly one in six are so busy they have more work than they can handle, and 78% have
enough work to keep them busy – compared with 74% for the same period last year and only 72% in 2013.
However, with the challenge of busier schedules and increasing demands from their customers, many qualified plumbers and heating engineers
are far from able to sit back and relax. The marketplace is still a competitive one and a sound reputation is as critical as ever in securing repeat business.
Holistic approach 
For many installers, this means it is important they begin to take a more holistic approach to their business – one that responds to the needs of their customers. With today’s heightened consumer expectations, many plumbers say they are expected to build their business around customer
convenience rather than their own schedules.
This means they need to respond to customer enquiries quickly, provide timely and accurate quotes, and schedule and complete jobs as soon as
possible – all while maintaining a professional approach and ensuring they offer a high quality service. 73% of those surveyed said  they would like to reduce paperwork – at a time when many have high volumes of admin to keep on top of as well as the practical elements of their job. A third of sole tradesmen and more than half of SME tradesmen said they spend nearly one month a year on filling in forms.
Word of mouse
In addition, the growth of social media and review sites means consumers are able to locate and contact a recommended plumber at the touch of the button. This means if they are unhappy with the service they have received or a job is taking too long, they can easily find someone else. The challenge of offering a professional service is more intense than ever, so plumbers are facing increasing pressure to make the most of their time to ensure they offer an efficient yet excellent service.
Many installers feel that they cannot afford to waste time trying to get their hands on the right products. To ensure their business runs as smoothly as possible, it’s crucial they can get the goods they need and get back to their job as quickly as possible.
At Plumbfix, we understand that suppliers have an important role to play. Listening to customers regularly ensures that a real understanding of the current issues they face and the consumer demands they have to meet is gained. This allows their needs to be responded to directly and support provided to them in exactly the right areas.
Quotes on the go
To free up time to complete jobs, many installers manage their work on the go on their mobiles and tablets and, for this reason, trade-focused apps are proving popular for time management – such as scheduling diaries and ordering products on the move.
At Plumbfix, the decision to offer fixed prices, with and without VAT, across our catalogue and website was made to enable tradesmen to create accurate quotes for their customers at any time of the day.
With so many plumbers and heating engineers reporting that they’re currently in work, expecting to get busier and brightly looking ahead to the future, it’s an exciting time for the industry. However, it’s important that merchants, along with Government and trade bodies, all work together to support the trade, so they can maintain high levels of service while enjoying business success.