As a professional, it’s essential that you and your team have access to the best plumbing tools and resources to complete jobs safely and efficiently.
You may have the highest-rated technicians in the industry, but if they don’t have the right physical and digital plumbing tools – they’ll complete fewer jobs and be unable to maximize their productivity during the workday.
How can you tell when a tool is right for your plumbing business? The quickest way is to ask two questions: does it help me do more work in the same amount of time and does it help me earn more money? If the answer is yes for both of these (or even just one!), you’re on the right track.
This blog was created to help you easily identify the essential plumbing tools that you’ll see across the industry. You’ll also learn how the right plumbing toolset:
Improves the service efficiency of your office staff
Increases the output of your technicians
Increases your revenue over time
What is the importance of plumbing tools?
Any plumbing business owner will understand that their employees need tools – this goes without saying. But “Buy it nice or buy it twice” is definitely the key aspect to keep in mind when kitting out your team.
If you cheap out on everyday tools, you’ll end up having to replace them more often. Take some time and figure out which tools are costing you the most and how you can upgrade them to help your margins. Long-term, you’ll see the benefits in multiple areas:
Efficiency on the job
Better physical tools generally get things done faster and with fewer headaches for the plumbers and customers. Digital tools take your business to the next level in terms of automating emails, invoices, inventory, and more.
Nice-looking, high-quality tools make a good impression on customers who feel like they’re getting a premium service. Digital self-service options (e.g. online booking portals, payment gateways, etc.) will also greatly contribute to the customer feeling in control of their experience, while saving your admin team a lot of time and hassle.
Employee satisfaction and retention
You don’t need us to tell you how hard it is for plumbing businesses to recruit good people these days. A boss that shows they’re willing to spend money on their employees is hard to find, so your job description will stand out while existing employees will give second thoughts to job hopping.
General health and safety on the job
Bad tools break down and slow the job or negatively impact the customer experience, but the worst tools can even hurt your employees which can get your whole business into a lot of costly trouble.
What are the Types of Plumbing Tools that Help Maximize Efficiency?
Since plumbing as a trade is a crucial component of any building’s infrastructure, it’s essential that you use the best physical, digital, and technological plumbing tools that you’ll rely on to install or repair the systems that are responsible for distributing safe water.
The content below will explore the three main categories of plumbing tools that can help you maximize the efficiency of your operations:
Physical Plumbing Tools
Digital Plumbing Tools
Plumbing Software and Technological Tools
Whether you’re managing field technicians, office staff, or warehouse workers, you’ll need the best plumbing tools from each category to increase productivity and profitability.
Essential Physical Plumbing Tools
The plumbing tools listed below are an essential part of any plumber’s daily toolkit. They enable your plumbing team to handle any job tasks while in the field. Without them, they wouldn’t be able to provide the services your customers need!
These tools shouldn’t be missed from any plumber’s job kit. They come in a variety of types and sizes but the most common ones are: pipe, basin, and adjustable wrenches.
Pipe wrenches and pliers are used to loosen or tighten the most common fittings on pipeworks. Usually, plumbers will use one wrench to hold a pipe and another wrench or a plier to rotate the fitting.
Basin wrenches are an essential tool for installing or removing a faucet and they’re made specifically for the low-profile mounting nuts on the underside of the sink. Without this, you’ll be spending a lot of extra time on the job and, most likely, realize that you can’t do it well anyway in the end.
Adjustable wrenches are for those times when a plier just won’t do – this open-ended grip tool can significantly speed up the job of unfastening a stubborn bolt.
Augers and Snakes
Depending on the kind of plumbing work you do, you’ll find that a quality auger (the device used to drive cables deep down drains in order to clear any debris) or a snake (a motorized auger) can significantly speed up things. Customers will be happy that you got the work done in less time, whilst your admin can book some extra bits in the schedule.
Cutters and Saws
Pretty basic products for most plumbers since various lengths of pipes are usually required on a job. Again, quality is what matters:
Tubing cutters and plastic pipe cutters are designed for soft materials like PVC
Pipe cutters are designed for hard pipes such as copper, iron, or steel
A metal file might also come in handy after cutting a pipe
Electric versions of these tools can can help your techs progress quicker through the job but manual ones can be used for more specialized jobs. Just make sure you get a model that can work both with batteries (for when there isn’t a plug available) and with a power source (thicker pipes generally require more cutting power and battery-powered saws can’t always get the job done).
Pipe Threading and Bending Tools
Oftentimes with residential plumbing projects, customers will ask plumbers to make sure the pipes are hidden or otherwise out of the way, which can involve small or tight spaces. Being able to cut threads into a pipe and bend pipes around corners can improve the end experience, so these tools are also good to have.
Torch and Soldering Equipment
A torch is often used to seal copper piping. These come in a variety of sizes, but generally, a plumber would need a fairly small one, unless you work on more specialized installations. Ensuring your team has the right tools and doesn’t have to go back and forth between the job and the office or warehouse is how you’ll improve efficiency in this case.
There’s always going to be another new tool that needs to be added or upgraded in the toolkit. If a new and improved version of a common plumbing tool comes to the market – it’s important to consider it for your business if you could complete jobs faster and increase daily efficiency with it! What’s more – if you get your hands on something relatively unique that makes you stand apart from the competition, don’t be afraid to promote it on your website.
Innovative Plumbing Technology
If your business is growing, there may be a time when you’re asked to take on a residential plumbing job or a commercial project that requires some professional plumbing tools that you don’t use every day.
For example, say you secure a large contract with the city and need to get new plumbing technology to complete the tasks in a timely manner. If you only plan on doing this type of work once, it might be worth renting.
But If you plan to take on similar jobs and projects now that your company has broadened its scope, it could be worthwhile to invest in these tools for long-term use. They may be more expensive, but the work completed with them will get finished faster and yield more profit:
Leak Detection and Inspection Tools
Generally, plumbers use video pipe inspection equipment which is most often an infrared camera. This helps identify leaks, but also water damage and other issues homeowners might have missed. The benefit of video inspection tools is that they can fit in tight spaces and don’t generally damage to existing structures.
Investing in tools that allow your team to do non-invasive leak detections means the job can proceed quicker and you don’t have to worry about fixing a giant hole in your customer’s wall.
Smart Water Flow Monitors
A water flow monitor gives your plumbers the ability to monitor and identify issues with customers’ water flow. This way, they can make recommendations on what work needs to be done and how the customer can improve their water flow and decrease over-usage.
The benefit for your plumbing business is improving the customer experience. Everyone loves hearing about how you’ll save them money in the long run and improve their quality of life, creating a positive association with your company.
High-Pressure Water Jetting Equipment
High-pressure water jetting (HPWJ) means blasting highly compressed and concentrated pressurized water out of a small nozzle. Some people also refer to it as hydro-blasting or water-cutting because the jet can cut through almost anything. These are common in commercial plumbing companies.
If you do the kind of work that requires breaking up rust, scale, resins, chemical residues, paint, concrete, rubble or such, you probably won’t be doing efficient work (or any work, really) without without this type of equipment. It’s about more than cleaning drains quickly, it’s about getting the job done for your customers.
Sewer Line and Drain Inspection Cameras
Technicians can use a sewer inspection video camera to see any problems with a pipe. These problems run from root intrusion, cracks, and punctures to misaligned pipe sections or corrosion. This is an efficient tool to have on hand because it also identifies grease buildup, leaks, and obstructions, meaning your team can start formulating a plan to solve the issue sooner.
Thermal Imaging Cameras
An infrared camera (also known as a thermal imager) is different from the cameras we mentioned earlier. This detects and measures the infrared energy of objects. The camera converts that infrared data into an electronic image that shows the apparent surface temperature of the object being measured.
Some cameras allow voice annotations, can enhance resolution, and record or stream video of the images which can help your team be more efficient about identifying the issue and communicating it to the customer.
If you’re looking to specialize in a certain local issue or commercial niche, there might be other essential tools that are needed for the work. Being the only company with the tools to solve an uncommon problem can also help you gain access to a new part of the market. This can be good for your plumbing marketing strategy if you’re looking for ways to target a new audience online.
Software and Maintenance Tools
If you’re focused on scaling your business, you’ll have to take plumbing software and digital tools into serious consideration (if you aren’t already using them).
There’s always a new feature or advancement in technology that can help increase your output and revenue. Most plumbing companies will choose between using multiple, smaller, or more complex software (especially if they work in really niche types of plumbing) or one job management software that can help them manage everything.
Below you’ll some of the most common and useful software plumbing tools:
Inventory Management Software
Businesses that start managing their inventory properly from Day 1 are businesses that thrive. It’s probably the area where many owners struggle because it tends to grow “organically” from some spare parts here and there to a room at the back of the office, to a warehouse, plus everything rattling around in the back of the truck.
While a spreadsheet might make sense of the first, inventory management software implemented early will save you a lot of headaches in the future, such as overstocking the wrong (and expensive!) parts and understocking the ones you use most often (and, therefore, slowing down your overall work process).
Customer Relationship Management Software
Communicating with customers is one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a plumbing business. Most start out with a small admin team running calls and keeping a calendar with bookings, but once you start hiring more and more techs, you’ll find that you either have to hire an admin for each (meaning you lose money) or sacrifice efficiency.
Customer relationship management software (or CRM software) automates the day-to-day repetitive tasks such as emailing confirmations, creating and sending appointment reminders, asking for feedback, etc. helping you focus more on hiring techs (which put money in the bank) and improving the work experience of your existing admins, who can focus on more complex tasks.
Service Call Scheduling Software
Intuitive scheduling tools help keep your technicians and office in sync. You can complete more jobs quicker, and please customers, boosting company revenue. Optimizing the way you plan, schedule, and edit jobs might not seem like it would make a big difference, but think about it like this: if an admin spends 10 minutes booking a job and they book 50 jobs/day, getting them to spend five minutes on each already saves you four hours!
Preventive Maintenance Software
Preventative maintenance software is essential if you work with a lot of commercial contracts. Keeping track of these jobs is challenging, and breaching them can cost you the contract and more, as there are usually clauses that stipulate a fine.
By cutting emergency calls, reducing downtime, and increasing the number of appointments you can attend per day, preventative maintenance tools can greatly improve your business productivity.
GPS Tracking and Routing Software
GPS tracking means you can oversee your entire team with real-time location data and tracking, down to the exact speed technicians are driving. This can be very useful for understanding your vehicle usage and fuel costs and optimizing them to save more in the long run. It also allows you to keep customers up-to-date with their tech’s location and offer an Uber-style experience.
Routing tools or intelligent scheduling software, on the other hand, take things to the next level. It automates the complex process of manually mapping and scheduling jobs. With route optimization, you can maximize your technician utilization, decrease driving time and fuel costs, and reduce the admin burden.
Benefits of Incorporating Software Tools in Your Plumbing Business
Increased Efficiency and Productivity
Implementing the best plumbing software enables businesses to automate processes and workflows. This reduces manual intervention, human errors, and the time required to complete tasks – increasing efficiency and providing more time for your technicians and staff to be productive throughout the day.
In addition to this, nowadays, customers’ expectations are sky-high and heavily influenced by companies like Uber, Amazon, or Booking.com. With one-click-buy, on-the-spot booking portals and instant confirmations, these guys have changed the playing field, when it comes to what’s an average customer experience.
Your plumbing company doesn’t get judged solely based on direct competitors, but also based on what these guys offer. Good plumbing software is the only way you can compete and provide the same frictionless customer journey that builds loyalty and increases repeat buyers.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Every job well done is a chance to gain a loyal customer! Providing better communication with customers goes a long way in ensuring their future business.
With software tools, you’ll never miss an opportunity to send a service reminder, marketing email, or feedback survey to a customer. It enables any plumbing business to integrate its applications, systems, and data sources, providing a seamless experience for customers.
Building a presence online becomes much more effective when customers are constantly raving about how delightful working with you was from start to finish.
Optimized Routes and Inventory Management
Optimizing technician routes and managing inventory are always going to be two tricky operations even for a successful plumbing business. Spending extra money on routing costs or consistently losing track of parts is one of the many reasons we see companies fail.
Software plumbing tools can help you track and analyze every completed job or metric that you want to keep an eye on. Even after just a small amount of data collection, you’ll be able to clearly see where you can reduce everyday costs and expand your plumbing business revenue.
Increased Safety and Compliance
If you’re running into issues with service level agreements or meeting other plumbing regulations, the right software can help improve and mandate safety and compliance across all departments. With technicians required to fill out reports and track their work at each site, you’ll always have an accurate record of what took place and when.
If a large enough mistake is made, it could damage the business’s financials and reputation beyond repair. With smart software, you’ll be able to automate the assignment and delivery of these safety and compliance tasks while managing them from the comfort of the office.
Are you Ready to Take Your Plumbing Business to the Next Level?
If you aren’t using the best physical, digital, and software plumbing tools to help grow every aspect of your business, you’re going to lose out to the competition that is. If you’re ready to start growing your team, check out our plumbing interview questions. With the right tool kit, you’ll be able to take your plumbing business to the next level and win more contracts.
Don’t waste any more time (or money) getting stuck on traditional or manual plumbing tasks that can be automated by software. Commusoft can easily integrate with your current systems and help you scale your operation while reducing costs, improving customer relationships, and increasing technician productivity.
Thanks for checking out the Commusoft blog - I’ve been helping business owners improve their strategies for a few years now, so I hope you were able to take something away from the content I’ve written. Feel free to continue exploring the blog - or reach out to us with any questions!