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How to start a bathroom fitting business

A new bathroom is a desirable feature for many homeowners, which is why expert bathroom fitters are always in such high demand. Read our complete guide to find out everything you need to know if you’re thinking of starting a bathroom fitting business.

Why start a bathroom fitting business?

If there’s one room in the house that people want to get right when redecorating, it’s the bathroom.

So, is it any wonder then that experienced bathroom fitters are one of the best-paid and most sought-after trades in the UK for customers and tradespeople alike?

If we’re being honest, it’s easy to see why so many people want to know more about getting into the bathroom fitting business.

Not only is the work varied and enjoyable, but it gives you the opportunity to take responsibility for many different tasks.

What does a bathroom fitter do?

From flooring and plastering to tiling and decoration, plumbing and installation, and even electrical work, it’s genuinely one of the most versatile trades out there, which is why there is a near-constant demand for these sorts of skills.

But where exactly do you begin starting a bathroom fitting business, especially if you have no experience in this field to begin with?

Well, regardless of if you’re a bathroom fitting expert or just getting into the trade, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about how to start a bathroom fitting business, all of which we’ve detailed below.

Creating a bathroom-fitting business plan

From carpenters to electricians and every trade in-between, every single business needs a business plan to help guide them through the early stages of their company journey, making it the first thing to sort when starting a bathroom fitting business.

Business plans are designed to provide you with a solid foundation from which to direct your business vision.

It will outline your goals, and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them, while also helping you to make informed decisions to keep your business organised, efficient, and productive.

When laying out your initial business plan, we recommend covering all of the following areas:

  • Your business goals – what are the aims of your business and how do you intend to achieve them?
  • Startup costs – what sort of financing will you need to start your business? Will you need additional financing in the future?
  • Finance management – how do you intend to manage your business’s finances? Will you be handling them yourself or investing in the help of an accountant?
  • Your services – what services do you plan to offer to your customers? Will you provide a range of bathroom fitting work or specialise in a few core areas?
  • Your target market – what area of bathroom fitting do you want to specialise in? Do you want to work in residential projects, commercial bathrooms, or perhaps even new housing developments?
  • Your prices – how much do you intend to charge for your services? Are you going to operate on an hourly rate, day rate, or a combination of the two? Remember, you can charge more if you work in a city or on larger jobs.
  • Your area of operation – what area will you operate your business in? Will you stick to your local area or expand out to nearby towns and cities?
  • Types of marketing – how do you intend to market your business?
  • Your working hours – how many hours do you intend to work a day? Do you plan to work weekends on top of weekdays?

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into making a business plan, which is why we have a free business plan template that you can make use of today to get started.

You can also read our blog on how to write your business plan if you want further insights into the process.

What qualifications should a bathroom fitter have?

When it comes to bathroom fitting, there are a lot of technical areas to consider, meaning it’s important you have the right qualifications to do each stage of your job properly.

So, before you go any further in starting a bathroom fitting business, we recommend exploring one of the following courses:

  • Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Carpentry and Joinery
  • Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing Studies
  • Level 2 Diploma in Fitted Interiors
  • Intermediate apprenticeships in fitted interiors, joinery, tiling, plumbing, or electrical installations

As you may have guessed, this sort of training can take time, but it will pay off in the long run.

Potential customers will be more likely to trust your skillset and hire your services if you’re able to prove your competence.

How can I make my bathroom installation skills stand out?

While a good bathroom fitter will always be able to find work, it never hurts to invest in ways to make your installation skills stand out against your competition.

And one of the best ways to do this is by joining a trade association.

For example, as a bathroom fitter, you could join the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI).

Membership grants you a professional status in the industry, which will enhance your credibility with new customers as you build your reputation.

Getting CSCS certified

On top of joining a trade association, you should also acquire a CSCS card if you plan to go into commercial fitting work.

This card is a legal requirement for working on construction sites, and without one, you will almost certainly miss potential business opportunities.

Bathroom installation prices

What important business skills do bathroom fitters need?

Besides the general technical know-how that comes with bathroom fitting work, you will also need to cultivate a variety of additional business skills to ensure your new venture’s success.

You might already be well-versed in some areas of business management, or you might be a complete beginner.

Either way, you should look to start training yourself in the following skill areas:

  • Numeracy skills – these are essential for achieving precise measurements on the job as well as managing your business finances
  • Building and construction knowledge – a good level of building and construction knowledge will come in handy for installing units correctly and making practical layouts for a variety of different room shapes
  • Good communication – this skill is vital for building lasting client relationships and gaining further business opportunities through word-of-mouth
  • Patience and enthusiasm – these core traits vital essential in all areas of a business and big projects, both for bringing it to a successful conclusion and for dealing with tricky customers
  • Dexterity and attention – accurate work and focused attention to detail are really important for completing high-quality work without making sloppy mistakes
  • Management abilities – the ability to lead and manage any employees you take on is very important for fostering a positive work environment

With these points in mind, if you want more information on building your business skills, take a look at our article on becoming your own boss.

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How to set up a bathroom fitting business

As with any trade, there are several steps you’ll need to take in order to get your business up and running smoothly.

We cover all of these below – from the process of registering your business to sorting out your business insurance, tools, and more.

1. Getting your business registered

No matter your trade, every single business that operates in the UK must be registered with HMRC for tax-related purposes.

This is one of the first things you should look towards doing.

Naturally, this will mean picking a name for your business, as well as deciding whether or not you will operate as a sole trader or a limited company.

Both are governed by different tax regulations, so you should research the advantages and disadvantages of both these company types extensively before you settle on one.

For example, sole trading requires less paperwork, but you’ll be personally responsible for any loss or debt your business incurs.

Limited companies, on the other hand, grant better financial protection, but you’ll be spending a lot more time managing paperwork and admin.

2. Setting up your business insurance

Once you’ve got your business registered, the next step is to organise all the various business insurance that comes with setting up a trades company.

After all, the last thing you want is to be in a position where you can’t cover the financial cost of an accident at work.

So, in order to protect yourself and your business, you’ll need to have the right policies in place.

There are a variety of insurance options out there to choose from, though as a self-employed bathroom installer, you’ll want to consider all of the following:

  • Public liability insurance – this provides financial protection in case a client feels their property has been damaged by the work you’ve carried out
  • Professional indemnity insurance – this provides financial and reputation protection in the event that a customer is left unsatisfied with your work or suffers some form of a loss because of it
  • Tools insurance – this covers the cost of replacement equipment if your tools are lost or damaged due to theft, flooding, fire, etc…
  • Employers’ liability – this offers protection for your employees should they be injured at work and is a legal requirement for any employer

Whether or not you apply for all of these insurance policies is up to you, and we recommend reading our article on picking the right tradesperson insurance for a more in-depth explanation of what each policy can offer your business.

3. Accounting and bookkeeping

It goes without saying that keeping on top of your finances is absolutely crucial if you want your business to run smoothly.

This means you need to keep an eye on your business’s in-goings and outgoings on a regular basis.

Doing this will ensure you’re keeping any losses to a minimum and generating enough profit to make informed investments in your business.

For a full understanding of everything involved in this area, we suggest reading our article on small business accounting for more information.

Toilet siphon replacement cost

4. Choosing the right fitting tools and equipment

Once all the essential opening admin is complete, your final initial step towards setting up your business is to purchase all the associated high-quality tools and inventory necessary to complete your fitting jobs to an expert standard.

And while there’ll always be exceptions for bespoke jobs, the following are widely considered the essentials tools you’ll need for a start-up bathroom fitting business:

  • Faucet and sink wrench
  • Pipe cutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Power drill and saw
  • Spanners
  • Workbench
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • CAD software

Alongside this, don’t forget to purchase a van for transporting your gear and materials to and from your jobs, and for other team travel once you start to grow.

Check out our article on how to find the best van lease deals for help with this, and don’t forget that being a Checkatrade member means you can save on the cost of your new tools and your work vehicle!

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How to grow a bathroom fitting business

So, now that you know the steps you need to take to begin your new bathroom fitting business, what about growing your business once you have a steady stream of work under your belt?

Typically, this means that you’ll need to begin properly scaling and marketing your business.

Whether that’s through physical or digital means, or both, is up to you.

To help you get started on this properly, and avoid any initial scaling and marketing mistakes, here are our top tips for these areas.

1. Scaling your business

First things first, before you start marketing your business, you need to be sure that your company has the capacity to handle all the new work you’ll hopefully be pulling in.

And that means coming up with a business scaling plan.

This plan can be as simple or complex as you like, but it should cover all of the following points:

  • Business streamlining – effective business scaling is much harder to do if your business isn’t running as smoothly as it could be. Therefore, you should look into all aspects of your business to ensure they’re working in tandem with one another
  • Finance checks – as we’ve already mentioned, proper monitoring of your finances is a must, especially if you want to grow, giving you insights into what profit you have spare for investments and whether or not you might need further funding
  • Quality and consistency – regardless of how big your business becomes; a good tradesperson should always place a focus on quality over quantity. So, no matter how you scale your business, never sacrifice the quality of your work to acquire more jobs, as this will only hurt your business in the long run
  • Team growth – a bigger business naturally needs more staff to operate at peak efficiency. Be sure to put aside the time to choose the right candidates for any roles you create, and make sure you only create roles when you actually need to expand

2. Digitally marketing your business

Unless you’re new to the digital world, you likely know just how important digital marketing can be for a business.

And as you’ve probably guessed, this means you’ll have to dedicate at least some of your time towards developing your business’s own online profile.

With that in mind, we recommend doing all of the following as your first steps towards achieving digital marketing growth:

  • Updating your website – as most potential customers will find you online, it’s essential you create a website and keep it up to date. This means ensuring your site information is correct and its buttons function properly. You can learn more about doing this in our article on building a small business website
  • Social media posting – while your website is where customers can go to book your services, your business social media accounts are where they can go to see your work. Bathroom fitting work is very visual, so, make sure you post regular high-quality photos and videos with tagged locations so customers are more inclined to use your services. Read our blog on how to market your business on social media for more information
  • Online directory membership – many customers still use online directories, such as Checkatrade, to find skilled and reliable tradespeople for their home renovation needs. Why not take a look at what we have to offer to help your new business grow?

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3. Advertising your bathroom fitting business

While online marketing is important, you don’t want to neglect more traditional forms of advertising.

Below are three of the more important advertising areas that you should definitely look into as your business continues to grow:

  • Print media – it might seem outdated, but using print media is still very much a viable form of advertising for tradespeople in the modern day. From leaflets and flyers to business cards and catalogues, there’s plenty of print media to choose from and experiment with. Take a look at our blog on print marketing for more information on this
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) – the top adverts that appear on every Google search results page, PPC can put your right in front of prospective customers. We’d suggest speaking with a PPC expert to garner a better understanding of this area and how you can use it to start generating new leads
  • Company signage – with the right branding and signage, you can essentially become your own advertisement as you work. So, be sure to have your van and work uniform branded with your logo, name, and contact details for people to see when you’re out and about
  • Events sponsorship – sponsoring local charity and sports events are a great way to get your name out in the local community, which can be helped further by being present at the event with your branded van and uniform

4. Other marketing ideas

Finally, there are several other quick and easy marketing steps you can take that, once set up, will help to market your business passively:

  • Encourage customer reviews – good and consistent reviews are something that all customers look for, so you should encourage all of your clients to leave a review of your business either on-site or via review platforms
  • Networking – no matter if you’ll be operating in a city or a town, you should endeavour to get in touch with other local businesses to spread your name. This will give you a base of contacts who can refer new customers to you
  • Google my business listings – getting involved in Google’s free listing service means your business will start appearing in localised searches, helping to get you front and centre for customers Googling similar services in your area

Naturally, the types of marketing you can do doesn’t end there, so be sure to take advantage of our free marketing download for more help in this area.

How to get more bathroom fitting work

At this point, you should have more than enough information to get your new bathroom fitting business off the ground.

But eventually, you’re going to want to find additional work streams to help book you more jobs.

So, to wrap up, here are our final points on how to get more work once you’re business is established:

  • Further accreditations – as we pointed out earlier in this guide, showing that you’re a certified tradesperson is one of the most reliable ways to earn new customers. And the more accreditations you have the better, so keep your eye out for further qualifications you could invest in
  • Specialised work – once you’ve gained some experience in the bathroom fitting world, you can look at specialising in certain fitting areas. That way, you can corner this niche in your local area and acquire more jobs that involve this sort of work
  • Repeat business – it goes without saying that a happy customer is far more likely to recommend your services. So, by focusing on doing a great job, you can get even more work via word of mouth

Grow your bathroom fitting business with Checkatrade

And there we have it, you should now have all the information you need to start your bathroom fitting business.

But you’ve also probably worked out that running a business consumes a lot of time and energy.

And if you’re wondering whether there’s a simpler way to start and grow your bathroom fitting business, you’ll be pleased to know there is.

As the UK’s leading online trade directory, Checkatrade is perfectly positioned to help you get more leads for your business.

Get in touch with our team today to find out what services we can offer you, and don’t forget to look at some of our new business blogs for more insight into building your own business from scratch.

Bathroom fitting business FAQs

How much could I earn as a self-employed bathroom fitter?

A trained bathroom fitter with several years’ experience can earn roughly £30,000 a year, while senior professionals can earn up to £50,000 per year.

For more information on this topic, we suggest reading our article looking at the average bathroom fitter salary in the UK.

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