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How to start a bathroom fitting business

A fresh, new bathroom is a desirable feature for many homeowners. So if you have the skills to complete this popular renovation, you might be wondering how to start a bathroom fitting business of your own. Our complete guide explains everything you need to know, step by step.

Wondering how to start a bathroom fitting business?

It’s easy to see why many people want to know more about setting up their own bathroom fitting and installation business. The work is both varied and enjoyable, with the ability to take responsibility for many different tasks: from flooring to plastering, tiling, decoration, plumbing and installation, and even electrical work.

There’ll be a constant demand for your skills and the ability to control your own diary. Plus, bathroom fitters with plenty of experience who decide to branch out on their own could earn in the region of £50,000 per year.

So, you may have the skills and experience to do the job. But do you know how to set up and run a business?

This guide includes everything from how to register with HMRC, to insurance, tools, equipment, marketing, and more. We also provide guidance on how to grow your bathroom fitting business once you’re up and running, and how to hire a great team.

Make sure to check out our FREE business templates too, which will save you time and give you a helping hand:

Want to get started straight away?

Sign up for our ‘Become the Boss’ series for help getting your bathroom fitting business up and running in no time.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. At the end of it all, you could be the founder of your new business.

Simply add your email below to make the most of this free business advice.

Creating a bathroom fitting business plan

A business plan will give you a solid foundation to work from. Think about it, you wouldn’t launch into a bathroom renovation without some semblance of a plan, so why would you start a new business without one?

Your business plan will outline your goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. It’ll help you to work in an organised, efficient and productive way, while giving you the confidence to make informed decisions.

Some of the key elements to include within your plan for your new bathroom fitting business will be:

Your service offering

You’ll need to outline the area you’ll specialise in so you can establish a niche or point of difference compared to your competitors.

You may have worked in this field already, and likely have a good idea of what you want to do. But if not, here are a few bathroom fitter business ideas for inspiration:

  • Complete design and fit – you’ll need to invest in some CAD software so you can mock up a plan for customers
  • Provide all bathroom tiling and flooring, including the installation of underfloor heating
  • Carry out bathroom plumbing work such as plumbing in new appliances and working around hidden pipes
  • Offer design and layout consultation along with procurement of the right appliances
  • Provide a comprehensive service that specialises in full-scale bathroom renovations
  • Bathroom cabinet making and fitting

Your target market

Be sure to identify a target market. Do you want to work on residential projects, commercial bathrooms, or within larger-scale contracts for new housing developments, for example?

Your pricing

Setting the right prices is really important if you want to attract customers and generate a good amount of income. Do some research on bathroom fitting competitors in your area to get an idea of the going rate.

If you’re going to be working in a major city, you may be able to charge more. The same applies if you’re going to specialise in high-end design and fit, or extensive jobs that require a lot of your time and knowledge.

If you’re still unsure, check out our article here for more general information on setting bathroom fitting prices.

Not sure where to start with your business plan?

We have a fantastic guide on how to write a business plan. And a FREE business plan template for you to use. Simply add your email below.

Training and qualifications

There are a lot of technical areas within bathroom installation, so it’s important to have some form of qualification. Better still, potential customers will be more likely to trust your skillset and hire your services if you’re able to prove your competence.

While not essential to get your business started, it doesn’t hurt to explore 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 apprenticeship in fitted interiors, joinery, tiling, plumbing, or electrical installations

How can I make my bathroom installation skills stand out?

Joining a trade association is a great way to enhance your reputation and make your business stand out from the competition.

As a bathroom fitter, you could join the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI), for instance. Membership grants you a professional status in the industry, which will enhance your credibility with new customers as you build your reputation.

Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS)

If you want to explore commercial contracts or jobs that involve working on a construction site, it’s crucial you have a CSCS card to be allowed to operate in these areas. Without one, you’ll miss out on opportunities to work on larger projects.

Other useful skills and attributes

You’ll need technical know-how for bathroom fitting but also some business acumen to make a success of your new venture.

Here’s a run-down of the most important qualities of a self-employed bathroom fitter:

  • Numeracy skills are needed for achieving precise measurements on the job as well as managing your business finances
  • A good level of building and construction knowledge will come in handy for installing units correctly and making practical layouts
  • Communication skills are vital for building client relationships to gain more business opportunities
  • Patience and enthusiasm will help in all manner of running your own business
  • Dexterity and attention to detail are really important for completing high-quality work without sloppy mistakes

Top tips on how to become your own boss

How to set up your bathroom fitting business step by step

There are several steps you’ll need to take in order to get your business smoothly up and running. In this section, we’ll guide you through each step of the process from registering your business to finances, insurance, tools, marketing and more.

Business name and logo

First things first, choose a business name that’s unique and memorable to help you stand out from the competition. Once you’re happy with your choice, you’ll need to register it.

Register your business

Next, you’ll need to legally register your business with HMRC. This process presents you with an important decision to make about the structure of your business. You can be recognised as a sole trader or a limited company.

Each comes with different pros and cons to weigh up. 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.

There are different tax liabilities and regulations for each type of business structure. If you’re unsure which structure would be best for your new business, ask a professional accountant for advice.

How to find an accountant that’s right for your business

Get business insurance

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and you could find yourself in a situation where a customer isn’t happy with your work. You could also be in the unfortunate position that you accidentally damage a client’s property, or cause a third party to suffer an injury due to your business activity.

To protect yourself and your business, you’ll need to have the right insurance policies in place. Here are the main types of insurance you should consider as a self-employed bathroom installer:

  • Public liability insurance – Provides protection if a client feels their property has been damaged by the work you’ve carried out, for example
  • Professional indemnity insurance – In the event a customer is left unsatisfied with your work, or suffers a loss because of it, this will cover any compensation or legal fees
  • Tools insurance – Covers replacement costs if your equipment is lost or damaged due to theft, flooding, or fire
  • If you plan to employ others, employers liability insurance is a legal requirement

Checkatrade members get money off with our insurance partner Covéa.

How to pick the right tradesperson insurance

Get confident with your finances

It’s crucial that you keep on top of your finances if you want your business to run smoothly.

A large part of this will be managing your cashflow, which involves keeping a close eye on your ingoings and outgoings. This way, you can ensure you’re generating enough profit and make necessary adjustments. This is especially important if you have a small team working for you and you’re paying them weekly.

Understanding how to claim business expenses and filing taxes are also crucial for a business owner.

Bookkeeping for small business made simple

Invest in tools and equipment

To run a successful business, you’ll need a full inventory of high-quality tools.

Having all the right equipment at your disposal will allow you to complete jobs efficiently and to a high standard, without costly delays due to things falling apart or being measured up wrong.

While there’ll always be exceptions for bespoke jobs, here are the essentials you’ll need for a start-up bathroom fitting business:

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

Don’t forget to have a van ready, as well as a valid driving licence. You’ll need this for transporting your tools between jobs – and team members once you start to grow!

Being a Checkatrade member means you can save on the cost of your tools and your work vehicle. Check out this post for help finding the best van lease deals.

More than just a directory listing

Get support and a range of money-saving discounts to help get your business off to the right start

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Market your bathroom fitting business

Naturally, you need to let people know about your new business and get work booked in the diary for it to get off to the right start.

Digital marketing is very popular these days but traditional print can still drum up plenty of business in local areas. You could distribute leaflets or flyers door-to-door in surrounding neighbourhoods or pay a small fee to have your business advertised in the local newspaper.

You could also get a brochure of your services and rates drawn up along with some good photography – you can leave this with customers if they’re undecided.

Print marketing still works if you’re looking to sell your bathroom fitting services to commercial properties. Sometimes, a simple business card is all it takes for someone to ring and follow up. You can also leave business cards at trade shows and other events for people to pick up, or pin them to notice boards in local shops for a small fee.

Checkatrade members have the opportunity to feature in our leading trade directory, which is delivered to homeowners around the country.

Other ways of spreading the word can include:

Bathroom fitting is a very visual trade that involves bringing designs to life. So, using social media platforms to share pictures and videos of ongoing and completed work is ideal. Homeowners love to see ‘before and after’ shots as it gives them a good idea of what to expect when employing you.

If you’re targeting commercial businesses, it might also be worth joining a platform that’s geared towards professionals – these are especially useful as you can browse users by job title and narrow down warm leads.

Check out this post for further advice on setting up your business.

Save money and time marketing your business

If you’re starting a bathroom fitting business, another way to get it off on the right foot is to join Checkatrade.

Becoming a Checkatrade member places your business at the fingertips of over three million monthly site users, so it’s an effective way of enhancing your online profile and tapping into a large audience.

Not to mention you can build your reputation by displaying images of your best work and showing off customer recommendations on your Checkatrade profile.

Being a Checkatrade member is also ideal for bathroom fitters targeting domestic properties as homeowners will be more likely to trust your claims. Did you know, 8/10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade, compared to one which isn’t*?

Plus:

  • Manage customer enquiries on the go, directly from the Checkatrade app, keeping everything in one handy place
  • Get access to free marketing materials
  • Enjoy exclusive discounts on business essentials, including workwear, tools, equipment, insurance, van leasing, fuel, and more

Ready to start your own bathroom fitting business?

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Start our checks now

Quick action: Sign up for our ‘Become the boss’ series

You could get your bathroom fitting business started right away with the help of our ‘Become the Boss’ series.




You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. And at the end of it, you could be the founder of your new business.

To get trade business insider secrets sent to your pocket, enter your email address in the form below so we can help you to get started:

How to grow a bathroom fitting business

If you’re yet to start your bathroom fitting business, this may feel like a way off. But before long, you’ll start to wonder how you can grow your bathroom fitting business and take it to the next level. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about:

  1. How to get more work
  2. How to increase your revenue
  3. How to develop a bigger team
  4. How to expand your services

Growth can be represented in a number of different ways, so think about what growth targets would be appropriate for your business. Maintaining an efficient business and minimising costs is another way to grow your business by increasing profitability.

Whatever your growth target is, think about what ‘growth’ means for your business:

  • What does ‘growth’ look like?
  • How will you achieve that growth?
  • How will you gauge success?

We have a FREE business development strategy template to help you do this, and a really useful article to explain what information to include:

How to create a business development strategy – Free template included

How will you achieve your growth targets?

1. Growth target: want more work?

If you want more work for your business, you need to attract more customers.

Now would be a good time to review your marketing plans and consider new ways to promote your business effectively. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Check out our FREE marketing planning guide and checklist to help you create a clear list of marketing tactics and responsibilities.

You need a marketing plan now more than ever – Free marketing planning guide included

2. Growth target: want to increase your revenue?

More sales = greater revenue. But how do you do that?

To get more sales you might need to sharpen your sales toolkit. We have a number of articles to help you do just that:

Alternatively, you could increase your revenue by charging more for your services. Be sure to review your pricing to make sure you’re charging enough to easily cover your expenses (such as tools, travel and insurance) in order to result in a decent profit.

3. Growth target: want to develop a bigger team?

A bathroom installation isn’t a quick job. If you have more work than you’re able to physically do, it might be time to hire some staff to help your business expand.

With this comes an extra layer of responsibility. As an employer, you must have employer’s liability insurance. You’ll also need to understand company payroll and learn about things such as holiday pay. Check out our checklist for taking on employees and our guide on how to hire employees.

We have a selection of articles to guide you through the process of hiring a team, helping to protect the trusted name and reputation you’ve worked hard to build:

4. Growth target: want to expand your service offering?

The variation within your role as a bathroom fitter is already quite broad, but another great thing about this trade is the scope to expand your services.

  • If your experience lies in domestic bathrooms, you might want to venture into fitting bespoke, luxury bathrooms
  • Perhaps you want tender for social housing contracts via your local council/local authority
  • Maybe you want to work on commercial bathrooms, for example, restaurants or hotels
  • And there’s always the option to offer your skills as a subcontractor to help fulfill larger contracts. Remember, this will likely involve working on a building site, so you’ll need a CSCS card

Whatever option you choose, you will need to assess the staffing, training and marketing requirements needed to facilitate those opportunities and consider how you’ll make connections in those fields of work.

Setting SMART goals

When you set your growth targets, they must be SMART. That means they must be:

  • Specific – what does the target involve?
  • Measurable – how will you quantify success?
  • Achievable – is this attainable given the resources, knowledge, and time available?
  • Realistic – is the target realistic to the confines of your job and your existing responsibilities?
  • Time-bound – when should the target be achieved by?

Tip: draw up a chart that includes your target, your current figure, the figure you’re aiming for, and the % increase. Populate the chart at regular frequencies so you can monitor your growth to see whether you’re on track.

Other considerations for business growth

Four more areas to think about before you plot your business growth include:

For more tips, check out our article on how to grow your trade business.

Grow your bathroom fitting business with Checkatrade

Running a business consumes a lot of time and energy. 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.

Checkatrade is the UK’s leading trade directory, with a stringent approval process to make sure we only list the best tradespeople.

Here are just a few reasons to become a Checkatrade member.

Get more leads

3 million homeowners used our trades last year. Not only do Checkatrade members receive more than 100,000 leads each week, but a third of all trade work comes through Checkatrade**.

Win more work

8 out of 10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade compared to one that isn’t endorsed****. Homeowners trust our renowned ‘tick’ of approval, helping you to win more business.

Save money

With exclusive access to trade deals, Checkatrade members save money on business essentials to help keep their profit margins sharp. Checkatrade members save on average £470 per year each**** on everything from equipment, van leasing, insurance, workwear, and more.

More than just a directory listing

Get support and a range of money-saving discounts to help get your business off to the right start

Tell me more

FAQs

What does a bathroom installer do?

Fitting a bathroom is varied work that can include:

  • Removing and disposing of old bathroom units
  • Measuring and cutting worktops
  • Installing tiling and flooring
  • Plumbing in bathroom units
  • Fitting new bathroom units and appliances
  • Laying underfloor heating
  • Removing and installing radiators
  • Marking locations of pipes and cables
  • Designing bathrooms with CAD software

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

Trained bathroom fitters with experience earn roughly £30,000 a year, while senior professionals can earn up to £50,000 per year. Starting your own business gives you the potential to earn even more than the industry average as you’ll have the freedom to set your own rates and to decide what types of jobs you take on. As long as you market your business well and find a niche, you should be able to build a large client base and take home a tidy profit.

Ready to start your own bathroom fitting business?

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Start our checks now

*Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

**Checkatrade brand tracking survey April 2021.

***Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

****Year runs from April 2021 to March 2022. Saving calculation based on average spend across 12,505 members in 2020/2021/2022. Discounts differ depending on the partner. Products range from low-value items to high-value items. Some exclusions will apply on products.

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