The biggest challenge most plumbing contractors face is finding field service personnel. Recruiting is job — one for the company owner. Your ability to grow and profit depends on your ability to find and develop people. Here are 18 ways to recruit people that have been discussed recently on Service Nation Alliance Plumbing Advisory Boards.
1. Sell the job and sell the company
When you create a recruiting ad or page on your website, make it sell. Make it sound like it is fun and exciting to work at your company. Sell the job. Sell the company. Most plumber recruiting ads are about as different from each other as the old Yellow Pages. Each company is saying the same thing, and none of it is very interesting.
2. Study competitive ads
Look at the ads your competitors run. What can you say or offer that they are not offering? Be different. Promote what everyone else does not.
3. Create a recruiting brochure
If you do not have a recruiting brochure, you are not serious about recruiting. This is recruiting 101. It can mirror your web page on recruiting. It can be a downloadable PDF from your website. However, you should print some to give to the people you are interested in. This becomes a recruiting tool for the candidate’s spouse. Since few plumbers have their acts together well enough to offer these, they make you stand out.
4. Create a recruiting video
Make short videos of what it’s like to work at your company. Make videos targeting different people, such as high school kids looking for something to do after school or veterans looking to learn a trade. Sell the profession and sell your company. The videos should be upbeat, short and geared toward your target audience. Host them on YouTube, your social media pages, your website and your local search engine page.
5. Geofence supply houses
Want skilled plumbers? Use geofencing around supply houses to send recruiting ads to social media for anyone who walks into the supply house.
6. Take out outdoor ads by supply houses
See if you can place an advertising message on bus benches or small billboards located next to supply houses. Some contractors even take out billboards across from the largest contractors in town.
7. Buy plumbers lunch
If there’s a restaurant next to a supply house, every so often arrange with the restaurant to buy lunch for any plumbers. Carve out a section of the restaurant where you pay for the meals if they are plumbers, and where you get a chance to meet and talk with them. Get the restaurant to let you put a sign out front proclaiming free lunches for plumbers.
8. Recruit where the weather is worse
If you are located in a mild climate, advertise in cities with extreme weather, promoting the benefits of relocating to your region. Plumbers in low-cost of housing locations can recruit from high-cost of housing locations.
9. Host a food truck
If your shop is on a busy street, hire a food truck to give free lunches to plumbers who drive by. You can also make this a marketing promotion with your customers. If you are not on a busy street, see if a local big box DIY retailer will let you set up in their parking lot.
10. Send key employees to pay supply house bills in-person
You may or may not want to try this, but some plumbers have had success sending attractive women who work in the office to pay the bills at the supply house in person. They then, hang around a little while and talk to the plumbers who show up.
11. Recruit the military
People are always leaving the military in the best of times. These are the best of times for the armed services. Veterans can make great employees, and the government offers a number of programs to help get them jobs. In some cases, the government will even pay for training.
12. Recruit the police
In the era of “defund the police,” cops are changing careers in record numbers. The police are trained in customer service. Most have great people skills and can make great plumbers. Recruit the police. If one joins, he or she will help recruit more.
13. Buy one-truckers
Use state licensed plumber lists to mail postcards or letters to plumbers in your area. Offer to buy one or two truck companies. Pay them a commission on future work from their customer list, buy their trucks (if worth it), wrap them and give them jobs. A one-truck plumber can likely make more money working for you, have steadier income, and offload all of the paperwork and hassles that come with operating a business.
14. Get involved with local trade schools
Volunteer at your local trade schools. Donate equipment. Offer to speak to students. Find ways to help and befriend the instructors. They can help you get first dibs on the best students.
15. Target automobile mechanics
Automotive mechanics who are outgoing can find it challenging to work in a garage. They do not get to interact with people. Yet, they’ve got all of the mechanical aptitude in the world. They can make more money plumbing, have more freedom during the day, get a change of scenery and get to talk with customers. Recruit them.
16. Build a candidate email list
Anytime you talk to a prospective plumber, get an email address. Keep in touch with the candidate by sending out a technical tips email every month. This is information they will value and it keeps your company top-of-mind. When you are looking to hire, notify everyone on the email list, which should include former employees who jumped ship. They might want to jump back.
17. Build a lounge
In college football, recruiting is an art and a science. College football programs have a facilities arms race to see who can offer the nicest facilities for their players. You can emulate them. Build a lounge for your plumbers. Put in a foosball or air hockey table. Put in some video games and comfortable seating. Have a small refrigerator with cold soft drinks and a few snacks. In truth, they probably won’t spend a lot of time there, but if you have one and another company does not, you get the edge.
18. Support high school sports teams
It is a good idea to get involved with local high school booster clubs anyway. Give the boosters coupons where you pay the booster club $10 or $20 every time someone turns in one of the coupons on a service call as an affinity marketing program. Beyond that, make sure your company name is front and center with a hiring message in the team programs, on the outfield fence, in bleacher advertising and so on.