Plumbing is an in demand service in Australia, with the need for plumbers expected to continue rising in the coming years. If you’ve decided to start your own plumbing business, this is great news! 

Let’s take a look at some of the important legal considerations you’ll need to be aware of when starting a plumbing business, so you can get your business off to the best start possible. 

Starting Plumbing Business In Australia 

When starting a plumbing business in Australia, it’s important to understand that plumbing is a regulated trade. In addition to obtaining the necessary licenses and qualifications, you must follow the proper procedures to register your business. The qualifications required for plumbing may vary depending on the state or territory you plan to operate in. It’s important to research and determine the relevant qualifications for your location so you can be fully compliant.

In general, there are two main categories of plumbers: registered plumbers and licensed plumbers. Registered plumbers typically complete an apprenticeship program and obtain a Certificate III in Plumbing. As they progress in their careers, registered plumbers can achieve different levels of expertise, such as apprentice plumber, journeyman plumber, and ultimately, master plumber.

Licensed plumbers, on the other hand, have undergone higher levels of training and possess advanced skills and knowledge. They are qualified to provide guidance on quality assurance and can work independently without supervision. They also bear a responsibility to adhere to building codes and safety regulations and oversee other workers when needed.

Understanding the distinctions between registered and licensed plumbers is important as it determines the level of expertise and responsibility they hold within the plumbing industry. By acquiring the necessary qualifications and licenses, you can establish yourself as a reputable and skilled professional in the plumbing business.

Registering Your Plumbing Business 

Once you’re confident you’ve got the necessary qualifications to run your plumbing business, it’s time to register your business. 

To register any kind of business in Australia, you will need to attain an Australian Business Number (ABN). You can easily apply for this online through the Australian Business Register. When you successfully complete the application, you should receive an email containing your brand new ABN.  

If you want to set up a company, then you will need to get an Australian Company Number (ACN). Starting up a company is a little more complex than registering a business, as there’s more legal requirements for a company than there are for a business. It’s good to have a legal professional help with things like registering your company.  Legal professionals can provide invaluable guidance regarding corporate structure, liability implications, and other regulatory compliances.

If your business name is something other than your personal name or different to your company name, then according to the Business Names Registration Act, you will need to formally register your business name as well. 

After sorting out the registration for your business, the next step is to get all the right legal agreements in place. 

Get the Right Legal Agreements For Your Plumbing Business 

The scope, depth and strength of your legal agreements will determine how protected your business is. Setting up your plumbing business is exciting and sometimes, with all that excitement it can be easy to forget that things can go wrong!  

It’s nothing to stress about though. A legal professional can draft your contracts in a way that protects your business so even if something doesn’t go your way, your legal agreements have got you covered. 

Service Agreement 

As a plumbing business, a Service Agreement is arguably going to be one of the most important contracts your business has. A service agreement is a contract between you and your customers. It sets out what they can expect from you, as well as their duties towards you. Generally, a service agreement covers:

  • Scope of work
  • Payment
  • Terms and conditions
  • Liabilities
  • Warranties
  • Dispute resolution 
  • Termination 

Having a professionally written service agreement in place can help protect your business and secure your revenue streams, so it’s worth investing in. Furthermore, a well-defined Service Agreement sets clear expectations between you and your clients, which helps in managing client relationships and mitigating potential conflicts.

Employment Agreement

If you’re thinking of hiring employees for your plumbing business, then it’s important to have Employment Contracts in place, ideally before they start their first day of work. An employment agreement will help you establish the formal nature of your relationship with your staff and can address the following matters: 

  • Pay 
  • Working hours
  • Employee obligations and responsibilities
  • Leave, superannuation and other entitlements
  • Termination and dispute resolution 
  • Confidentiality clauses 

Moreover, an employment agreement can be customised to meet the needs of your business. These contracts provide much needed protection and clarity when onboarding staff on to your business, so it’s wise to have them prepared. 

Non-Disclosure Agreements 

In the plumbing business, you’ll likely be entering spaces and areas where privacy is required. Furthermore, like any competitive business, you’ll want to secure the private internal operations of your business so it doesn’t fall on the wrong ears. 

Protecting your business’s privacy is essential. This is why you might require a Non- Disclosure Agreement (NDA) at some point. Granted, your employment contracts can be drafted to contain Confidentiality Clauses– however an NDA can be useful when something specific arises and you need to guarantee the information won’t leak (no plumbing pun intended). 

A well drafted NDA clause can make a difference in protecting your business’s privacy and save you from a legal headache down the line, so it’s worth looking into. These NDAs can be applied not only to employees but also to contractors, vendors, and any other third party privy to your business’s confidential information.

What is the Best Way To Market A Plumbing Business? 

The business market is competitive in any industry. Effective marketing will play a key role in the success of your plumbing business. You need to reach potential customers, build a strong brand presence that people can trust and stand out from your competition.

There’s no one, blanket marketing strategy for all plumbing businesses, but there’s a couple of different methods you can take into consideration when determining the best way to get word of your business out there. These include: 

  • Social media
  • Traditional advertising
  • Having a business website 
  • Endorsements 
  • Email marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Online advertising

For each method of marketing, it’s important to properly understand any relevant rules and regulations before you start engaging a potential customer. For example, emailing people is only permitted if an individual has given a consent for you to email them about your service. Be sure to do your research or seek professional advice- the last thing you want is legal trouble for crossing any boundaries! 

Advertising Your Plumbing Business: What You Need To Know 

Whatever method you choose to advertise your marketing business, it’s important you go into it with the right legal protections.

For instance, if you’re going to start up a business website for your customers to find you on and book your services, it’s important you have a Privacy Policy in place. A Privacy Policy is not only legally required, but it also assures your website visitors that their personal data will be handled securely and responsibly, fostering trust between you and your customers.

Along with this, you might want to get a Website Copy Review. A website copy review can make sure that everything written on your website is compliant with any regulations that may apply. 

If you’re thinking of using an affiliate business to endorse your business, then it can be a great way to get exposure. However, like with all things it’s important to get into this arrangement protected. An Affiliate Marketing Agreement can be drafted to meet your unique requirements, looking out for the interests of both parties. 

What Is The Best Software For Plumbing Business?

Utilising the right software can make managing your business operations much smoother. There isn’t one particular software that can be used for a plumbing business. However, this doesn’t mean that any type of software can’t be used. Plumbing, much like any other business involves the use of employees, managing accounts, taxes and invoicing. It’s best to look around at different softwares and see what will suit your unique needs best, then go from there.  

Next Steps 

Starting a plumbing business is an exciting venture. Before you get into the deep of it though, it’s important to take a look at your legal considerations and prepare for them, whether this is in your contracts or the way you market your business.To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Before your start your plumbing business, make sure you’ve got the right qualifications and certifications 
  • You’ll need to register your plumbing business- if your starting a company then you’ll need to take additional steps 
  • To protect your plumbing business, you’ll need to have the right contracts in place, such as a service agreement and employment contracts
  • When thinking about ways to market your plumbing business, make sure you’re aware of all the relevant rules and regulations 
  • Whatever method you choose to advertise, look into getting the right legal measures sorted so your business can be protected 
  • Software can also be used to manage business operations- do your research and see what the best fit for your business is 

If you would like a consultation on starting a plumbing business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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