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Questions & Answers

Q. How much experience do I need?

In most situations, basic plumbing experience is required. A current plumbing license is always required. For those plumbers a little rusty on their maintenance skills, a few weeks back in the saddle should polish them back up. You'll also need experience in dealing well with customers, or at least be comfortable with your customers.

Q. What about those hi-tech taps?

Leave them to the specialists! Most hi-tech tapware vendors have their own installers - plumbers who have been trained by the vendor. That's not to say you can't install those fangled contraptions - We just suggest you stick to our proven target market: basic plumbing maintenance, for the average householder!

Q. How are the licensed area boundaries worked out, and how many customers would be in my area?

Our license boundaries are based on the Electoral Commission boundaries, with each area having at least 100,000 homes. Our aim is to capture just 4% of that market. Boundaries for particular areas are available upon request.

Q. How do you handle phone calls?

Our approach leans away from the all-in-one call centre. Most Taps'N'Toilets plumbers work their local area, and know their customers well. Call centres tend to depersonalise relations between customer and plumber. Most customers would rather speak with an experienced plumber (whom they know,) that can give them indicative costs & pre-emptive diagnosis over the phone, than a call-centre girl who at best will have the plumber give them a call back later. Certainly as Taps'N'Toilets grows, a central contact number will be established, although this would likely be an optional "second line of defence" as far as incoming calls go. With call diversion and today's handsfree / bluetooth mobile phone technologies, plumbers can take incoming calls from customers while taking apart a set of taps, while maintaining (virtual) local area phone presence. With a single press of a button, he/she can record the conversation to their phone, capturing the customer's name/address/contact number, and any other specifics of the job. No more scraps of paper, no more pocket sized notebooks getting left at customer's houses, or being lost between the seats in your van!

Q. What sort of hours will I be working?

That's entirely up to you. We won't even suggest you that you'll be cutting back to a 2 day week once you become a Taps'N'Toilets plumber. You could if you wanted to, but there's good money to be made out there! Most of our plumbers tend to favour a 5 day working week, with an optional Saturday. Our business has one of our plumbers work a Tuesday' Saturday shift, to cover those of our customers who simply cannot get a plumber around during the week due to their own work commitments. Penalty rates are entirely at your discretion (your customers will soon tell you if you've got the right balance). Either way, Saturday work is well worth it.

Q. Does TapsNToilets have its own tapware?

TapsNToilets are proud to stock our own line of high quality, imported tapware. Our tapware meets all relevant quality standards, and meets all requirements from the forthcoming W.E.L.S. (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) scheme, which means BIG changes for the plumbing industry!

Q. The concept sounds good, but what sets Taps N Toilets apart?

Beyond our unique business model, our advantages lie in our branding: a distinctive (registered) name, unmistakable logo (trademarked - and unavoidably obvious in a column of newspaper ads), and unique eye-catching vans. The neighbours will always know what's going down when a T&T plumber is in their street. In addition, our franchising system is designed to protect all of our franchisees and their investments.

Becoming a Taps'N Toilets Plumber

Q. What equipment will I need to run my Taps'N'Toilets business?

95% of Taps'N'Toilets work can be done using tools you carry around in a standard toolbox. For other jobs (if you choose to take them on - eg blocked drains) standard plumbing tools are appropriate. You'll also need your own new, white van. We have put a lot of effort into designing our vans for optimum storage and display purposes, and have settled on Kia's Pregio as an ideal model for Taps'N'Toilets plumbers.

Q. OK, How much?

We've taken a "flat fee" approach in our costings. The franchise fee is a one off cost of $33k (ex GST) (excluding vehicle), or a package including van for $55k (inc GST). To cover corporate costs (corporate advertising, systems development, business support, etc), an weekly fee of $125 (ex GST) per van on the road is applicable, with this fee being subject to negotiation after 12 months. We feel this is a fair basis, and encourages & rewards you for building your business, and is comparable to mowing franchise cost modelling. Buy yourself a job and secure future!

Q. Interested, but not quite sure?

Perfectly understandable. You're about to make a lifestyle changing (for the better, of course!) decision, which shouldn't be taken lightly anyway. Spend a week with one of our plumbers, on wages as an employee, and you'll recognise the potential of this business.

Q. OK, I want in. Where to from here?

Now that you've made the decision to become a Taps'N'Toilets plumber, it's our job to make that process as easy as possible. To achieve this, we've put together a 5-step plan to take care of every detail.

Franchising in General

Q. I've lost count of the number of here-today-gone-tomorrow plumbing franchise chains I've seen in my time. What would make Taps N Toilets any different?

The simple answer to this question, is costs (refer to our fee structure in earlier Q&A). We've taken a few lessons from the history of franchising in the plumbing industry. The first was that the setup cost for most plumbing franchises was too high, for the value being provided. The second was that the high commission basis often acted as a deterrent to develop one's own business. In many cases, these two costs drove plumbers to charge excessive rates for their services, which was ultimately not sustainable. A successful, sustainable business will always have the following qualities:

- Good quality products/services for which there is a constant level of demand;
- A fair & reasonable pricing structure that represents value for money to customers;
- Marketability (recognisable name, company logo, etc)

Franchising in general is a very sound concept - its main premise is to package the above qualities up and provide them to prospective franchisees so that they do not have to spend their time/money in developing those qualities themselves. If the premise wasn't sound, franchising wouldn't be around today. Take a walk down any busy street in any Australian city, and you'll see franchises everywhere. From mowing lawns, to selling hamburgers, it is a multibillion dollar industry.

Q. Do you have any more information about franchising in general (laws, regulations, etc)? I'd like to know more about it before taking this any further.

The small business and state development departments for each respective state government will always be good places to start for finding out more information about franchising (for prospective franchisees). Here are a few links to some external websites relating to franchising:
- Franchising Council of Australia
- QLD Dept Of State Development & Innovation
- Canberra Business Advisory Service
- NSW Dept Of State & Regional Development
- NT Government's Territory Business Channel website
- SA Government's BizFact sheet on Franchising
- Victorian Government's advice on franchising
- WA's Small Business Development Corporation
- The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Q. Are you a member of the Franchising Council Of Australia?