How to Create a Self-Sustaining Heating Business

by | May 30, 2024 | Building Authority, Featured, Finding Work, Repeat Business

One thing both new and decades-old heating businesses share in common is that they need a constant flow of jobs. They’re what keep the lights on, but being stuck in a cycle where you constantly have to find new ones can feel like topping up a bucket that leaks from the bottom. 

In this blog, we’ll show you how you can create a business structure that finds itself work. Instead of having the constant stress of finding more jobs, you’ll be able to spend your time on things more important and enjoyable.

Get more jobs completely hands-off with automated service reminders.

(Fast & easy setup with no committment.)

Repeat business & the cyclical model

A ‘job’ typically starts with a call and ends with an invoice. But in reality, a bit more is going on behind the scenes.

Jobs symbolise a working relationship with a customer. If they like your work, they’ll probably come back in the future for other jobs. This type of repeat business is ideal because it’s cheaper and easier to sustain. It creates a cyclical model where jobs essentially land in your inbox without you or your team having to lift a finger.

Of course, new customers are still important. But most heating businesses get a good deal of them through natural word-of-mouth referrals. Repeat work simply complements and tops it all off for a nice and self-sustaining system.

Many heating business owners prefer to pivot to a more service-focused business as they get more experienced. This is only really possible with lots of repeat business.

“You want to get to a point where you’ve got a nice solid customer base, and the odd new one comes in from time to time.”

Dan Voice, Prime Fusion

Why is repeat business so important?

Job management - Schedule and book a new job
In a recent article, we took a look at the 5000+ heating and plumbing companies that use our software to compare new and existing customers. Here’s the low-down:

On average:

  • 75% of jobs are billed to existing customers 
  • 25% are for new customers. 

This tracks for the money, too. In the same period 

  • £69.6 million came from existing customers
  • £47.2 million from new customers

And when we look at some of the most successful businesses, this is even more skewed. Some even did 95% of their work for existing customers.

This shows a clear trend that existing customers are much more efficient for your business. There’s a few reasons why:

  • Firstly, the customer already trusts you – so they won’t need much convincing.
  • Secondly, focusing on new customers is not a sustainable long term strategy.
  • And lastly, the higher chance you have to retain a customer, the more valuable every new one becomes.

In general, we’ve seen that heating businesses that do a greater proportion of work for existing customers tend to have a higher turnover per head.

Repeat business is cheaper and easier to find – making it crucial for long-term success.

3 ways you can get repeat business

5 tips for your next hire

#1: Top-quality work

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Good quality workmanship not only helps with word-of-mouth referrals, but is almost a requirement for a steady stream of repeat business. 

#2: Clever marketing

There’s lots of strategies you can use to get more repeat business, some more effort than others. Easy and effective ones that all heating & plumbing businesses should do include:

  • Stickers with your brand name and contact info. Place these on a boiler after you finish a servicing, install, or safety check.
  • Branded radiator keys. Customers need these keys, and having your details on it is a nice touch.
  • Business cards. These might seem old-school to some of the younger engineers, but they still work. Just remember to hand them out.

You could also experiment with customer loyalty programmes, discounts, and email marketing. Read our full marketing guide for heating & plumbing businesses for more tips.

    #3: Service reminders

    From the customer’s perspective, they probably just want to get the job done, tick all the boxes, and move on with their life. If you checked a boiler last year, why not this year?

    Most of the time, it’s because the customer has forgotten what company they used, lost your contact details, or another heating business has reached out to them. In any case, service reminders are a quick and easy way to capture repeat business. 

    Add service reminders to job addresses to effortlessly book more jobs


    Sounds simple, right? Well, not really. Either you’ve got to spend hours chasing up customers and keeping meticulous records of service dates, or you need to shell out money on someone to help do it for you.

    The solution is software. With reminders sent out automatically, you could be hands off and do what you enjoy. In the background, your business keeps ticking along: Self-sustaining and efficient.

    The modern-day approach: software

    Every heating business will use software for at least something. What an all-in-one job management solution like Gas Engineer Software offers is the ability to take a step back from much of the manual admin and paperwork you need done on a daily basis and focus on what you enjoy. Here’s why:

    5 tips for your next hire

    #1: Software is better for employees and customers

    Your team will greatly benefit from the easy scheduling and organisation that comes with a calendar which updates in real time and is integrated with all the job details they could ever need. Meanwhile, customers get to enjoy benefits such as digital certificates and better customer service.

    #2: Software can do a lot of your work for you

    From keeping organised records and entering your accounting data for you through integrations, software takes a lot off of your shoulders.

    #3: Software will help you find work

    And, as we’ve mentioned before, software will help you send out reminders automatically. By simply running your business through software, you’ll find you passively get jobs.

    Get back to doing what you love

    Schedule the right jobs to the right engineer

    Repeat business is crucial for the long-term success of any heating business. Using software to keep track of and send out service reminders is by far the easiest and most effective way to do this. 

    Leave the stress behind and create a heating business that looks after itself with Gas Engineer Software. 

    Next steps:

    If you’ve been thinking about implementing software into your workflow to save time, here’s what you can do next:


    Sign up for a free trial here and get 50% off your first 3 months. Offer Ends 30/06/2024