Setting Your Marketing Budget for Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical Businesses

The foundation of all successful marketing programs that fuel powerhouse plumbing, heating, and air conditioning service businesses are a few key concepts uncovered in part two of the Ultimate Marketing Program for Plumbing, Heating & Air Companies.

What should your marketing, branding, and advertising budget be?

A common question we get is, “How much should we spend on advertising and marketing for our plumbing, HVAC, or electrical business?” The answer varies, but we can help you determine the right amount.

What variables go into how much you should spend to market your Plumbing or HVAC company?

Your Market:

The bigger the market, the more it costs to be heard and look relevant among the heavy hitters. In secondary markets, a small fish can look like a big fish with a smaller budget. In a large market, plan on spending significantly more to have the same impact.

Your Goals:

Are you looking to aggressively grow your business? If so, you’ll need to invest more into your marketing program than someone looking to maintain their market foothold.


The better the competition, the more money you will need to invest in your marketing program.

Size of Company:

As your company grows and becomes more dominant, your marketing and advertising budget will actually go down over time. Smaller companies need to invest a larger percentage of their gross revenue to generate enough impact in the market. This is where the economy of scale makes a big difference when marketing for plumbers and HVAC contractors.

What is a healthy marketing budget for your plumbing, HVAC, or electrical business?

When it comes to pinpointing the exact amount, Elite Trades can help you determine the precise amount you should be spending on marketing your business. Here are some general ranges:

  • Aggressive growth: 10%+
  • Holding pattern: 4% – 8%
  • Dominating companies or very small businesses in small markets: 2% – 4%

What is the difference between marketing, advertising, and branding?

These three words get tossed around like many other buzzwords in today’s business climate, implying they essentially mean the same thing. This confusion could be why many small businesses struggle with them. Here’s how we break it down:


This is the high-level plan and execution of how you bring your business to the market. It includes your specific ads, branding, sales staff, the perception of your business, and how your product is delivered. When these pieces fit together seamlessly, you have a squared-up marketing plan.


This is the specific method of contacting the market to tell them about your company, product, and services. Advertising answers the question, “When my clients need my service, how will they find my contact information?” Common forms include:

  • Organic internet and social media: Traffic generated without direct payment.
  • Grassroots, guerrilla, and display: Stickers, door hangers, truck signage, community events, etc.
  • Paid internet & social media
  • Mass media (TV and radio)


The process of embedding your company’s image into the mind of your clients before they need your services. This often-missing link is crucial for successful marketing programs.

The Tap Roots of a Successful Marketing Program for Plumbing & HVAC Companies

As with everything we teach at Elite Trades™, your success depends on the foundation you build. Using a tree and its root structure as an analogy, here are the foundational keystones for a squared-up marketing program, no matter your size or market:

  • Tap Root 1: Capture people who need your services today.
  • Tap Root 2: Keep past clients and homes coming back.
  • Tap Root 3: Convince people who do not need your services today that when they do, you’re the company to call.
Eric Smith - Founder & CEO of Elite Trades

Discover How We Can Help You Grow and Scale Your Business Effectively

Visit any one of this 13-part series for more industry-leading marketing strategies for the home service industry:

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