Richard is not a lawyer but he plays one on this empowering Potty Talk episode and shares what to do and what not to do when your plumbing business gets sued.
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3 Golden Nuggets
- It’s Business as Usual
- Don’t Lawyer Up
- Ride it Out
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Running a plumbing business is VERY rewarding, but it can also be risky.
Because, simply put, you never know when you might face a lawsuit from a customer, a competitor, or an insurance company.
Getting sued can be stressful, expensive, and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to ruin your plumbing business or your reputation.
Here are three tips to help you handle legal troubles as a plumbing business owner.
It’s Business as Usual
The first thing to remember when you’re getting sued is that it’s not personal.
It’s just business–just as the Godfather said.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you and NEVER take it personally.
Instead, be professional and calm. Don’t let the lawsuit distract you from your business duties. Keep serving your customers, marketing your services, and growing your plumbing business.
Most of the time, when you’re getting sued, it’s by insurance companies who are trying to get money from you that you don’t owe for mistakes that you didn’t make.
And the more that your plumbing business grows, the bigger that the target on your back gets.
We know, we’ve been there too.
Usually, these insurance companies are just hoping to scare you and that you’ll settle quickly and pay them more than you should.
But it’s not the end of the world. Like we said, it’s just an ugly side of business.
So don’t get yourself too stressed about them, and just keep calm. Business as usual.
Don’t Lawyer Up
Unless the lawsuit is very serious and complex, you probably don’t need to hire a lawyer.
Lawyers are expensive, and they can drag out the process even longer. You can handle most legal issues yourself as long as you stay composed and professional.
As we said, it’s NOT PERSONAL!
The best way to deal with a lawsuit is to negotiate with the other party and try to lower the amount they are asking for. Don’t be afraid to haggle and bargain. You can use facts, evidence, and testimonials to support your case.
You can also use time as your ally. The longer you drag out the negotiation, the more likely they are to lower their demands or give up.
Of course, if the lawsuit is serious and involves a lot of money or potential damage to your reputation, then you should consult a lawyer.
But in most cases, you can save yourself a lot of money and hassle by handling it yourself.
Ride it Out
The third tip is to be patient! Did we mention that it’s not personal?
That means don’t get too hot-headed and burn yourself out over some greedy insurance people.
And that also means that you can’t get too proud and just refuse to face the problem.
The worst thing you can do when you’re getting sued is to ignore it or hope it will go away. That only ever makes things worse. You need to face the problem head-on and deal with it as closely as possible.
But that doesn’t mean you have to pay them right away, either. As we said, ride out the lawsuit until you reach a reasonable settlement or a favorable outcome. You can use a lot of different tactics to do that, such as making partial payments.
In fact we highly recommend that you DON’T pay up all at once, because that is sure to hurt your cash flow!
Remember, cash flow is king in any business, especially in plumbing. You need cash flow to pay your bills, your employees, and yourself. You need cash flow to invest in your growth, your marketing, and your customer service.
That’s why you should always factor in a “fee” into your honest hourly rate to cover any potential legal expenses. We usually estimated these legal troubles to cost us around $10k to $15k, so we added that amount to our overall expenses when charging our customers.
It’s not fair to us plumbing business owners to have to do that, but it’s part of the business.
And there you have it! Our cheat sheet to handling legal problems as a plumbing business owner.
Getting sued is not fun, but it’s not the end of the world either. You can survive and thrive in your plumbing business if you follow the three tips we mentioned: business as usual, don’t lawyer up, and ride it out.
Do these three things, and you can protect your business and your reputation from any legal troubles that may come your way.
Richard’s Call to Action
If you want to learn more about numbers that matter and how to best run your plumbing business, why not schedule a free 30-min strategy call with us? Let’s talk about your goals and where you want to be this time next year, and we’ll help you create a path to make that happen. Schedule your free strategy call here today!