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5 Controversial Opinions On Plumber Leads that 99% Of The Restoration Industry Agrees With—But I Do Not

Aug 22, 2023

From the desk of Toby Clem

I have been interested in referral marketing for a long time. Specifically plumber referrals.

And over the past 2 years, I have come across a lot of strong opinions about plumber leads that, at first I agreed with, and then the more I learned and educated myself the more I disagreed with. Until eventually, I reached a point where I felt like the only reason these beliefs had become mainstream and commonly accepted was because “a lot of other people” agreed with them too.

So, I want to unpack 5 controversial opinions I’d like to share on plumber leads after many many hours immersing myself in the subject with clients and industry peers and give you my take on them:

  1. Plumbers are the best source of water damage leads

I’m not saying they aren't a good lead source.

I’m just saying there are other GREAT sources that have a MUCH lower cost of acquisition.

  1. Plumber leads can get you to $1M/truck.

  • Contrary to popular belief, $1M/truck is hardly possible. Especially if paying plumbers for leads is your primary strategy.
  • Mathematically its plausible. The reality is that its HIGHLY unlikely
  • $19k+ per week?
  • More than $83k/month?
  • Most people work 260 days/yr. Thats about $3800 per day.
  • This assertion is click bait at best.

Do your research. Get rock solid systems in place from start to finish. Get rockstars (some call them unicorns) that love the industry, clients, and your company more than life. Then maybe you can achieve this incredible feat.

  1. Many of the industry "gurus" are on the plumber referral train.

“Most people” do what “most people” do. Herd mentality.

Which (in the context of plumber referrals) leads to…

  • High cost of acquisition

  • Leads go to the highest bidder

  • Rapidly decreasing ROI for your jobs (unless you are fluffing your jobs)

Clearly what “most people do” doesn’t always work.

So do something else.
Get comfortable living slightly uncomfortable by being at least slightly different than "most people".

We encounter so many GREAT restoration companies that have a huge mix of referral partners... plumbers are in the mix, but not always the primary source. 

Seth Godin wrote a book on this phenomenon. "Purple Cow"

  1. Paying to play is the name of the game

99% of the time, this is a giant mistake.

Instead, Restoration Advisers has a great framework for achieving high quality leads without falling into a bidding war for leads.

  • Contact business owner or leader you know

  • Learn who their customers are

  • Send them highly valuable leads.

  1. Transactional > Relational
    Pursuing plumber leads exclusively is a silly goal.
    Transactions are short lived.
    Relationships are a better pursuit in life.. and in business.High value leads

  • The RIGHT customers

  • Open communication

  • Mutual Trust

  • Best of all... high tides raise all ships.


Focusing on plumbers who expect to be paid top dollar, you are chasing a transactional relationship. They are fickle.

We also do not believe in establishing any relationship on a false narrative... namely calling a plumbing company and saying that you have a leak in your house just to get someone to come to your door, then immediately start in on a sales pitch to get their leads for them. Relationships built on lies rarely... if ever turn out well. 

By focusing on building your own network of referral partners using strategic relationships you can create a steady stream of referrals from many trusted sources.

Use the form below to let us know your thoughts... and where you have found success getting leads from!


Join Restoration Business Academy and get immersed in a community of fellow restorers who are seeking building a strong referral network that doesn't eat up all their profits, Where we talk about being the thought leader and professional of your market. Also get access to a full library of resources that are downloadable to start using in your business right away. Things like xactimate white papers, team assessment tools, OSHA standards and resources, APA resources, client onboarding forms, and so much more. 

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