How Karl Ernst Became a Plumber and The Story Behind X-Factor Plumbing

Have you ever wondered how X Factor Plumbing started and why Karl choose to become a plumber?


Well today is your lucky day, below we are going to share the back story of Karl and X Factor Plumbing, and provide some insight into running a family owned plumbing business.

Karl Ernst – Follows the Footsteps of his Plumber Grandfather

Like most families the decision about a life pathway often is influenced by the trades or professions of previous generations. This is where the seeds of plumbing started for Karl Ernst, the X Factor Plumbing owner. Karl’s grandfather was a plumber. As a youngster, Karl eagerly followed his grandfather around and learnt the ins and outs of the plumbing game from an early age. So it was no surprise that Karl ended up becoming a plumber himself.

The X Factor Plumbing Beginning

2014 was a landmark year when Karl established the business. In the beginning it was just Karl and his apprentice. Tiffany, Karl’s wife, became a key staff member in the business after the birth of their daughter in 2015. After a couple of foundation years, the business was in the position of needing to expand and employ staff.

In Tiffany’s own words: “I had no idea what being in business would really mean. Oh my goodness, no one ever tells you just how hard business is. Everyone thinks if you own a business you have millions of dollars – haha who are they kidding?”

These words ring true for so many small businesses. With many young, eager self-starters looking to set up their own business, there are so many things to consider, and often the information and advice seems to be hard to find. Being eager was not enough for X Factor Plumbing. Karl and Tiffany wanted to overcome the lack of business experience and become a long-term and valued player in this highly competitive field.

5 Lessons and Hurdles in Running a Plumbing Business

  1. Money and all things financial – getting up to speed on over-investing without the return; determining profit margins; setting realistic but competitive prices; using quality materials which last; factoring in contractural road Bumps.
  2. Debtors – sourcing materials from reliable distributors; collecting prompt payments to keep the cycle moving.
  3. Staff – finding and keeping staff that fit your needs and align with your business values is key to customer satisfaction and that all-important word of mouth feedback.
  4. Fitting in the emergency jobs around the scheduled ones.
  5. Keeping an eye on the competition, and marketing your business to take advantage of every opportunity; predicting future needs and keeping ahead of the competition – deciding on what is your edge.

Finding Work-Life Balance When Running a Plumbing Business

Balancing work with a quality, fulfilling home life for all members of the family is the goal – but it is definitely harder said than done!

Making time to step back from the business and focus on this is crucial. If there is not a separation between the two, then life tends to blur the line between work and family life. Children won’t remember the business, they will remember the family fun times. Even after 8 years in what has become a thriving business, this tends to be the hardest thing to balance.

Family, Staff, and Clients Make it all Worth While

Karl believes what keeps him going and loving what he does is walking in his grandfather’s footsteps and seeing the potential in one’s own ability with desire and drive to make it happen, having a partner and supportive, skilled staff who also believe in the vision, and the positive feedback from highly satisfied customers all combine to give this plumbing business its X Factor.


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