Plumbers are typically recognized for their work on the common leaky faucet or a clogged toilet. It’s true that the plumber is typically responsible for being familiar with, installing, and repairing a variety of pipe systems. The pipe systems might be used for transportation of water, waste, gas, or even steam. It’s true that pipes are important in an assortment of situations, and plumbers are those who can repair them if anything should go wrong.
Reasons to Consider a Career in Plumbing
Before we look at a plumber’s salary, let’s discuss the benefits of becoming a plumber and why you should consider this career today. First, it’s a very sociable job and you’ll get to meet amazing people from all walks of life. Although you’ll generally be working without customers near you, it’s a great career to improve your social skills and make connections who can then become friends.
Another reason to consider a plumbing career is the diversity it offers. No two days will be the same and you won’t have to sit in an office all day performing the same mundane tasks day in and day out. Instead, you’ll get to use your education, skills, and knowledge to undergo different tasks while continuing to expand your knowledge. Sometimes it can be scary to choose another career path because you’re not sure if it’s reliable and means you’ll always be able to pay your bills on time. However, a career in plumbing is a hectic one and there’s always a task for you while stimulating your creativity and allowing you to get better at what you do best. Also, your job will always be in demand and you won’t need to worry about things like the recession.
Plumber Salary Overview
It might come as a surprise to know that the plumber salary (along with similar workers such as pipelayers or pipefitters) tends to top all other occupation salaries that are in the construction field. In May of 2008, the median wage that plumbers across the board made was $21.94. However, there was a small percentage of plumbers that reported to have made below $13.22. On the other hand, another small percentage of plumbers were reported to have made just under $40 per hour. In addition to this, plumbers that worked with natural gas distribution were reported to make the most out of any other plumbers. On a different note, plumbers that worked for local government were reported to have made the least out of the rest of the plumbers.*
In addition to this, apprentice plumbers typically start out at about half the hourly wage of a professional and experienced plumber. As with most occupations, the plumber salary will steadily increase as the plumber gains more experience. With the growing interest in plumbing and higher demand for plumbers, jobs in the plumbing field have been predicted to keep growing into 2018.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
As previously stated, the plumber deals mostly, if not entirely, with pipe systems and the repair of them. More particularly, the plumber’s job is to both install and repair water pipes, waste disposal, gas and drainage systems in all types of structures such as residential homes or even commercial buildings. In addition to these skills, the plumber can install various fixtures that deal with piping. These types of plumbing fixtures include tubs, showers, dishwashers, sinks, water heaters, toilets, and more.
As with the mere duties of a plumber, there are also some things to expect when a person aspires to become a plumber. First, a plumber might only be temporarily employed through a construction project. Therefore, there may be times when the plumber has a lot of work coming in, and then there may be times when there is simply no work at all.
As for the growth of the plumbing field, things are expected to continue looking up for plumbers and other people aspiring to become plumbers. As old construction projects come to a close, there will also be loads of openings of new construction projects ready to employ qualified plumbers. However, a plumber may have a hard time finding a full-time job unless he/she happens is self-employed.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
There are actually multiple ways a person can work to become a plumber. One reliable way of becoming a plumber is through training and education through either a community college or technical school. While an aspiring plumber is in school, he/she might also be getting on-the-job training through an apprenticeship. While an aspiring plumber completes the apprenticeship program, he/she will work for around five years with an experienced plumber as well as earning an hourly wage doing this. Even though the apprenticeship is extensive and takes quite a bit of time to complete, education is still mandatory, and a plumber won’t get a job without educational experience on his/her resume. At this time, the required hours of education are 144 hours.
The apprenticeship is usually in place to give the individual hands-on experience, while the education is typically used to help the individual learn certain types of information such as safety procedures, regional codes, various regulations, math, etc. Both the training and education go hand and hand to prepare an individual to be a responsible and professional plumber.
When entering an apprenticeship, there are typically a few requirements. They are quite basic and require that the aspiring plumber be at least at the age of 18, have a high school diploma, be in shape, etc. The passing of a drug test is also required for most apprentices to enter the plumbing field.
Once the education requirements and apprenticeship have been completed, it’s time for the aspiring plumber to begin focusing on certifications. It’s important to know that not all requirements are the same across the board for certifications or licensing, so knowing whether or not a certification or license is needed requires research. In normal circumstances, the individual must have at least 2 to 5 years of experience working under his/her belt as well as a passing grade on the license examination. The license test typically covers things that have to do with knowledge of the field, such as regional codes, safety measures, etc. In some states, it isn’t unheard of to have to obtain a completely different license to do work on gas pipes.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) is a group geared toward helping professionals and aspiring plumbers be the best that they can be and providing individuals with resources and extra training to enhance their experience.
The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) is an organization designed to help the plumbing field and plumbers continue to advance and excel, and improve growth as well as the safety of workers and the public. The organization holds annual conferences and provides resources to members.
Starting a Plumbing Business
If you’re ready to become a plumber but have aspirations to work for yourself and seek your own clients, there are some factors you’ll need to consider before jumping the gun.
Get The Experience and Qualifications You Need
First of all, you’ll need the experience and skills to begin your own plumbing business. No matter how much motivation and excitement you have, you still need to have the necessary skills and expertise to be the best self-employed plumber you can be. It’s important that you get the relevant skills you need so you can charge a reasonable price for your services, and of course, complete a good job. Your job is your lifeline so if you aren’t able to correctly finish a job, it’ll be difficult to seek new customers.
Create a Business Plan
You should only move onto this step once you’ve got all the skills and experience necessary. A business plan is designed to enable you to calculate all the finances you have and need to begin your plumbing career. It’s a great way to put your passion into action, and should you need to borrow money from a bank or individual, you’ll need a business plan to present to them.
Invest in a Trusted Insurance
You can never predict if something will go wrong – such as damage, injuries, theft, and even death. In such occasions, it’s important that you have the correct insurance to help you along the way. In this plumbing trade, your experience and tools are everything. Without the necessary equipment, you can’t perform the job, so what would you do if something were to happen to your tools but you had no insurance?
Don’t get too confused in the types of insurances available and make sure you thoroughly calculate everything you need covering in order to be securely covered.
Purchase High-Quality Tools
Spend money on high-quality tools and equipment so you can complete your jobs to the best of your ability. No matter how much experience and skills you have, if your tools are low-quality, you won’t be able to leave a positive impression on your customers. In your business plan, you’ll need to equate for the amount of money you’ll need for the essentials. Make sure you choose trusted suppliers and retailers as these will sell premium equipment that won’t let you down. As we mentioned in the section above, keep a note of the cost of such items and keep your receipt for proof of purchase.
Put Effort, Time and Money into Your Marketing Strategies
So you have all the qualifications and skills you need, you’ve completed your business plan and have a garage full of the essential tools. What now? This is where you begin attracting customers. First, consider if you’re willing to travel. If so, invest in online advertisements. You should always make sure of local directories so people can find you. Many plumbers also use their transportation to advertise their services to others as they pass by. But the best marketing strategy is to offer an excellent job so people will come back to you and refer you to their loved ones.
Multiple Career Paths in Plumbing
Becoming a plumber doesn’t mean that you are only responsible for fixing and amending plumbing in people’s houses or for organizations. Instead, there are multiple career paths this sector can lead to during or after your time as a plumber. There are many reasons why someone would want to take their career route. Let’s have a look at the most notorious routes people jump into from their plumbing role.
Whether you work self-employed or are hired by a company, you’ll definitely pick up management skills during your time as a plumber. A manager’s key duty includes supervising other people and ensuring that all tasks are completed on time, efficiently, and to a high standard. If you wish to become a manager in the plumbing field or try another route, you’re required to undertake a plumbing course to learn the necessary skills needed for management.
Another key responsibility of a manager is looking at the daily routine of a company and overseeing that all employees are on top of their workload. A manager will ensure that all staff has the training, respect, and equipment they need to successfully complete their job, and if this isn’t the case, a manager is responsible for making the correct amendments. Typically, a manager receives a higher average salary compared to employees since they have greater pressure and more responsibilities.
If you wish to go down the self-employed route, you’ll have to learn and teach yourself some key skills in business management. Becoming a business owner means you’ll need additional training to ensure you have all the necessary skills to succeed. You may even wish to undergo a business management course to help prepare yourself for the serious business side.
Part of being a business owner can involve overseeing a team of employees, although you may wish to only work for yourself. Either way, you’re the individual in charge and the go-to person for any assistance, or professional help. When you take the role of a plumber, you’re responsible for your own work, the overall project and the customer’s satisfaction. Plus, you’ll need to keep a record of financial charges, essential products and everything in-between.
Generally, a plumbing technician repairs any pipes and equipment linked to water distribution in home or business properties. These fixtures may include gas cookers, dishwashers, washing machines, and more. A plumbing technician must inspect the plumbing system to ensure it’s safe and working. Quite often, this won’t be the case and it is the technician’s duty to make necessary repairs.
A typical day’s work could include installing pipes and fixtures before installing the necessary equipment. You may need to adjust the length of pipes and other materials in the building to accommodate the next fixtures. As such, health and safety is an important part of this role and must be taken seriously.
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