In a world where the basics of life are not guaranteed, there are jobs that must be done. People need plumbers to fix leaky pipes and other plumbing problems; they don’t always have time to look around for someone who can help them with their clogged sink or overflowing toilet. but do you know how to become a plumber? You’ll find out in this article!
The “how to become a plumber in nc” is the first thing that comes to mind for most people. The “how to become a plumber in nc” can be done by taking classes, getting an apprenticeship, or just doing it on your own.
Last year, we published a series of pieces championing the merits of skilled vocations and debunking their fallacies. While we were able to cover a lot of territory, there wasn’t enough material to provide a comprehensive overview of all the many professions available to males. As a complement to our So You Want My Job series, we’ll be releasing monthly chapters of So You Want My Trade, which will include interviews that provide an inside look at the benefits and drawbacks of numerous blue collar occupations.
If you picture a plumber as an illiterate, scruffy, overweight guy with a large butt crack, you’re mistaken. Plumbers may have a bad record in pop culture, yet they are essential to the functioning of our country’s infrastructure. We’d be drowning in garbage if they weren’t there. Beyond the need of the sector, it may be a lucrative career path, especially for the entrepreneurial kind.
I had the opportunity of speaking with Steve Egner, the owner of Steve’s Plumbing in Washington, about his job and his company. It was a fascinating discussion, and I’m certain you’ll learn something new about plumbing as a result. Maybe you’ll even start thinking about changing careers!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.)
I just celebrated my 55th birthday. Since 1978, I’ve worked as a plumber. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I briefly attended the University of Texas, but a buddy pushed me to pursue a career in plumbing. So I took it up, grew proficient at it over time, and discovered I could earn a life at it, so I kept doing it.
In 1983, I received my first driver’s license in Austin. In 1986, I relocated to the northwest and founded Steve’s Plumbing in 1995. So this is our 20th year in company, and since 2006, we’ve been carefully adding staff and expanding our firm. We are, by all accounts, a modest but successful company.
2. What motivated you to pursue a career in the plumbing industry? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Certainly not. “How did you get into plumbing?” I used to joke with folks who asked. “I must’ve done something incredibly horrible in a previous life,” I’d tell them. The majority of the individuals in the sector ended up here by chance. Most people don’t grow up in a plumbing household, or if they do, they don’t stay in the industry. It’s simply one of those things where you assist a buddy when the chance comes, and before you know it, you’ve been doing it for a year. Then you realize it’s a career and a talent that you’ll need for the rest of your life. Many people stumble into it by chance; I surely did.
3. Describe your role as a plumber in a few words. I’m sure it entails more than simply repairing dripping faucets and flushing toilets.
Our guys are taught to be diagnosticians. Plumbing issues don’t always manifest themselves readily, therefore plumbers must be able to think critically in order to find the source of a problem. A leaky faucet, for example, might merely be a sign of a larger issue. A plumber should go in and examine the water heating system, water temperature, water pressure, and other things as part of his diagnostic, since there may be signals that there is a systemic issue that is bigger than the one problem that presents itself.
Then, after we’ve discovered it, we need to be able to explain to a homeowner precisely what’s wrong and what we’re going to do to fix it in simple words. Then, as with any skilled craft, we must be prepared to explain our expenses, since plumbing, like any other skilled trade, is costly, and supplies are costly. However, the homeowner will compare the cost of their specific repair to the cost of a fixture or component from a home center, since home centers now offer goods at almost wholesale prices. If we go in to fix a toilet and say it’ll cost $700, but the homeowner responds, “I saw one at Home Depot for $85,” we have to be able to explain the difference in pride, craftsmanship, material quality, and warranties. And it necessitates the use of a communicator. You’re not going to go very far with a powerful and quiet type who can’t think on his feet.
4. How did you go about becoming a plumber? What type of certificates and training did you require?
The greatest option is to go the traditional path of apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is when a young person enters a respectable organization and is taught by many technicians, or, in my case (and in my opinion, the best situation), works one-on-one with a master of the craft. So you locate a little business where the Master may be nearing the end of his career (which, to be honest, usually begins in one’s forties). Then you essentially follow him for months, learning what components and tools are involved. Then, before you know it, you’ll be able to discern what’s required and have the tool or item on hand when it’s needed. Then you’ll be able to manage certain chores yourself, and then some tasks without supervision.
The standards for licensure vary by state, however in Washington, an apprentice must complete 6,000 hours of supervision in the plumbing profession in order to earn a license. It takes around 3 years to work 2,000 hours each year on average. Some men take four or five years to get their license, while others never get one. I grew up in a state where licensing was not just a legal obligation, but also a source of communal pride.
As a result, an apprentice may take the test and acquire his first level of journeyman license after 3 to 4 years. He may work in residential and commercial buildings up to three storeys without supervision after he has his license, and if he has acquired another 2,000 hours of experience, he can take the journeyman test, which will enable him to work in any building in the state. And, honestly, I believe the learning curve is rather high. I wouldn’t leave a three-year journeyman working alone. That person would be incredibly gifted and very uncommon. Between their fifth and eighth years, I believe most individuals have earned enough confidence and expertise to be successful in the trade. Things can really move for them and it’s automatic by the time they’ve had 10 years, and I’d consider them a true master of their talents by then. However, a plumber who works as an apprentice in our business for three to four years may expect to earn between $70,000 and $120,000 per year.
5. Did you attend a technical school?
No, I didn’t do it. I worked with a master plumber one-on-one. He was an excellent young man who followed and shadowed his father, indicating that he came from a family business. He began working with his father when he was eight years old. He didn’t graduate high school since he was totally worked as a youth. He’s just recently taken over the family company. He was a young guy in his mid-twenties when he relocated to Austin, and he needed support. When I initially began working with him, I was perhaps 18 or 17 years old. He knew a lot, and he transmitted a lot to me, even though he was in his mid-twenties. He worked with his father since he was eight years old, so he knew a lot, and he conveyed a lot to me — particularly the pride that comes with the profession.
6. What advice would you provide to someone considering a career in plumbing today? Is it better to go to trade school or simply go into a tiny store like yours and say, “I want a job”?
Both options are open to you. I’d suggest that going to trade school is more likely to lead a candidate into a commercial profession, so he’ll be more likely to work for a union shop or on commercial projects, which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The service business is mainly dominated by residential stores.
Now, I wouldn’t advise a prospective plumber to become involved with new construction or production work. You’ll acquire plumbing skills, but the skills you’ll truly gain are production skills. You’re not going to learn anything about customer communication. You won’t learn anything about industry best practices or identifying issues that will help you advance in the field. To be honest, such kind of businesses are turn-and-burn; staff turnover is rampant, benefits are frequently non-existent, and salary is far lower. People with excellent communication and mechanical abilities are in high demand in the service business. That’s a difficult combo to pull off.
7. How do you go about getting a job as a plumber? By way of a union? What is the state of the employment market?
Because unions normally pack trade schools, the bigger mechanical shops and union shops will often follow the trade schools and tap those people for applications because they’re learning hands-on. There’s nothing wrong with union workplaces; they simply do things differently than we do. They may be working on a school or industrial project for months, if not years. Their abilities are also checked, and their rights are protected by unions. Although I’ve had acquaintances who have worked for the plumbers union and thought it to be fantastic, I’ve never had any firsthand contact with a union. So, if someone wants to go down that road, I believe the best method is to utilize nepotism — locate someone who is family, a friend, or a cousin who is a member of the union and approach them because it works. Unions often employ in this manner. They establish connections from inside. And I don’t mean nepotism in a negative way. That’s just a truth; it’s the way things are.
Another option is to investigate who the dominant service providers in your region are. Simply look for plumbing firms on the internet, look up their Better Business Bureau and Attorney General ratings, and discover what type of business they are. It’s not the type of firm you want to work with if they proclaim best practices but then fail to follow them. There are a lot of workers and business owners out there that don’t understand fundamental ethics and give the plumbing profession, and I believe any service sector, a poor reputation. However, you may learn a lot about a firm by doing research, reading internet reviews, and checking their ratings with the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General’s office. Approach such companies with a solid, well-rounded résumé that demonstrates some technical ability (not necessary in the plumbing sector), and demonstrate your want to work hard and become a plumber.
8. Give me an example of a typical work day.
I can tell you exactly what I did the day before yesterday. When a technician phones me for a task, the client claims she has a sluggish laundry drain, which causes the line to back up and flood the floor when she runs her washing machine. We walk over there and instead of attacking the drain right away, we ask her whether this has ever occurred before. Yes, this client confirms, it has occurred previously. In reality, this occurred less than three months ago, six months before that, and almost two years ago. That informs me that the issue is becoming more common, which we may correlate with the house’s age of roughly 40 years.
“When was the last time someone looked at your crawl space pipe system?” I inquire. We investigated the crawl area and discovered that the washing machine had been moved at some time over the house’s history. As a result, we won’t be able to fix it simply by poking a hole with a drain or cable machine. We’ll really have to make a big alteration to the plumbing in the crawl area for long-term success, ensuring sure the pipe is the right code size and has the proper fitting arrangements.
I was able to go into the line and clean it out more completely than it had ever been cleaned before, giving her a temporary solution. However, she will have to execute a more costly remedy in the long run. So, rather of going in and cleaning the drain, I probably spent three hours with that client. Even if she couldn’t start on the more costly repairs right away, she’ll at least know how much to spend for a repair that would permanently address the issue.
We got that one done, and then we got a call regarding a leaky exterior faucet. We walk outside and discover that all of her exterior faucets are leaking, which instantly alerts me to a pressure issue. So I checked their water pressure and discovered that it was too high. There is a lot of new building in the region, and the local authority has increased the water pressure to allow for further development and hundreds of new residences, but the residents are unaware of this. The householders merely had leaky toilets, dripping faucets, and leaking outside faucets, and this individual required a pressure incubator. She also required the replacement of any fixtures that had been harmed by the excessive pressure. It took a few hours, a diagnosis, and some expertise to make that call.
Then there was another call when we had a minor toilet issue. We can fix issues with a 20-year-old toilet utilizing a variety of alternatives or repair levels, or we can offer the client a completely new toilet that really flushes better while using much less water. We sold a whole new toilet during the call.
That was a regular day, and I was out in the field from about 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., since each call lasted several hours and there was travel time in between. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who like diversity. Many individuals thrive on routine and want to go to the same spot and do the same thing every day. That’s the type of work that would drive me insane.
Customers desire long-term connections with us, and I get a lot of face-to-face engagement with them. We want customers to ask for our technicians by name, therefore the plumbers should take the time to talk to them and get to know them. It’s more than simply a transaction; it’s a partnership. It’s the same type of connection that a person would want to have with their lawyer or physician. We also consider ourselves pros when it comes to maintaining that connection.
9. How do you strike a work-life balance as a plumber?
It’s a roller coaster ride. The concept of equilibrium is fascinating. People will constantly complain about it being either sluggish or too quick. When there aren’t enough jobs for every plumber to have, say, two to three service calls each day, they could believe it’s too sluggish. I’d like to have two to two and a half calls every day, on average, per individual. However, if we receive less than that, they’ll complain that it’s too sluggish. We’ve entered the busiest season of the year. Then we work from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., maybe later. Then they complain that it’s too crowded. They all have one thing in common: they whine. A plumber must learn to work when conditions are favorable and to tolerate downtime.
It will be radically different whether you work for a contractor or a union. They’ll be hired for a certain number of hours each day, according on the agreement between the contractor and the general contractor, until the job is completed. It’s good that the males have excellent safeguards and overtime benefits. However, most of the time, those individuals punch a clock at 7 a.m. and are done by 3 p.m. They have lunch and take breaks, and everything runs well.
A military member’s life isn’t like that. Because you’re more exhausted, it takes a lot of discipline to provide your third or fourth client of the day the same quality of service you gave your first customer of the day. You’ve worked for ten hours and have another call to make, and you still need to give that individual your whole attention and care. As a result, that may be quite tough.
Every weekend, one of my plumbers, including myself, will be on weekend call. If you’re on call, you’ll work Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then Monday through Friday the following week, for a total of 12 days. As a result, finding equilibrium is quite difficult. It’s not the kind of job where you can strike a balance.
The trade-off is that you may quickly earn more than $100,000. Last year, I had one plumber who made $120,000. He didn’t attain true balance since he was often away from home and only made one weekend call each month. He did, however, get excellent pay and perks.
“Every one of you can earn a million dollars in the next 10 years,” I can tell my guys with complete honesty. I can not only give you with a secure working environment, but also retirement security.” That isn’t true of all working trades. That’s quite uncommon, in my opinion.
10. What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The nicest thing is knowing that after all these years, after 20 years in this sector, we’ve made an effect and gained recognition. Knowing that we’ve earned a reputation for being trustworthy. Every year, we make between 2,500 and 3,000 service calls. There will be complaints, and there will be those who you cannot please. However, the majority of those appointments and phone calls are quite pleased with us. We want to expand the business, and we’re doing it by relying on the thousands of loyal clients we’ve serviced.
11. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The possibility of coming into touch with human feces is by far the worst part of working as a home service plumber. Hands-on care is still required for clogged or damaged sewage systems. Even if a damaged sewage line in a crawl space or basement is drained out and disinfected before a repair is done, the situation is still unsanitary. Sewage ejection systems are required in certain houses; imagine a giant trash can with a pump inside that collects all of the sewage from the house and pumps it to a higher connection. When any portion of that system breaks, a plumber is called in to deal with the foulest waste concentration conceivable and put things right. Experience hardens us to these circumstances over time, but body suits, eye protection, rubber gloves, and other protective gear must always be worn to restrict contact and avoid sickness.
12. What is the most common misunderstanding about becoming a plumber?
We’re probably uneducated, badly spoken, and misinformed rednecks. Many individuals, I believe, have that impression of the industry. I’ve met plumbers who are talented artists and musicians who take pleasure in their leadership abilities. They come from various walks of life, and just because they work in the service industry doesn’t imply they aren’t well-educated. They’re capable and psychologically strong individuals who can survive and maintain their dignity and self-confidence in a society that, in essence, devalues service sector employees.
13. Do you have any parting words, advice, or recommendations for us?
I’ll end with a few of remarks regarding this noble profession:
“The Plumber safeguards our country’s health.” –slogan from the early twentieth century
“If I were a young man again and had to choose a profession, I would not pursue a career as a scientist, scholar, or teacher.” I’d rather be a plumber or a peddler in the hopes of regaining some of the little degree of freedom that is still accessible under the current conditions.” –Einstein, Albert, 1954
Steve also wants me to let our readers know that he’s looking for work! “I’ll help with transfer from out of state and Washington State license requirements,” he said of the position(s). Full medical, dentistry, and vision insurance for the technician and his or her family, 401(k) contribution, paid vacation, and demonstrated six-figure revenue potential.” Contact him on his website’s job page.
Watch This Video-
The “how to become a plumber reddit” is a guide that explains how to become a plumber. The article includes information about the requirements, what it’s like on the job, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Plumbers make good money?
A: There is a lot of debate about the financial success of plumbers.
Is it hard to become a plumber?
A: No, it is not very difficult to become a plumber. You need a high school diploma or equivalent in order to apply for the job and you will also be required to complete an apprenticeship of about two years before becoming fully licensed as a professional plumber.
- how to become a plumber in virginia
- becoming a plumber at 30
- how to become a plumber apprentice
- how long to become a plumber
- how to become a plumber in maryland