Becoming a plumber may not be what you dreamt of as a child. But it can be a profitable and fulfilling business. Because plumbers may be looked down upon in some areas, but their business can be quite lucrative.
In fact, most plumbers make twice what those who make the average salary make. So if money is what you value, then plumbers are rising to the top. But that’s not all that matters. What matters is that their job, well, matters.
If you don’t know if the plumbing business is the right profession for you or not, then you’ve come to the right place. Even if you’ve already made your decision, this guide can get you on the right track to becoming a plumber today.
How To Become A Plumber
There are a few different ways to become a plumber. You can either get an education to become a licensed plumber or enter an apprenticeship program. Both options are valid, with one based on knowledge and the other experience.
There are even some plumbers that don’t do either and instead are self-taught. These plumbers are usually plumbers that have been in the business since before licensing existed. But there are exceptions.
You can become a plumber just by applying for a job as a plumber and getting that job. Though the company does have a license that allows it to do the work that you will be doing on the job, you don’t need a license.
What Do Plumbers Do?
Plumbers install and repair pipes and fixtures pertaining to water in homes. Their main job is to test and repair malfunctioning units and address any underlying problems. They are trained to interpret blueprints as well.
So even if your home is old and you don’t know where anything is located, they can look at an old blueprint to let you know where things stand. From there, they can update the plumbing accordingly.
Our world could not function as it does without plumbers, so their job is just as valuable as just about any other job. So even if you don’t become a plumber, it’s important to appreciate and praise the work they do.
How Much Do Plumbers Make?
This is a selling point for most people. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for plumbers$56,330 in 2020, which is a rising rate. This translates into over $1000/week or over $25/hr.
Most plumbers won’t put in 40-hour weeks are will still make this much money at their job. If you become a master plumber, you can make over $100,000 a year, which is twice the median wage for a plumber.
However, the lower end of the plumber’s wage is around $30,000, which is average for most other jobs. But this is the low-end. It’s more likely that you’ll make $60,000 after you get started than $30,000.
What Is An Apprenticeship?
A lot of people are familiar with internships and aren’t familiar with apprenticeships. The biggest difference between an internship and an apprenticeship is that apprentices get paid while interns do not.
Most apprentices will spend four to five years training with an employer before they can do a job on their own. At this point, they are a plumber in their own right and can open their own plumbing business.
It may sound easy, but in order to become an apprentice, you need to pass an aptitude exam. This exam will include basic skills, algebra, and anything you need to know to start working as a plumber. After you pass, established plumbers can interview you.
Each apprentice begins with about 45 percent of the minimum salary. Every year, the wage progresses about 10 percent until they are a senior and can supervise their own apprentice. During the apprenticeship, they will still attend classes.
After the first few years, the apprentice will take a journeyman exam to become a journeyman plumber. After that, they will have to get any licensing requirements for their state. Most states require licenses for plumbing.
When the journeyman feels comfortable enough to take the master plumber exam, they can do so. If they pass, they will become a master plumber. Once they do this, they will be in the highest-paid plumber’s bracket.
How To Become A Plumber With Your Own Business
You don’t need to become a master plumber to open your own business. While it does help, all you need is to become a journeyman plumber. Journeyman plumbers who are licensed don’t have any state restrictions.
Although you may know some of the steps, take a look at these steps to find out everything you need to know about opening your own plumbing business. Make sure you don’t skip any along the way.
Get In School
We’ve already gone over this, but let’s give you the quick rundown. You will need a high school diploma or GED that will get you into a trade school or certification program. Many vocational training programs will help you get started.
Serve as an Apprentice
After you are connected with a trade school, you can get connected to a licensed plumber that will ensure you get the education that you need. This isn’t knowledge, but valuable experienced that starts out at nearly half pay.
That may not seem like much but comparing that to other jobs where you start out working for free, it’s great. You can make more as an apprentice plumber than you can at an entry level job elsewhere.
Choose A Specialty
Although you can be a general plumber, it’s a good idea to offer special services. It can pay to be adept at everything, but choosing a specialty can ensure you get business from all over the state. Everyone wants the “best” they can get.
Buy Good Equipment
Everyone in this type of business knows that having the proper equipment can make your job a lot easier. So ask the professional you are an apprentice under to set you up with good, yet affordable equipment.
Some employers will let you have their old equipment when they upgrade. This is a great place to start. But eventually, you’ll need to get new equipment. You’ll learn what you need after a while in the business.
Register Your Business
Now comes the “business” part. You can check your state guidelines or ask your employer how to get started. They can let you know who to contact and what paperwork to expect from the state to get started.
Resgierting it where necessary along with places like the Better Business Bureau can help you appear legit. This is important as it can let people know that you have a serious, transparent business.
The Nitty-Gritty Business Part
This is where you create a website, post your business on social media, and set up any agreements with your lawyer that will keep your business safe. Work alongside your employer if they are willing to help you out.
Create A Place Of Business
You can work from home as a plumber on the business side of things for a while. In fact, some do it their entire life. But it can be useful to rent a small space people can see that is set up with a phone, filing cabinet, and even an employee or two.
Getting a secretary to do paperwork when you can afford it can save valuable time. Because as a plumber, your time should be focused on plumbing. The more time you spend there, the more money you can make to pay employees.
Ask Friends To Spread The Word
Word of mouth is probably the most reliable way to get new business. Because people don’t trust businesses, they trust clients. They trust other people who have used the business. So tell your friends to tell their friends.
Don’t Fall Behind The Times
A lot of plumbers go out of business because they refuse to keep up with the times. They recommend outdated or even unsafe equipment and don’t install the newest and safest options. This can really hurt a business.
So, retain what you’ve learned, but always be open to new information. Because as time changes, so should your business. Keep your morals while adding new technology and all of the latest gadgets to please your clients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How Long Does It Take To Become A Plumber?
To become a journeyman plumber, you need 8,000 hours of labor in most states. This is about four years of working. Considering this is a vocation, it isn’t surprising that you’d be doing more hands-on learning.
How Do You Become A Plumber's Apprentice?
To become a plumber’s apprentice, simply find a sponsor to start your training. Then you register with them and they can take you through the rest of the steps as they have also gone through them all.
How Do You Become A Certified Plumber?
To become a certified plumber, you need to go through a few steps. These include doing your 8,000 hours of training and taking a 48-hour board-approved training course. After that, you just have to pass the exam.
How Do You Become A Plumber After You Retire?
No age is too old to become a plumber. You can become a plumber after you retire as long as you can dedicate the next four or five years to getting there. So don’t let anyone tell you that it’s too late.
How Do You Become A Plumber Without Certification?
You can legally work on plumbing and get paid without a license as long as you are registered. When you are registered, you still must work under supervision before you can move on to the next stage.
Is It Hard To Become A Plumber?
In general, it is not difficult to become a plumber. But it does take years of education and training. Becoming a plumber isn’t a hobby, it is something you choose to do with the intention of making a career.
Is Becoming A Plumber Right The Right Move For Me?
If you’re wondering if the plumbing business is right for you, then imagine you are a plumber. Do you feel accomplished? Do you enjoy tinkering and fixing problems? Then this is probably a good path for you.
If you’re still unsure just know that there isn’t just one good path for everyone. There are many paths you can take and all of them have happy endings. So this may be for you now, in the future, or never.
It never hurts to try if you’re not sure. Or, talk to someone already in the business to find out all the pros and cons of the business. Ask them to be candid and to not hold anything back to find out once and for all if this could be a calling.