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Want to be a plumber?

Discuss Want to be a plumber? at UK Plumbers Forums; Hello All, Iíve been a plumber now for about 4 months. So, I thought Iíd write a few things down about the industry that Iíve discovered so far. I am ...
  1. #1
    Plumbers Arms member secret squirrel's Avatar
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    Smile Want to be a plumber?

    Hello All,

    Iíve been a plumber now for about 4 months. So, I thought Iíd write a few things down about the industry that Iíve discovered so far. I am not advocating ďfast track coursesĒ over apprenticeships. This is purely how I have found things after doing a fast track course. I hope this will give ďwannabeĒ plumbers or people going on courses a broader view.

    Being a plumber is difficult, I never expected it to be easy but there are many issues that I had not considered.

    Funding jobs is one, I have had to pay for the parts for jobs before being paid. This limits your cash flow, especially when customers pay by cheque, you then have to wait for it to clear but pay for the next job. To start, you must have copper tube, 22mm, 15mm, a selection of joints etc. This is all dead money whilst it is sitting on you van. If you add in the cost of a cwst or hot water cylinder, a job could owe you about £150-200 before you kick off.

    Tools, you always seem to need another tool. This again costs. You have little cash flow but you need another tool. Although the tool may only cost £15 that still affects that precious cash flow.

    Jobs, they are rarely what they seem, there is always (for me) something that Iíve not considered, takes longer than I thought or I canít complete the task because some valve or isolator fails to work. Your then looking for another way to complete the task or need to charge more to sort the issue.

    Work, is sporadic, you can work really hard one week but nothing for the next week. I am sure this will improve but it is a little disheartening.

    Enjoyment, yes, it is enjoyable, leaving the customer with a good job and its working. However, it is quite lonely (not sure this is the correct term) if a job is going wrong youíve no one to ask, no help to hand, your on your own, in a customers house and the things that can go wrong are endless.

    I donít want to come across as being negative,thats not my intention because I enjoy it. However, these are issues that no one really laboured on for me. Yesterday, I started at 9.15 home by 1.30 and had been paid my days money. I was having a nice chat with my elderly customer and they also made me a bacon sandwich so there are positives.

    My biggest piece of advice is; ask questions this forum is superb for that. My local plumbers merchant are also excellent for little gems of advice, try not and become blinkered, try and look at the bigger picture. If there are difficulties, explain these to the customer asap. Donít worry about taking on all the smaller jobs, changing taps, garden taps, new ball valves. Each small job I do my confidence grows a little.

    So, I hope this has helped someone................

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Thanks for that it just goes to show that with a lot of hard work and determenation you can become a plumber and not be blinded by the fact that some statements say that you can earn 50k a year, wich we all know is rubbish.

    well done to you
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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    I'm just starting out as a Gas Engineer and i know what you're saying mate. Every time i go to a job i'm a bit nervous but then once i get in about it it all falls into place (usually!)

    Its all about building confidence i reckon!
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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    good on you squirrel. well done.

    shaun

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Nice one secret squirel a very usefull post

    thanks

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    "Enjoyment, yes, it is enjoyable, leaving the customer with a good job and its working. However, it is quite lonely (not sure this is the correct term) if a job is going wrong youíve no one to ask, no help to hand, your on your own, in a customers house and the things that can go wrong are endless"

    im gaining experience with a time served and he has said the same thing.
    It can be lonely at 7pm when its all gone wrong, no moral support or help.
    Im lucky in that i can call on him if im stuck, and will do the same for him.

    if you can befriend a few plumbers it can give you that bit of extra support when you need it.
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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Great advice.
    I am about to finish my course and go out on my own,ideally I would have liked to have spent some time working with an experienced plumber,but current market thats not to be(was made redundant last week).So I have to take the plunge,it undoubtedly will be a very steep learning curve in the real world,away from the training course.
    I have been planning this for a while now,it hasn't been cheap,course £5600 ,tools £3500 and about to get a van for about £7000
    You have to be prepared to invest in YOUR future,I'll give it my best shot.
    I think if you're reliable,punctual,friendly,polite,honest and do a good job for a fair price,peopl will return.
    Anyway all the best to the people about to take the plunge and go it alone WELL DONE
    B German and rubberlips like this.

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    Wink Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Quote Originally Posted by helpsy View Post
    Great advice.
    I am about to finish my course and go out on my own,ideally I would have liked to have spent some time working with an experienced plumber,but current market thats not to be(was made redundant last week).So I have to take the plunge,it undoubtedly will be a very steep learning curve in the real world,away from the training course.
    I have been planning this for a while now,it hasn't been cheap,course £5600 ,tools £3500 and about to get a van for about £7000
    You have to be prepared to invest in YOUR future,I'll give it my best shot.
    I think if you're reliable,punctual,friendly,polite,honest and do a good job for a fair price,peopl will return.
    Anyway all the best to the people about to take the plunge and go it alone WELL DONE
    Hi, Please ,please do not get a van for £7000 get one for £2000 and save the £5000 for when you are earning £100 a week for the first six months. Spend at least £1000 on advertising straight off! Unless you are allready loaded of course Good luck
    rubberlips likes this.

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Van - earmark £800

    Tools - kick off on about £500, and get more as you need them

    You are fekkin mad to spend grands on equipment - who do you thinks you are?

    A glorified apprentice with top of the line kit, and not a spot of dust on you yet . . .

    Some people want everything dont they?!

    Start off with basics for Gods sake!!!!!
    armyash and rubberlips like this.

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    I was lucky and had a van when I started, in all fairness before I started plumbing it never had a tool in it, just scuba diving gear.

    Tools are basic and quite cheap they get thrown about bashed etc. Everytime I buy a tool I search for the lowest price on the web (unless I need it urgently).

    My advice, watch very carefully what you spend you need to earn it back and pay to live........ unless (as John said) your rich...
    rubberlips likes this.

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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    I had been plumbing for years and then turned my hand (after a bit of training) to tiling, carpentry etc that allowed me to widen the type of jobs and clientelle I could take on. I agree that the cost of some of the specialist tools is a burden, but I found the results rewarding.

    As sad as it sounds I placed adverts in the local Co-ops and post offices etc and the jobs for basic maintenance work came rolling in.

    I also agree with Avatar, dont go over the top on the tools !!
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    Default Re: Want to be a plumber?

    Excellent post secret squirrel....

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