So you want to be a plumber? All the data looks good: great pay, job security, employment opportunities. But do you have what it takes to be a plumber? Do you even know what it takes? Here is a checklist that if you do have these qualities, there’s a good chance becoming a plumber is the career choice for you.
You may have the will, but do you have the physical attributes required to make it as a plumber?
Good physical dexterity: Don’t be fooled. Plumbing is a trade, and as such it requires a certain amount of physicality. You need to be good with tools, be able to remove and install fixtures of all kinds, and to carry weight of all kinds. If you’ve been sitting on a couch most your life, perhaps being a plumber is not the right choice for you.
Good upper body strength: being a plumber does not usually mean lifting heavy weights using your legs. Oftentimes you will find yourself in low, cramped positions where all you have going for you is your hands and arms. You will need good upper body strength to get the job done the first time.
Good grip strength: If you’re going to be a plumber, you’re going to be holding a lot of tools in confined spaces and you’re going to have to be able to apply maximum torque. This means a strong grip oftentimes against considerable resistance.
Good flexibility: While at the same time needing upper body strength, you’re going to have to be flexible enough to get yourself in and out of tight situations. Of course there is the famous snapshot of the plumber in tight under the sink, but under the sink is not the only tight spot you’re going to find yourself in. Quite often you will find yourself caught behind cabinets, inside closets and even crawlspaces.
Good vision: You’re going to have to be able to see well, and that means mostly good near vision. Most of a plumber’s job is done close up and quite often in near-dark conditions.
Mental & emotional attributes
Good observational and analysis skills: A very important aspect of the plumbing job is to assess the problem then come up with a solution. You need to be able to come up with on-the-spot diagnosis that while they come from good skill sets are also rooted in experience.
Good mathematical skills: Believe it or not, numbers do come into play in plumbing, and they come into play a lot. When you’re dealing with water pressure, you’re going to need all that geometry you studied in high school. If you are still in high school, let this be a warning to you.
A lot of patience: The art of the good plumber is not only in what he IS doing, but sometimes what he is NOT doing. Working as a plumber can at times get very frustrating, but you must remain patient and professional at all times.
Good management skills: being a plumber means being your own boss, even when you work for someone else. When you’re on the job you may often find yourself working alone. You must manage your time wisely, keep your tools in order, and keep track of all invoices and job appointments.
Good customer service skills: If you’re going to be in business for yourself (which is what you essentially are as a plumber, even if you work for someone else) then you need to have good customer service skills. Even if you do work for a company, it’s going to be you who is out there representing yourself and the company on the job. It’s important you make a good impression by being on time and communicating with your customers.
Good communication skills: It’s important that while you’re out there on a job you communicate well with your customers. Let them know exactly what the job entails, how it is coming along, and when the job is completed.
Making sales: Almost everything you do in life entails some kind of salesmanship. While being honest and doing only the job that needs to be done, you can earn extra money by recommending more work when it needs to be done. Your job may not be in sales, but by recommending additional work you may in the course not only make more money for yourself and your company, you may even save your customer money in the long run.
If this sounds like you, if you believe you have what it takes to tackle these aspects of the job, then becoming a plumber may very well be your calling.