The Residential Plumbing Service Industry Is Under Attack

We had pending legislation back in 2013 in Washington State that would have stopped false advertising of plumbing services to the consumer by those that were not licensed but… we never got it passed. The reason it failed was that nobody but the cheaters had any interest in the bill.

Lack of effective plumber license enforcement in Washington State is transforming a skilled licensed trade into a commercial con game costing consumers and skilled craftsmen dearly.

The Issues Affecting Licensed Plumbers and Plumbing Contractors:

1. Unlicensed Plumbers – ineffective enforcement of plumber licensing

2. Fake Plumbing Companies – General Contractors Advertising Plumbing Services

3. The Cost of Advertising – Is incredibly high due to unfair competition from the unlicensed

4. Lack of Consumer Awareness – They don’t know that real plumbers are a licensed trade. (Drain cleaners are not plumbers)

5. Other trades wishing to perform plumbing services – i.e. Builders, General Contractors and the HVAC trades

The plumbing trade is a regulated industry in Washington State. All plumbing work must be performed by those with a certificate of experience; in other words – a license. Over the years there can been a concerted effort by those not in the plumbing trade to violate the law that restricts who may engage in the trade. The attack on the plumber and the plumbing contractor has come from multiple directions.

There is not one enemy of the licensed plumber, but many. The most significant root cause of the plumber license losing credibility and value over the years is the passivity and inattention of the licensed plumber. As a rule, once we have the license in our hand we don’t think much about it other than to complain about the renewal fees or the imposition of the continuing education requirement.

A plumber license represents years of study, certified training and official permission to engage in a regulated profession. The dictionary defines license as “a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful”. A license excludes others by law.

If enforcement of a law is weak or ineffective – nobody will obey the law.

Today the plumbing industry is under attack from those that wish to be engaged in the business of plumbing without a license. The sad fact is that there hasn’t been much resistance from those of us that are most affected i.e. licensed plumbers, plumbing contractors and homeowners. The plumbing industry has been invaded by anybody that wants to represent themselves as plumbers without the license because nobody has had a keen interest in the enforcement of plumber licensing.

Who is violating licensing laws? Answer: Anybody who wants to…

The following trades and businesses all advertise plumbing services today – effectively violation of existing law:

1. Rooter companies with no licensed plumbers or only a token plumber

2. General contractors advertising plumbing services

3. Plumber trainees that abandon their training and advertise as contractors

4. Handymen with or without contractor registration

5. Fraudulent website plumbing companies with fake registrations

6. HVAC companies advertising water heater sales and installations

7. Water heater companies advertising installation of water heaters

8. Hardware stores offering water heater installations

9. Building maintenance service companies providing plumbing repairs.

10. Retail Stores – Home Depot, Lowe’s

11. Marketing Companies with fake websites selling leads

12. Third Party Referral Services that promote plumbing businesses with no licenses

13. Website re-sellers

14. Amazon is now selling plumbing services on their website (2016)

It is a long list…

As a licensed plumber for over thirty five years, I have to admit that I had no idea how easily my license could become a worthless piece of paper until I saw my phone traffic drop off and customers demanding that we match quotes from unlicensed competitors. I didn’t realize that the value of a license is based solely upon what others think it to be. It’s like money. Money is just a piece of paper with ink on it. It only has value if you and I agree that it has some representative value. A couple of hundred years ago a dollar was a day’s wages. Today a dollar might buy you a day-old doughnut. That dollar bill is only worth what we are willing to trade it for. My father described Italians during the Second World War hauling lira in wheelbarrows to exchange at the bank for a few US dollars.

My fear today is that our plumber licenses will be worthless soon and we won’t even notice until it is too late. The homeowners don’t know that plumbers need licenses so the license is worth nothing to them. The rooter companies advertise plumbing with a contractor registration as cover (anybody can get a contractor registration) – the public assumes a contractor registration is a license. They don’t know the difference because the rooter companies, and others, have aggressively been substituting “plumbing technicians” instead of plumbers for years.

Finding the Right Kind of Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures

Plumbing fittings include a wide assortment of plumbing hardware including pipes, faucets and the joints that connect these fixtures. It is important to install quality plumbing fittings in order to have an uninterrupted water supply and properly functioning drainage system.

Many people give more attention to internal plumbing fixtures while they ignore the basic plumbing fittings and pipelines that run underneath and alongside their house. They do not entirely realize the importance of having a safe and strong plumbing system. If the plumbing fittings are not working properly, it can lead to leakages. And if such leakages remain undetected, it can lead to wet walls and cracks in the concrete due to water seepage. The situation can weaken the foundation of your walls. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain a well functioning plumbing system.

Plumbing works need regular checkup and maintenance. Technically speaking, plumbing fittings are nothing but the objects used for connecting two or more pipes. There are different types of fittings available in the market and you should choose only those that are recommended for your plumbing fixtures and pipeline patterns.

If you plumbing system are made of copper piping, brass-bodied fittings would be a more suitable choice. However, the material used for making these fittings is most often made of the same base material as used in case of the pipes. The common metals used for constructing plumbing fixtures and fittings are steel, copper, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), and polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

Finding cheap and affordable plumbing equipments is not a really challenging task. You can begin your quest in your local plumbing supplies store. Common plumbing hardware stores usually offer pipes and fittings at a comparatively reasonable price than your plumber services or local plumbers would provide.

If you need to purchase plumbing equipments for your home, you should know the right size of these fittings and fixtures. You should know the correct measurement or the exact size of the pipe that has to be repaired or jointed using a new fitting. Further, you should be able to identify superior quality fittings from the cheaper ones. if you end up using cheap or used materials for your plumbing system, it will only pay way for more expenses in the form of repair and further maintenance.

So, the bottom line is, in order to ensure that your house is sealed with a high performing plumbing system; you should take the help of an expert. Only a professional plumber would know what kind of plumbing fittings or devices would work well for your pipeline system. A lot of reputed plumbing companies are also offering their services at reasonable rates. By and large, main plumbing supplies that are quite imperative at the time of construction includes sinks, faucets, bath tubs, showers, water heaters and dish washers. All of these items are available in the market in different varieties. There are countless sizes and shapes to choose from.

Home Plumbing: 6 Practices Your Pipes Will Appreciate

The confusion of home plumbing can easily be avoided if homeowners take certain precautions and perform proper maintenance. Prevent a visit from a costly plumbing repair service and show your home plumbing system a little love over this Valentine’s Day by partaking in these easy tasks suggested by residential plumbers:

1. Check for leaks.

Even the smallest leak in your faucets and pipes can lead to unmanageable flooding if not noticed or taken care of immediately. The resulting damage can require substantial home and plumbing repair which can be quite costly. Therefore, it is important to check all exterior walls, unheated basements, garages and crawl spaces, especially those areas that lack insulation. Little to no insulation leaves pipes more vulnerable to the elements and therefore they are more likely to crack and leak. Getting in contact with a residential plumber can also be useful as they can help you scope out trouble areas and can give you an overview of how to prepare and maintain your plumbing over the winter months.

2. Drain and insulate.

Draining and insulating all outdoor faucets and pipes in your home plumbing system before the winter sets in is a must as any water that gets trapped in those pipes can freeze, expand, and then crack, break, or burst the pipes. Securing these exterior pipes can help you avoid dealing with property damages and unpleasant plumbing repair.

Here are some ways to prepare your exterior pipes for the winter:

– Drain and disconnect all garden hoses and use a hose bib or faucet cover to insulate your outdoor faucets from freezing temperatures.

– For irrigation systems, shut off the water flow into the system and drain all water from the pipes.

For further assistance in preventing costly plumbing repairs, most residential plumbers can help you with the draining and insulating process for your home plumbing.

3. Weatherproof trouble areas.

The next step is to look out for areas containing exposed plumbing. Doorways, windows, and vent fans should be checked to make sure their seals remain tight. If a seal is loose, it can be fixed up with caulking to avert your home plumbing from freezing. Also make sure to repair and cracked windows as they can lead to freezing temperatures coming in contact with your plumbing and will result in expensive plumbing repair costs.

4. Insulate exposed pipes.

Instead of sealing off all airflow in your home, which can potentially lead to mold growth, you should make sure your pipes are properly insulated so that they can stand up against cold winter air. As an easy and inexpensive procedure, insulating your home plumbing is the way to go. It can be as easy as installing foam tubing or towels around your pipes and can help your water heater retain heat (and therefore lower those pricey energy bills). Vulnerable pipes near electrical sources should be insulated with electrical heating tape. Heat tape, which can be wrapped around the pipes, is a great tool for providing just enough heat to keep your pipes from freezing.

5. Keep indoor pipes warm.

Though many of the wintertime home plumbing issues are due to outdoor pipes, you mustn’t forget about your indoor plumbing. Indoor pipes can also freeze in cold weather, so doing things such as opening cabinet doors to expose your pipes to your home’s heat can help prevent internal home plumbing issues. For when you plan on being away from home for an extended period of time, make sure to set your interior thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Letting your indoor faucets drip steadily when the temperature outside drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit can help prevent pipes from bursting and causing serious damages.

6. Sign up for a home plumbing maintenance program.

As residential plumbers recommend, keeping a close eye on and maintaining your home plumbing system regularly can save you from spending lots of time and money on damages and repairs. You can also consider signing up for a plumbing maintenance program so that you will know what to do in case of a plumbing problem. These programs can help extend the life of your appliances and ensure your plumbing warranties stay up-to-date. Partaking in a plumbing maintenance program will set your mind at ease as your home plumbing will be in capable hands.

Plumbing Training

While university or college programs are not a necessity for a plumbing career, a diploma or associate’s college degree in domestic plumbing can certainly boost your job prospects. Higher education training courses in plumbing can offer a student with all the information and abilities necessary for a effective plumbing apprenticeship or career. Plumbing applicants should go after college plumbing programs including training in plumbing concepts and pipefitting for illustration.

In accordance with information and facts coming from the Milwaukee Area Technical Institution, plumbing theory training courses educate college students the idea behind standard piping and plumbing installing methods. With regard to plumbing theory curriculums, individuals master how to decide the optimal plumbing repair and installation methods intended for different tasks. Along with theory, the programs ordinarily cover tool identification and plumbing safety measures. Generally plumbing theory courses are carried out in a typical classroom learning atmosphere.

Almost all institutions with plumbing courses offer beginner, intermediate and high level pipefitting training. As per Dallas Community University, basic pipefitting instructional classes provide students an elementary guide to blueprint plans, piping systems, piping standards and technical specifications. Intermediate training courses normally include things like training in supports and hangers, field routing, vessel trim and spring can supports.. Trainees moreover learn how to prepare work jobs and identify and install valves. In more advanced pipefitting programs, students build skills in pipe manufacturing, pipe placement, hot taps, steam traps and valve routine maintenance. Pipefitting programs are generally a mixture off classroom and lab hours.

Plenty of higher education plumbing courses include vent system, waste and drain instructional classes — one intended for non commercial and a second for commercially made purposes. Based upon information through the Illinois Community Institution, waste, drain and vent lessons show pupils tips on how to design drain and vent systems in domestic as well as industrial complexes. The majority of waste, drain and vent system courses incorporate standard classroom teaching and lab hours.

Plumbing is among the oldest and best-paying construction trades plus a skill which is generally in high demand from customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a continued better-than-average employment outlook for plumbing contractors through 2023. Many different experienced certified plumbing classes are found over the internet. These types of courses vary from primary, practical instruction to more complex coaching and apprenticeships.

While you act as an apprentice, you aid a master plumbing technician with his routine work and discover the principles of plumbing even though you make money. It is really an option for people who wish to carry out a career in plumbing. Oftentimes plumbing companies retain an apprentice who has already concluded schooling or training at a trade college. Certain plumbing contractors will retain the services of an apprentice with no schooling.

Plumbing Training

While university or college programs are not a necessity for a plumbing career, a diploma or associate’s college degree in domestic plumbing can certainly boost your job prospects. Higher education training courses in plumbing can offer a student with all the information and abilities necessary for a effective plumbing apprenticeship or career. Plumbing applicants should go after college plumbing programs including training in plumbing concepts and pipefitting for illustration.

In accordance with information and facts coming from the Milwaukee Area Technical Institution, plumbing theory training courses educate college students the idea behind standard piping and plumbing installing methods. With regard to plumbing theory curriculums, individuals master how to decide the optimal plumbing repair and installation methods intended for different tasks. Along with theory, the programs ordinarily cover tool identification and plumbing safety measures. Generally plumbing theory courses are carried out in a typical classroom learning atmosphere.

Almost all institutions with plumbing courses offer beginner, intermediate and high level pipefitting training. As per Dallas Community University, basic pipefitting instructional classes provide students an elementary guide to blueprint plans, piping systems, piping standards and technical specifications. Intermediate training courses normally include things like training in supports and hangers, field routing, vessel trim and spring can supports.. Trainees moreover learn how to prepare work jobs and identify and install valves. In more advanced pipefitting programs, students build skills in pipe manufacturing, pipe placement, hot taps, steam traps and valve routine maintenance. Pipefitting programs are generally a mixture off classroom and lab hours.

Plenty of higher education plumbing courses include vent system, waste and drain instructional classes — one intended for non commercial and a second for commercially made purposes. Based upon information through the Illinois Community Institution, waste, drain and vent lessons show pupils tips on how to design drain and vent systems in domestic as well as industrial complexes. The majority of waste, drain and vent system courses incorporate standard classroom teaching and lab hours.

Plumbing is among the oldest and best-paying construction trades plus a skill which is generally in high demand from customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a continued better-than-average employment outlook for plumbing contractors through 2023. Many different experienced certified plumbing classes are found over the internet. These types of courses vary from primary, practical instruction to more complex coaching and apprenticeships.

While you act as an apprentice, you aid a master plumbing technician with his routine work and discover the principles of plumbing even though you make money. It is really an option for people who wish to carry out a career in plumbing. Oftentimes plumbing companies retain an apprentice who has already concluded schooling or training at a trade college. Certain plumbing contractors will retain the services of an apprentice with no schooling.

How to Start a Plumbing Business

So, you want to start a plumbing business. This could be a terrific decision, or, it could be the worst idea ever. Starting a plumbing business, or any business really, involves a certain amount of structured thinking to put everything in place, and making sure that you have thought of everything. By following this strategy planning process, you will have covered all the important aspects of getting your planning and strategy in the right place, and this will make the starting of your own plumbing business some 450% more successful.

The Strategy Required to Start Any Business

Starting a plumbing business, a bakery, or a high-tech company all requires the same basic thinking strategy. To remember it best, use the EASI acronym. In this case, E stands for emotion, A for achieving a win, S for simple and straightforward and I for the implementation.

Everybody wanting to start a business should be aware that it is going to involve plenty of challenges, hardships, stress, worry, and a multitude of other issues. The process of starting a business has often been likened to jumping off a cliff, and building an aeroplane on the way down. It will mean sleepless nights, long working hours and the unwavering support of family and friends around you. This is real, and the reason so many start-up businesses fail.

The first step, therefore, is to examine the reasons that you want to start the business in the first place. This involves an examination of the emotions, or feeling behind the rationale of starting your own plumbing business. Everyone will have their own reasons for wanting to start their business. It may be as a last resort as they are unable to find employment in the field, it may be that they hate having a boss, it may be that they want to become extraordinarily wealthy. Whatever the reason, it is essential that the owners of the business, if there are more than one, are aware of the strength of their emotions regarding the venture. This will determine the power of the motivation, the real forces behind the venture, and, with the aid of a skilled consultant, allow the prospective business owners to determine if their vessel will survive the storms on the ocean, or if there needs to be some additional emotional management included.

The second item speaks to the vision, or goal of the organisation. A prospective plumbing business may have as its goal to be a loss leader and therefore a tax write-off. It may be that achieving a win with the business would be familial survival, or putting children through school. Either way, all the owners need to be able, collaboratively, to understand what the goal is and to have a combined vision of the business that everyone can buy into. Without this shared vision, any subsequent planning and strategizing will ultimately be negated and sporadic, with everyone involved having different goals and aims, instead of pulling together in the right direction.

Keep Things Simple and Straightforward

It does not take any real skill to make things more complex. The real genius in any situation is to make things more simple. This line of thinking is propagated by all the top entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. Albert Einstein often used to say that if you couldn’t explain a thing to a six-year-old, you didn’t understand it yourself. In light of this strategic thinking, the next piece of advice is to keep all your plans and strategies simple and straightforward. Set a goal that everyone involved, all the stakeholders, can buy into. See where you currently are, and plan a way to get to that goal that all concerned can understand, appreciate, and take ownership of.

The final step in setting up a new plumbing business is to implement the strategy. Without a rigorous implementation strategy and plan, all the goal-setting and personal examination of business vision and motivation will just become a distant wish. Implementation plans fall into five basic categories; overall business strategy, financial planning, human resources and communications, sales and marketing, and project management. All businesses must be able to conduct planning with respect to these five regions of business expertise in order to be successful.

Implementing Your Plumbing Business Strategy

The first step in initiating the plan within all the five sectors that need examination is to complete a real, practical, and genuine business plan. Having gone through the initial strategic thinking process as outlined above, compiling an overall business plan should be relatively easy. Nevertheless, failing to spend sufficient time aligning a business plan to the strategy will mean that the business is also likely to fail, because one of the well-known factors in determining business success is that more than 80% of successful businesses have determined their overall strategy in detail, aligned the business plan, gone into each aspect of the business plan in detail, and repeat this strategic thinking process regularly amongst all the stakeholders.

Once the business plan has been compiled in detail, with all the necessary inputs being not only realistic but pragmatic as well, then the detailed considerations in each of the five business aspects can begin. This should dovetail with the business plan, but expand on the details simply stated in the plan to some extent. In the case of a plumbing business as we are considering here, some of the parameters in these five aspects of the business will be examined. Not in an attempt to intimidate any prospective plumbing entrepreneurs, but rather in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this strategic thinking process, and the reasons why it should be conducted in detail, and why utilising effective and experienced business consultants will not only increase the chances of success, but probably save substantial money in the medium to long term.

Five Business Areas to Conduct Planning

These five business areas, as related to a plumbing business, are strategy, financial, sales and marketing, human resources and communications, and projects. Overall strategy has been discussed in some detail, and following the above instructions will guarantee success in this regard.

The financial planning aspect when starting a plumbing business is of crucial importance. A detailed understanding of potential income, and expenditures related to the running of the business need to be examined. Whereas these are obviously tied in the overall strategy, the practical aspects of a plumbing business will need to be added by the stakeholders, using their experience and knowledge of the field. Office premises, the maintenance of stock and supplies, transport, and the ability to survive until the income exceeds the costs needs to be determined. All potential financial considerations, such as stakeholder input, the possibility of generating loans and financial support and receiving up-front payments all need to be planned in great detail.

Income of a plumbing business is directly related to the amount of work undertaken and the charges levied on this work. In an overall sense, the amount of income must exceed the costs of the business, and the aim of any sales and marketing plan is to ensure that this is, in fact, the case. With the advent of social media and the internet, the avenues available to market a business have increased exponentially. The starting point for any plumbing business, like any service related business, is to determine in as much detail as possible who exactly the people are that would be providing the business with revenue. These people, as a whole, are called the buying persona of the business. A plumbing business may, for instance, decide to stay small and provide after-hours services to family and friends, or it may target large corporate projects and tenders. Or anything in between. The better any prospective plumbing organisation understands exactly the behaviour, like, needs, wants, and aims of their prospective market the better they will fare. The example here is that a plumber who caters to the lower end of the economic market would use more print media and posters to advertise the business, while a plumber catering to an upper market segment may elect to use social media more since richer people have smartphones and will be reachable using digital platforms.