It would not be an overstatement to say that the plumbing profession is a two-way sword. It has both advantages as well as disadvantages. In this article, we will have a look at some of the disadvantages to consider before going into a plumbing career.

Working environment 

Most people would think, well, plumbers work inside a building, their work is carried out inside people’s houses, they look so clean on all plumbing advert photos… both the houses and the plumbers. And for the most part, you’re sort of right. When it comes to doing residential plumbing work. But what if you’re in somebody’s house and you need to go to the restroom? We’re just saying… what if you have got to take a dump? But the toilet is already sending it all back. That’s why you’re there after all. To clean someone else’s feaces. As well as unclog the toilet. That’s what we’re getting rated for. Our ability to clean the mess made by someone else. As well as our ability to unclog the toilet. But cleaningness is pretty much first thing our customers rate us for. We get 5 stars every single time. And we learnt it a hard way not to ask our customers if we can use their restroom. Apparently that’s rude. So if you decide to become a plumber, learn to hold it. As one plumbing job could easily take good few hours. If you’re lucky, you might be able to pop out to the nearest plumbing store to get a part you need for the job, and use the store’s restroom instead. Then you’ll go back to the plumbing job, where the property owner welcomes you back by telling you that you’re offering overpriced plumbing service, because that little part in your hand could not possibly cost as much as you would like to charge for the job. It’s not like you didn’t make the customer aware that the final price depends on whether the customer has the required part, knows which particular part is required and whether the customer did use his own car and fuel to go to the plumbing store, to get the required part. Not to mention the fact that we, plumbers, did actually spend a lot of money to get certified to do the plumbing job, the customer tried to do without having the basic legal requirements met. We’re talking here about the boiler, heating and gas checks of course.

Anyways… isn’t it a bit odd? Any other career and you’re okay to use your customer’s restroom. But if you’re a plumber, you don’t just go to the customer and say, hey, can I use your restroom? That’s not right. Apparently. You might even get asked to leave. It’s a minor issue though. There are worse things. Wintertime for example. When you’re working outside on a water leak. It’s not always the warmth of someone’s home that awaits you. And we don’t get to work when we want to; plumbers sometimes have to work in extreme cold and hot conditions. So the working environment as a plumber is not always what you see in our ads…

It’s hard on your body

Plumbing is complex; for example, you’re under a cabinet, now laying down on your back, with the bottom… of the cabinet base pushing up on you, getting in there and trying to work overhead… We know… It sounds like one of them rated movies. That’s why we, plumbers, can’t use words like “hard” or “crack” when visiting residential customers. It’s fine if you work in a commercial property though. How interesting. Possibly because having a plumber visiting a residential customer brings quite a few scenarios into your mind. Not sure whom we should thank for that opinion about our work ethics. Let’s get back to the bodies.

Your shoulders hurt, your back hurts, hips, knees, you name it – it hurts. So if you have a plumber coming over, think about what you can do for him or her to make it a bit easier. Perhaps prop the cabinet. Or add some lighting so we can see better what we’re working on. You definitely shouldn’t stand over our bodies and watch what we’re doing. Not because we don’t like looking at your face rather than… whatever plumbing issue we need to clean after. It’s because that little light we have there, in this dark cabinet, is really precious. Oh, and maybe don’t call us out on stupid jokes we make about rings and wrenches we ask you to pass. An extra hand is often useful in plumbing. But when it comes to residential properties, it’s often a bit too much for the owners to see two plumbers instead of one at their door. We know this. That’s why you’ll see only one. When you chose our services.

And please remember: our prices need to cover the cost not only of the parts we need, but also the cost of equipment we use, including silly things like knee pads, because you know… European standards for health and safety. Not that we don’t care about our knees… And don’t have to invest into rehabilitation after a good few years of working as a plumber. Especially if we get arthritis from working on water leaks in a cold weather. Underground.

Nevertheless, if you have already chosen the plumber’s career path and made a decision to pay for all your plumbing qualifications, please remember to keep fit. Or, like us, you’ll hear your every bone crack (there’s this word again… ) when you stand up, and you’ll spend your evenings trying to get yourself in a position that doesn’t hurt. While waiting for your out of hours call. If you, as a plumber don’t do something to protect yourself now, mark our words, it’s going to hurt you in the future. And badly. So take care of yourself while you’re younger. And don’t lift more than you should. Hernia is real. Ask for help when needed. Take good care of yourself. Eat your five a day. If you have time for that. It’s not government propaganda. Five a day is really good for your health. And a workout. If you manage to get a day off.

Retirement plan

There isn’t any.

Some of the best plumbers out there end up growing old with no retirement plan. They haven’t spent their life working for a company for 25k to max 42k a year, or if they did, they never put any money aside. Let’s face it. There’s not much to put aside if you’re on the basic plumbing salary. This is why we’re so generous when it comes to our employees. We understand how it feels to be new in the world of plumbing. You either end up working for one of those commercialised drain monopolies… There’s one. Let’s not name them here. Or you try making it on your own, whilst your competitors focus on bringing you down, rather than finding their own customers. And that’s how all the plumbing jobs go to the beforementioned monopoly, the name of which we cannot mention. It’s kinda like Voldemort, isn’t it… You know, from Harry Potter series. We find it funny how he always cared about Harry’s education and waited till the end of the academic year to bring him down. The beforementioned monopoly cares about their customers in a similar way. They will wait till your plumbing problem gets out of hand. If it’s not out of hand, they’re not ready to assist. And that’s how we get to rescue our customers from the hands of the beforementioned monopoly.

But… the retirement plan… We’re basic minds, we plumbers are. We need an accountant to look after our books. No one taught us accountancy in them government-approved plumbing courses. And someone has to pay the accountant’s salary. And the cost of all the advertising we put out there to get ahead of the beforementioned monopoly. And the cost of the servers, which allow us to take your calls, read your emails and give you access to this article. Which might be full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Because that’s all we can afford after paying everyone else. But at least it’s here, for you dear reader, to consider all the pros and cons of becoming a plumber, before you choose your career path. Have we mentioned that the cost of advertising is sky high in the plumbing industry? Yes… there’s that too… It’s not like everyone can afford to pay £6 per click, which might or might not result in a call out. Plumber’s life. What can you do.

Let’s get back to the retirement plan. Most plumbers are still working because they don’t have a choice. Think about that while you’re young, are you investing money? Are you putting away money to build your future? Don’t get us wrong. When you’re young, you’re thinking, look, I’m going to own my own company one day. I don’t have to put money away. That’s fine, but make sure you’re building that company and look after your finances, as well as your health. Including scheduling time for sleep. A decent sort of sleep. Not the between the out of hours calls kind.