For many non-tradesmen, finding a trustworthy plumber is a job that can feel just as laborious as taking a spanner themselves to whatever needs fixing.
In a recent survey, plumbing was rated as the most in-demand trade in the job market. But with many entering the profession with varied qualifications and different backgrounds, most people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding who they’re looking for.
If you’re looking to become a plumber yourself, there are several ways to make their lives easier. By assembling the all-important skill set that the best plumbers should possess, you can provide standout customer service and build your reputation — vital for longevity in the industry.
With that in mind, here are our five top tips for being a successful plumber.
1. Get Certified
Nowadays, there are qualifications recommended for new plumbers to demonstrate their skills. Newcomers can’t generally rely on word-of-mouth and a network in the early days, so it’s a good plan to complete your plumber’s apprenticeship with a firm that will award you an NVQ certification or equivalent after your training. These training schemes will give you the knowledge and on-site experience to prepare for your career, and give you the credentials to back up your expertise.
It’s also vital to have plumbers insurance to your name. Comprehensive cover can help build trust between you and your clients, and safeguard your business financially. As the insurance experts at Tradesman Saver explain: “You can do your best to ensure your operations are safe, but sometimes accidents happen. As such, a plumbers liability insurance policy helps to protect your business should an incident lead to repair costs or legal fees”
2. Demonstrate Experience
Experience is the best teacher. Thankfully, the aforementioned qualifications typically ask for both theoretical knowledge and practical application, because there’s nothing like learning on the job.
The best plumbers will be able to turn their hand to any job and get it done well, so make sure to take on any new experience across a wide variety of fields, whether it’s commercial, residential, service and repair, or something else. In doing so, you can make yourself the one to call for a range of jobs, not just a select few — and succeed as an all-rounder.
3. Practise Safety on the Job
Safety measures on the job are paramount. In the trade, plumbers regularly deal with complicated, dangerous circumstances such as asbestos exposure, confined space and power-tool use, so it’s best to practise precaution on every job, regardless of your level of experience. This is also reassuring to your clients and the best practice for your own career — you can’t get many jobs done with a broken arm.
For example, adequate bodily protections should always be worn when dealing with tricky materials and chemicals. Using gloves is a simple way to prevent injury and skin contact, as well as safety glasses and face masks when appropriate. Inspections should be carried out regularly, especially when working at heights, which are the most common cause of accidents at work.
4. Be a Problem-Solver
A good deal of the time, you might find that the client isn’t sure exactly what’s wrong — but they know something’s up when they can’t have a hot shower. Possessing the problem-solving ability to assess and diagnose a wide range of plumbing issues is half of the job, with the other half then fixing the problem.
When carrying out service work, no job is likely to ever be the same. Therefore, it’s essential to have the mechanical know-how and good sense to determine the best course of action. This is especially true when dealing with situations with the potential to affect health and livelihood, that need a quick and well-reasoned response.
5. Communicate well
When you’re hired for a job, the customer is inviting you into their home. Whether they’re the kind to serve endless tea and biscuits or to disappear and leave you to it, effective communication goes a long way to ensure that each party feels safe and able to get on with what they need to do.
This means you should have an open line of communication throughout the job, be it big or small. Be on hand to address any concerns the customer has, and make it clear that no question is a stupid question. You’re the expert, and it’s your responsibility to make sure they know what they’ll be paying and what they’re getting for their money. Discuss all the necessary logistics in advance, such as how long you’ll take, and when they should expect to not have access to gas or water, and be transparent if any issues arise.