Engaging in a plumbing business entails several benefits to you. It means you are your own boss, and you have control over your time. Your business though does not get established overnight. There are preparations that need to be undertaken and requirements that need to be complied.
Becoming a certified plumbing contractor is a viable business. Residences, other companies, restaurants, and schools require the services of a plumbing contractor, such as installation and repair of water and gas pipes, and replacement of plumbing fixtures.
Several contractors already exist, like the Spartan home services. Competition is real in the plumbing business. If you are planning to venture into this business, then you have to start now. Here are a few steps in becoming a certified plumbing contractor:
Start with your education
As you plan to become a plumbing contractor, you have to make sure that you get to finish high school first and obtain your diploma or an equivalent. Completing at least your high school education sets your foundation in the industry.
As a plumber, you need the basic to advanced knowledge in these fields:
- Units of measurement
Apart from your high school education, it is a must that you keep your public record clean. Here are the areas that you must also take good care of:
- Driving record- you must not have reckless driving violations
- You must have no convictions of any felony
- Pass drug tests
You are likely to get future clients if you have kept your record excellent and clean.
Develop your skill by enrolling in technical courses
Even if you already have the basic knowledge, you need to become experienced and knowledgeable about all aspects of plumbing and running a business. You need to enroll in plumbing courses. The total number of hours required to become a licensed plumber may vary depending on the state and city requirements.
Check the training institutions in your area to gather information regarding the plumbing programs offered by these schools. These are the few common topics that will be tackled:
- Local plumbing codes
- Cutting and soldering of pipes
- Venting and draining
- Water heating systems
Be an apprentice
Before you become a seasoned plumber, you need to accept that there are others who have gone way ahead of you. Seek out the best plumbers in your area and learn from them.
Apprenticeship programs could be sponsored by local trade unions, contractors, or companies. The school where you will be getting your technical training from may also have an apprenticeship. If they don’t have one, then there is a greater chance that they have information as to where you can acquire the opportunity to apprentice somewhere else.
During your apprenticeship, you will be working alongside an experienced plumber for a required number of hours to learn the trade. The program may take you up 2 to 5 years to finish. The common things that you will be learning on your apprenticeship are:
- Blueprint reading
- Safety practices
Make sure to focus and do well on your apprenticeship as this is a vital part of your formative stage in becoming a licensed plumber.
Pass the examinations
There will be two types of exams that you need to hurdle before obtaining your plumbing contractor license. You need to get your plumbing license first and be considered a licensed journeyman plumber.
If you are already a licensed journeyman plumber, you can do plumbing contractual works on your own without the guidance of another licensed plumber. How will you obtain your plumbing license?
- Pay the applicable fees
- Submit the requirements to your state licensing agency
- Pass the test
It will take 1-5 years of documented practice in the plumbing industry in order to qualify when applying for the “master plumber license.” In order to get this license, you need to submit additional requirements and pass further examinations. The requirements vary in each state.
Apply for a contractor’s license
In preparation for getting a contractor’s license, you may want to take some preparatory courses offered by training schools around you. In doing so, you will be prepared to take the exams for your license. The exam may include building codes and business law.
Just like your plumbing license, you need to pay an application fee. Also, as this is an upgrade, you might be required to take continuing education courses. Renewal of a plumbing contractor’s license is done annually.
Get a Business Degree
This is not among the required steps in becoming a certified plumbing contractor, but this is an add-on which is beneficial to a would-be contractor like you. Managing any business can be a daunting task. It pays off to have an advanced skill in navigating through the business world.
As a contractor, you can own the whole operation of your plumbing business, or you can subcontract some jobs to other licensed plumbers. Whichever of the two you will be doing, it requires good managing skills which are expected from an owner like you.
Clients tend to be loyal to contractors who not only know how to do their job but also know how to value their relationship with their customers. They want seamless communication with you, done in a professional manner.
To recap, before you become a certified plumbing contractor, you must finish an educational or training program and the required number of hours in apprenticeship first. After such, you need to get your plumbing license and practice as a plumber journeyman for about 2-5 years in order to qualify before getting the license of a master plumber. It takes approximately 7-11 years for you to become a licensed Master plumbing contractor and two years of this training must be as a Journeyman Plumber.
The journey towards it may be long, but it will be worth the extra effort and hard work. Learn as much as you can along the process and be as successful as you can be at the right time. As you do your work diligently as a licensed plumber, your clients will remember you. Keep this in mind, you are already growing your clientele even if you are not a contractor yet.