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What does an apprentice cost?

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  • What does an apprentice cost?

    In the interest of planning for the future I am considering my options. Never having had an employee, per say, I am curious as to what is the best option for a fledgling company.

    I know that I need to call about at least two different insurances, liability, and workman's comp. What I don't know is, what else.

    Here I am trying to get this figured out so that I can make a more informed decision when the time comes, and was wondering if some on here wouldn't mind helping a brother out.

    What are the costs that I am not seeing?

    How much should I expect to have to make above and beyond, what I need to earn as an single man operation?

    What kind of pay structure do you use for an apprentice?

    What do you charge for an apprentice?

    Do you pay for the apprenticeship, or reimburse?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. If you are dead set against the idea, please tell me why.
    If I can't fix it, I will help you find a good plumber.

  • #2
    Re: What does an apprentice cost?

    Master..........where are you finding these helpers??? We run about 5-8 calls a day, there is no way i could do that many calls without a good helper! my helper helps me out so so much!

    We employ a licensed apprentice plumber full time for about 8 months now. He pays to renew his apprenticeship card every year which is about $15.00 a year. I have to pay for his workmans comp, which is about $800.00 a year. We have to take out payroll tax each week out of his check and pay taxes on payroll at the end of each month. He shows up every day on time and ready to work! He takes his job very serious and knows that this is an opportunity of a life time that someone is willing to have the patience to train him! He grosses about $18,000.00 a year. But the return investment that we get from doing more jobs offsets his wages tremendously.
    Last edited by jhplumbing; 03-14-2011, 09:30 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What does an apprentice cost?

      not sure what a union apprentices wages are right now, but when i started full time is 1981, a journeyman was at 16.85 an hour and 1st years apprentice was at 30% of that.

      every year there was a raise if you had the hours. 4 years of top schooling.

      not sure what's the current wage scale, but you can't buy the education a union apprentice gets.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What does an apprentice cost?

        Master.......he makes a bit more than $8.65 an hour! Some weeks we work 45 hours, some weeks are 35 hours it all depends. So far im happy with his progress and his effort

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What does an apprentice cost?

          I have the best apprentice in the world. I started him at $10.00/ hour and explained that I would work on a system to make us both more money. Here in Texas you can get the apprentice a drain cleaning card, and he can snake drains by himself. He has been with me 2.5 years and is making $20.00/hour plus 10% commission off of the labor portion that he works on snaking drains or if I have him dig holes for me or etc. We use preset pricing, so I don't have to worry about him gouging customers. I have also found other tricks. In some States, you don't have to be licensed to flush or service water heaters, or repair faucets. Check with your State and ask direct questions. I have found that this works for me and this apprentice. The cost though is tough to figure out, when starting out with any new employee. I have found over the years that if you are paying them $10.00/ hour, you better be billing someone $20-25/ hour for the helper. That is just to break even. That does not include all the b/s if you get a bad one. Listen to your gut. The biggest mistake any business owner can make is keeping someone that his hurting their business.
          "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What does an apprentice cost?

            Been there and done that with the employees (my father has).

            I'd much rather pay my cousin or best friend who are both Master Plumbers, $200.00 - $250.00 a day if I need the help, and build that price right into the job. When they need me for the day, I'm there and vice versa. Sometimes it works out that we are just working off the hours we both gave to each other, and no money changes hands.

            Not sure if I would ever hire a helper, as I just don't want the headaches associated with them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What does an apprentice cost?

              Plumber Rick is right. I have been non union and now union. I teach for Local 75 in Milwaukee and can tell you the training is 2nd to none. Now what the apprentice does with his training is up to them. Scale $37.00 an hour plus $8.05 health and $8.05 pension per hour worked. 1st year 40% of scale, 2nd yr 50%, 3rd yr 60%, 4th yr 70%, 5th yr 85%. Now I know this will irritate some of you but if you have not served an bonafide apprenticeship you should not have the right to call your self a plumber. Can you call yourself a Lawyer, Doctor or Engineer without the training and credentials to back it up?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                Originally posted by castlemanplmb View Post
                Plumber Rick is right. I have been non union and now union. I teach for Local 75 in Milwaukee and can tell you the training is 2nd to none. Now what the apprentice does with his training is up to them. Scale $37.00 an hour plus $8.05 health and $8.05 pension per hour worked. 1st year 40% of scale, 2nd yr 50%, 3rd yr 60%, 4th yr 70%, 5th yr 85%. Now I know this will irritate some of you but if you have not served an bonafide apprenticeship you should not have the right to call your self a plumber. Can you call yourself a Lawyer, Doctor or Engineer without the training and credentials to back it up?
                I agree with you on the training part, but my experience with unions has not been a good one. My dad was apart of the Local in Okc, for many years. When the economy tanked in the 80's, he was left out to dry. 4 kids, a wife and two dogs. He did teach me the Union ways from his apprenticeship and I will never forget it. I looked into joining the union in San diego, Ca. What I found was that depending on your State, the Union may or may not be a good thing. It looks like you live in WI. Probably a good union. NYC, Good unions (other than they will kill you for crossing the line in bad times) Tx, is Ok, but the union journeyman workers here make less than what they could make from an non-union shop. We are now seeing some progress in training though. You may be surprised, if you look around. There are several schools that will let non-union shops learn. One just opened up here in TX. My apprentice is going to take some classes. I do agree with you. I took the test in California, and it was a joke. 60 questions, multiple choice. Simple math formula's in English and Spanish. I didn't study but maybe 3 hours. I took half of the time allocated, after it was over a screen popped up and said you passed. I about fell out of the chair. I couldn't believe how easy it was. Oklahoma and TX. Tests were much harder.
                "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                  you can find that with both union and non union plumbers.

                  what he is stating and i agree is that a plumber is required to have a certain amount of formal classroom schooling in an accredited program.

                  i've volunteered on a trade school advisory committee for several year at a local trade jc college. their curriculum is not real world plumbing from my experience.

                  right now our local unions are 5 year apprenticeships with school every other week for a full day.

                  when i went it was 4 years 2 times a week for 3 hours each night.

                  unless the non union schools have a minimum amount of hours, they're not meeting the state standards. problem is no body is enforcing the law and seems like anyone can call themselves an apprentice, or a plumber.

                  the state and the trade has to be held to a higher standard to ensure that a plumber is truly a plumber with the required classroom and field training.

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                    Originally posted by TheMaster
                    When I went to trade school(non union) it was 4 hrs a day and 5 days a week for 2 years. To graduate you had to pass the state journeyman test. I had 4 hours a day in the classroom and 4 hrs a day on the job training. I graduated after 1 year of trade schoool......no problem. Give me the code to be tested on and I'll pass any test you put in front of me....piece uh cake.
                    then realistically you didn't achieve the minimum required hours for our state standard. i rather doubt you got anywhere near the vast variety of courses we were required in the 4 years. we had 2 different courses per semester for 4 years. that's 16 different courses over 4 years. not to mention the 4 years in the field under the direct supervision on a journeyman plumber/ crew during that period.

                    the purpose is to give you a vast variety of jobs/ task. not just 1 part of the trade. very similar to a medical school student that gets well rounded and then goes off into a specialty field.

                    my wife can pass the state journeyman's and contractors test with a 2 day crash course. doesn't make her a plumber.

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                      Originally posted by TheMaster
                      So 6 years of direct supervision apprenticeship and a year of trade school 4 hrs a day 5 days a week ....wouldn't be enough for me to qualify to take the california plumbing test for a journeyman plumber??? Ok sure....whatever.

                      I could go from state to state and line up idiots with a plumbing license....you dont hafta be too bright to get a license for plumbing. And yes that includes California. Plumbing is simple.....I can build homes from the ground up and have Rick every once and a while the rules dont apply....I'm a natural at construction. I built a 16 wide x 10' high half pipe when I was 13...a professional at the time named Ray Underhill skated it several times and was amazed a kid built it. Construction of homes and small structures does not impress me.....any of it.
                      there's a term used in construction plumbing.

                      dingbat and class a. there's more to plumbing than a dingbat/house.

                      even 4 years of specialized union trade school didn't expose me to every aspect of the trades. certainly 1 year of 4 hour days doesn't even come close to what we were exposed to.

                      part of the apprenticeship was to move the apprentice around to different shops or jobs based on the type of work they were exposed to. everything from dingbat, commercial, industrial, hospitals, high rise, service, ect.
                      of course in reality a shop is not going to let you go if you're doing good and there's work. but if you serve your entire apprenticeship in just 1 sector of plumbing, then what happens when you try to go out on your own and haven't a clue to the rest of the plumbing world.

                      granted i haven't worked at a nuke plant, but i have been exposed to just about every type of building out there. some for real plumbing and some for drain cleaning.

                      4 hours a day for 1 year still doesn't not meet our state standard for apprenticeship training. the hours don't add up. now enforcement for licensing is another story.


                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                        WOW! I knew that would get heated. In my experience, Which I have tested and worked in 3 States. First in Oklahoma,Plumbing apprentice card when I was 12 (don't ask) Plumbing contractor in 1996. Then in California 1999. Then in Texas 2003-present. I have to say, Every State is different. Texas has been the Hardest for me, So I will put the current requirements up, but then explain the exclusion, which some would say is not fair.

                        You have to be an apprentice for four years. You can get a Drain cleaning license, which allows you to only snake drains through approved cleanouts. You can't change cartridges, Disposals, Remove P-traps or anything else. This means that you work directly under a Master Plumber. You can work with a journeyman that is also under the same Master plumber. You cannot go to any job by yourself other than to snake a drain without removing the p-trap. After 4 years, you can go down and be intimidated over a few days of testing. If you pass, then you have to be a Journeyman for 4 years, then you can go and take your Master Plumber's Test (2 day test). It takes 8 years from start to finish, They also require 40 hours of class time through an approved class (not just a cpe class).

                        Now for the Questions?

                        Does anyone know what the California Rules are?
                        Does anyone know how long it takes to apprentice to become a journeyman in California?
                        "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                          Fortunately, Bona fide apprenticeship doesn't means Union programs are the only way to go. I learnt this trade from my father since I was a kid and went to a 4 year "Non Union" school for the "theory" part of my apprenticeship, as there was no hands on at all.

                          No Plumbing school today could teach me anything new, that I don't already know now.

                          Going to Plumbing school was nice for theory only and I did learn a lot on that side of things.

                          But being book smart in Plumbing theory, and applying what you learnt from that book is 2 different things.

                          The best teacher and the person who made me into the Plumber I am today is my father...not a school. Hands on training in the field beats any school in the Nation, except for the school of hard knocks!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                            Originally posted by Plumbingbyjay View Post
                            WOW! I knew that would get heated. In my experience, Which I have tested and worked in 3 States. First in Oklahoma,Plumbing apprentice card when I was 12 (don't ask) Plumbing contractor in 1996. Then in California 1999. Then in Texas 2003-present. I have to say, Every State is different. Texas has been the Hardest for me, So I will put the current requirements up, but then explain the exclusion, which some would say is not fair.

                            You have to be an apprentice for four years. You can get a Drain cleaning license, which allows you to only snake drains through approved cleanouts. You can't change cartridges, Disposals, Remove P-traps or anything else. This means that you work directly under a Master Plumber. You can work with a journeyman that is also under the same Master plumber. You cannot go to any job by yourself other than to snake a drain without removing the p-trap. After 4 years, you can go down and be intimidated over a few days of testing. If you pass, then you have to be a Journeyman for 4 years, then you can go and take your Master Plumber's Test (2 day test). It takes 8 years from start to finish, They also require 40 hours of class time through an approved class (not just a cpe class).

                            Now for the Questions?

                            Does anyone know what the California Rules are?
                            Does anyone know how long it takes to apprentice to become a journeyman in California?
                            this site shows all the trades and i highlighted plumber. union site and requirements

                            http://calapprenticeship.org/program...enticeship.php

                            5 years, 1080 classroom hours and 9000 hours on the job training.

                            rick.
                            Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 03-25-2011, 12:43 AM.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What does an apprentice cost?

                              What I am referring too, is that anyone can move to California with no experience and start driving around in a truck by themselves to do plumbing as long as one person in the company holds the license. I was not specifically referring to the Union. Sorry for the confusion. When I moved to San diego on dec. 1, 1999. I went to work for a company that had 30 employees that they called journeyman. Only 2 or 3 were licensed. This was foreign to me. In Oklahoma and Texas apprentices are not journeyman and journeyman must have a State license. I was in a truck by myself after a week. The only thing they went off of was my experience. I was horrified. I opened my own company after a few months, because I was tired of dealing with all of the Know it alls that knew nothing. When the owner found out that I really knew what I was doing, I started doing call backs for some of the other guys. The things I saw SHOCKED ME. When one of the drain guys came back all soaking wet, and said that he couldn't clear the blockage because of all the water, and the boss went out and looked to find that he had somehow undone a water main for a neighborhood and ran 100 foot of cable up the water line. I WAS DONE. When I opened my own, it was very difficult to find good help. Everyone was an expert on paper, but had no experience. This is the main reason my Company today in Texas is called Plumbing by Jay, Inc. I don't know everything, but I study hard and am a good teacher. I do have a full time apprentice and one part time high school student apprentice. After 3 years of working side by side with me it is hard for me to distinguish my work from my apprentice's. We use our cab time to discuss situations, I have had him lay out jobs in the floor. Size gas lines, DFU charts, etc. Now, I have him doing some estimates on his own (no license for this), I then review and we send them out to the customer. I want my business to be The Master and then Copies, just like in the beginning days of Plumbing and Artists. If one day, one of these apprentices owns their own company, I hope they do the same thing but better than I did.
                              "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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