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so why a plumber?

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  • so why a plumber?

    what was the motivating reason to enter into a career in plumbing

    mrs. seat down wants to know

    was i the only one to live, sleep, breath and eat plumbing

    i started with my uncle who lived a few blocks away during the summer when i was 12 1/2. then after graduating from high school at 18, i entered into a formal apprenticeship doing new construction plumbing.

    why plumbing, and how did you get started

    mrs. seat down is curious. is it just me or do we all breath plumbing

    thanks, rick.

    ps. our wedding was based on a plumbing theme.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: so why a plumber?

    We were poor growing up so my Dad did his own plumbing and taught me along with him. After high school started in commercial HVAC because I answered an ad in the paper. After 2 years, I was burnt out working 80 hr weeks.

    Met a guy while doing Habitat for Humanity whose son was a Seabee and told me all about it. It sounded great so I quit and joined the Navy. After I was in for about 6 months I went back home and met that guy's son. Turned out the "seabee" was an officer; so his perspective was slightly different. I do plumbing and HVAC in the Navy so getting a 2nd job doing the same thing was an easy deal.

    In short, I'm where I'm at in life because I answered an ad in the paper.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.


    • #3
      Re: so why a plumber?

      Like a lot of us baby boomers , I was always brought up with knowing once your 18 you gotta go or pay rent . I"m from Chicago , and plumbing is a well respected trade . Someone told me once you are a licensed plumber you can work anywhere in the world . So I joined the Air Force at 17 as a plumber apprentice and have never looked back . Fast forward 25 years , here I am . As for the person who suggested as a kid I become a plumber , well , once or twice I wanted to punch him in the nose , but mostly it"s bein the best advice of my life


      • #4
        Re: so why a plumber?

        Well, where should I begin. Mom and Dad divorced when I was 8. Mom was a fruit loop . Dad wasn't much of a family man. My older brother left home at 16. He started working for a medal and pipe supply company. Fast forward 8 years, after working for my Dad in a parts warehouse, on commercial fishing boats, waitering and a couple other interesting jobs. I was speaking with my older brother when he suggested I become a plumber. I thought it over and answered an add. I new after two weeks that this is what I would do in some capacity or another for the rest of my life. Since going into the field. I have hired or helped train my two brothers, while working for prior employers. I currently own and operate my own shop and so does my older brother. My younger brother works for me. I am sure he will open his own shop as well someday. My Father Died about two years ago and said on his death bed he wished he had become a plumber. I have a different out look on this field then some. Plumbing has afforded me the opportunity to do wonderful things. Spend time with family, have a good living, help other family and friends. There are other businesses I plan on opening in the future. But I will always be a plumber.


        • #5
          Re: so why a plumber?

          I am the youngest of 7 children so the family college fund dried up right before my turn came. Started doing service plumbing working mostly in the ghetto of Wash. D.C. Working for people that didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out. No matter how bad I screwed it up it was still better than when I got there. The first 5 years were brutal but it was the best learning expierence I could have had. (except for the occasional gunpoint robbery) This city is booming big time now so I no longer have to work on that side of the river. I still do alot of work for Habitat For Humanity in the hood but thier jobsites still get broken into all the time and I hate losing my tools and materials. Overall I have to say plumbing has been very very good to me.

          P.S. 25 years later and I'm still not convinced I want to be a plumber
          Last edited by plumberscrack; 06-18-2007, 03:38 PM.


          • #6
            Re: so why a plumber?

            Why Plumbing? There's no real reason behind it.

            How did I start? I was friends with a kid up the street, and one day I went to his house and he had a nice place, with a pool, plenty of land, machines everywhere, corvettes, and speed boats, I was amazed. Then the kids dad said, want you earn some money? Me, being a broke teenager I jumped on it, and started out cleaning the machines and greasing them. I did my fair share of time installing septic systems of all sorts. But, he also owned a indoor plumbing truck, that strictly did indoor work. Some days where the septic crew was slow, I worked with the owners oldest son, who ran the indoor truck. We grew pretty close and after that the rest is history... I started when I was 14ish at $5 an hour which ended up being around $300 a week cash.
            Proud To Be Union!!


            • #7
              Re: so why a plumber?

              Fate and a simple matter of economics.Plumbing came to me.Guy hired me as a teenager and let me run with as much responsibility as would make him money.I love the challenge.

              I wonder what kind of electrician I would have made


              • #8
                Re: so why a plumber?

                I worked in a plumbing supply house from 16-20 (dropped out of school in 8th grade, took GED and business/criminal law classes at night), I learned all my plumbing parts, I also used to go out on jobs with the plumbers for fun,when I came out to cali to become an actor, got my SAG card here and became fed up with everyones attitudes in the industry, while I was working as an actor, I was also working at a local plumbing company as an (accounts payable, office manager) A buddy of mine asked me to come out with him on a job, it was a sewer dig, world war two trench across the yard he left me there but I was able to get the laborers to dig, then I removed the pipe, installed new ABS to fall and used the other parts he left me, that was my first real job by myself, after that I found out if I was going to do the job right and get it done promply, I needed to have the right tools, so I purchased about 5,000 in my first 3 months, after that I decided I needed a camera, main line and a k/s machine after that I had no choice, I started plumbing and now I breath it and live it 24/7, can't imagine doing anything else in life, constantly looking for new challenges in the field to expand my knowledge and skill levels
                Last edited by westcoastplumber; 06-18-2007, 10:08 PM.



                • #9
                  Re: so why a plumber?

                  I spent all of Junior High and High School years thinking I wanted to be a printer. I took all of the print production classes and I was even on the District’s payroll after hours. When I graduated from High School I could not get a job printing but was offered a job working in a warehouse. During lunch we would talk about how hard it was to get a Union Plumbing job but it still peaked my interest. While trying to get into the Plumber’s Union I ended up in the Sheet Metal Workers Union working in an HVAC shop.

                  After a few years in HVAC I realized we worked overtime during the summers and worked ever other week during the winter. I soon took a position as the working head of the Plumbing/HVAC division of a large construction company. I pretty much had to teach myself whatever plumbing I needed to know while I was running the crews. I’ve always had a decent thirst for knowledge and I had learned pipe fitting skills while doing HVAC. My first project I used a San-Tee where I should have used a Wye and a 1/8 bend and I got called on it. I spent the next couple of weeks reading the 76 UPC from cover to cover. By 1980 I took and passed my Contractor’s test and opened my own shop.

                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!


                  • #10
                    Re: so why a plumber?

                    I first became interested in the early 90's as a student at Oregon St. University. I was working for the univ. greenhouses and became involved with a lot of steam pipe fitting, pneumatic controls and running water lines for eyewash stations.

                    After leaving school I thought, for some reason, that all I knew was the greenhouse buisness and how to grow plants. I ended up in Washington at a high end nursery growing plants, but still was the one to volunteer to do the HVC and Plumbing repairs. I left there suddenly over a wage dispute, I thought I was worth more than 12.50/hr.

                    I answered an add for a plumber trainee and started from there. Eventually got my journeyman's in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Now have my own shop in southern Oregon.


                    • #11
                      Re: so why a plumber?

                      I started my construction career in plumbing. The gas station in Fla my Dad & I owned had trouble with our supplier, so we decided to close. One of our accounts was a plumbing outfit,the owner, hearing that we were closing, asked me to join his company. I guess he saw how hard working I was....

                      Any how, after a year of working for him, he opened a 15,000 sqft show room (his wife's idea) in the boon docks nonetheless. Needless to say, it was too much, too early for this small company and layoffs soon followed.

                      A friend of mine from college lived in MD, (he stayed with us for vacations) and called me one day to see how things were going. Through our convo, he said his company, an HVAC & plumbing outfit, family owned and small at the time, had just signed a contract to build a retirement community and hospital in D.C., they had gotten the contracts for both plumbing & heating and were dying for help. The project was to take about five years.

                      Off I went, spent the first year doing plumbing ground works, then the sheet metal side needed desperate help to catch up to the time frame one week end. I needed the over time, figured how hard could it be and agreed to help.

                      I never looked back, stayed in HVAC from then on for the next 15 years.
                      Last edited by grumpynik; 06-19-2007, 06:52 PM.