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Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

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  • Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

    Hi guys have a couple questions. I'm in the IT field but plan on getting out due to being laid off one too many times due to outsourcing. I went to the local plumbers union hall and filled out an application for apprenticeship.

    My question is what is the employment outlook for plumbers and electricians in the next coming decade? I ask this because home builders are not going to be building as much homes as they used to. I live in Southern California and with all the illegals who I heard are doing plumbing work w/o licence or even proper training (homegrown outsourcing). Will the market dry up for plumbers?

    I am not afraid to get my hands dirty did Auto Shop I-III, masonry, woodshop I-II in high school and a HVAC course in college. Another thing is concerning me is my age am I too old at 27y.o. almost 28y.o., to be getting into this field? I see guys here a little older that me with many years of experience. Comments are appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

    You seem to have the most training in HVAC why not go with that? You can walk into a plumbing supply house and buy anything without a license, try that at an HVAC supply house. See where this is going?
    Personally I would say that if you are good in your present field your earnings potential is far greater than you could expect from plumbing unless you work for yourself. I would also try IT consulting before I gave up my day job. BTW been in IT for 22 years.


    • #3
      Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

      if plumbing is your choice then thats good but if you have some hvac skills and did I T stuff then go into hvac service . there are a lot of new controls out there that is done by a computer and you have a good start in that .

      My seek the peek fundraiser page

      new work pictures 12/09


      • #4
        Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

        Great questions! Honestly, I think the plumbing trades are saturated right now and will only get much worse. With all the illegals and massive legal immgration with most of those low skilled, plumbing will only be getting more cutthroat. Already it seems like everybody is low balling each other.

        I keep pretty steady with my property management accounts but I just don't see a lot of growth. Honestly, if I lost a couple of my big accounts I would be dead.

        You might want to look into being a electrician, there's supposed to be a big demand for those guys in the future.

        BTW I'm talking about service work and not new construction.

        I should mention that I'm in the San Diego area and maybe things are different in other parts of the country.
        Last edited by TomSV650; 08-30-2007, 08:16 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

          If your in it you could go into the control side of havc i know johnson controls is always looking because there controls can do everything lighing,fire,remote motoning of boilers chillers. because our tech are3 backlogged with work jeff


          • #6
            Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

            The plumbing industry is hurting for intelligent hard working people. The above comments are by non-plumbers who feel they have and opinion, informed or not.
            None of them have a clue to the industry.
            the dog


            • #7
              Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

              "one can make a damn good living just calibrating these things."

              I can vouch for that. I spent 15 years doing nothing but pneumatic and electronic controls, pneumatic actuators, and other equipment in power plants. Not always the latest and greatest stuff, but you make more on the old stuff that breaks down all the time than a whiz-bang new-fangled contraption with plug-n-pray parts.

              This is an excellent field to get into with your background. Let them know at the Union Hall where you applied that you are interested in becoming a Controls Tech. There is a whole specialized field just in PLCs. Another in valve diagnostics and setup.

              Another thought might be to apply to the Utilities in your area, you will probably find that a good number of them are Union if that is the way you want to go, with both IBEW and UA locals if it is a combination Gas and Electric Utility.
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



              1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


              • #8
                Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                thanks for all the advice so far guys. i'm really appreciating the responses and taking notes. i'm thrill and excited about this new career if i get in the apprenticeship.

                i considered the HVAC route also but I got to thinking if it really came down to it which would people chose, a burnt out A/C unit or a backed up/clogged toilet or drain. as tieger said i can go from state to state with a UA plumbers card. Can I do the same with an HVAC card. this is going to be my career until i'm at least 55, 60 y.o.

                my dad who was a union journeyman carpenter for 25 years still does side jobs even at 57. i want longevity and security in a career. i know i will be backtracking in pay while i'm an apprentice but i'm in for the long run.


                • #9
                  Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                  Don't worry about the age thing.Not in the least.Stay aggressive on absorbing as much information as you can.And you can get to a reasonable wage in no time.It will take some time of course.But take your profession serious and you can take off like a rocket.

                  I am wondering if in your case you would consider the PHCC apprenticeship program.I have seen the product of one person who has gone through it and I consider him an extremely knowledgeble individual.

                  You do know about the current economy situation,not an easy time to try the trail your looking at.You can do it,but it is going to take a real effort on your part.

                  This trade is not going anywhere anytime soon.

                  Yes we have some issue's in the construction trades But every type of industry has it's problems.
                  But If you want to be a plumber keep your head on straight and you can make it.

                  I am very rewarded for having been chosen to be a plumber 23 yrs ago(he hired me)

                  Welcome to Forum,You have made an excellent decission to chose this as a resource.I joined in Feb. of this year.The guys here have helped me a lot with many issues.

                  It's your career we would like to see you make the best choice for yourself.So feel free to ask as many questions as you wish.

                  A lot of guys from So. Cal.,What area are you.Maybe we can get you hooked up with what your looking for?



                  • #10
                    Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                    Originally posted by Tieger plumbing
                    The Education you have is great and if you can get into the UA apprenticeship that is a great plus as when I received my UA Journeyman's card I was able to go to any state or even Canada and work on a union job with a class A card.

                    Your right about home builders as they are notorious for seeking the lowest bidder and prefab homes is not going to help the industry at all.

                    The best advice I can give is NYC local 1 just opened the books for apprentices starting off at $14 per hr and its a 5 year program possibly the same in California.

                    The real money starts once you get your masters license and you pick a well to do area keep far away from home builders and pick accounts that want quality regardless of price.

                    Believe me they are out there if you don't think so ask the Bentley or Rolls Royce dealers if they sell cars even if they are located next to a Ford or GMC dealer.

                    As a self employed Master plumber you can work basically the hours you want as your do not have to keep guys going the more people you have working for you the higher the insurance and less quality.

                    I am in this field since 1968 (not counting the 3 years in the Navy as a snipe) and I retired when I was 40 years old but became so bored I went back into plumbing and drain cleaning I dropped heating as I don't work week ends or nights.

                    Being self employed hiring part time mechanics as needed I know my net last year over $275,000 per year BUT to get to this stage in pricing one has to charge the right prices and most of all do a great job to maintain a loyal client base I have mine for over 30 years.

                    When everyone goes to new work you go to repair, when a franchise outfit opens up near you all you do is advertise you can beat any legitimate franchise plumbing company by 10%. After all you don't have a middle man to feed leaching off your skills or pay kick backs to the franchise to use their name.

                    Do not sell yourself short, when I did heating calls anything past 3:30 was double time any call on the week ends DOUBLE TIME people have more respect for you once they see you do not sell your skills cheap.

                    Even now I start at 9am first call and try to be home by 3 and very seldom work Fridays if I can get away.

                    One of the easiest ways to make money in this game is charge high and if you find someone willing to work cheap and they do a decent job and have insurance sub out work to them you normally would not do any how.

                    I had this guy who quit a Roto company and went out on his own and I was charging at that time $275 for a main sewer stoppage.

                    He told me he would do stoppages for $75 paid him the same day he did the job waited a few days to make sure everything was ok then send in my invoice for $275.00 plus tax. JUST make sure they have insurance as this way your not hit with it and do not try 1099 as the insurance companies want their split

                    There is always ways to make money in drain cleaning and even heating as many heating guys have no problem going out at night regular pay so why not help them as you keep your accounts happy. Let them work you collect, it worked for me for over 27 years and still going strong

                    The housing market is going to take a severe hit no doubt about it as the democrats love high taxes and give away programs and letting illegals grab all kinds of benefits so money to build middle class housing is going to dry up for a while.

                    Repair work is another story as folks who cannot afford to buy a new home rather fix up what they have until the market rebounds.

                    Rather then take a vacation some folks rather install a new bathroom / kitchen

                    For extra income once your get a license like a sheep skin proves you made the effort you can do expert witness cases and the money is unbelievable what law firms are willing to pay for liability law suits.

                    I make more in a day in court then a lot of plumbers make working a 80 hrs

                    Plumbing does not mean you have to get your hands dirty if you don't want to .

                    Once you get the licenses you can hire people, you can consult you can become an expert witness or even work for some big city like NYC offered me $87,000 per year to be chief supervisor of mechanical installations in 1983. (not enough to even consider)

                    When I was asked to be on the presidents commission on housing the very first world out of my mouth was how much does it pay?

                    It all depends on you not so much the market.

                    When there is a lot of unemployment like under Jimmy Carter repair plumbers makes out like bandits as the new construction guys do not know how to repair or service a boiler or AC units or clean a sewer or drain

                    when money is tight people still need to fix busted pipes, gas leaks and stoppages.

                    If HELLery Clinton gets in watch how the taxes will soar and non licensed contractors will rule construction but people who have expensive homes want to maintain them so there will be great opportunities for the most qualified mechanics to keep working at a high standard of living.

                    As LMP's we can specialize as I once did medical gas installations and installed an autopsy table at a local hospital or we can go into heating and fire suppression systems or do commercial , residential, institutional and industrial like slurry pump installations and acid waste piping.

                    The Masters license is just a key I was told and it how you use it or abuse it that tells all.

                    There are low lives that have a master plumbers license that cover non licensed folks and although it is illegal it is not uncommon to hear about a guy paying upwards of $25,000 to cover a housing complex and never even visiting the site to see whats going on.

                    A lot of retired plumbers moved to Florida kept their licenses and covered guys by FED EX the permits receiving several thousand a month in income.

                    There are guys staving working 80 hr weeks and cant seem to make ends meet with licenses as they feel obligated to charge less money then the illegals are making and cant even think about retiring.

                    Good luck and there are a lot of places that need talented plumbers as many plumbers in my old local went to Alaska to work on the oil lines as plumbers who went through the apprenticeship if they wanted could become certified welders as welding was given along with the medical brazing class.

                    You have so many options in this field its really amazing and very rewarding if your not afraid to charge for your skills.

                    Good luck and if you want you can send me an E mail and I will sign you up on my plumbers discussion list where I have folks from all over the world on it and you can hook up a job in Australia or talk to guys in your area.

                    There were job openings for journeymen plumbers in the state department working in embassies in other countries which is another option if you like to travel and get money with no taxes taken out BUT I think its a two or three year thing you can renew

                    A plumbing license sure cant hurt you it just gives you options
                    Oh boy we get to read your political views too, next!


                    • #11
                      Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                      I have to follow my passion . It happens to be building and repairing plumbing systems . If I didn't LOVE it , it would never work for more than a short time . If your passion is flipping burgers , do it . You will
                      always survive if you're one of the BEST flippers .


                      • #12
                        Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                        Originally posted by jaco View Post
                        Oh boy we get to read your political views too, next!
                        i know what your saying jaco, teiger get to the point and stop writing books we don't care .
                        Last edited by HVAC HAWK; 09-01-2007, 09:59 PM.

                        My seek the peek fundraiser page


                        new work pictures 12/09


                        • #13
                          Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                          I am 28 and from what I can tell in my area is that we have a hard time finding anyone under 50 who can show up everyday on time and wants to work. I am just learning as much as possible from the old timers, when they retire the market is going to be wide open. We do commercial only though.

                          On a side note, I was an IT/Programmer before I got into plumbing. I still write programs in my spare time in C# and .net

                          From the Department of Labor.
                          "Job opportunities are expected to be excellent, as demand for skilled pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is expected to outpace the supply of workers trained in this craft. Many employers report difficulty finding potential workers with the right qualifications. In addition, many people currently working in these trades are expected to retire over the next 10 years, which will create additional job openings."


                          • #14
                            Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                            Hi Bayley, WELCOME!
                            A few years back I started dabbling in learning C++.
                            I was a nerd in school as a kid, back then it was basic programming which was very limited and simple.
                            I got curious to see how far programming has come since then and man..OOP is unreal!
                            I'm wondering whether learning C# / .NET is worthwhile, or if it's yet another Bill Gates attempt to crack the industry thats destined to be another J++.
                            I'm not silly enough to think that I'd ever make any money programming, but it really is interesting to observe as new technology emerges.


                            • #15
                              Re: Plumbing Employment Outlook 2007 and beyond??

                              I have done C++ programming also. My work is primarily networking Unix variants, FreeBSD, HP, Solaris. I see you are in Georgia, here in California there is such an abundance of people competition is fierce to get into a lot of fields. Maybe some of the experts here from California might want to chime in on finding good and reliable help.