Demand and pay for plumbers are rising, meaning there are likely going to be many people considering entering the profession sooner rather than later. If you are one of those people on the fence about becoming a plumber or are just getting your education started, the chances are that one of your pivotal early experiences is going to be at a plumbing trade school. These schools and their equivalent programs teach you some of the base theories of plumbing and give you the skills you need to land that important apprenticeship.
Of course, if plumbing school gave you all the information you needed, apprenticeships wouldn’t exist. So, here are some facts that may not make it on a plumbing school curriculum but are well worth your time to learn.
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Interacting With Customers
In every industry, there’s going to be a set of relevant “soft skills” that you want to master in some capacity. These are generally interpersonal skills that help you in the workplace, “people skills.” Being able to interact with your customers as well as your clients is a key part of trade work that a lot of people miss, to their later regret. For example, your typical residential plumber is going to likely be on the phone with a customer to understand the nature of their issue, then talk to them in person when they first arrive, while working, and afterward to handle the payment.
Having good people skills is important for multiple reasons. For one thing, being able to communicate well helps you get critical information that lets you do your job more efficiently and effectively. Second, a customer judges your business not just by the quality of service but the quality of experience. If a customer perceives you as rude, they may not work with you again, or worse, leave up a negative review. A plumber may not need to be as friendly as, say, a concierge, but people skills matter.
Managing Your Tools
The chances are that as a part of your plumbing school education, you’ll be informed on the basic tools that you need to use on a regular basis as well as how to use them. However, when you first step on the job at your internship, it’s important that you already have some of the essentials in hand. Key examples that any starter plumber will want to have on hand are:
Of course, depending on your specialty, you may need to bring additional tools as well. Just follow guidance both from your schooling and practical experience. Over time, you may notice a specific tool that the plumber you are working under uses a lot that you weren’t aware of. Be sure to make a note of this so you can buy your own. Also, when we talk about buying plumbing tools as a newcomer, buying cheap tends to mean buying twice. While financial barriers can be a thing, it pays to buy the highest quality options you can find, especially for items like those mentioned above. These see a lot of use and will be the first to fail you if you look for a cheap option.
The point of being a plumbing apprentice is to learn from an expert as they are working. You don’t want to waste this opportunity, and that means asking as many questions as you can. As a plumbing trade school student, your inquisitive nature was generally a benefit. That carries onto those early stages. Just be sure to time your questioning appropriately. Asking your mentor something unrelated while they are in the middle of a complex task may not be the best time to do so. One of the tips that many veteran plumbers give to their charges is to never stop learning while also always retaining what they’ve learned. It’s better to ask a question that may seem silly rather than having to fix a mistake later on.
Always Keep Busy
As a newcomer to the business, you’re not just making money as a plumber, but also connections that could serve you well in the future. Making a good impression with your master plumber could mean a potential opportunity later on. As a result, it’s okay to be a novice, but you still want to make a good impression. One of the worst things you can do is relax or be on your phone because your immediate task is complete. Always ask if there is something more that you can do. This works to your benefit in multiple ways. Not only does it show how hardworking and proactive you are, but it also gives you the chance to learn a new skill or fact.
How To Use Project Management Software in Plumbing Trade School
To be fair, this last point is something that would be rather difficult to teach in a plumbing trade school setting. After all, while plumbing practices may run from some basic principles, any sort of software is rapidly evolving. However, if you plan on becoming a plumber, it’s best that you familiarize yourself with this type of technology as soon as possible. Any plumbing company worth its salt is going to be using these to help track employees and equipment, as well as for gathering financial data. If you want to start your own business, it will be even more essential for you to master these tools as part of your plumber training.
Equally important is making sure that you choose the right project management software fit for your plumbing business, whether you are an employee or founder. The ideal fit you want is eSUB. Not only is it invaluable for gathering the data that you need for business decisions, but we also offer it as a modular product. This means that you can only purchase the components that you need when starting out with us.