7 Ways to earn money as a plumber

If you know your way around pipes, read this guide to start earning with your skills.

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If you’re in the plumbing trade—whether as an aspiring plumber, an apprentice, or a highly experienced plumber—there are various ideas you can explore to supplement your income. You want to know if plumbers can make good money, what the industry demand is, or how you can go beyond the usual services.

Here, we’ll discuss the basics, including average salary and requirements, and provide you with some ideas on how to make more money as a plumber.

Is plumbing a good career?

You can earn a fair income as a plumber—the average plumber salary in the UK is £30,126 annually, though it also depends on your experience level and where you practise. 

However, are plumbers in demand? Plumbing can be a rewarding career as it sees high demand. Apart from being a perennial service, other factors—such as fewer younger plumbers and skilled workers, and limited availability of training programs—contribute to higher demand for plumbing.

How to become a plumber

plumber working on pipes

The traditional route to becoming a plumber typically involves an apprenticeship. But, what other qualifications do you need? While there are no formal licences needed in order to carry out plumbing work, you can enter the trade through the following:

  • College: You’ll need to complete your secondary education to qualify for a college course, such as a diploma in plumbing.

  • Apprenticeship: You can apply for an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship (these require GCSEs, like English and maths) and this can take up to four years.

  • Work experience: You can apply to become a plumber’s assistant or mate and do on-the-job training. However, this also requires GCSEs, and you must register with the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).

  • Fast-track plumbing courses: You can also take short courses that provide training as a plumber. Typically, these only take about eight to 10 weeks to complete.

Ways to earn more as a plumber

With the right tools and strategies, you can give your income as a plumber a significant boost. This also depends on where you are in your career. We’ll begin with some tips for those who are just starting out, then discuss ways to maximise your revenue—including starting and growing your plumbing business.

1. Choose a specialisation

As a plumber, there are a few areas you can choose to specialise in: commercial, service and repair, residential, water supply, sanitary and drainage, hot water systems, and emergencies. The field you choose can have a significant impact on the revenue you make. 

copper plated pipes

For instance, commercial plumbing—which deals with businesses, high-rise buildings, and public spaces—provides many growth opportunities with sustained demand. Meanwhile, residential plumbing continues to see high demand.

2. Upskill constantly

Regardless of your experience, consider it a must to keep studying your trade to provide high-quality services that set you apart from competitors.

Participate in training or self-study new techniques and skills. Try to be well-versed in technology that will help your trade. You may also look beyond plumbing to broaden your skillset. For instance, you can explore niches like construction management or water conservation to fill these specialised needs, or study people management to attain leadership roles within your company.

3. Be equipped with materials

Consider investing in quality tools and equipment to help you provide better services. Always ensure you have all the tools you need to finish a job to minimise downtime or time spent searching stores for materials. Not only will you be able to use your hours efficiently, but it will also earn you points with your clients.

4. Grow your client base

The best way to advertise your services is through testimonials of satisfied clients. Leverage the power of referrals and networking to grow your connections. Set up a loyalty system—for example, you can grant discounts on your services to clients who make successful referrals.

pair of trusted plumbers

Also, you can advertise your services through traditional means like giving out flyers or putting up posters. Finally, ensure your business is easily visible to clients near you by creating a Google My Business page—you can urge your clients to post reviews.

5. Offer other discounts or promotions

There are various strategies you can adopt to promote your plumbing services—you just have to be creative. For example, you can give new customers a 10% discount. Or, while running a job, you can provide additional services like a water quality test or heat inspection free of charge. Not only will you make a good impression on your clients, but it will also set up opportunities to provide additional services. 

6. Market your services online

You’ll want to be sure any potential clients can find you easily when they search online. In addition to a Google My Business page, consider establishing a presence on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube, or advertising your services on sites like Airtasker. Build a website that accurately represents your plumbing business and all the services you offer. 

These strategies will not only increase your leads, but they will also build awareness around your brand and lead you to more potential opportunities.

7. Add special products or services

Apart from providing full-service plumbing, look for services or products that could benefit your clients while setting you apart from other plumbing companies. 

plumber installing a heating system

For instance, companies might offer leak detection or repair, but you’ll want to offer both services to provide the complete package. You might also want to throw in cleaning services for every repair job.

Additionally, stay up to date on products or technology that you can offer clients on top of your usual services. For example, while working on a residential job, tell your clients about a product that could solve their problems and help them cut costs.

Boost your revenue as a plumber

Whatever stage you are in your plumbing career, keep in mind that the best way to grow your income is to actively add value to the services you provide. Consider applying the ideas listed above—find special products or services, grow your network, and find tasks on Airtasker to reach more clients.

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Frequently asked questions

It can take years to learn and master the trade, but it will generally take you one to two years to complete the qualifications. Meanwhile, an apprenticeship can last anywhere between two to five years.

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