A plumber is an adventurer who traces leaky pipes to their source.

Arthur Baer, Journalist

Pros and Cons of Working as a Plumber

advantages and disadvantages of being a plumber

You think about starting a career as a plumber but are not entirely sure whether this is the right career path for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a plumber in the following article.

Plumber Job Profile

Job DescriptionPlumbers install, maintain and fix systems for sewage, drainage and potable water for private people or also for public infrastructure companies.
Salary$58,000 per year on average, most plumbers make between $47,000 and $66,000 per year.
Job SecurityGood since good plumbers are in high demand and there is a plumber shortage in many regions.
Job SatisfactionRather poor since you will have to do exhausting physical work on a regular basis.
Work-Life BalanceDecent since you will have free weekends and holidays and also don’t have to work at nighttime.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Physically demanding job.
Future OutlookDecent since good plumbers will always be needed and many people no longer want to do this job.
RequirementsA high school diploma will often be enough to start an apprenticeship as a plumber.

Advantages of Being a Plumber

  1. Plumbers can work rather independently
  2. You don’t need a college degree for becoming a plumber
  3. Plumbers don’t work many extra hours
  4. Plumbers don’t have to work at nighttime
  5. You have free holidays and weekends as a plumber
  6. You have a good work-life balance in general
  7. Plumbers can make decent money
  8. You can make extra money if you are willing to do additional jobs
  9. Working as a plumber can also help you in your private life
  10. You can start your own plumbing business
  11. Plumbers can start side hustles
  12. You can avoid classical office work
  13. You will stay fit as a plumber
  14. No need to go to the gym
  15. You are important to keep our system running
  16. Plumbers have decent job security
  17. Good future job prospects

Plumbers can work rather independently

One advantage of being a plumber is that you can work rather independently.

Even if you work for a plumbing company and are not self-employed, you will have plenty of freedom regarding how you want to do your work as long as you deliver good results.

Quite often, you will be the only worker at a client’s home and this means that you will have no boss who will be looking you over the shoulder all day long like in many other professions.

Hence, if you need a high level of freedom at work to deliver the best performance and to stay happy in the long run, a career as a plumber can make quite a lot of sense for you in this regard.

You don’t need a college degree for becoming a plumber

You will also not need any fancy education as a plumber.

Many plumbing companies accept people who just finished high school and don’t have a college degree.

In fact, it is much more important to be interested in the field of plumbing and that you are also willing to work hard and to learn on the job instead of just studying in books in theory.

Hence, also if you don’t have a degree, you can still apply for a job as a plumber and with a little bit of luck, you will find a company that will be willing to employ you sooner or later.

Plumbers don’t work many extra hours

Another benefit of working as a plumber is that you also don’t have to work that many extra hours.

Sure, there will be some busy days where you will have to work a little bit more.

However, on average, you will have a pretty relaxed workday most of the time and you will often come home early from work.

In fact, most plumbers are pretty happy with their working hours and barely anyone in this field complains about this topic.

Plumbers don’t have to work at nighttime

Not only will you not have to work many extra hours, but you will also have free evenings as a plumber.

While you might take this for granted, there are still many people out there who have to work during those times.

For instance, if you work in public transport or as a waiter, you will often have to work during those unpleasant hours while you as a waiter will be able to meet up with your favorite people after work and enjoy some nice drinks.

You have free holidays and weekends as a plumber

Plumbers usually also enjoy free weekends and holidays.

While some other people have to work during those times, you will be able to spend additional quality time with your favorite people.

You can also make nice weekend trips with your family or just enjoy your time at home.

Whatever it is that you like to do, you will have plenty of time to do it during holidays or weekends.

You have a good work-life balance in general

Since you will have free weekends, holidays and you will also not have to work many extra hours, you will have a pretty decent work-life balance as a plumber in general.

In fact, many plumbers are quite happy with the amount of time they have left to spend with their families.

Consequently, it can also make quite a lot of sense for you to become a plumber if leisure is really important to you and you want to come home early on a regular basis to enjoy plenty of quality time with your family and friends.

Plumbers can make decent money

Another upside to a career in plumbing is that you can also make pretty decent money from what you are doing.

While you will not make as much money as doctors, lawyers or investment bankers, you will still be able to make a living from plumbing and good plumbers may even be able to afford some luxury.

Of course, this also greatly depends on the region you live in.

For instance, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you will be barely able to pay your bills from your job as a plumber since living costs are extremely high.

However, if you live in a rather rural region where rents are quite low, you will be able to live the American dream as a plumber, especially if you also have a partner who also makes decent money.

You can make extra money if you are willing to do additional jobs

In many regions, there is a serious shortage of qualified plumbers and this means that you will find more than enough work in this field.

Quite often, you will also be able to make additional money on weekends or after work if you are willing to work during those times.

In fact, you can often help out your family or friends with plumbing issues and those people will be quite grateful for your support and will also help you out when you are in trouble one day in the future.

As you can see, you can make some nice additional money as a plumber apart from your day job and this gives you great financial flexibility since you can work more in times when you urgently need money and less if you have enough money in your bank account.

Working as a plumber can also help you in your private life

As a plumber, you will also learn many skills at work that will be quite valuable for your private life.

For instance, if something breaks down at your home, you will be able to fix it without the need of getting a repairman.

This means that you will be able to fix the issue much quicker than if you relied on external support and you will also be able to save lots of money in the long run.

Hence, while you might not make a fortune as a plumber, becoming a plumber can still be financially attractive since you can save lots of money on repairs for your home.

You can start your own plumbing business

Becoming a plumber can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you want to have your own business sooner or later.

In fact, starting a plumbing business is not that difficult and if you are willing to work hard and are really good at what you are doing, you may make much more money from working self-employed compared to working for a plumbing company in the long run.

However, before you start your plumbing business, you should definitely work as an employed plumber for a couple of years to gain some experience and to save some money so that you can start your own business with a financial cushion and more confidence that the whole construct will work in general.

Plumbers can start side hustles

Another advantage of a plumbing career is that you will also be able to start a side hustle.

Many people out there want to learn more about plumbing.

However, they often don’t have anyone who could teach them how to do it.

Hence, you can start your own social media channels or a blog where you show people how they can fix minor things at home and do no longer have to rely on an external plumber anymore.

If you are good at teaching people, chances are that you will become quite popular on those channels and that you will be able to build a significant audience that you can monetize later.

In fact, some plumbers make more money from their digital channels than from their day job.

Consequently, if you are willing to put in the work, you can make really good money from your side hustle as a plumber as well and it may even turn into a full-time business sooner or later.

You can avoid classical office work

By working as a plumber, you can also avoid classical office work.

While some people like this type of work, many others don’t like working in those artificial office spaces at all and some of them even get really sick of it in the long run.

In fact, staring at a computer screen all day long can be really exhausting and in case you are just in those jobs for the money like most people are, you will likely not become happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Hence, if you like hands-on work more than computer tasks, becoming a plumber can also make quite a lot of sense in this regard.

You will stay fit as a plumber

Since working as a plumber implies some physical exercise, you will also stay fit in a natural manner.

In turn, you will also likely feel better than the average person who just gets almost no exercise at all during work and this can also keep you more motivated to stay in your job in the long run.

No need to go to the gym

Since you will get some physical exercise at work, there will also no need to go to the gym for you as a plumber.

In fact, while many other people have to spend their leisure in those places, you will be able to use this time to spend it with your loved ones instead.

Thus, not only will you be able to use your time more efficiently, but you will also be able to save some money on gym memberships as a plumber.

You are important to keep our system running

As a plumber, you will also be quite important for our social system to work properly. Imagine a world without plumbers.

In such a state, most people would be pretty helpless when it comes to installing or fixing things and our overall quality of life would therefore be much lower on average.

Hence, as a plumber, you can make sure that people stay happy at their homes and that they can spend their day as efficiently as possible.

Plumbers have decent job security

Since there is a shortage of plumbers in many regions of the planet, you will also have pretty decent job security by working in this field.

In fact, many plumbers get more jobs than they could carry out and have to delegate some of this work to their colleagues.

Thus, as a plumber, you will not have to worry about losing your job that much and even if you lose it one day, you will often find another job pretty soon.

Good future job prospects

Plumbers are not only in high demand right now, but they will likely also enjoy pretty good job prospects in the future.

Since many people no longer want to do this job anymore and rather want to go to college and do mental work instead, you will almost have the freedom of choice regarding what plumbing jobs you want to do in the future and chances are that also the average salary of plumbers will increase significantly.

Now that you know all the advantages of a plumbing career, we also have to talk about the downsides that come along with it to give you a more comprehensive picture of what working as a plumber really looks like.

Disadvantages of Working as a Plumber

  1. You will not get rich as a plumber
  2. Plumbing is hard physical work
  3. You may suffer from physical health issues later in your life
  4. Some plumbers have to quit their jobs once they get older
  5. You will have to be present in person
  6. Clients can be difficult
  7. You may be liable for mistakes
  8. Only few mistakes can ruin your reputation
  9. Self-employed plumbers have huge swings in income
  10. Hard to switch fields as a plumber
  11. You will come home tired

You will not get rich as a plumber

One disadvantage of being a plumber is that you will just not get rich.

Sure, you can make a decent living from your plumbing career.

Yet, compared to many other jobs out there, your salary will be rather low.

Hence, if you really want to make good money and luxury is really important to you, chances are that you should rather go for different job options like an investment banking career instead.

Plumbing is hard physical work

You should also not underestimate the physical effort that comes along with working as a plumber.

In fact, you will have to work in a physical manner all day long and you may also have to lift some heavy stuff.

In turn, your workday will not always be pleasant and there will also be times where you wish to quit this job and go for a job with less physical stress instead.

Therefore, a career in plumbing is not for people who want to avoid physical work since you will have to work with your bare hands on a regular basis.

You may suffer from physical health issues later in your life

Due to the heavy physical work that comes along with a career in plumbing, you may also experience serious physical health issues.

In fact, many plumbers suffer from back pain or even from disc prolapse sooner or later and you should really make sure that you are willing to put your health at risk before becoming a plumber.

Some plumbers have to quit their jobs once they get older

Due to the health issues that may be implied by a plumbing career, many plumbers also have to quit their jobs once they get older.

While our bodies are pretty strong while we are young, this changes once we get older.

In fact, most of the long-term health issues will not show up until you reach the age of 40.

However, after that, many plumbers really experience serious health problems and some of them are no longer able to work in this field due to that.

You will have to be present in person

Another downside to becoming a plumber is that you will also not be able to work remotely.

While many other people who work in classical office jobs are able to work from home or from many other locations they prefer even more, you will have to be present in person to carry out your work as a plumber.

In turn, you will lose some flexibility that comes along with teleworking that many other people who work in classical office jobs enjoy.

Clients can be difficult

While many clients will be happy with your work and grateful for your support, others will just be difficult and some of them will even complain all day long about your working quality.

Hence, make sure that you are also willing and able to deal with those comments in a proper and emotionally healthy manner before you decide to work in this field.

You may be liable for mistakes

Another issue with working in plumbing is that you will often also be liable for mistakes.

For instance, if you do poor work and you cause some damage at a client’s home, you will often have to pay for necessary repairs.

Hence, make sure that you get proper insurance for such a case.

However, also factor in that this insurance will cost you additional money and that your overall income will be lower due to that.

Only few mistakes can ruin your reputation

People also talk to each other and if you make only few mistakes, your reputation may suffer quite a lot.

Moreover, if you do a poor job, clients can write bad reviews about your company and this can prevent you from getting new clients.

Self-employed plumbers have huge swings in income

If you want to work as a self-employed plumber, you will also have to deal with significant swings in income.

While there will be times when you make really good money, there will also be times when you barely make any money at all.

Many people are just not able to balance those income swings in a proper manner and if you are one of those people, you should set aside money on a different bank account to have funds in case of emergency.

Hard to switch fields as a plumber

While you will be really good at plumbing, you will still have difficulties in case you no longer want to work as a plumber anymore, especially if you want to switch to a job that involves lots of computer work since you will often just not have learned the skills that are necessary for succeeding in those jobs.

You will come home tired

Due to the physical component of the job, you will also often come home tired as a plumber.

Quite often, you just want to sit down on your couch and will not have that much energy to do other things instead.

Top 10 Being a Plumber Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Plumber ProsBeing a Plumber Cons
Plumbers don’t work many extra hoursYou will not get rich as a plumber
You can make decent money as a plumberPlumbing is physically exhausting
You can avoid office workHard to switch fields as a plumber
Plumbers do an important job for societyYou may have to give up your job
You can make money on the sidePhysical health issues in the long run
You can start a social media channelPlumbers often come home tired
Decent job security for plumbersPlumbers have a rather low social status
Good future job prospectsTeleworking is not possible for plumbers
Plumbers enjoy good work-life balanceIncome swings for self-employed plumbers
Can also help you in your private lifeClients can be difficult

Should You Become A Plumber?

As you can see from the previous analysis, there are many advantages and disadvantages to working as a plumber.

You should definitely take your time and evaluate all the pros and cons of a plumbing career to make the right decision in this regard since this decision can greatly influence how your future life will look like.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a carpenter

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a recruiter

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a truck driver

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/416521/wages-of-pipe-layers-plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/952897/average-annual-salary-construction-industry-us-by-occupation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumber

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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