Changing plumber stereotypes for good

April 21, 2015
A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends, posted this as her status update: “Looking for an inexpensive, but good plumber.”

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends, posted this as her status update:

“Looking for an inexpensive, but good plumber.”


My initial thoughts were:

  • Do the words “inexpensive” and “good” actually go together? Please keep in mind that I am a frugal person (I love using coupons when I shop and I am always excited when I find a deal at the grocery store, department store, etc.), however, I do understand the concept of “you get what you pay for,” especially when shopping for a service, such as a plumber or auto mechanic.
  • If my dear Facebook friend was looking for a doctor, would she make the same post? “Looking for an inexpensive, but good doctor?” Chances are the answer to that question is No.
  • Why are plumbers looked down upon still in this day and age? I myself look at them as the experts you call when you want someone to do a good job fixing whatever the initial problem is. Common folk usually do not have the background knowledge and skill set to fix plumbing problems that are more than a plugged up toilet.

It’s Earth Day!


But before I explain my thoughts more, I want to mention that it is Earth Day on April 22! It is also Comfortech 365 day too! It’s not too late to sign up for the virtual trade show. Register Today! 

Also, since it’s Earth Day, I would like to know what that means to you – a professional in the plumbing industry? How are you integrating sustainable products and systems into your business and how are you selling those products and systems to your customers? Enquiring minds want to know, so please e-mail me and let me know! My e-mail address is [email protected].

More thoughts on ‘A good, but inexpensive plumber’

Back to my thoughts regarding the Facebook post: 

My first thought is you get what you pay for! I love that phrase, especially because no one tends to understand the phrase until they experience it firsthand. However, as I mentioned, I like getting a good deal, but I do know that quality counts. So besides just looking for a good deal, I also keep quality in mind. If a service price seems too good to be true, chances are it is!

Now to my second thought… I must say, I really like the plumber and doctor analogy I came up with. The thing is plumbing is about the guts of homes, office buildings, churches, schools, and so on. If there is something wrong with the plumbing, homes are not habitable and facilities are not useable. Have you ever been without a toilet for more than one day? Try it and see what happens. Find out how something we all take for granted when not working hampers a lifestyle, not to mention sanitary issues around a toilet that is not working.   

In such a situation, an experienced plumber comes out to fix the problem. A plumber troubleshoots a broken plumbing system, finds out the issue, repairs it, and then all is well – the system is back on its feet running smoothly. When a doctor has a sick patient, he troubleshoots to find out what could be causing the sickness, finds out what the issue is, fixes the issue, and then the patient is back on their feet, healthy.

Honest and reputable plumbers

Again I understand wanting to save money and not pay an arm and a leg, but my Facebook friend should beware of searching for a plumber based only on how much the plumber charges. She should look for other attributes too, like honesty, reputation, and how many customers refer him to their relatives and friends.

"She should look for other attributes too, like honesty, reputation, and how many customers refer him to their relatives and friends.


And now to my third initial thought about why plumbers still are stereotyped today…  Since I have worked for CONTRACTOR magazine I have learned so much about the plumbing and hydronics industries. If it wasn’t for this job, I most likely would have a different opinion and perspective regarding the trades (this is just how it is). By writing for CONTRACTOR and researching so many different topics, I understand that people can make a great living in the trades.

Career possibilities are endless


Also, I believe that a career in the trades has many possibilities. So many people working for manufacturers — in white color jobs — were once trades people. If they didn’t have the trade background they most likely wouldn’t even be where they are in their corporate careers.

And many plumbers go on to owning their own contracting business! Some plumbers even decide to teach the trade at community colleges and technical schools. As with any career, how far someone goes is dependent on what they are personally willing to invest in that career and how far they want to go.

The idea that a career in the trades is lucrative, respectful, and can be grown into other career avenues is a concept needs to be communicated to the public. Everyone in the trades understands this simple concept; the thing is we need to get this message out to the masses!

Just two weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Mike Rowe. He is now in partnership with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky’s. Rowe is helping promote the trades. I recommend you read  "Mike Rowe joins home services companies to promote skilled trades" to learn about how this partnership came about. Rowe has is truly passionate about helping all trades people! Having a celebrity like Rowe on board to promote the benefit of having a career in the trades is definitely as step in the right direction!

What do you think? How can we – plumbing and hydronics professionals – promote the trades to the public? Let me know by sending me an e-mail at [email protected]

About the Author

Candace Roulo Blog | Senior Editor

Candace Roulo is a senior editor of Contractor magazine, based in Chicago.

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