21 Challenges Plumbers have to face

I’ve told you why you should consider plumbing as a career but every job has it’s challenges. I’ve found 21 challenges plumbers have to face both physically and mentally.

  1. Your boots, clothes, hands and sometimes your face will come into contact with other people’s bodily fluids and solids. Whether plunging and jetting a blocked toilet or cutting into an existing sewer pipe that is unbeknownst to you partially blocked… sometimes you get a shower of the dirty kind.
  2. You get drenched wet from water sprays from faulty tap hoses or gushing water from a burst pipe. Sometimes you cause a flood without meaning to.
  3. You can get injured if you don’t wear the right safety protection. Sometimes another trade has done the wrong thing, creating a hazard onsite that you accidentally find out for yourself the hard way.
  4. You can get stuck in small spaces without meaning too.
  5. You have to crawl or climb into tight or high areas to get a job done.
  6. You can get burnt using the oxy-torch. You learn once picking up a hot piece of copper after welding it without using gloves or cooling it down with water. Melted silver solder down your sock isn’t an enlightening experience either.
  7. Work can be irregular. There are times when the phone is quiet and other times where you don’t have enough time to get to all jobs.
  8. Some trades make it difficult to work alongside with.
  9. Building managers think they’re the bees knees and make it difficult to get anything done in their building. Inductions are nearly all the same but you have to do them for every building you work in and do them once a year to keep your induction certificate current.
  10. You have to have a large wallet to keep all the licensing cards – BSA, Plumbing & Drainage License, Fire Rating Card, Blue Card, White Card – any I’ve missed?
  11. Often there is no parking onsite which means having to carry tools from a local car park to avoid a parking ticket.
  12. Clients won’t pay their bills on time or worse go into administration and you’re out of pocket for labour and materials done on their job.
  13. Being up to date with Workplace Health and Safety is like doing your apprenticeship again. It’s same same but different.
  14. Having to be up at all hours to make a connection into a sewer pipe before the early risers make their first dump for the day.
  15. Having to work late because the cabinetmaker took their time installing the kitchen bench which holds the sink you need to hook up for the job to be complete.
  16. Threats of liquidated damages when projects don’t meet their finished deadline and often it’s out of your control (I’m speaking to you tilers and cabinet makers)
  17. Installing a fixture or tap that fails its warranty period and having the client blame you because you were the plumber that installed it.
  18. Being called back to a job because there’s a small drip or leak on something you’ve installed despite testing for leaks before leaving the job.
  19. Walking in to do maintenance on a toilet when someone has just done a number 2.
  20. Not being able to eat with your fingers after touching or handling something grotty.
  21. Getting asked advice to fix a problem or design a job, only to have it hawked to a cheaper plumber to do despite you spending time to help the client out.

What have I missed? I’m, sure these can apply to many other jobs in the trade too. Tell me what challenges you’ve faced in your job or trade.

  • Wow that is one hell of a list! I must say that the silver solder down your sock sounds like the worst thing EVER. And I’d never considered the inter-trade niggles that flare up when your work is delayed or impacted because of something that’s out of your control. A very enlightening list 🙂

    • Silver solder down your sock is horrible and when you’re on a ladder when it happens it can be downright dangerous! Thankfully most plumbers are now using crimp copper fittings which requires no welding! 🙂

  • This list makes me admire you, my hubby and all trades even more 🙂

  • I see what our plumbers get up to and it is hard demanding work – no question there. Where would be without you guys? Awesome stuff – you planning to head back once maternity leave is over?

    • It’s a long story Josefa, but possibly not back on the tools. It’s very demanding on the body and when you’re a mum to three little ones I want to be giving my best to them, not to my work.

  • writeofthemiddle

    OMG – I had never thought of all those challenges a plumber might face! I’ve always been an office girl so would have no idea! LOL 😉 xo

    • So was I Min and honestly the reason I did my trade was so I could do the admin and run the business. 🙂

  • Well they are things I certainly didn’t know! Hats off to all of you in the plumbing trade.

  • Whoa! You’re a braver woman than I. Thank God we have people out there like you who are willing to take these tough jobs on. Dave has had some pretty gross moments in his tradie life too!

  • I’ve never had any desire to be a plumber – or do any trade in fact – you’ve just cemented my resolve! 😉

  • TeganMC

    You are certainly a brave woman! I don’t think I could be a plumber that’s for sure.

  • Very brave Bec. I have total respect for all tradies. I’m a nurse, so I can totally relate to number 1 and number 20!!

    • I bet you’ve seen and been covered in all sorts of liquids and solids! Not sure if I could be a nurse.

  • I think you’ve nailed it Bec, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Health and Safety is a nightmare!!

    • So I hear. I’m kinda thankful we don’t have to deal with the stress of OH & S since we’ve stopped working.