Where are all the plumbers?

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Nak for that

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I know that this isn't the most appropriate place for this, but I need help. I work for a small plumbing company in the SF Bay Area and we need help attracting plumbers to hirer. I was looking through other help wanted adds and it looks like everyone else is struggling to find plumbers too. Does anyone know of a better way to find plumbers?
 

GReynolds929

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Call the union? Offer more money than others? Benefits? Etc... Of course there's the issue of needing journeys to train apprentices to make things even more difficult hahaha
 

Helper Dave

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Do you hire helpers? Only way anyone around here seems to build their ranks is training helpers, then getting them into an apprenticeship when they've got a journeyman to spare.

Otherwise, as mentioned, give WAY better pay and benefits than the other companies around.
 

arctic bill

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Yes call the union, By the way i am an old retired plumber, and i usually go to florida every winter, You would be surprised with how many unionized trades man i meet down there , We are all laughing on the way to florida every year. Truthfully it is a very good future for young people.
 

havasu

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Gov. Newscum is paying more money with pandemic unemployment bucks than you can make working. It is all part of the "plan", right?
 

JG plumbing

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People complain about this a lot "we can't find anyone to work". Here's what they really mean "we can't find anyone that wants to work for crappy pay and benifits". Join the union as a contractor and you'll have an endless supply of knowledgeable workers. You will find plenty of good plumbers. Being union doesn't mean your good, but you can cycle through people who are qualified until you find the right mix of people to run your work. There are plenty of people who want to work, and plenty of young people.
 
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pasadena_commut

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Gov. Newscum is paying more money with pandemic unemployment bucks than you can make working. It is all part of the "plan", right?
Let's not let facts get in the way of a good narrative, eh? It does not appear that California does anything more than pass on the federal PUA. That is, there is no state money involved beyond the preexisting unemployment insurance program (which is self funded through unemployment insurance).



California public schools heavily emphasize sending their pupils to college. When a district plays up its success it is always in terms of how many students went to Harvard, not the number of plumbers or mechanics they turned out. They also actively discourage students from entering trades. This educational bias likely accounts for any shortage of new "home grown" plumbers.

This would be more of a problem except that the majority of plumbing crew members I see in Southern California appear to be recent immigrants. Mostly these are Latinos (who speak to each other in Spanish with Mexican and Central American accents) with some Asians. My community is roughly half Chinese and many of the older adults in these families do not speak English well, so they hire what they think are Chinese contractors. The trucks come out with a Chinese foreman and a Guatemalan crew. I have also seen the Korean variant of this. I have no idea who really owns those companies though, and it would not surprise me at all if they were part of one of the long established (non-immigrant) outfits. It doesn't cost much to paint the sides of the trucks with an ad in another language, route calls through someone who speaks that language, and hire a foreman or two to present that face to customers.
 

Twowaxhack

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I had the electrical union hall call me to come repair the faucets in the bathrooms and reset a couple toilets.

They couldn’t get anyone to show up from the union plumbing companies in the city. 🤣✌
 

JG plumbing

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I had the electrical union hall call me to come repair the faucets in the bathrooms and reset a couple toilets.

They couldn’t get anyone to show up from the union plumbing companies in the city. 🤣✌
I told you about service. The contractors don't think it's worth it. There are some that do it, but the trade is becoming more and more one where homeowners will just pay the lower bidder and don't care how it gets done. I see people complaining about a bill for $2500 for the house to get all new gas pipe. Then they go to Lowes and read the info on the shelf about gas pipe and say they could do it themselves.
 

Twowaxhack

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I told you about service. The contractors don't think it's worth it. There are some that do it, but the trade is becoming more and more one where homeowners will just pay the lower bidder and don't care how it gets done. I see people complaining about a bill for $2500 for the house to get all new gas pipe. Then they go to Lowes and read the info on the shelf about gas pipe and say they could do it themselves.
Hire union company with union workers......until they decide it’s not worth it to show up.

Nice motto, they should adopt it. 🤣
 

JG plumbing

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The contractors won't even bid 5 million dollar school projects becuse they say don't make enough money. Not that they don't make hundreds of thousands of dollars, just they could me making more doing something else. They only scoop the cream off of the top. This is how it goes in my area.
 

JG plumbing

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I'm betting in your area the union has had the legs taken out from it. It's that way in the south. Parts of the county the union is the only way to go, some parts is a tough road.
 
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FishScreener

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The Journal of Light Construction did a Survey a few years b k f fifteen to 25-year olds. Less than five percent would consider working in the trades for any amount of money. I work with a contractor who has maintenance contracts with the AirForce to do repairs and upgrades in military housing, after move its, to get them ready for the next occupant. It is almost impossible for him to hire anyone, even at Davis-Bacon wages. He gets applicants. None of them can pass a background investigation to get clearance to be on the Base, or they can’t pass a drug test.

A guy locally is hiring high school kids during their breaks to get them on board. Then does an apprenticeship once they graduate. Has about a fifty percent success rate of retaining them until they are journey level.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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The old saying is you “want your daughter to marry a doctor or plumber”.

it’s a fine trade too bad it’s so hard to get people into it.
 

PerplexedPlumber

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The old saying is you “want your daughter to marry a doctor or plumber”.

it’s a fine trade too bad it’s so hard to get people into it.
Better to want your daughter to become a plumber or become a doctor.

Too bad perception of the value of a trade is poor among students. This deserves attention, by communication - not channeling by school administrators. There is a shortage of skilled resources in so many areas of trade skills that building a home is a risky proposition (also driven by bank-lending and do-it-on-the-cheap contractors), and while there are far too many self-labeled tradespeople (especially where inspection or licensing based on qualification requirements is minimal or non-existent), there are far too few willing to obtain training and certification for skills areas - willing to commit during the romance phase, but unable to deliver. Of course, the other side of that issue is that people need to work to pay the bills, and unless they are sponsored for the training, no one is there to pay the bills. I've seen workers in another area (not trades) where businesses that plan long-term start looking for candidates while they are in high school and support their education. Maybe young people today have the perception of too much risk and too little pay outside of tech work. It's a big job to change perception. Fishscreener's comments are also common here in industry hiring, along with language barriers.
 
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Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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I said “old saying”. …😉

…I think part of the issue is basically wholesale removal of vocational trades in secondary schools. They used to teach some of this, at least enough to generate interest amongst those not on a collegiate track. A kid in high school could learn enough about plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and even auto mechanics, and if not destined for college could receive training and guidance and be put on a path to become a skilled and licensed tradesperson. That barely exists in our school systems any longer.

Here in NC almost all skilled trades in home construction are immigrants. If you are a construction foreman or builder you sure as heck need to know Spanish, or live with the consequences. Most of these workers are very skilled and dedicated. But they are not the product of our school systems.
 

Twowaxhack

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People have associated a college degree with intelligence.
That’s a mistake.

With that philosophy we end up with a lot of educated idiots that can’t do anything of value with their “ education “

A college degree It’s nothing more than a piece of paper now that’s paid for in a lot of instances.
 

JG plumbing

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Well there are plenty of people applying for union electrician apprenticeships and union piping apprenticeships, in this area. The theory that we are running out of kids that want to do this is not hooking true here. The main problem here is unskilled competition. Why would you pay $120 hour for a plumber to come to your house when this guy here (with no license) says he can do it for $60.
 
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