Where are all the plumbers?

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PerplexedPlumber

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Mitchell makes a good point - some basic life skills education are important for everyone IMO, not just for those planning to continue their education. Without learning what should be basic, it leaves people vulnerable. And it brings up a memory from conversations with my sister, a retired educator, about "teaching to the test". To be globally competitive, the US needs to improve math skills or at least math test-taking skills. And here goes another opinion: take away the cell phones and calculators!! I expect that doing math "the hard way" increased our skills more broadly, in developing concepts/models, in logical skills, in many ways.

Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, mathematicians and scientists have an underlying common interest: problem-solving. People who enjoy a challenge don't have to become programmers, but there is probably a lot of competition by Big Tech for developing interest among students in this area, as this is also their "resource pool".

It also occurs to me that there is less personal injury risk in that field of work, where you can enjoy problem-solving without say, taking a photo of your leg after an injury (TwoWaxHack and (Zanne?) - see Random Plumbing Pics) or worse.

And then there's the random reward factor. If you've trained dogs, you've probably heard that random reward is a powerful motivator. That is also clear by the number of casinos and lotteries in the past few decades. So, if you have a potential for a high reward in tech vs long-term employment in a trade, the person driven by random reward will probably choose tech more often. Or maybe I'm just spouting too much opinion. JG makes trade sound significantly more lucrative. [$120/hr is approx. 250k/year, without overtime]
 

JG plumbing

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Mitchell makes a good point - some basic life skills education are important for everyone IMO, not just for those planning to continue their education. Without learning what should be basic, it leaves people vulnerable. And it brings up a memory from conversations with my sister, a retired educator, about "teaching to the test". To be globally competitive, the US needs to improve math skills or at least math test-taking skills. And here goes another opinion: take away the cell phones and calculators!! I expect that doing math "the hard way" increased our skills more broadly, in developing concepts/models, in logical skills, in many ways.

Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, mathematicians and scientists have an underlying common interest: problem-solving. People who enjoy a challenge don't have to become programmers, but there is probably a lot of competition by Big Tech for developing interest among students in this area, as this is also their "resource pool".

It also occurs to me that there is less personal injury risk in that field of work, where you can enjoy problem-solving without say, taking a photo of your leg after an injury (TwoWaxHack and (Zanne?) - see Random Plumbing Pics) or worse.

And then there's the random reward factor. If you've trained dogs, you've probably heard that random reward is a powerful motivator. That is also clear by the number of casinos and lotteries in the past few decades. So, if you have a potential for a high reward in tech vs long-term employment in a trade, the person driven by random reward will probably choose tech more often. Or maybe I'm just spouting too much opinion. JG makes trade sound significantly more lucrative. [$120/hr is approx. 250k/year, without overtime]
That's what the contractors charge. I think all in we are $63 or so. Basically the contractors blame us and tell us we make too much money. We blame them and tell them they are too greedy and charge to much money, considering we are doing the work and they take vacations, lol.

They think because an ethanol plant shut down can give them $500k in a week (not all profit) that every job should be that way. Any other job be damned.
 
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Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Plumber, electrician, any tradesperson...

This weekend I was at a party for my old neighbor's child's first communion. The entire family was there. My friends older sister was divorced and remarried, and her 16 year old son from the first marriage is "looking up to" the step father, who really is a nice guy. He's a journeyman electrician, with a good job; a good solid citizen, works hard, family man, doesn't smoke or drink or carouse around the bars or whatever. So, the 16 year old has indicted he wants to either be an auto mechanic, or an electrician like his step dad.

My goodness you should have heard grandma complain. It was sad actually. Here's a 16 year old kid, maybe not laser focused but it sure sounds like he's thought about the future and has some kind of plan he's dreaming about. He rebuilds lawn mowers and does his own work on dirt bikes. He could earn a good living as an electrician and grandma probably has no clue as to the learning involved to become a journeyman anything. I felt sorry for the kid and only hope his parents don't pay attention to grandma's complaints, and support his dreams. There are enough clueless 16 year olds out there and this nice kid is NOT one of them.

If you want, remove "electrician" in the true story above and add "plumber" in...
 

JG plumbing

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To me there's no reason that kid couldn't do both of those things. Once he's done with his apprenticeship he could have a small side business and be happy as a clam.

Better than going to college and taking on debt for two years, only to decide college isn't for him.
 

Twowaxhack

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To me there's no reason that kid couldn't do both of those things. Once he's done with his apprenticeship he could have a small side business and be happy as a clam.

Better than going to college and taking on debt for two years, only to decide college isn't for him.
I have a friend who’s a lawyer and a mechanical engineer. He also build custom cabinets and furniture.

So you’re exactly right, a man can do what he wants to do most of the time if he applies himself and has a little luck. College is not for everyone, it’s personal choice.
 

Hamberg

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...So, the 16 year old has indicted he wants to either be an auto mechanic, or an electrician like his step dad...
Sounds familiar; step dad was an auto mechanic turned plumber (back to auto mechanic) and where I learned what I know. I started out wrenching, got into the corporate (sales) side of automotive and ended up GCing.
 

Dshow

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I just don't think kids coming out of school want to go into the trades
It’s ingrained in kids from an early age, they need a college degree... Hopefully, the pendulum will start to swing the other way soon.
 

arctic bill

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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.
I live in an area where it is illegal to charge for plumbing work with out a plumbing contractors licence, also it is illegal to work on a construction site with out a union card. Whenever i saw work going on that i knew was not fully licenced i reported it. I hear the fines can be as high as $30,000 per incident
I guess i am very lucky ,
 

Twowaxhack

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I live in an area where it is illegal to charge for plumbing work with out a plumbing contractors licence, also it is illegal to work on a construction site with out a union card. Whenever i saw work going on that i knew was not fully licenced i reported it. I hear the fines can be as high as $30,000 per incident
I guess i am very lucky ,
You can levy fines but we all know that’s different than collecting fines.

There are all types of laws here as well but they’re not realistically enforceable.

Not when the general public supports unlicensed work by hiring it......
 

arctic bill

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Canadian laws are not the same as American laws, If you are caught you go before a judge and if you do not pay a warrant is issued for your arrest. I know this to be true many years ago i got a parking ticket and forgot all about it.
a couple of years later two cop came to my door with a warrant and took me in. once at the cop shop i paid or spend the time in jail . I knew a guy that rather than pay fine he would go to jail , and sometimes if the jail was overloaded they would let him out early.
 

matt.mena

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I can add to this by giving some details of how the company I work for is attracting workers in the tradesman drought. The keys we use are embracing the latest technology, providing top of the line benefits, how we’ve clearly become this regions leading plumbing contractor & how we are investing in today’s youth for tomorrow’s tradesmen.

Years ago we hired a tech savvy Russian licensed plumber who moved from California to here. He was aware of the breakthrough plumbing contracting technologies since California is usually ahead in technology. The owner, already embracing the latest & greatest, put him to work starting a BIM department. Since our company held an impeccable reputation, entering the BIM construction scene (which had really just begun here) proved well worth the investment, snagging multiple large projects right out the gate. Embedding his core values weekly into his employees makes a difference on the job site, and our contractors notice the difference, and let us know why they, & commercial management companies use us as their preferred plumbing contractor.

I have much respect for union companies. Both top mechanical & electrical commercial contractors we work with are union companies. We just happen to have an owner who knew investing his money in his employees would in turn pay off. He was right. We have a reputation to be the plumbing contractor with the best employee benefits. No lie, this morning in a gas station getting drinks, a plumbing foreman & helper, who work for maybe the third largest company here, came up to me asking if we were still hiring because they like our benefits. Two of their better foreman left there company for us because of our benefits & good working conditions. I reminded them of the sign on bonus after 3 months of $1,000, our profit sharing program & auto overtime after 6pm. They asked for my card and plan to move over. (Hopefully they use my name as reference because I get the same $1,000 sign on bonus for referring them)

We’re able to bid higher & charge more for our work because of our quality of work, excellent warranty services & the built up reputation in the community. All our scrap copper money goes back to the community by giving to local charities & sponsoring families in need. It also helps employees who are sick, injured, loose a loved one or have a catastrophic life change such as flood. We even donate to fellow tradesmen who have the same types of issues. It’s encouraging to know this is where the heart of the company is.

Lastly, we invested in a new trades profession focused academy high school built close by. Last fall I was picked to rough in two more sinks in the cosmetology classroom. The teacher brought students in to see how the wall was opened up & what was inside. They asked us questions & we showed them a few things. It was cool to see how big their eyes got when I told them I made over $100k last year. I know this works because my helper graduated last year from there and entered into our apprenticeship program. He started in the pre fab shop for three months, then worked on a new high rise for three months. Now, he’s with me & I’m teaching him how to remodel existing commercial buildings. He will probably move on to the BIM department next because he is very smart. (He’s still very green too). So, if there’s an apprentice academy near you, a phone call could help you find an apprentice.

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Two commercial construction contractors, commercial electrical, mechanical & plumbing contractors. Sysco & Ingersoll are investing in this too.


Maybe this will give an idea, maybe not. I had nothing else to do ✌😁👍
 

matt.mena

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I was corrected by my apprentice, he is still a senior working full time with us for his last high school credits. He graduates from his apprenticeship high school academy at the end of May.

He had the option to work for us full time for the last three semesters of high school and receive the last of his credits. Making $15 an hour to finish high school and seriously learn the plumbing trade is an outstanding example of encouraging youngsters to learn a hands on trade.
 
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