4 Plumbing Skills You Need Beyond the Plunger
We all have that vision of what a plumber is: a guy with a mustache and jeans that don’t quite fit, and is someone who has the job because, frankly, they can’t do much else.
But today’s plumber is anything but that. Modern plumbing is more than pipes and clogs and drains; it’s complex filtration systems and electronic water heaters to go with those old standbys. Yes, technology has invaded plumbing too, and the modern plumber is someone who can use his or her brain as well as a pipe snake and a plunger.
To be sure, this is a skilled trade, and in many instances there’s no substitute for a good pipe wrench and your gut. Keep in mind these four important skills to help you better perform in the plumbing industry:
Diagnostic abilities: You’re diagnosing a leaky faucet. Typical problem, right? But what about when all of the faucets are leaking? There might be a water pressure problem that a gasket isn’t going to fix; maybe a new pressure incubator is in order. As a plumber you will need to learn the skills and the intuition to recognize the signs of a larger issue. This skill will help prevent rework and multiple trips out to the same location to fix the same problem, which, before long, will end up being on your dime.
Interpersonal communication: A must for any plumber who works with the public. Your customer needs a new toilet. You quote them $700 to replace, and the customer scoffs. In an interview with artofmanlieness.com, veteran plumber Steve Egner discusses how to handle that situation. “The homeowner says, ‘I saw one at Home Depot for $85,’ and we’ve got to be able to justify that difference in our pride, our workmanship, the quality of the material that we’re presenting, and our warranties,” he said. “And that takes a communicator. If you’ve got a strong and silent type who doesn’t think on his feet, then he’s not going to go very far.”
Time Management: Whether you’re working commercial or residential, a huge part of the job is getting to the next job site on time. You have to be able to perform your work efficiently and timed well enough for you to make it to the next job, or at least finish on time. That means knowing how to get the most out of the time you are working and maximizing your earning potential. But beware: you should work efficiently and briskly, not carelessly fast.
Patience: While acting decisively and swiftly is key, so too must you balance that haste with patience. Patience should be a mantra whether you’re working on new clients, waiting on parts, or diagnosing a problem. It is better to fix the problem correctly once, than fixing it incorrectly multiple times. The former leads to repeat business; the latter is the best way to ensure you’re not called back, unless it’s to fix your mistake. Make a diagnosis properly, thinking on your feet, and work swiftly to make repairs, rather than rushing through a job.
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