The figures explaining how much Plumbers can earn is often talked about in the papers. The lack of Plumbers in the UK has led to salaries of 30-70k p.a. being exhibited. Is this really a fib – or is this in fact accurate? For the competent and correctly skilled person, this level of salary is realistic. In fact, earnings in excess of 70 – 100k p.a. are achievable – but that is solely for those who work within the self-employed market-place, rather than those who work within established employment routes.
If you enter the traditional work environment, primarily working for an established employer, then working hours of Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm are standard. Furthermore from a UK employer, the usual perks are holiday pay and sickness allowance, as well as salaries of between 15k and 30k p.a. Whilst the ability to earn more than through normal means exists, the self-employed plumber usually has to consider working longer hours. This is clear when self employed plumbers have to work evenings and weekends, where their domestic clients are working during the day.
Around which is the question of self employment which appears to fit some people. The inclusion of key elements such as utilising good ‘business sense’, covering areas such as advertising and marketing and getting your own cost-per-hour correct is integral to the picture. Furthermore, additional costs such as materials and transport, along with legal and accountancy fees will need to be paid. Although it is expected that these can be relatively small in relation to the earnings overall they can mount up, but then so can the benefits. And the positives virtually always beat the downsides!
Initially, by searching for standard work a Student Entrant can get the majority of training especially with working knowledge and experience. Alternatively, the Self Employed Entrant needs to quickly establish those certificates that they will rely on in industry. In fairness it is the ‘domestic’ market rather than the commercial sector that attracts the majority of the self-employed workers in the UK. (Whilst not everyone does the majority do!)
Furthermore, each route into Plumbing has a necessity on the certification process overall. Without a doubt the issue of NVQ’s (SVQ’s in Scotland) raises a constant concern as to the way forward.
Without a doubt, it is the greater dependence on the NVQ element that separates the Student Entrant from the Self Employed Entrant. The Self Employed Entrant will regularly employ a range of certifications in order to meet the needs of their client’s requirements from the beginning. Without a doubt the self employed person needs to quickly gain the core domestic- centred qualifications to satisfy their typical household-based clients. Once they have covered the core parts the Student Entrant will often carry on their study not dissimilar to an apprenticeship in the workplace (where the NVQ element can be appraised.) Considerable savings potential exists to the Student Entrant by taking on this cheaper form of study. That said it is the ability to gain real financial rewards long before the Student Entrant that encourages many Self-Employed Entrants to gain certifications faster and be motivated by a stronger commercial attitude.
This clearly demonstrates the need for talk about careers, covering the certification and study required along with the expected financial rewards. It would generate serious hardship, for example, for an adult requiring 20k p.a. (to provide for their family,) to go back to college and spend 3 years in low-paid apprenticeship work. Furthermore, many Student Entrants have their studies paid for them whereas the self-employed students fund the variety of course themselves. For self-employed people these costs are set by the course structure and the level of certification sought and can end up between 3k-10k+.
Student Entrants will in the main study at further-education colleges, the Self Employed student however has the option to consider the increased scope of private commercial colleges. Commercially oriented plumbing course companies will provide an established path of training which ultimately leads into recognised skill-sets and qualifications. Of a key opportunity is the ability to train out of hours – evening, part time and self study classes that allows Self Employed Entrants to continue training whilst continuing with their job and maintaining their financial situation. Considering so many options on hand it is clever to gather data from as many sources as one can. We have provided adverts and links from several to allow you to come back and review your options, so why not book mark this page (CTRL-D).
Many plumbing students will increase their ‘marketability’ through the use of further courses. It is by training in areas such as Gas, Green Energy and Electrical that Plumbers can gain extra certifications. A typically popular route for Plumbers is Gas training, especially as this forms part of the usual commercial and domestic heating system.
It is with its main subjects, alongside added NVQ’s, that result in Gas Training being viewed as a technical program. It also features many options for on-going training, especially for those who trained as a plumber first and are now looking at some extra skills to add to their stable. From this idea the mature student works better with a fusion offered by Gas/Plumbing training. The path of focussing on the core subjects and at the same time dropping the NVQ’s seems to favour the Mature Student.
It is from this mix of training methods that the self-employed professional appears to benefit. The attraction is certainly the chance to gain a wider range of skill sets and earn money from them. The removal of any reliance of sub-contracting key skills of third parties definitely enhances the commercial package. Whilst sub-contracting can reduce the earning of a particular job perhaps more important is the deterioration of the value in a customer’s eye as they have to wait for jobs to be handled by others before completion of the overall task. To be fair the more talent a Plumber has in their own job then the more they have to offer their client base.
In retrospect, the Self Employed Entrant has the potential to achieve a much higher and more readily available income stream than Student Entrant, but to do so they need to develop both their business skills and achieve a broader range of certifications. Note: This information relates to the UK market, policies and industry requirements alone.