Revolutionizing the Industry
The Problem w/ the Plumbing Industry Today
Author: Byron Thomson
*These notes were written by Byron while he was still a technician at another plumbing company. This is his personal thought process and plan to build and grow his own plumbing company. Byron began planning and preparing to start Next Level Plumbing in 2017. We continue to take from his plans and put those thoughts into action as we grow this business!
“I want to start my own plumbing business. I have wanted to for years, but am now in the position to be able to do it. I have observed the state of the plumbing industry in our area for 15 years. I went through the SCTI Plumbing Apprenticeship Program for four years and went on to get my Masters Plumbing License for the state of Florida. I have worked for 10 years as a Master Plumber in this area. I have worked for two different companies with some very positive traits that I was able to learn from to apply in my own business.
But in working for others, going through the school program, and general observations, I have found that most plumbing companies across the area are not changing with the times, and are stuck as an industry in some bad habits. I see many ways that I could do better, and so now I am starting my own plumbing company.
Technology is changing all professions in one way or the other. Some professions like automobiles are about to rapidly change with the arrival of driverless cars. Other professions, like plumbing, are less affected at this point. But that is going to change. If we think back to when the first smartphone was introduced by Apple, that was only about 10 years ago. Now the entire phone market has changed almost completely. This type of change, however it looks, will eventually happen with all the trades at some point. Many of the plumbers that I see are old school, and for the most part, technologically adverse. They do not want to accept new technology and figure the old way will always work for them. Or they think that by having computers, email and a website, they are staying up to date.
Young people are not joining the plumbing trade like they used to, preferring to go to college and work in a “cool” job. While society in general values their plumber, it does not put a high value on becoming one. This means that the generation that is comfortable with technology is entering the workforce in many professions but rarely in plumbing.
These two things combined mean that the plumbing trade is behind in changing the culture around being a plumber, and adapting and implementing technological advancements that have the ability to radically change the profession.
In this area plumbing tends to be looked at as a job you get if you didn’t finish high school, are having trouble, or are a problem student. Those are the types of people that are encouraged to join the profession. And while society looks at the plumbing trade in such a way, when they call a plumber out to their house they would prefer someone who does not fit that stereotype.
The school system for plumbers in our area is not nearly as helpful as it should be. There are some good teachers there, and there have also been some very poor teachers. I went through it, and my second year teacher was not present a lot, or was late, and the fourth year teacher was a handyman. One of my previous coworkers quit in his second year this year because the teacher didn’t show up very often, another co worker ends up teaching math for the class quite often, and another co worker taught himself more than the school did.
These things together paint a picture that is not pretty. Owners don’t want change, people don’t want to get into plumbing, training is lacking, and the available technicians tend to be sub par in personal development. This is all perfect ground to turn over and start planting new seeds of change.”
Continue to read about Byron’s passion & drive to revolutionize the plumbing industry in Part 2 of this blog series: “Seeds of Change”