Categories Commercial Plumbing, Residential Plumbing

Want to be a plumber? Best place to learn the trade.

A phrase I heard many times while serving in the United States military was, “You’re trained to be better than your civilian counterpart.”  Is this true? Does the military offer a better training program than the civilian world?  I can only lend my opinion for the plumbing apprenticeship program, but yes.

The United States military likes to say they are sending the finest America has to offer into battle.  This is another saying I heard many times but only realized the truth after I separated. Most military training programs are modeled after successful civilian programs.  Every few years, the military searches for the best civilian training programs. Then, they improve it, suit it to their needs, and begin training our troops. Military plumbers are being trained under circumstances where profit is not the sole purpose of training.  They are being trained for the knowledge, while civilian plumbers are being trained by a company that may not have the time or patience to train on less profitable areas. I was trained to repair plumbing products until they could not be repaired. Only then was it acceptable to replace it.  To do this, you had to have a deep understanding of how that product works; its every moving part and function.  Military trainers took the time to explain how every product works.  In the civilian program, you’re trained for profit; plumbers are trained to replace the product with no real understanding of how to fix it. In the end it makes the company more money so why repair it? The armed services trains for all aspects of plumbing including residential, commercial, new construction, remodel, repair, fire suppression, backflow testing, waste water treatment, and water distribution. In a civilian training program, you will receive what that company specializes in or offers to its customers. The civilian plumber may be better trained at this particular part of plumbing but has not received the same diverse knowledge of the military plumber.

After going through the military training program and watching the civilian program in action, I can say there is no comparison. Some of the best, most knowledgeable plumbers I have ever met were during my time in the armed services.  If I had a son or daughter interested in the trades at the end of high school, I would recommend enlisting in the United States military to receive the best training our country has to offer.

Categories Commercial Plumbing, Residential Plumbing

Choosing the right plumbing contractor

Choosing the right plumbing contractor can be easy if you follow a few simple tips. A good place to start is to choose three companies and get estimates. Be sure to include at least one local company. Choosing three large corporate owned companies may leave you with a false perception of what the going rate is. Then, go to and look to see if these contractors hold a valid plumbing license. Ask to see a copy of their insurance. Most plumbing contractors will have a 1 million dollar per occurrence policy. New plumbing parts do fail, we install the parts, not manufacturer them. From the three estimates you should have a good idea of what the high and low rates are for your project. From here it is up to you. I know the cheapest could save you some hard earned money but they are usually in the business of being the cheapest. They will commonly use inferior products and rush through your project to get it done faster. We are talking about the services here in Southwest Florida, not retail. When you buy a retail product from Walmart, you get the same product with the same warranty at a better price, here cheaper is better. With contractor services, cheaper usually gets you less of a service or bad customer service after the sale. Your high estimate will most likely come from a large corporate owned company or franchise. They have more overhead and may have a hard time competing with the locals.

Once you have chosen a plumbing contractor, ensure they are obtaining permits for your project and that the company license holder will oversee the project. Here in Southwest Florida, a licensed plumbing contractor can legally hire unlicensed technicians to work under his license. Some of these companies will send all un-licensed technicians and never check on your project. There are competent un-licensed technicians here but the company is only as good as the technician they send you. If you’re going to hire a licensed professional, get a licensed professional.