Is Plumbing the Highest Paid Trade? (Comparing Plumbing Salaries vs. All the Rest)

Have you ever wondered whether plumbing is the highest-paid trade in the industry?

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of plumbing salaries and compare them with other trades to answer this burning question.

Is plumbing one of the highest-paid trades?

Plumbing is often considered one of the highest-paid trades in the skilled labor industry.

Skilled plumbers who have gained significant experience, expertise, and the necessary certifications can command higher wages due to the specialized nature of their work.

The demand for skilled plumbers remains consistently high, and their services are essential for residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing needs.

The complexity of plumbing systems and the importance of maintaining and repairing them contribute to the higher pay scale.

However, salaries can vary based on factors such as location, level of experience, and specific specialization within the plumbing field.

Which are the highest-paid trades?

While plumbing can offer competitive salaries, some of the highest-paid trades include electricians, elevator technicians, HVAC technicians, welders, and crane operators.

These trades often require specialized skills, technical knowledge, and expertise in handling complex systems or equipment.

The demand for these trades, along with the potential risks involved and the scarcity of highly skilled professionals, contribute to their high earning potential.

How much do plumbers make annually?

In 2021, the median salary for a plumber was $59,880. The best-paid 25% made $77,890, while the lowest-paid 25% made $46,590.

The average annual base salary for a plumber is $73,320, or $35.25 per hour. These numbers do not include overtime, per diem, or other incentives that can increase earnings and benefits.

The salary of a plumber varies with experience. For example, the median annual salary for a senior plumber is $64,000, or $30.77 per hour. The average salary for an entry-level plumber is $49,100, or $23.61 per hour.

How much do plumbers make hourly?

The average hourly wage for a plumber in the United States is $28.79 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This works out to around $59,880 per year.

The average hourly wage for a licensed plumber is $36.78. The majority of licensed plumbers earn between $28.12 and $56.25 per hour.

The average hourly wage for a journeyman plumber is $30. The range typically falls between $26 and $34.

The average hourly wage for an apprentice or entry-level plumber is $15 to $20.

The average hourly wage for a master plumber is $30 to over $45.

Plumber salaries vs. all other trades

TradeAverage or Range of Salary (per year)
Carpenter$35,000 – $60,000
Electrician$40,000 – $80,000
Plumber$40,000 – $75,000
Mason$30,000 – $60,000
Roofer$30,000 – $60,000
Painter$30,000 – $50,000
Welder$35,000 – $70,000
Drywaller$30,000 – $50,000
Tile setter$30,000 – $50,000
Bricklayer$40,000 – $70,000
Ironworker$40,000 – $70,000
HVAC technician$40,000–$70,000
Concrete worker$30,000 – $50,000
Landscaper$25,000 – $50,000
Excavator operator$35,000 – $60,000
Heavy equipment operator$35,000 – $70,000
Insulation installer$30,000 – $50,000
Scaffolder$30,000 – $60,000
Glazier$30,000 – $50,000
Flooring installer$30,000 – $50,000
Cabinetmaker$30,000 – $50,000
Surveyor$40,000 – $80,000
Crane operator$40,000 – $80,000
Demolition worker$30,000 – $50,000
Pile driver operator$40,000 – $70,000
Pipefitter$40,000 – $75,000
Steelworker$40,000 – $70,000
Plasterer$30,000 – $50,000
Solar panel installer$35,000 – $60,000
Glass installer$30,000 – $50,000

The table presents a comprehensive list of construction worker trades along with their respective average or range of annual salaries.

Where do plumbers make the most?

Plumbers can earn higher wages in certain locations or regions where factors such as demand, cost of living, and industry standards contribute to higher pay scales.

While specific data may vary over time, some locations known for offering higher salaries for plumbers include metropolitan areas or regions with high construction activity, such as cities like San Francisco, California; New York City, New York; Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that regional economic conditions, union agreements, and local laws can also have an impact on wage levels.

  • San Francisco, California: Plumbers in San Francisco can earn an average annual salary ranging from $70,000 to $110,000, depending on experience and specialization.
  • New York City, New York: Plumbers in New York City can earn an average annual salary ranging from $65,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on factors such as experience, union affiliation, and project type.
  • Seattle, Washington: Plumbers in Seattle can earn an average annual salary ranging from $60,000 to $95,000 or more, depending on experience and industry demand.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Plumbers in Boston can earn an average annual salary ranging from $55,000 to $90,000 or more, depending on experience, certifications, and the type of plumbing work involved.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Plumbers in Chicago can earn an average annual salary ranging from $50,000 to $85,000 or more, depending on experience, specialization, and union membership.

How much do plumbers usually profit after one job?

The profit that a plumber earns after completing a job can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the plumber’s pricing structure, overhead costs, labor expenses, material costs, and profit margins.

The gross margin for a plumbing job is typically 15–30%. Plumbers usually charge for their work by the hour, and the national average cost is about $100 per hour plus a service fee or minimum charge.

Plumbers also markup their equipment and materials for an installation job somewhere between 25 and 50 percent.

When it comes to parts, the markup is even higher, averaging at least 100 percent.

In order to determine their profits, plumbers typically subtract all of their costs from the total amount of money they made from the job, including labor, materials, equipment, and overhead. 

What are the main expenses associated with operating as a plumber?

  • Material costs: This includes the cost of purchasing plumbing supplies, fixtures, pipes, fittings, valves, and other necessary materials for each job.
  • Labor costs: If you have employees or subcontractors working for you, labor costs will include wages, salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes.
  • Overhead costs: These are the ongoing expenses necessary to run your business, such as office rent, utilities, insurance, licensing fees, vehicle expenses (fuel, maintenance), office supplies, advertising, and marketing expenses.
  • Equipment and tools: Plumbers require specialized tools and equipment, including pipe cutters, wrenches, soldering equipment, drain cleaning machines, inspection cameras, and more. These tools can be a significant upfront investment and may require maintenance and replacement over time.
  • Vehicle expenses: Plumbers often rely on company vehicles for transportation to job sites. Vehicle-related costs include fuel, maintenance, insurance, and registration fees.
  • Insurance: Plumbers typically need various types of insurance coverage, including liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and commercial auto insurance, to protect against potential risks and liabilities.
  • Licensing and certification fees: Plumbers need to obtain and renew licenses and certifications, which may require payment of fees and continuing education expenses.
  • Subcontractor costs: If you subcontract work to other tradespeople or specialists, you will need to factor in the costs associated with their services.
  • Administrative costs: These include accounting and bookkeeping services, software subscriptions, and other administrative expenses related to managing your business.

What is the job outlook for plumbers?

The job outlook for plumbers is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of plumbers is projected to increase by 4% from 2019 to 2029. This would result in the creation of over 21,000 new jobs.

The job market for plumbers is expected to grow by 5% from 2020 to 2030. About 51,000 job openings are projected per year on average over the decade.

The demand for plumbers will stem from new construction and the need to repair existing systems at homes and businesses.

How many hours a week do plumbers work?

Plumbers typically work full-time, which generally amounts to around 40 hours per week.

However, the actual number of hours worked can vary depending on factors such as workload, project deadlines, emergencies, and individual work arrangements.

Some plumbers may work longer hours, especially during busy periods or when dealing with urgent repairs or construction projects.

Plumbers may need to be available for after-hours or weekend work, particularly in emergency situations.

Overall, while 40 hours per week is a common estimate, the actual hours worked by plumbers can fluctuate based on the specific demands of their job.

How do you make more money as a plumber?

  • Gain experience: As you accumulate more experience in the field, you become more proficient and efficient, allowing you to take on more complex and higher-paying jobs. Clients often value the expertise and knowledge that come with experience, which can translate into higher rates.
  • Specialize: Consider specializing in specific areas of plumbing, such as commercial plumbing, industrial plumbing, or specialized services like hydronics, medical gas systems, or green plumbing. Developing expertise in a niche market can differentiate you from competitors and enable you to command higher rates for your specialized skills.
  • Obtain certifications and licenses: Acquiring additional certifications, such as becoming a licensed master plumber or obtaining specialized certifications like backflow prevention or gas line installation, can enhance your credentials and allow you to take on more specialized and higher-paying projects.
  • Stay updated with industry trends: Continuously educate yourself about the latest advancements, technologies, and industry best practices in plumbing. Keeping up-to-date with new techniques and emerging trends can position you as a knowledgeable professional and potentially enable you to offer premium services and command higher rates.
  • Provide excellent customer service: Building a reputation for delivering exceptional customer service and maintaining good relationships with clients can lead to repeat business, referrals, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Satisfied customers are more likely to be willing to pay higher rates for quality workmanship and reliable service.
  • Start your own plumbing business: If you have the entrepreneurial drive, starting your own plumbing business can provide opportunities for higher earnings. As a business owner, you can set your rates, take on larger projects, and potentially earn higher profits. However, running a business also entails additional responsibilities and risks, so careful planning and preparation are necessary.
  • Expand your network: Build connections and relationships within the industry, including with contractors, builders, real estate agents, and other professionals who may provide referrals or opportunities for higher-paying projects. Networking can help you access a broader client base and potentially lead to moIs Plumbing the Highest Paid Trade? (Comparing Plumbing Salaries vs. All the Rest)re lucrative job opportunities.

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Author: Logan

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