Skilled Trades Careers

This Second-Generation Plumber’s Advice for Building a Successful Plumbing Career

DateApril 14, 2023

This article is republished with the permission of SharkBite. The original article can be found here.

In our A Career in Plumbing series, we talk to plumbers about how they got started in the industry, their passions and how they’re approaching the future of the trade. Next is Peter Joseph, licensed master plumber and owner of Two7 Plumbing in Newnan, Georgia.

Tell us about your plumbing career, from your first exposure to the trade to training to where you are now.

My dad is a plumber and would take me on jobs with him when I was a kid. As far back as I can recall, if I wasn’t watching and learning, I was watching and learning; I was going to work for actual time. I helped him build a larger business to provide for his family without him having to work before I started my small company.

How did working with your dad shape your experience with the trade? What were the most important lessons you learned from him?

Growing up in the industry with my dad, I learned firsthand that being a plumber is honorable. Sometimes society looks down on us because we don’t work a traditional desk job, but my dad showed me that you could have a very fulfilling life taking care of your family by taking care of the needs of others.

He always taught me the value of hard work and high-quality work. He often said, “There is a right way to something and a wrong way to do something.” It was essential to him to make sure we did our task the right way, regardless of if the easier, wrong way would be “good enough.” That has also stuck with me and become the heart of how I operate my own company.

How does plumbing allow you to exercise your strengths?

Running my own plumbing company allows me to specialize in what I do best. I can provide top-quality to my customers by taking on the jobs I’ve elected to train specifically for.

Being my boss also means being able to pick my own material and installation methods. This all adds to my ability to offer a high-end solution with long-term peace of mind.

What are the biggest challenges and rewards of working in plumbing, based on your experience?

The biggest challenges I’ve encountered typically are the jobs where I’m going behind another installer to correct their work. By the time I get called in, these jobs are usually so butchered that they become much larger than they otherwise needed to be and often require much more thought and consideration for proper re-installation.

Likewise, the most significant rewards often come from these same jobs. When you accomplish a professional solution to a job that was a real head-scratcher, you feel very proud of your accomplishments.

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How have you seen plumbing evolve over the years? What excites you and worries you the most about the future of the trade?

Regarding the evolution of plumbing, we’ve seen many manufacturers working to design more user-friendly products. We’ve got brands like SharkBite that create push-style fittings. Another product, PEX piping, is ideal for many scenarios where you can’t easily use rigid pipe material, and there are now multiple high-quality systems compatible with copper piping that does not require a torch. My lungs appreciate not having to breathe in those fumes constantly!

We’re also constantly coming up with safer systems. There is now less lead in our products than ever, and companies like Cash Acme offer options to help ensure we don’t have bacterial buildup in our water tanks.

If anything worries me about the future of the trade, we are currently losing more plumbers than we are taking in. There are already more jobs, and plumbers can accept them. At the current rate, this is only going to get worse.

How did you, as an essential worker, navigate the pandemic last year, and were there any key takeaways from that season?

The COVID-19 outbreak was scary for everyone and required me to rethink how I was doing business. I began wearing a mask to each job — I still do, in fact — I initially only accepted urgent jobs while offering to walk customers through anything DIY friendly. I posted tutorials on my YouTube channel for many simple jobs I would get.

As it became clear that COVID wouldn’t disappear right away, I ultimately went back to running calls as usual while continuing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), but my wife and I still monitor the COVID situation carefully. The two of us are vaccinated, but we have a little girl at home who we love dearly, and we want to do everything we can to keep her safe.

I’m not yet at a point where I can say if any particular changes made because of COVID will be permanent. I’m still exercising safety measures and constantly following the updates from the medical community. Perhaps one day, when COVID is truly a thing of the past, these additional safety measures may be too.

What are you passionate about outside of your craft?

When I’m not plumbing, I enjoy playing my electric guitar. I’ve played guitar for over 15 years, which greatly fulfills me. I also enjoy kayaking with my family. We often go to local lakes but have traveled a bit outside of our hometown to check out other cool locations to kayak as well.

Why should people consider a job in plumbing? What does it take to succeed in this field? And what advice would you give to someone interested in entering plumbing?

In my opinion, there are a lot of reasons to consider a career in plumbing. People sometimes have a negative outlook on plumbing, as if it’s a lower-choice option that one should choose only as a last result. This couldn’t be further from the truth though.

I love what I do! While the industry has many different facets, I selected residential service plumbing. I get to work with my hands and tackle a different job every day. I’m at multiple homes each day, which really ma time fly. I enjoy working with my hands to solve a problem for someone. Most plumbers get paid very well and even get paid to learn. If this sounds like an enjoyable career, that’s because it is!

As long as you have a good work ethic, show up on time and do what you say you will, you’ll go far in this industry.

How did you first hear about SharkBite? Which products do you use today, and in which applications?

I don’t remember the first time I heard of SharkBite, but I know it was entirely some time ago since I grew up in this industry. Today I use the SharkBite brass push fittings as a transition between pipe materials, depending on the situation.

It’s my personal opinion that SharkBite is the best option when transitioning away from polybutylene, as the push fittings won’t stress and strain the piping by crimping onto it. I’m also not a fan of CPVC piping and typically use a SharkBite fitting to transition to something better. SharkBite EvoPEX™ fittings are great too! I use them frequently when working with PEX piping.

*Explore more reasons to have a career in plumbing, whether you’re interested in entering the trade or looking for a resource you can share to get more people interested. *