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Discuss Retraining as plumber at 35 in the Plumbing Courses area at PlumbersForums.net

SimonG

Plumber
Messages
20,101
I've had to re do a lot of plumbing done by handymen. But then again I've redone a lot of work purported to have been done by qualified plumbers.

I'm afraid courses wont teach you the skills and knowledge for when it all goes pear shaped.

Ultimately you will need an NVQ, which will as said before need a portfolio completing. You need to factor in the difficulties of completing this. You dont want to lose pay but you have to be supervised and signed off doing a number of tasks. If I was signing off you would be doing the tasks to suit me rather than you.

You may be better looking for somebody who is close to retirement, needs an extra pair of hands etc. But again your issue will be not wanting to lose pay.
 

Knappers

Plumber
Gas Engineer
Messages
587
I don't want nor need a debate.
Then maybe don't post your opinion on a forum?

A handyman (altho granted, not the norm) could be a master of multiple trades and just not want or need to specialise or include 'master' or 'expert' in their job title (eg, I'd happily call myself a plumber). In the end for a true master craftsman all jobs tend towards mundane anyway.

A little background:
Both guys I served under have passed now, I would love for them to still be around.
Even ignoring everything else, if just for the expertise and experience they had I would happily demote myself to dogsbody/handyman/tea-boy for a year just for access to that.
So without disagreeing with you, my point still stands (for me atleast).
 

SJB060685

Plumber
Messages
1,913
Infact I think your example proves my advice may atleast be feasible financially for OP?

I would agree with that yes buddy. My point was that some people need stimulation and a place to use their brain. Im no genius but I'm not stupid and the thought of my brain festering away and stagnating because I didn't use it to its full potential bothers me. I appreciate some people want an easy life and are happy to do such work but the OP said he was mechanically minded and is passionate and as you know that's two good traits for mechanical engineering. Its going to be hard whatever path he chooses but hard work and passion, more often that not pay off.
 

Timmy D

Gas Engineer
Subscriber
Messages
323
I would agree with that yes buddy. My point was that some people need stimulation and a place to use their brain. Im no genius but I'm not stupid and the thought of my brain festering away and stagnating because I didn't use it to its full potential bothers me. I appreciate some people want an easy life and are happy to do such work but the OP said he was mechanically minded and is passionate and as you know that's two good traits for mechanical engineering. Its going to be hard whatever path he chooses but hard work and passion, more often that not pay off.

Just expanding on this a little, I need/enjoy brain stimulation. This was one of the primary reasons for my career change at 33.
I love the fault finding, fixing the problem and going home at the end of the day knowing and being able to show what I’ve achieved/built/fixed.
I didn’t get that satisfaction with sales/account management.

With that in mind, I’m always learning new skills. It allows me to vary the work I do and prevent repetitive boredom.

I’m fortunate that a family member is a 68 year old, life served, general builder. His experience and knowledge, which he’s passing to me has allowed me to do any job a “handy man” could.

My career is plumbing/gas but I can do roofing (tiles/felt/zinc/lead), patios/slabs, fences, carpentry, framing, hard wood floors, plastering, decorating, bathroom/kitchen installs.

I don’t pretend to customers that they are my primary trade but I’ve had customers beg me (even when I explain it will cost more for me to do the work than someone who’s primary trade it is) to do these other types of work because they trust/see the quality of my work.

I’m also not hesitant to say when I’m out of my depth and often work with/use my general builders wealth of knowledge.

I guess what I’m getting at, is I could be classed as a handy man, albeit, an over qualified one!
 
K

kayTee

i started same age 5 years ago, i went training part time(2 days a week) for a year then once i got my qualification i worked as a plumbers mate on building sites for a couple of years whilst i done my nvq2 portfolio it was hard mate and things were tight finicially but was worth it...my advice to you is jump in, the thoughts in your head and probably wont go away so just do it mate
 

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,958
Some random thoughts of mine regarding handymen.

I'm not equipped with all the tools I'd need to be able to tackle the quantity of carpentry work I might have thrown at me as a handyman. Also, my physical build is small and skinny which is useful for clambering around lofts and suits plumbing better than general building. But the 'less-skilled' trades are not easy. I have genuine admiration for anyone that can plaster or hang paper - properly, anyway - and for carpet fitters who can carpet a room perfectly in 20 minutes. But as you will need to be able to turn your hand to other trades (even if you are never as fast or quite as good as the dedicated tradesmen) to be an effective plumber, from that point of view, I think the handyman route could be good, if you can make it pay.

I tried the handyman route and decided to get out of it (though I will still take on some odd jobs, for certain people). I'd already done a lot of building work on an amateur level, and I used to own and maintain a classic car, so that covers a lot, but as I started investing in my plumbing, I found my van filling up and now I actually can't carry everything and still have reasonable access to my plumbing fittings. I'm not prepared to pave over my beloved garden to fit a bigger van in, and my house is relatively small so I'm not able to store too much at home. Ultimately, increasing my work potential by investing in a bigger house or commercial premises, van, etc. would be expensive and it ended up seeming (contrary to what you might expect) easier to specialise in one trade and do it well than try to do entry-level work in several fields.

And then there's the pricing issue. If you specialise in one trade, you can can fully qualify and tool up in that trade and command the labour rates for it. If you're a handyman, you probably won't be fast enough to be price-competitive for any but the smaller jobs, which you'll then need more of to fill your week. This is fine, but only if you can still charge enough and obtain enough contracts to make it all worth your while. You might, for instance, limit yourself to glazing, hanging shelves etc, mowing lawns, and a bit of painting, and then you won't have too many tools and materials to deal with. You already have a business background, and might make of this a successful stopgap.

I wouldn't want to talk you out of the idea. I have noticed that within the plumbing trade there are a lot who stick will doing things they way they were taught and are not fast learners or keen to innovate, while others (most of those on this forum, for instance) are more intellectual and probably better at faultfinding. Sometimes you can gain a customer by solving an issue that others have tried and failed to solve, and if you can find someone who has a lot of work waiting for the right person, then well and good. I think the question is not if you should try plumbing, but how best to go about it.
 

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