You’ve finally landed a plumbing apprenticeship and your first day on the job is around the corner. You’re eager, nervous, and not quite sure what to expect from your master or journeyman plumber. More than anything, you want your new boss to feel like they hired the right guy or gal for the job. With our partners at Elkay, we talked to plumbers from across the country for the quick ways to make an impact on day one. Before you start on your journey to becoming a licensed plumber, check out the tips below!
1. Be on Time
This is good advice for any job or appointment, but it’s essential for you as an entry level plumber to be organized before starting the workday by getting your tools together and thinking about the tasks on your plate. If you’re late to the first job site, you’ll probably be late to every job site thereafter. Plus, being early is a major sign of respect to your new peers.
2. Ask Questions
Your boss knows you’re new and doesn’t expect you to know everything. It’s okay to ask consult your employer and questions; it’s actually heavily encouraged! Make sure you pay attention and write down anything you won’t remember. Don’t ask too many questions in front of a client if you can help it, though – they may not realize you’re a new plumber apprentice and wonder if they hired the right person to install that Elkay sink (check out this guide to building a kitchen sink with Elkay to make sure that never happens!).
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3. Put Down the Phone
Just like when you’re sitting at the dinner table, this is a sign of respect. Aside from being polite, putting your phone away will help you stay focused. You’ll be learning a lot and working with your hands, so it’s important that you’re completely alert. The Gram can wait.
4. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
Quality plumbing tools are vital on the job, and they aren’t always cheap. Buy at least one tool with every paycheck and you will build up a top-notch collection in no time. It may be tempting to buy the less expensive stuff, but you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to rebuy pipe wrenches every six months.
5. Tape, Marker, Level
Speaking of tools, there are three you should always have on hand. If you bring these on your first day, you’ll impress your boss and be ahead of the game. Come prepared with a tape measure, a marker, and a level. It doesn’t hurt to have quality knife and a set of pliers too.
6. Protect Your Body
You’ll thank us, and yourself, for this one later. If you’re young and spry, it may not seem like a big deal to have cheap, uncomfortable shoes or to help out by carrying an extra load. But as a physical job, you can wear your body out quickly. Get comfortable boots, use knee pads, and get plenty of rest. Stretch before or after work to help prevent back pain. You don’t want to end up unable to do the job you spent so much time learning how to do!
7. Don’t Stand Around
Last but not least, clean up your surroundings or offer to lend a hand if you ever need something to do. Standing around will make you appear lazy (especially if you’re on your phone!). Keep your hands out of your pockets and look busy even when it’s slow. Try to anticipate what needs to be done next so that you can help. Aside from appearances, it will actually speed up the job if you can get ahead with the menial tasks.
As long as you work hard and are willing to learn from your plumbing experience, you’ll be just fine. Every plumber and every company is different, but everyone in your new trade has the same goal; help people get clean water. Rest up for your first day, drink some coffee in the morning, and show up full of enthusiasm – and put down that phone!
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