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Question for those familiar with the differences working for a smaller shop to working for a large contractor with a couple hundred employees. I am currently working with a family friend (owner) as an apprentice. Smaller shop with a few employees. Owner is still doing work while also managing the business. Plan in my head would to buy the business when he retires and I have my license. Good earning potential but also a lot of work. MUCH harder and stressful than flying planes!

On the other hand, I sometimes picture getting on with one of the larger commercial plumbing/mechanical contractors and working my way up. Some of these companies are employee owned or offer equity, so it may be possible to one day buy into the business and become a partner, thus seeing a larger portion of the profits than a regular employee.

I could never reach those levels of management or ownership in my previous career, so I like the potential both career paths offer. I like the actual plumbing, but I realize that I won't be able to do the physical work forever. I just don't have the wisdom or experience in the trade yet to know if there's a better path. Thanks for any insight.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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Question for those familiar with the differences working for a smaller shop to working for a large contractor with a couple hundred employees. I am currently working with a family friend (owner) as an apprentice. Smaller shop with a few employees. Owner is still doing work while also managing the business. Plan in my head would to buy the business when he retires and I have my license. Good earning potential but also a lot of work. MUCH harder and stressful than flying planes!

On the other hand, I sometimes picture getting on with one of the larger commercial plumbing/mechanical contractors and working my way up. Some of these companies are employee owned or offer equity, so it may be possible to one day buy into the business and become a partner, thus seeing a larger portion of the profits than a regular employee.

I could never reach those levels of management or ownership in my previous career, so I like the potential both career paths offer. I like the actual plumbing, but I realize that I won't be able to do the physical work forever. I just don't have the wisdom or experience in the trade yet to know if there's a better path. Thanks for any insight.

You would be wise to stay with the smaller shop at least for a few years, and learn everything you can with them..
If you could actually buy the place when the owner retires then you are on the gravy train if you know how to do
the specific kinds of work that go along with your area....
..
With the large companies its dog eat dog with everyone competing with each other to prove
who is the alpha dog in the group, and of course the blame goes downhill and everyone seems
to be back stabbing each other.. CONSTANTLY .. I saw this with a 20 man company long ago....

With a huge company you could also get stuck installing toilets or doing huge slab work kind of jobs
for a whole year on some huge project and really get burnt out fast.... believe me it
is a grind I would not wish on anyone...

and then one day when the last toilet is set, you get laid off...
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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Not to mention if you make a mistake, you get to hear about it from 10 different bosses who know less about plumbing then my 17 yr old daughter.
Actually , you probably get to hear about your mistakes from the bosses son or son-in-laws
who screwed or married their way into a management job by screwing the bosses daughter...
that really stings better when it comes from them.....
🤠 😆 😆


 

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I aint CPV see in it?
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if the benifits are there and you dont mind being just a number on a page then i say go for it. Last company i worked for, i made them a ****load of money. I know it for a fact. getting things done in half the time of everyone else, and doing more in a week then everyone else. you think they shared in that with me? Nope. Just a number, on a page.
 

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if the benifits are there and you dont mind being just a number on a page then i say go for it. Last company i worked for, i made them a ****load of money. I know it for a fact. getting things done in half the time of everyone else, and doing more in a week then everyone else. you think they shared in that with me? Nope. Just a number, on a page.
Plenty of small companies operate The same way.
It’s not the size of the company that matters, it’s how it’s managed.
 

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Thanks for the input so far. I like my current situation but always like to look for something else just in case it turns out better.

You can't be all bad, my wife is from New Jersey. I'm a small shop with job openings in all areas. I offer vacation, holidays, health insurance, 401k matching, plenty of work, etc, etc. All of my plumbers are master plumbers so you learn correctly. Move to Georgia..........
 

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You can't be all bad, my wife is from New Jersey. I'm a small shop with job openings in all areas. I offer vacation, holidays, health insurance, 401k matching, plenty of work, etc, etc. All of my plumbers are master plumbers so you learn correctly. Move to Georgia..........
He’s a pilot, he’ll want to be in control…
 

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The apprenticeship I went through was set up so that you’d get a little bit of both. IMO, you need to do all of it. You should be able to read prints and build it, repair a faucet, layout a house, size a gas line, snake a drain…. All of it.

Then there is the question of what YOU want to do. Where YOU want to focus. You may not know the answer to this question until you have worked for both. Smaller companies and larger companies each have their pros and cons some of them you may not realize until you have been involved. I realize that some of this is non-specific; I think that you need to work in both environments to see what you like if you are truly on the fence.

The one real piece of advice I can offer in this situation is to learn and be driven. Show your master/journeymen that you want to learn and you are willing to work for the knowledge. Show your drive.
 

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Question for those familiar with the differences working for a smaller shop to working for a large contractor with a couple hundred employees. I am currently working with a family friend (owner) as an apprentice. Smaller shop with a few employees. Owner is still doing work while also managing the business. Plan in my head would to buy the business when he retires and I have my license. Good earning potential but also a lot of work. MUCH harder and stressful than flying planes!

On the other hand, I sometimes picture getting on with one of the larger commercial plumbing/mechanical contractors and working my way up. Some of these companies are employee owned or offer equity, so it may be possible to one day buy into the business and become a partner, thus seeing a larger portion of the profits than a regular employee.

I could never reach those levels of management or ownership in my previous career, so I like the potential both career paths offer. I like the actual plumbing, but I realize that I won't be able to do the physical work forever. I just don't have the wisdom or experience in the trade yet to know if there's a better path. Thanks for any insight.
Have you considered opening a drain cleaning business ?

From what I’ve read, in New Jersey it doesn’t require a plumbing license.

Just curious, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want of course, How old are you ?
 

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Good question. Complicated answer.
Big or small, no two companies have the same dynamics.
On the course you seem to be charting, there are multiple skill sets.
Learning the trade will serve you in whatever capacity you find yourself.
Becoming proficient in managing people puts you at the next level.
The final hurtle is managing a business.
The skills needed for this are multiple:
1) Understanding financials (too many variables to name here)
2) Estimating
3) Purchasing and inventory control
4) Unless you are a one man shop, managing employees becomes even more important,
including interviewing and hiring them.
 

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Good question. Complicated answer.
Big or small, no two companies have the same dynamics.
On the course you seem to be charting, there are multiple skill sets.
Learning the trade will serve you in whatever capacity you find yourself.
Becoming proficient in managing people puts you at the next level.
The final hurtle is managing a business.
The skills needed for this are multiple:
1) Understanding financials (too many variables to name here)
2) Estimating
3) Purchasing and inventory control
4) Unless you are a one man shop, managing employees becomes even more important,
including interviewing and hiring them.
Plumbus is right on.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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8,605 Posts
Good question. Complicated answer.
Big or small, no two companies have the same dynamics.
On the course you seem to be charting, there are multiple skill sets.
Learning the trade will serve you in whatever capacity you find yourself.
Becoming proficient in managing people puts you at the next level.
The final hurtle is managing a business.
The skills needed for this are multiple:
1) Understanding financials (too many variables to name here)
2) Estimating
3) Purchasing and inventory control
4) Unless you are a one man shop, managing employees becomes even more important,
including interviewing and hiring them.

Good information..... I myself am having trouble with estimation at this point in time.
like I am living in 1980 or something....

Just installed a 50 gallon power vented gas water heater yesterday and charged $2900
for the unit installed with a 10 year upgrade... it took me 2 hours to do... the lady told me
that I was too cheap compaired to a few others she has spoken to ......

I dont know what flat rate pricing would have been for this job but I think I need to find a
flat rate pricing book and come in just a little under what they want to charge....
 

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Good information..... I myself am having trouble with estimation at this point in time.
like I am living in 1980 or something....

Just installed a 50 gallon power vented gas water heater yesterday and charged $2900
for the unit installed with a 10 year upgrade... it took me 2 hours to do... the lady told me
that I was too cheap compaired to a few others she has spoken to ......

I dont know what flat rate pricing would have been for this job but I think I need to find a
flat rate pricing book and come in just a little under what they want to charge....
I have found that flat rate companies are all over the board with price depending on how busy they are…..or not.
 

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Did I see a Sukhoi in your shop pics? Can’t remember.
You are right about the differences in where you are.
Yes, I fly a 40% sized Sukhoi. 123" wingspan.

And I damaged it recently, coming straight at me after landing and I went right instead of left. Just a brain fart. That wouldn't happen from the cockpit.
 
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