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While most people believe plumbers are among the most well paid trade workers, a number of factors can influence plumber wages. These professionals earn salaries based on a number of different factors including whether they are self-employed, the size of the companies they work for, the number of projects or jobs they have, education and experience. All of these factors have the potential to significantly affect the wages of plumbers, and it would be difficult to say which is the most influential factor.
As with any job, the more education and the more experience one has, the greater the likelihood a plumber will be worth more to the company. Plumber wages can be positively affected by attending a trade school, or earning certifications in the field. While plumbing classes may provide a good introduction to the plumbing field, they are not a substitute for practical experience gained over time.
At the very least, more experience should lead to more skills and higher worth, no matter what the formal education of the person may be. The upper earnings range of those with one to four years of experience is roughly equal to the lower ranges of those with 20 years of experience, according to PayScale, Inc. Plumbers generally need to spend years in the field before reaping greater financial rewards.
Perhaps there is no single factor that has more control over plumber wages than whether the plumber is self-employed. In this case, the plumber has the ability to set his or her own wages, determine how many people are hired, and find the clients. Of course, any expenses must be paid before profits can be taken, so there are many variables that must be considered. As an employee, all earnings are purely profit, at least from the employee’s perspective.
Self-employed or not, the size of the company will also affect plumber wages. Larger companies often mean more clients and projects, along with economies of scale for materials. Therefore, larger companies may be able to offer better wages to their employees, or perhaps a better benefits package. While this is certainly not true of all companies, it may be the case with many of them. If a company is larger, it may also be able to offer employees more hours.
It should be noted that company size typically only makes a difference with the upper range of plumber wages, according to PayScale, Inc. Starting wages usually remain very consistent across the board, no matter the size of the company. Therefore, those with larger companies may be able to expect more regular raises, and get to a higher pay grade quicker than those with smaller companies.