Why Should You Hire a Licensed Plumber?
Many home and business owners are uninformed as to why it is vital to hire a licensed professional. Such professionals not only protect the health of the nation by properly installing plumbing systems, they benefit our cities by protecting the public water supply, properly designing and installing sewage pipe lines.
They also install fuel or gas lines to allow for cooking, hot water, and comfort in the winter months. Sure, unlicensed contractors can install a faucet or claim to have the know-how of other plumbing projects in your home or business. However, they lack the in-depth knowledge and experience of how important your plumbing system protects your health.
What a Plumber Must Go Through Before Being Granted a Master Plumbers License in NYC
- First, they have to directly work under the supervision of a licensed plumber for five years.
- Next, they must obtain a Journeyman Plumbers Card, after which they must work for an additional two years under the direct supervision of a Licensed Master Plumber as a Journeyman Plumber.
- Next, after seven years of full-time employment under the direct supervision of a Licensed Master Plumber, they can then meet the requirements of the DOB to sit for the test to qualify for a NYC Master Plumber License.
- Now, they have to prepare for the written part of the NYC Master Plumber test. They have to attend night school two to three days a week on weeknights for four to five hours, with schooling lasting up to seven months.
This is not an easy task, as plumbing is hard work. The last thing a plumber wants to do after 10 hours of work is sit in a classroom. Determination, Devotion, Pride and Love for the trade is what drives these individuals that pursue this route. The NYC Master Plumber written test is a very difficult test, covering many different types of code, safety, natural gas, industry standards, properly sizing and designing a plumbing system, math formulas and business practice subjects.
You Passed the Written Test…What’s Next?
Next comes the practical part of the NYC Master Plumber exam. For this, the plumber will once again attend school, usually at night, two to three times a week for two to four hours at a time. This part of the school lasts anywhere from two to four months whenever the plumber feels he or she is ready to sit for the actual test.
This part is very demanding, both mentally and physically, as they are required to produce one black steel project and one copper project. They also have to learn how to use math formulas, solder properly, and work in a neat and safe environment. When ready for the Practical exam, plumbers are given the exam by the DOB in an undisclosed location. They are required to bring all necessary tools and materials needed and carry it all to the test site (not an easy task!). Plumbers are given four hours to complete this exam.
After Two Years
Almost 2 years have passed and the plumber passed both written and practical tests. Now comes the hard part. Yes, the hard part. The DOB requires the plumber to now submit experience verification forms filled out by past employers, earning statements from the IRS, criminal background checks, DMV background checks, child alimony statements, and many other types of forms and affidavits.
The DOB is very strict and goes through these documents with a fine toothed comb to prevent any false experience claims. When the DOB clears the documents submitted, then the NYC Master Plumbers Board decides if the plumber is fit for NYC Master Plumbers License. If qualified, they must first obtain general liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, disability insurance, a commercial store front, and a land line for the store front address. Then, finally, plumbers can obtain their license. The process can take up to one year.
This is why it’s so important to hire a licensed professional. You will know they have been through rigorous testing from the city or state, have fulfilled the proper experience requirements, carry proper insurances, and can legally operate in NYC. They must oblige by a strict code of ethics set in place by the licensing board, and have knowledge on public safety and local codes.
Additionally, they must attend code renewal and continuing education courses every two to three years.
Licensed Plumbers protect your water supply and your family’s health. Sure, you can hire an unlicensed contractor to cut costs. Would you want a professional who has spent a substantial portion of their life obtaining the proper training, educating themselves on properly demonstrating their trade to obtain a license? Or do you want someone with little to no knowledge of codes, health, public safety, and proper industry practices?
The unlicensed contractor and homeowner are subject to heavy fines from the DOB for performing any unlicensed work. The unlicensed contractor may not have the determination, knowledge or experience to obtain a NYC license. Maybe they have no interest in obtaining a license and this is just a gig to make a quick buck and to save the homeowner some money. Some are career criminals who were denied for a license by the DOB due to their criminal past.
These are the many things to consider when hiring a contractor. Do not depend solely on an inexpensive quote. Those inexpensive quotes come from not carrying any type of insurance, paying no taxes, and using substandard products to complete a project.
Red Flags When Hiring a Contractor
- No signs or license number on work vehicle
- Names on paperwork or insurance documents do not match
- Claims a licensed contractor will cover him (this is illegal in NYC)
Karanvir S. Johal
NYC Licensed Master Plumber
Tidal Plumbing & Heating LLC.