THE BEST PLUMBER
“We all can work, but together we can win.” – Unknown
Undoubtedly when searching on Google, this is a claim that you will come across very often. The claim of being the best plumber represents a general way of thinking within the industry, but what is it impacts on our industry?
In this article, we will be diving deep into the implications of this popular phrase. This phrase can create air in the industry at we can only call toxic. In many ways that devalue our beloved trade and cause those outside the trade to not appreciate it. What makes the best plumber? Well, keep reading to find out!
WHY NOT THE BEST PLUMBER?
We all want bragging rights, but who gives an individual the title of the best plumber? By all means, if a professional body recognises your level of skill, and awards you this honour make it know. And congratulations too. But for the rest of us, why do we say that this is creating a negative effect?
Tell me if any of these situations sound familiar. You’ve been dancing around a roof space of half a meter and clawing at the geyser (HWV) for hours. You’ve been working so long and it’s finally lunchtime, but you have so many jobs and in such a rush, you kind of brush off the fact that you eat in between unblocking drains. If you not getting the point, it is that as plumbers we have more in common then we don’t. We all work extremely hard and most of us valve the work we do.
Whether you believe you the best plumber or just us it as a marketing tool, just as we are accountable for the work we do, we need to take responsibility for what we say. If every plumber markets as “the best” it reduces the weight of being a skilled plumber.
WHAT CONSTITUTES THE BEST PLUMBER?
Now for the part, you came for, what do we consider as the best plumber? The following criteria, highly skilled and qualified, professional, has the industries best interests at heart. To that end, we have broken up the discussion into the 4 areas.
1. Client Relations
The best plumber is one who interacts with the client in a way that is positive for the industry. What do we mean about that? Clients do not necessarily want to hear all the intricacies of the job but using your knowledge and enlightening them as to the reason for certain actions can benefit the trade. Research was done on the topic by Harris interactive and shows “89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.” So not only does it help the trade, it will help said plumber to keep clients engaged with him.
“The best plumber” definitely has to be someone who is recognised as not just being qualified but also being licensed with the relative associations. In South Africa that is the PIRB. Of course, no single plumber has all the answers so continually developing this skill is key. Years ago the the “plumber protects the health of the nation” campaign had started. While it might not be such a popular thought-train, Plumbers definitely protect the health of the nation and knowledge, understanding and experience will enable this. Fundamental to this is safe work practices too. You can’t protect the nation if you can’t work safely.
3. Uplift the trade by respecting other plumbers
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
An aspect of the ‘best plumber’. The trade will only look as good as we make it. There is another generation that needs to learn to love plumber. Not just to choose it because ‘you don’t need a qualification or there was nothing better to do’. The best plumber is able to create healthy space in the industry and can inspire those around him to be better. The best plumber engages with the youth and shows them the joys that come with the trade. At the moment enough of the realities of the industry is known but not about the joys of it.
4. Value your trade don’t extort, don’t work for free but charge fairly
“I know someone who will do it cheaper.” – New client
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Many countries have set rates for certain job types. That is unfortunately not the case in South Africa. While we not telling anyone how to charge for jobs, too often it’s the case in the industry where tradesmen are trying to undercut each other. This results in two things, clients expectations of what their money means in the trade becomes abnormally unrealistic. The second effect is that it makes it harder for all of us in the industry to make a living and meet client expectations. A study by Microsoft showed the following “Globally, 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago.” This, of course, supports the thought of higher client expectations. The Best Plumber charges as fairly as possible while still respecting the trade and making a living.
So with all the fuse, one may wonder what are the authorities doing about this? Brendan Reynolds Executive Director of IOPSA had the following to say on the topic. ”IOPSA and PIRB have been working for many years to improve the quality of plumbing work done in South Africa. This is done by promoting the use of properly Qualified and Licensed Plumbers. We love our country and our trade and are passionate about plumbers. Plumbing is critical to protecting the health of all South Africans. If we allow plumbing standards, to slip our country will become a miserable disease-ridden place. Be proud of your trade, participate actively in improving your industry and support the bodies which are trying to protect our trade – this is what it means to be THE BEST. Be the change you want to see!”
As you can see for the comments made by the Executive director of IOPSA, while they are doing their best to move the trade forward, much lies with you and me as Plumbers. We need to learn, educate and inform those around us. The pride you have for your trade should motivate you to protect the trade so in turn, you can protect the nation through your trade.
As consumers the more we hold our tradesmen accountable the better. At the same time having a reasonable expectation of what plumbers can do will healthier environments and encourage the next generation to not only look to plumbing as a career but to be the best plumber.
This may come as a shock but to us, anyone plumber that does the above, to us can be considered as the best plumber. It’s a tough industry, by all working together plumbers show the world why South African plumbers are so highly valued. So where to find the best plumber? So yes Boolean has the ‘best plumber’, but He’s or she is probably in another company around you, in your area and they are doing all these things.