Being a plumber – like working in any field service role – is a tough job, so you want to make sure you’re getting paid as much as you can. Luckily, the US government and many private businesses track plumbing salaries, so you can figure out how much you – or your employees – should expect to get paid.
I’ve read through the numbers, dug through the data, and pulled out some of the most interesting and important statistics for American plumbers and employers.
At the national level, plumbers make an average of a little over $55,000 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the grand scheme of things, that puts the profession a little ahead of commercial drivers and a little behind electricians.
The numbers collected by the BLS actually include steamfitters and pipefitters, as well, but that shouldn’t throw the numbers off too far. The stats are drawn from almost 400,000 employees across the US, most of whom – over 70% – work in the building equipment contractor industry. The remainder are concentrated mainly in the construction and utility industries.
In case you’re curious, the industries with the highest annual salaries include automotive and automotive parts manufacturing (about $67,000), natural gas distribution ($63,640), and health care support ($57,910). The industries with the lowest annual wages include local schools ($48,070) and ship and boat building ($48,350).
The US isn’t a uniform place. The fried chicken is best in the south, clam chowder in New England, and oysters in the in the Pacific Northwest. Geography plays into food quality and salaries alike. Where you plumb is a factor in how much you get paid for the plumbing.
Oregon, New York, and Illinois are the most lucrative states for plumbers, with salaries of $72,730, $72,480, and $72,200, respectively. Keep in mind that some of that is a supply issue. Oregon employs just over 4,600 plumbers, for instance.
The lowest paying states include Arkansas, Florida, and Alabama, with average wages of $36,430, $39,170, and $40,920. In general, the southern states are the lowest average payers, with the highest wages found on the west coast and along the Great Lakes.
Length of service
One of the other major factors affecting pay is the amount of time you’ve been working as a plumber. While the BLS doesn’t report on this breakdown, PayScale – an HR and salary site – has a nice set of bonus facts.
PayScale’s totally annual salary report deviates from the BLS, which could be for any number of reasons. The most likely is that the BLS doesn’t include self-employed plumbers in its numbers. PayScale covers anyone who works with the site.
Its reported salaries range from $36,000 to $53,000, with the biggest pay increase happening between 0 – 5 years of experience and 5 – 10 years. Entry-level plumbers average $36,000, while those in their mid-career are bringing in $45,000. That’s a 25% raise over the years. From there, plumbers can expect to earn just an 18% pay increase through the remainder of their career.
Clearly, there are a lot of factors that go into determining exactly how much any particular plumber can make in a year. With that said, the location you choose and the amount of time you’ve been working have clear impact on your overall pay.
For more information on managing your business and career, check out Capterra’s field service blog. If you’re looking for a way to get your business on strong footing without spending a ton of money, check out our free plumbing software article, for some great options.