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Plumbing: referrals and reputations

A successful career as a plumber can take years to cultivate but, once it is off the ground, reputation and referrals are key to sustaining a livelihood as a plumber. So what can a plumber do to establish and maintain his or her reputation?

Evidence of dedication to high-quality training and education is generally a clear sign of a qualified and competent plumber – or of someone embarking on a plumbing career with very solid foundations. Qualifications from training bodies including City & Guilds, Construction Awards Alliance, EAL and CITB can prove to be an essential addition to a business card. A dedication to life-long learning can also prove invaluable to a reputation, as clients will be pleased to hear from a professional who has made sure to keep up to speed with industry innovations and advancements.

It is imperative, however – particularly for plumbers at the beginning of their careers – that qualifications plumbers take allow them to become a Registered Plumbing or Heating Professional. It is up to the individual whether they become Registered or not following qualification, but the option is important and also a sign of the course’s quality.

Keeping informed of progress within the plumbing industry can be done through Britain’s plumbing industry associations and federations. There are a number of these official industry bodies representing plumbers in the UK, including the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE), the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation.

These associations can prove invaluable to both established and emerging plumbers, offering up-to-date industry information, advice on tax and finances and networking and business development opportunities.

Industry organisations often stage membership initiatives, with memberships coming from referrals and recommendations. The CIPHE’s chief executive, Kevin Wellman, explained, “In our industry, word-of-mouth referral is key to gaining new clients. It’s the same for the CIPHE, as no one is better qualified to spread the word about the benefits of membership, than our own members.”