Plumbing is a widely misunderstood trade, and there are a few things about plumbers that the general public often seem to get wrong. So what are the biggest misconceptions about plumbers and plumbing held by a large number of ordinary people?
#1: Plumbers aren't academic, are only vocationally trained and don't need to be particularly bright.
Plumbing is a far more complicated trade than many give it credit for, and it is by no means an easy job. Working as a plumber requires you to train for a long time, learn about things from a variety of fields (engineering, physics, maths, geology, biology, business), keep unpredictable hours, deal with the public constantly and often in pressured circumstances and work long, difficult days without often knowing where they're going to need to be next. It's a much harder job than people realise, and not everyone is cut out for it!
#2: Plumbers can only help you with things directly relating to your pipe system and gas flow.
In this modern world, a plumber needs a wide variety of skills in order to get the job done well. You'll find that a plumber is often also an electrician, for example; they spend a lot of time hooking up combination cookers, which requires them to connect both a gas and an electricity supply. Some knowledge of wiring is required to install thermostats, and as more and more people want to 'go digital' in their homes this knowledge is becoming increasingly vital. They will also be able to help you manage a full bathroom renovation, as they can give you advice on what needs to be done in what order—and many are willing to help you find the perfect bathroom suite, allowing you to benefit from their professional knowledge of brands and their trade discounts with a variety of suppliers.
#3: Plumbers can help you with everything directly relating to your pipe system and gas flow.
That said, even the best plumber can't do everything—and there are some jobs it's assumed will be done by a plumber that are actually best undertaken by someone else. Drain and pipe clearing, for example, is actually the purview of a drainage expert—which is a field all of its own. Showers and boilers are installed by plumbers, but for troubleshooting and maintenance it's often best to go directly to the manufacturer for the most expert service.
#4: Plumbers charge more than they're worth and will often try to rip their customers off.
Plumbing is a complex profession, and many of the skills it requires deserve to be paid at professional rates. There's also the hidden costs to consider; a plumber needs to be called out at all hours in an emergency, to arrive in a large van filled with everything they might need at any given moment and to cover themselves for liability issues that they likely couldn't have avoided in the first place. Then there's the hours worked vs. hours billed equation; because people often need plumbers right away, they are essentially requiring them to spend a certain amount of time sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, which means that a plumber might only have 3-4 billable hours in a working day. Your plumber isn't ripping you off—they're asking to receive the wage they deserve and require.