Plumbers are expensive because it is a highly specialized trade requiring thousands of hours to master. Additionally, they make house calls meaning they spend time and money investing in vehicles, tools, equipment and gas to bring to you. They also carry insurance and have other overhead expenses. Labor shortages in the field also contribute to premium pricing.
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Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship. Apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, as well as some classroom instruction, each year. In the classroom, apprentices learn safety, local plumbing codes and regulations, and blueprint reading. They also study mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry. Apprenticeship programs are offered by unions and businesses. Although most workers enter apprenticeships directly, some start out as helpers. The Home Builders Institute offers a pre-apprenticeship training program in plumbing and other trades.