4 Reasons to Consider a Career in the Plumbing and Heating Supply Industry

The supply side of the industry is an area that can provide plentiful opportunities

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I was a college football lineman. I worked in finance and software sales out of school and was about 300 pounds and miserable prior to leaving my last software gig. That began to change when I entered the plumbing and heating supply industry.

I started at the bottom and worked pulling orders. I was walking about 4 miles a day, wearing shorts and a T-shirt in the warehouse, shooting the breeze with plumbers happy to be doing what they do and happy to see a new face. It wasn't long before I had dropped about 60 pounds, became a top salesperson at my company and began loving what I did again.

When I loved what I did, I immersed myself in the industry soaking up every piece of knowledge I could. I know that I will never work in another industry again.

Here are four more reasons why the plumbing and heating supply industry can be a good career choice.

1. You will be part of an ever-changing, recession-proof industry.

Plumbing, heating and cooling touches all aspects of our lives. As a plumbing and heating wholesaler you will sell a wide variety of products that ensure the health and safety of the public.

Plumbing and heating trades are essential to preserving and rebuilding the physical infrastructure of the country. Many of the buildings that we live and work in today would simply cease to operate without the products and services provided by this industry and these companies. You will work daily to sell and promote products to new and different customers centered around our most precious natural resource, water. 

2. You will find more job opportunities.

I saw a photo recently of about 36 employees of a regional plumbing and heating supplier. Each one of the employees in the photo had been with the company for 30 years. The photo’s caption noted that there were also many people in the company’s 30-year club missing from the photo.

I started doing the math. If the company has eight to 12 locations and 120 to 150 employees total, that means there are likely over 50 employees in the company in their 50s or 60s. This is a mature company, partnered with strong manufacturers in an established industry who treats employees so well they stay forever.

A younger person would be silly not to see the fantastic opportunity this industry presents to work with experienced people while also maintaining the ability to lead quickly and move up fast. There is limitless opportunity in this industry for someone skilled and motivated.

3. You can earn higher pay.

Without a biological miracle, humans will still require plumbing and heating systems for the foreseeable future. This presents a massive opportunity for those entering the workforce now and going forward. Not only do I predict a massive re-posturing around education in this country soon due to the prevalence of information availability, but I predict a massive shift toward emphasizing the trades and trade skills.

People “bug out” when they see a plumbing bill for $165 for an hour of work, but supply and demand suggests that a 24-year-old (the average age of a plumber today is 58) in 2019 working toward becoming a master plumber could theoretically be charging in the ballpark of $400 per hour by the time they reach the age of 50. Where do you think this plumber will be buying products?

So many people do not realize that there is so much more to this industry than the plumbing aisle at Home Depot and as an industry we need to change that. There are thousands of truly essential products that are strictly available through plumbing wholesalers and this won’t change any time soon. 

4. You can work across multiple disciplines.

Plumbing and heating supplies touch so many different categories and specialists are worth their weight in gold. Someone who is a “warranty expert” or a “showroom sales expert” can take their career in many valuable directions. Commercial sales, warehousing and logistics, hiring and HR, e-commerce, content creation, IT, and finance are all massively necessary components of any modern wholesaler.

Whether you have a background as an engineer, or a graphic designer or you didn't go to school at all and come from a different trade, there is without a doubt a spot for you in the plumbing and heating wholesale industry. Opportunity to create your own path exists in this industry far more than most of the formalized corporate roles graduates enter into today. 

About the Author

Tom Kelly is the founder of supplyhouselife.com. He can be reached at tom@supplyhouselife.com.


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