Plumber Salary Guide: How Much Do Plumbers Make?

If you’re looking for a promising, secure future and enjoy working with your hands, consider a career in plumbing. Some people hold the misconception that plumbing is not a lucrative field. A plumber salary looks modest initially, but a plumbing career has room for growth and requires little schooling and debt to start.

How Much Do Plumbers Make a Year?

Though plumber salaries vary, a plumber makes an average base salary of $55,000 per year. This number varies on location, education level, and years of experience.

Plumbers can often earn additional salary by working overtime, and many enjoy the benefits of being in a plumbing union.

As a plumber’s career progresses, their salary will increase. Journeyman plumbers earn more than apprentices or entry level plumbers, and master plumbers usually earn the most.

How Much Do Plumbers Make an Hour?

Plumbers can expect to earn $24.25 an hour plus overtime early in their careers. Like plumbing salaries, the hourly wage of a plumber increases with more experience and education.

If you’re a plumbing contractor, you still receive overtime pay when you receive a call after hours and have to do a job in the evening or on the weekend. In that case, you can charge more for after-hours work.

Plumber Salary By State

StateAverage Plumber Salary
District of Columbia$71,800
New Hampshire$53,150
New Jersey$67,820
New Mexico$44,260
New York$65,970
North Carolina$44,170
North Dakota$55,140
Rhode Island$50,200
South Carolina$46,240
South Dakota$41,100
West Virginia$51,380
Source: Faraday

Where Do Plumbers Make The Most Money?

Plumbers make the most money working in large cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. On average, plumbers make 20% more in large metro areas compared to rural areas.

Your location determines how much you make as a plumber as well. You need to factor in both the amount a plumber makes where you live as well as your own cost of living when you’re figuring out if you want to dive into a career as a plumber. 

For example, in Denver, Colorado, plumbers make $77,000 a year. In Brooklyn, New York, you can hope for $63,000, and in San Diego, California, you can expect around $56,000 a year. 

When you factor in the cost of living for your location, you’ll see how plumbing makes more sense financially in some areas than it does in others. 

Plumber Salary By Experience Level

Plumbing Apprentice Salary

How much does an apprentice plumber make? On average, plumber apprentices earn $19 per hour. Apprenticeships are usually hourly positions, so the equivalent of an apprentice plumber yearly salary is $39,500 a year.

Entry Level Plumber Salary

How much do entry level plumbers make? Entry level plumber salaries start around $40,000 a year, or $20 per hour.

Journeyman Plumber Salary

How much do journeyman plumbers make? The average journeyman plumber makes a salary of $60,000 a year or $28 an hour. The salary of journeyman plumbers varies depending on location and years of experience.

Master Plumber Salary

How much do master plumbers make? A master plumber salary starts around $90,000 a year or $40 an hour. Master plumbers often work more than 40 hours a week, so their pay increases greatly with overtime pay.

Plumber Salary By Job Category

Residential Plumber Salary

How much do residential plumbers make? The average residential plumber makes about $55,000 per year, or $26 an hour.

Commercial Plumber Salary

How much do commercial plumbers make? The average commercial plumber makes about $63,000 per year, or $30 an hour.

Construction Plumber Salary

How much do construction plumbers make? The average construction plumber makes about $73,000 per year, or $35 an hour.

Plumbing Contractor Salary

How much do plumbing contractors make? The average plumber contractor earns between $30 – $50 an hour. As contractors, they are not paid salaries but rather charge clients hourly rates or set contract fees.

Costs Associated with Paying a Plumber’s Salary

When you answer the question “how much do plumbers make?” you need to take the long view. Take time to figure out the cost of education and the amount of time you can work as a plumber. You can better understand a plumber salary guide and see that plumbers make a good living. 

Schooling Costs

To become a plumber, one can attend a plumbing school to get started. The cost of an associate’s degree for plumbing range from $1,000 to $20,000 depending on where you obtain your degree. Plumbing apprentices, however, are paid as regular employees as they learn on the job.

Best of all, if you go the route of an apprentice, you’re making an apprentice salary right away, so you’re earning while you go to school. Most often people will go the route of a community college or technical school because the cost is less and the training is intense and specific. 

Tool Costs

You also have to figure in the cost of plumbing tools. Apprentices have to pay for their tools from the start. You should anticipate paying $300 to $400 for quality starter tools. 

The result is little debt for schooling and the opportunity to make money right away as a plumber. So plumbers from the start are earning that minimum of $15 an hour with little schooling debt to worry about. 

Retirement Benefits

Employing plumbers includes the cost of contributing to their retirement benefits. If a company offers a 401k, employers usually match the employee’s contributions up to a certain percentage.

Plumbing unions often offer pension plans, which provide an annual benefit to plumbers to replace their salaries during retirement.

Job Outlook for Plumbers 

If you crunch the numbers, a plumber could make more money throughout a lifetime than even a doctor. When you factor in the ability to work right away, the low cost of school, and the investment opportunities early on, plumbing is a great occupation for a lifetime.

When you figure out how much plumbers make, you should consider the outlook over the long haul. If you’re considering a career in plumbing, look at what you can make from the time you’re 22 to the time you’re 65.  

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the job outlook for plumbers is good. They anticipate a 14 percent growth in the need for plumbers from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average growth rate. 

The world will always need plumbers. As buildings grow old, they need plumbers to repair them. As new structures go up, they need plumbers to install proper plumbing.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can plumbers earn six figures?

Absolutely. Not only can the owner of a successful plumbing business make six figures, but plumbers in the field frequently earn over $100,000 a year.

What type of plumbers makes the most money?

The highest earning plumbers are often plumbing engineers and construction plumbers. These plumbers engage in both the planning of plumbing infrastructure and installation of complex systems.

Can plumbers be millionaires?

Yes! If your plumbing business grows to cover multiple service areas and hires multiple employees, your annual profits can accumulate to make you a millionaire. Even if you’re a plumbing contractor, you can become a millionaire over time with smart investments and watching costs.

Why do plumbers make so much?

Plumbers are paid well because there is a high demand for experienced plumbers nationwide. It also takes years of training and licensing to become a plumber, so plumbers can charge a premium for their services.

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