Let’s say you encounter a plumbing issue and want to resolve it. Fast. You go online, type in the Google Search Bar for “Santa Cruz plumbers near me“, and just pick any website or listing you find.
Maybe that plumber comes quickly to your home and finishes the job. Everything seems right, except a few days later your problem is back with a vengeance. You call the plumber again, but guess what?
When you talk to him on the phone, he dismisses you. He may not even answer your call altogether. Why would this ever happen? Because you didn’t check if Mr. Plumber Man was a licensed plumber.
What Happens When You Work with Just Any Contractor?
A plumbing contractor without a license literally works outside the law. California, just like many other states in this country, requires an official license for anyone who intends to work in this industry, whether they’ll be in charge of changing a home’s entire plumbing system or just fix a leaky toilet.
A contractor without a license will usually not stick around until they finish the job entirely. They’ll just patch things up until it appears fixed, so they can receive their checks and be out the door. Usually, they don’t come back for seconds.
When you hire an unlicensed plumber, you are effectively taking full responsibility for anything that may go wrong. And it’s not just that you’ll need to call a different plumber to fix a leaky toilet – if your issues are more extensive, you may have difficulties covering any repairs through your home insurance if the company finds out you’ve let an unlicensed plumber meddle with things.
It’s almost like calling your buddy Dave to fix your plumbing issue. Dave may have some skills, but he’s not ultimately responsible for anything if he makes a mistake. So he’s not regulated by anyone to actually put in the good work. Apart from your friendship, of course.
Note that licenses aren’t forever, they may expire or may even be retracted in certain cases. A plumber that used to be licensed is just as bad of a decision as one who’s never had a license, to begin with, because it ultimately means they cannot offer you the same protections.
What Licenses or Certifications Do Plumbers Need?
To work as a plumber in California, people first need to go through an apprenticeship program where they will learn the gist of the job and gain some hands-on experience with the help of a more experienced plumber.
These programs will include classroom-like sessions held at a technical school, and students will go through exams. Most of them can be completed in two years, though some can take longer, depending on the curriculum.
Once they get this certification that they’ve finished trade school, future plumbers are required to work an additional 2-4 years as an apprentice, and only then can they apply to become a Journeyman plumber. This will allow them to work on smaller projects independently, usually, those that will cost less than $500.
Journeyman plumbers will work an additional 4 years in the business before they are eligible to apply for a contractor’s license, which would allow them to work on more complex jobs by themselves.
So to recap, here are all the papers a licensed contractor would really have:
- A certificate or a diploma from a trade school
- A certification from the apprenticeship program
- A Journeyman plumber license
- A contractor’s license.
These steps are fixed, so there cannot be, for example, a licensed contractor that does not have a Journeyman plumber’s licenses. In California, at least, you need to first go through this step, wait, and then possibly become a licensed contractor.
Who Issues These Licenses?
In California, the Contractors State License Board is the institution that issues all the plumbing related licenses. Each applicant must get a criminal background check, and the board will review each application. Check your plumbing contractor license here.
A criminal background won’t necessarily prevent people from getting a contractor’s license, unless it’s a rather serious offense that took place within the last 7 years of applying, or if the offense is related to their field of work. In other words, plumbers who’ve committed a crime at the home they were working on won’t likely be given another license.
Your Santa Cruz Plumbing Needs, Answered
Do you live in the Santa Cruz area and are dealing with some plumbing issues? Anytime Plumbing is happy to help! All our plumbers are fully licensed in the state of California and experienced enough to tackle any issue head-on.
Reach out to us for a quote or for more information about how we can help.