Some people may question what repairs they can make if they have problems with their pipes or other water concerns. Everyone wants to save money, and one way to do so is to perform DIY repairs (via unlicensed plumbing). So, if you don't have a license, what kind of plumbing can you do?

It's important to keep in mind that the most difficult plumbing issues may need additional training. A plumber who isn't licensed may lack the necessary education. Permits are required for items such as water heaters, which might complicate issues.

Plumbing Work Without a License


Here are a few examples of plumbing jobs that you can do on your own:

  • Replacing showerheads
  • Getting a new toilet seat
  • Replacing floor grates
  • Replacing a water filter
  • Connect and replace washing machine hoses
  • Unclogging a pipe through standard methods (snake or drain cleaner)
  • Replacing parts of your sink

Unlicensed plumbers can do all of these easy plumbing jobs, and they usually don't require permits. This is due to the fact that you do not work with pipe replacement.

More difficult jobs are not suitable for DIY. The following are some examples of occupations that are more likely to necessitate a plumbing license:

  • Renovations to the plumbing in the bathroom
  • Installing in a hot water heater
  • Pipes inside your home need to be replaced.
  • Sanitary plumbing (toilet pipes)

Unlicensed contractors who attempt to do the jobs listed above may find themselves in over their heads. In many circumstances, a trade license is just evidence of your experience.


Can we run a plumbing business without a license? Yes, however each plumbing company is required to have a Responsible Master Plumber who is in charge of obtaining all permits. The RMP does not have to be the company's owner, but he or she must be a full-time employee and cannot be an RMP for another firm. The license number of the RMP for the company must be shown on every company truck and advertisement.

Apprentices must also work under the direction of a journeyman and a master in general.

It's not a horrible set up for a non-plumber to operate the business, because plumbers are usually terrible at it. That is why many plumbing firms fail. It's not unusual to come across a master plumber who used to run his own business.


Licensing is not a simple or quick process. Plumbing is a highly technical and precise trade. A qualified plumber can earn upwards of $200,000 per year, yet the owners of their plumbing companies get to make all of the decisions. However, to play ball in this league, you'll always require a license.

Plumbing licenses are typically gained by completing three steps: completing a journeyman plumber's apprenticeship, qualifying for and passing your area's plumbing licensing exam.

The plumber's apprenticeship is the most difficult part of your professional license journey. Apprenticeships in plumbing are a rare sort of pay-for-work arrangement. Apprentice plumbers receive hands-on training on real-world job sites, learning technical skills, necessary tools of the trade, business procedures like invoicing and contracting, and topics like OSHA safety and blueprint reading.

Apprenticeships are typically 4-5 years long and are overseen by a local plumber's union, a trade school, or a commercial organization.

Plumbing licensing requirements depend on location, so make sure you're following the rules in your area before considering a plumbing apprenticeship. Gather all of the other documentation you'll need to qualify for an official plumber's license exam, such as school transcripts, evidence of insurance, and professional character witnesses, once you have your proof of plumbing apprenticeship.

The last item on the checklist is to take the exam. California, for example, is mandated to provide certified licensure examination study guides. After four years of plumbing apprenticeship, you should be able to tell the difference between fuel gas piping and industrial piping like the back of your hand, but start studying the night before.