Scott Liess in his office at Eco-Flow Plumbing

How I Bought My Job: Scott Liess on Craft Careers and How Know-how is Reshaping the Plumbing Business

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Scott Liess is the proprietor of Eco-Circulate Plumbing, a 24-hour plumbing enterprise serving the Santa Cruz space.

A local of New Jersey, Liess grew up uncovered to the plumbing trade whereas serving to out in his uncle’s plumbing enterprise. When he was 20, Liess began working for his uncle and stayed for 2 years. He later moved to California, the place he freelanced and traveled whereas doing plumbing work. At 23, Liess moved again to New Jersey, the place he attended plumbing college for 3 years.

Liess struggled with college and on the age of 26, as he describes it, broke away from mainstream actuality and centered on meditation, journey and therapeutic work. Liess continued to do odd plumbing jobs, finally realizing that his forte was plumbing.

Liess finally settled in Santa Cruz on the age of 30 and obtained a plumber’s license. In 2008, he began his personal enterprise, Eco-Circulate Plumbing, with only a truck and a few instruments. Exterior of her profession, Liess finds a ardour for music and what she calls human potential. He likes to work out and, as he says, is into flowing sports activities, like browsing and snowboarding.

This interview has been edited for readability and size.


  • He accomplished a plumbing license preparation internship in New Jersey
  • California Plumbing-Heating-Cooling (PHCC) Contractors Affiliation

Lookout: What’s your job and might you clarify what it’s?

Scott Liess: I personal a plumbing firm. I present plumbing providers and rent workers to carry out this service.

Lookout: How did you get into the plumbing trade?

Lies: My mom was an accountant for my uncle’s firm and solely took us to work. My brother and I obtained into the groove and discovered handiwork at a younger age. I in all probability began doing plumbing work with adults once I was 5 or 6 years outdated. I used to be just a bit helper, delivering instruments and holding stuff. Shoppers additionally appreciated having kids at work. You realize, it is an attractive factor. Just like the Yoo-hoo [drink] the manufacturing facility was proper there, so that you went to the manufacturing facility and so they gave you Yoo-hoos.

Lookout: Are you able to describe the way you got here to personal Eco-Circulate Plumbing?

Lies: Grudgingly. I’ve tried various things. I needed to be a yoga instructor or take the therapeutic path of psychotherapy. College wasn’t my factor in any respect and I struggled at school massive time. I attempted and it did not work. It was additionally troublesome for me to revenue from another person’s ache or struggling. However the plumbing simply got here to me. Nobody needed to clarify it. Something however historical past or geography appeared international to me.

After some touring, I simply stated [to myself]Look, this is the deal: You realize this commerce and you understand you can do it. In addition to, I might by no means work for anybody, in order that was my solely possibility, actually. You need to be able to sacrifice relationships and enjoyable. To not say you’ll be able to’t have these issues, however when persons are relying on you for a paycheck, it turns into a precedence.

Lookout: What was it like beginning a enterprise in such a busy financial interval?

Lies: It was troublesome. I drove everywhere in the Bay Space to seek out work, however that was cool as a result of I had no overhead. It was simply me. I had a truck with instruments and tools. Then I slowly moved on from there. I labored for 5 years alone. Like I stated, I used to be reluctant to begin as a result of I did not know if I needed to go all-in. I wasn’t positive I needed to provide him that a lot vitality. However then life occurs and you end up [saying], I’ve gone thus far, let’s proceed. You begin hiring guys and getting payroll, getting a bit greater, shopping for extra vans and tools. And life goes on.

Lookout: Are you able to describe what a typical day at work appears like for you as an proprietor?

Lies: The everyday day for me is often a sauna or sizzling tub, then a chilly dip and occasional. So I be sure the youngsters know the place they should go and that they’re ready and know what supplies and tools to deliver. Proper now I put on extra hats. I reply telephones, I am busy with scheduling, billing quotes and on the lookout for new hires. Then all through the day, I reply questions [that] boys might need, e [they] FaceTime inform me about issues at work. Round 12:00, I am going to CrossFit. I am going to come again [to the office] typically, you exit within the area and examine on the workers, do high quality management and ensure they’re doing what they are saying they will do. One factor with crafts, you do high quality management continuously. I end round 3.30pm

Lookout: What was your typical day like while you labored as a plumber?

Lies: It is a grind, this can be a factor of the commerce. You begin at 7 or 8 within the morning and can go on for the entire day. One stunning factor in regards to the work we do is that you’re out on the earth. So if you wish to have lunch, you’re taking it out of your favourite place. You’re seeing totally different folks and are by no means caught in a single place for greater than a few hours. For somebody like me, there isn’t a technique to work in a cubicle behind the display for greater than a few hours a day.

(Kevin Painchaud / Belvedere Santa Cruz)

Lookout: What are your favourite issues about work and your largest challenges?

Lies: Properly, my favourite a part of the job is the folks. The largest challenges of the job are [also] folks, however that is partially true. The work itself, his exhausting work. You are coping with folks’s fecal matter, you are crawling below homes, you are working busy intersections. Most individuals wish to spend their cash on a trip or a model new Tesla or acupuncture. The very last thing they wish to spend cash on is a brand new water heater. We’re within the customer support enterprise. The children and I are challenged by folks within the office. It is all a balancing act to maintain everybody on observe and transferring in the best path. You realize, post-COVID persons are form of baseless and form of nuts, so that you’re getting away with it. Persons are scared, they do not know what is going on on after which they’ve an emergency at residence. And you need to go to their home. We needed to study to navigate and ensure they have been secure, clear, wholesome and that prospects felt snug.

Lookout: Have you ever observed a distinction between your profession earlier than the pandemic and through it?

Lies: The distinction was [challenges with] the provision chain. Some issues have been more durable to get, or the transport lanes have been closed for some time. I bear in mind San Francisco Bay being stuffed with ships. All costs are elevated on supplies. They’ve doubled or tripled and you have seen it in each trade. We wanted to be extra inventive in selecting the roles you needed finished, which meant letting purchasers know, Hey, we would do our greatest to get this finished, however you might need to attend two weeks. I believe communication was extra of a problem. Total, as a collective on the earth, it appears persons are a bit on edge.

Lookout: What kind of individual do you suppose is greatest fitted to any such job?

Lies: So for the plumbing service in the long run, number one, it must be somebody that arduous work is simply ingrained of their psyche. It is how they have been raised and it is simply a part of who they’re. No. 2, respect and reverence for work and instruments. No. 3, a very good communicator [who] works effectively with others and [is] a staff participant. 4, somebody who’s conscious and acutely aware but in addition mechanically able to figuring issues out. You may work right here and never have the ability to. You may do labor jobs, which is digging, sweeping, and cleansing, however to be a mechanic or installer, you want to have the ability to see the schedule of the job in your thoughts, the way it will go from nothing to a whole set up.

Within the workplace, somebody who may be an workplace supervisor, who can perceive these issues but in addition perceive the blokes and the folks within the area. You need to perceive prospects.

Warning: are there particular necessities to your job or particularly for being a plumber?

Lies: What we’re on the lookout for is somebody who’s sincere, needs to study a commerce, works exhausting and presents himself. Somebody who’s honest, a very good communicator. Somebody must be sincere and respectful as a result of he’ll a consumer’s residence. Everybody who works for me, and there aren’t many, I belief all of them.

I went to a plumbing commerce college for a license, and if anybody went to that, that is nice. I do not suppose they provide way more than that, or if somebody went to school and needed to study a commerce, it would not matter. In California you need to work for somebody for 4 or 5 years and you then get your driver’s license, then all you need to do is take a check. In New Jersey you needed to do an apprenticeship [program] to get a license and the check was way more troublesome than it’s right here.

Lookout: How A lot Can Somebody Get Paid in This Area?

Lies: Most likely wherever between $15-$20 an hour [starting salary]. Relying on the place you might be in your profession, you may make wherever from $25 to $65 an hour, perhaps much more.

Lookout: What recommendation would you give to a latest graduate or profession changer taken with pursuing a job on this skilled area?

Lies: Study as a lot as you’ll be able to, go to gala’s and exhibitions. It is about getting hours. You actually do not know something till you get these 10,000 hours, for no matter. When you do the mathematics, that is like 40 hours per week for 5 years, that is your common apprenticeship.

Lookout: what’s going to the way forward for your small business appear like?

Lies: We wish to develop at our personal pace and, what’s snug, have the most effective tools to hold out the roles we want within the most secure manner. I believe one factor we love to do is have essentially the most modern tools. We like to make use of machines moderately than human labor, and children actually like utilizing know-how. A lot of the work we do is underground, which is sewer work. So we use cameras that go into the sewer strains and we use locators to find the digicam heads to seek out out what breaks there are. We now have tools that digs like excavators and we’ve tools that cleans sewer strains.

Lookout: What’s subsequent for plumbing careers?

Lies: I believe it’ll all the time be a very good trade. As my dad would say, there’s an ass for each rest room seat. It is simply part of being human. As people, we want plumbing.

Author: ZeroToHero

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