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Should you hire a plumber or a plumbing contractor?

Many people are confused about the difference between plumbers and plumbing contractors. When it comes to hiring a plumber for a job, you need to ensure it is completed by a qualified person no matter the size of the job. ‘Plumbers’ and ‘Plumbing Contractors’ are used often in the industry but they are very different. In this article, we discuss the differences between the two and what you should look out for when you hire a plumber.

Difference between Plumbers vs Plumbing Contractors

So what’s the difference between the two? Keep reading to learn more.


Plumbers carry out the routine tasks around your home or business like clearing blocked drainstoilet repairs, and installing fixtures like taps, showerheads, sinks, etc. They are permitted to work as employees under a licenced trade contractor, i.e. they cannot work for themselves or invoice customers.

Plumbing Contractors

Plumbing contractors can do complex and specialised tasks compared to plumbers. For example:

Apart from performing specialised tasks, they hold additional licenses and qualifications to complete complex tasks.

Licenses plumbers must hold

In Queensland, plumbers need to adhere to the regulations set by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. There are 3 types of plumbing licenses depending on the experience and qualification of an individual:

  • Provisional Plumbers Licence – This licence is available to individuals who have completed a plumbing apprenticeship. The individual must hold this licence for a year and work under supervision before they can apply for their open licence.
  • Occupational / Open Licence – This level of licence can be applied for after the completion of a minimum of one year under a provisional plumber licence.
  • Plumbing and Drainage Contractor / Nominee Supervisor – To contract with the public to perform work, a contractor’s licence is required. An individual who has completed Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services and is able to meet the financial requirements of the licence can apply for a contractors licence.
  • Plumbing and drainage work has a Zero Dollar Value – any work that costs more than $0 should be performed by an individual holding a trade contractor’s licence.

Which is right tradesperson for your job – a plumber or a plumbing contractor?

There are so many plumbing companies to choose from, so how do you decide who to hire?

It’s good to remember that not all plumbers have the same skills, knowledge, and industry experience. When in doubt, consider hiring a plumbing contractor. They have more experience and the qualifications to handle all sorts of jobs, plus they’ll have insurance to protect your property if anything goes wrong. It is recommended to engage the services of licensed plumbing contractors for peace of mind and reliable services. Before you hire someone, make sure you check their licence.

Your local plumbing contractors in Brisbane

The Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage team of plumbers and gas fitters can handle all sorts of plumbing tasks from burst pipes and broken toilets to complex tasks like pipe relining and TMV testing. At Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage, we hold a trade contractors licence and provide reliable and quality plumbing services.

For more information or if you would like to book a plumbers give us a call on 1300 616 203 or complete our online job booking form.