A person is trying to unclog the drain of a sink using plastic disposable snake auger tool

How are Plumbers Different From Plumbing Contractors?

It might seem like the terms “plumbers” and “plumbing contractors” are interchangeable, but they’re not. While there is some overlap between the two, there are some key distinctions as well. Primarily, plumbing contractors deal with bigger projects while plumbers are typically the ones called out for smaller jobs.

Responsibilities of Plumbers

Plumbers can do all sorts of things. If anyone in Boise, ID is dealing with a leaky faucet or a clogged drain, the plumber is the one to call. This type of professional deals with showers, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, food disposals, and faucets. They can also work on water filtration systems and may be able to replace or install water heaters.

Sometimes, residents might be able to find directions for a relatively straightforward project like swapping out a faucet or fixing a toilet. This could potentially be a good idea, but it could also cause additional problems if not done correctly. In that case, it might be smart to call on a plumber for assistance.

Responsibilities of Plumbing Contractors

Plumbing contractors can do all of the same things that plumbers can do, but they can do more. They’re the ones you’d call if you’re building a new home in Boise or are about to embark on a major renovation. A plumbing contractor can consult with you during the planning stages and oversee a complex project. This may involve gas connections, water conditioning equipment, sewage connections, and any irrigation work that needs to be handled. Since the Boise area has been experiencing a lot of growth over the years and new neighborhoods have been popping up, plumbing contractors are in high demand.

How They’re Related

Obviously, their training and areas of expertise are going to be similar. However, plumbing contractors would have plumbers working for them, not the other way around. At the same time, though, there could be independent plumbers who are able and willing to work on bigger projects as opposed to small repairs and one-day installations.


Here in Idaho, plumbing licensure is highly regulated. The plumbing apprentice is the first license for people starting out.

In order to become a plumbing journeyman, which is the next level, there are several requirements that need to be met. An apprentice would need to have four years of full-time experience working for a contractor and under the supervision of a journeyman, and the apprentice needs to take approved industry courses for four years. An examination must be passed as well.

To be a plumbing contractor in our state, someone needs to have been an active journeyman for two and a half years. In addition, he/she needs to pass the contractor examination.

Plumbers and plumbing contractors are both highly skilled, but plumbing contractors generally have more responsibility. At Viking Plumbing, we can help you whether you need a plumber or a plumbing contractor. Call for any assistance.