Updated on January 11th, 2023
A plumbing subcontractor agreement is a contract between a general contractor and a plumber hired to work on a larger project. The agreement will relay the plumber’s duties and how much they will be compensated for their work. After signing, both parties will clearly understand when the project begins and ends, the plumbing subcontractor’s status as an independent contractor, and how the contract will be terminated.
The general contractor and the plumbing subcontractor should provide their name and contact information on the document. The agreement should also provide the information of the client who hired the prime contractor. It will become legally binding when both parties have signed and dated the contract.
The document should clearly state the plumber’s duties to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. Common services include:
- Designing plumbing systems
- Constructing waste disposal systems
- Installing water filtration systems, gas control valves, backflow prevention
- Yard line and water leak repair
- Inspecting other plumbers’ work
- Repiping services
- Faucet repairs
- Sewer repair
- Galvanized pipe replacement
- Water heater installation
Typically, the plumbing subcontractor will be responsible for their transportation and ensuring that any job materials, labor, and equipment are onsite; this should be noted in the agreement and with any exceptions.
The contract must describe how the plumbing subcontractor will be paid and when they will receive payments. Generally, plumbers charge per hour plus service fees, and they invoice for their services once the job is done.
The contract will state how disputes will be handled in the event of any conflict. The two parties may choose either arbitration or mediation. The primary difference between the two is with the arbitration procedure; the arbitrator will hear the evidence of both parties and make a decision based on their conclusions, while mediation is a less formal process where the mediator helps both parties reach an agreement. Litigation could follow if neither party can resolve the conflict with either method.
The form should describe which party may terminate the agreement (if any) and how many days’ notice must be given before termination.
Most states require a plumbing subcontractor to obtain a license before they may carry out their trade legally. Though requirements may differ in each state, most states have three (3) types of licenses available to plumbers.
- Apprentice – The first step in becoming a plumber is to work in a plumbing apprenticeship program under the supervision of licensed plumbers. Apprentices will often have a combination of classroom studies and paid on-the-job training. Once a plumbing apprentice reaches a sufficient number of hours and passes the state-required examinations, they will become a certified journeyman plumber.
- Journeyman – A fully trained, certified journeyman plumber may work independently; however, they often work under a master plumber, and they won’t own their own business or have employees.
- Master Plumber – These highly experienced and skilled individuals take on more complex tasks, lead their crews, and teach apprentices. They are required to pass a master plumbing license examination first. These individuals may also specialize as a sprinkle fitter, pipefitter, steamfitter, pipelayer, or general plumber.