Tattoos and the plumbing, service industry

  • If you own a residential plumbing company or plumbing service company, would a tattoo keep you from hiring a plumber or service technician?
  • If you are an employee with tattoos do you prefer to cover them up when on the job?
  • If you would like to share a photo of your tattoo with us please e-mail it to candace.roulo@penton.com.

Tattoos — whether you love inked skin or hate inked skin — have been around since the beginning of time. In fact, in 1991 an iceman, known as Otzi and more than 5,000 years old, from the area of the Italian-Austrian border was discovered, and he had tattoo patterns on his somewhat preserved skin, according to the article Tattoos: The Ancient and Mysterious History by Cate Lineberry, smithsonianmag.com.

Throughout history tattoos have been used by almost all cultures. Some used tattoos to express hierarchy, warrior status, a sign of courage, while others used tattoos to mark convicts and prisoners of war. It’s a very interesting history to say the least.

Fast forward 5,000 years or so, and nowadays, tattoos seem to be quite popular, so much so that they seem to be the norm to me.

I personally consider tattoos mainstream. Yet, tattoos are also looked at as an art form (if it’s not copied right out of a flash tattoo book I agree with that)  and many people get tattoos as an expression of something they feel strongly about, are memorializing, etc.

Regardless of many people, like me, not batting an eye at tattoos in this day and age, there can still be a stigma associated with them. 

To continue the discussion about employees with tattoos working in the service industry, go to our new Plumbing Talk forum.

Last year, I had a conversation with some industry professionals regarding tattoos and the service industry. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but we discussed the popularity of tattoos, if we have tattoos, like tattoos, etc. Some of my industry friends said that they would not hire a service tech if he or she had visible tattoos.

To be honest this stunned me, especially since tattoos are quite common these days. Does a tattoo make or break how well someone can do a job? What matters is their work ethic and skills. Plus, do tattoos really offend people that much? I can think of many more offensive things in the service industry, such as rude behavior, bad customer service and a bad attitude.

I would definitely welcome a customer-focused, skilled plumber or service technician with a tattoo into my house to repair a plumbing problem. To me, the main thing is that he or she has the skills to fix the issue and that they are customer focused.   

This leads me to the question: If you own a residential plumbing company or plumbing service company, would a tattoo keep you from hiring a skilled plumber or service technician? Why or why not?

As with any topic or situation, I realize there are two sides of a coin, so I’m very interested in hearing what you have to say about hiring employees with tattoos.

Also, if you are an employee (with or without a tattoo), what are your thoughts on tattoos? Should you be required to cover them up while on the job? Do you prefer to cover them up when on the job?  

And if are reading this and have a tattoo, and want to share a photo of your tattoo with us please e-mail it to candace.roulo@penton.com. If we get enough photos of plumbers’ tattoos we will create a photo gallery of the tattoos industry plumbers are sporting!

Discuss this Blog Entry 5

on Mar 12, 2014

This is an interesting article that I do have an opinion on. I don't have a problem with tattoos, I think when done by a great artist look pretty amazing. But I think they should be kept to a minimum in a business setting. Visible tattoos one the neck, face, forearms just do not portray a professional image.

Think of it from a homeowners perspective, they are letting a stranger in their homes, that alone is an uncomfortable situation then add a guy covered with visible tattoos. I just looks unprofessional.

I think if you have visible tattoos they should be covered in a work setting.

on Mar 18, 2014

Thanks for commenting! You can continue the discussion on Plumbing Talk, http://contractormag.com/forum, a forum for the plumbing community.

on Mar 12, 2014

I personally have a discreet tattoo, i.e. one that isn't visible when I'm wearing a t-shirt. I have to agree with contractorseo that the image of a heavily tatted employee is generally viewed as a negative one. Right or wrong, some members of the public feel uncomfortable or even threatened by heavily tattooed people, so it's understandable that some may be leery to have someone like that on staff, despite their skill or experience in the trade. Companies like Starbucks for example insist all employees have their tattoos covered while on the job. Another point to consider is that tattoos are a personal choice/taste kind of thing. Not everyone is enamored by skulls, snakes, or bloody daggers, so again, I have to say, keep 'em covered.

on Mar 18, 2014

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on tattoos! You can continue the discussion on Plumbing Talk, http://contractormag.com/forum, a forum for the plumbing community.

TechRanger (not verified)
on Oct 18, 2014

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