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sad state of affairs

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  • #16
    Re: sad state of affairs

    I have never had employees in my business its just me topdawg ( Mike ) and one other guy who are all partners. I used to save the scrap copper and we would use it for our X mas party. A good dinner with all our wives. One year I had my shed full of copper and only got like 300 dollars for it. That was a while ago and the cost of scrap has gone up considerably since then. at the time I quit saving the scrap as the space was more important to me. Nowadays however I let the customer know Up front when I bid the house that my Keeping the scrap is part of the price thatway there are no questions. If he want to keep it for himself then the cost of the job is higher. If I had employees who took the scrap that I figured into the discounted cost of the job I would consider that as stealling. I would more than likely warn the employee first before letting him go but if he knew what he was doing the whole time was wrong and acted like what he did was justified I would probably ask him to grab his stuff and get out also.

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    • #17
      Re: sad state of affairs

      in the commercial field we dont have the problem about the customer wanting the scrap so we can have it
      im on a big new building and at first the electrician started throwing out the aluminum from his BX wire so i asked if i can have it and i will pick it up ,he said ok .now there are some more electricians there and they keep it but if some hits the dumpster it it up for grabs
      Charlie

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      • #18
        Re: sad state of affairs

        Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
        You need to keep in mind some shops factor in scrap value when they sell a job. If you are working for a shop which salvages brass & copper you need to ask before taking it.

        Mark
        First off I think you (the company) need to ask the owner if they want the so-called scrap or if they want it disposed of for them. If the answer is YES, please dispose of the scrap for me then they have relinquished all claim to said "scrap". If it is in the contract fine print that your work includes cleanup and the removal of all scrap materials and they have acknowledged that by signing the contract then you're OK as I see it.

        The owner/client owns all materials that combined compose their building/structure, how do you get a right to take that away without compensation? If your price states that it is based on recovering some costs by recycling scrap materials from the job maybe that would cover it. All this on a small job might not amount to much, but if you were doing a large project with hundreds of feet of pipe it could add up.

        As an example when I was an apprentice working on construction of a large hotel all the DWV piping was CI no-hub. This was a 24 story tower so plenty of scrap CI. In the late 70s CI was bringing (in my area) about $2.70/hundred pounds. Not worth the trouble on a small job right? But in this case it amounted to hundreds of pounds. Myself and the other two apprentices had the job of cleaning up every Friday afternoon. We would collect all the scrap CI and pile it up in one spot. After a while the GC got on our bosses case and said get this cr*p out of here.

        We asked the GF if we could have the scrap and he checked with the owner of the company and the client. They both agreed the three of us could have the CI scrap. The arrangement was we would cleanup the job on their time on Friday afternoons as we had been doing. On Saturday we came in on our own time and loaded up the scrap which we took to a local scrap yard. We had called around and negotiated a price based on the estimated quantity and that it was all clean, new scrap pipe. We got a deal of $3.00/hundred pounds and as it turned out that was from the closest scrap yard.

        So we would load up the job site P/U full of pipe (had permission from the GF to use the company truck). We had the bumper of that old Chevy C10 dragging just about on the ground, the springs bottomed out on the rear axle. Took the first load over and had 1400#. Went back and got another load over before they closed at Noon with another 1300#. The next five Saturdays we did the same, ended up with something like 10 tons of CI scrap. We split the money and each came out with roughly $200 bucks.

        I know...$200, but in 1978 that was more than I made in a week so it was a nice chunk of cash.

        They would not let us have the copper though. We asked for it but they said they were scrapping that themselves. This being new construction any scrap belonged to the contractor, the client is only paying for the finished product. On a re-pipe its different to my way of thinking, the client owns the scrap until they consciously give it up and that should be in writing to avoid any dispute down the road.

        The scale of the job may change the numbers, but the principle doesn't change, it's still their material to dispose of as they see fit. If that turns out to be giving it to the contractor then so be it. If not then they are responsible for removal and disposal. That would be the argument
        I would use to get the scrap for free from the client...that the cost to them to haul the stuff away would cancel out any monies they might recoup from recycling unless it was something of great value.

        Probably many of you will disagree with my thinking, but that's OK, we each have our own standards to work to, which does not imply yours are wrong, just different.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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        • #19
          Re: sad state of affairs

          I use to let the guys keep the scrap off of the jobs but finally had to tell them no more. It is one thing if they keep a barrel at home and remove it from the truck often but sometimes they store it on the truck for months and when I can't put parts on the truck so they can carry $30 in scrap the scrap has to go. The finally straw was when we were replumbing a tract of homes and the job was taking forever. It turned out they were spending most of their time scraping old abandoned 2" copper from an old chilled water system in the attic. Not only did it cost me a fortune in time they broke a bunch of Asbestos ducts to get the stuff out.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: sad state of affairs

            Our policy is the company owns the scrap, and it is the companies discretion as to what is done with it. We don’t BS our employees and tell them its for a xmas party, or weekend get away for the team. Its money in the form of material that offsets the original bid and helps support the company. However on the flip side these guys know they have it good. Generally when I am on a job which is 90% of the time they eat for free.

            We have barrels for copper and brass. Since I see and am usually on every job I have a pretty good idea what needs to come back. Were on a project right now were we removed competitors industrial control valves on a demolition. These suckers are solid brass and weigh in at around 100lbs. We will strip off and keep varies parts from them for future use, and this time next year the body of the valve will probably be a propellor or a bell.

            We don’t always sell off the copper. For example we may keep three to five foot sections of 3", 4" and 6" copper pipe just in case we have to do a repair in the future. Our main plumbing supply house eliminated there policy on cutting short lengths on these sizes, which means a 20' stick anytime you need something. Gets a little tough to tell a customer that a 6" x 4' section and maybe a 6" 90 and a couple of 6" couplers in materials is going to cost $3,000 plus the labor. However when we do get stuck doing this, we leave the remaining copper with the customer. They paid for it. We give them the option for us to remove it if they feel its in there way.

            Our employee hand book is pretty detailed with regards to employee conduct, and bringing back salvageable scrap is part of that conduct. I falls under the category of stealing from the company, which means a) you get fired, b) we file criminal charges, c) we sue you for civil damages.
            Copper out here on the west coast is becoming a huge item to steal. Good friend of mine and I were working a project three years ago in San Diego and he had around 3,000' of 2",and 3" copper stolen from the job on one weekend. Some of it right out of the walls.

            About two weeks ago, Sherif in Orange County was making a routing drive through an industrial project that was under construction. He stumbled upon two guys ripping off copper pipe. Turns out these criminals had been ripping off copper pipe and wire from job sights all over South OC for months.
            Last edited by Watersurgeon; 06-14-2008, 11:51 AM.

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            • #21
              Re: sad state of affairs

              Originally posted by aero1 View Post
              from what iam told its defamation of character as it is my word against his, and that can lead to a lawsuit as told to me by our lawyer. as well as the labor board,nauseating isint it.
              I don't understand this. If it's documented why he got fired, it's not hearsay, it's fact. Right? If it's the truth, how can you not tell a potential employer of that employee?
              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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              • #22
                Re: sad state of affairs

                Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                I don't understand this. If it's documented why he got fired, it's not hearsay, it's fact. Right? If it's the truth, how can you not tell a potential employer of that employee?
                I guess you glanced over post #8
                I love my plumber

                "My Hero"

                Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

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                • #23
                  Re: sad state of affairs

                  Originally posted by MrsSeatDown View Post
                  In CA you are only allowed to confirm dates of employment and salary.

                  You cannot say something to prevent a person from obtaining new employment. By answering some questions and remaining quiet on others answers responses could be misconstrued.

                  Then there is the whole lawsuit thing.
                  How can things get misconstrued-ex. he got fired because he repeatedly did not follow company policy-true/will I hire him again?No-true. How is this misconstrueination(english is my second language)? With my case of oral diarreha(as the wif puts it) I would be sued in a second in Cali.
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                  • #24
                    Re: sad state of affairs

                    Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                    I don't understand this. If it's documented why he got fired, it's not hearsay, it's fact. Right? If it's the truth, how can you not tell a potential employer of that employee?
                    gear its the fear of a lawsuit, disclosure laws are complicated and vary state by state. besides when i terminate someone i have no time to worry about any kind of reprisals or costly potentiel law suits that in these cases the only winners are the lawyers, i just want to take out the trash and move forward, so when one of my colleagues call and asks why, i just say that i would never hire that person back and let it go at that. sure its documented but why waste your time and give a piece of crap an in, just let him go down the sewer of life, beside we all know in our industry people love to gossip so any one can find out anything, it goes around quick
                    Last edited by aero1; 06-15-2008, 04:24 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Re: sad state of affairs

                      aero's right. Best to keep your mouth shut, avoid the lawsuit, and come out with a better bottom line. Remember, there is always the ONE question we can answer. . . "Would you ever re-hire this employee." I've used that myself when checking references, and have answered it plenty of times when I've been used as a reference.

                      I'm in Ohio, so here it's accepted. I'm sure in a few years, and hacks keep increasing their need to not be held accountable for their own actions, we'll be completely unable to qualify new hires. New labor laws protecting the employee (or potential employee) are constantly changing. . . making what we do even more enjoyable.

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                      • #26
                        Re: sad state of affairs

                        At our shop, one of the new construction guys was bragging (stupid) about how much he got at the scrapyard. Boy did that piss off the boss, and rightfully so I guess. His jobs, his scrap. He treats the service guys a little different, because we bring in a lot of our own customers. Our customers, our scrap (if the customer doesn't want to deal with it anyway.) He didn't fire the guy (yet anyway), but everyone in the shop got the message!

                        Just curious, did he admit to knowing how you felt about this? Couldn't you have warned him it had better not happen again, or was it that clearly spelled out?
                        sigpic3:00, I mean 5:00, and work is done. Time to crack a cold one.

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