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  • Walked off the job

    After you hear about it, I'm sure you'll agree.


    I mentioned earlier in the week that I was working in a bad neighborhood, and you'd think I'd wake up to what I know for a fact about dealing with people like this. The lowest of the low and for some reason I thought testing the waters was okay.


    Rental Property, old lady landlord.

    She's optimistic to get this tub set. I get there and this tenant tries to get me to do everything down to replacing the toilet paper roll. Rough, extremely rough people...I'm wondering what I'm smoking as of late to even think this was a good idea, but for the sake of sounding stupid,

    money. I thought I'd squeeze a call in between others and it backfired. The money would of been nice but it wasn't out of desperation. I just like to fill out a schedule and give everyone *including this one particular situation* a chance.

    Before I even start, gas leak at the stove. I fix it and she gets the bill, pays it. I tell her I'll put a half a day in the job tomorrow (friday) and she said that I could come down and "I'll pay you each day."

    That's where this all unfolds. Last night she told me she was going to bed early feeling sick and all, I tell her the job is expanding. A price of $700 was calculated by me initially to get the tub set.

    Well, floor is so messed up and I told her that I'm going to have to rebuild the floor to within reason just to set the tub. I ask if she wants me to go past the toilet and she agrees. I get the floor taken care of, it's not mentioning how deplorable this job is but the floor I laid down is top notch from the way it was, and done right.

    I put Luan underlayment down and drilled a new hole for the flange, set it with new stainless steel screws. Solid as all get out and tons better than before.

    I get a call this morning at 9:30 from the landlord asking me where I'm at. I told her instead of putting 4 hours yesterday I put in 6.5 and told her that I TOLD the tenant I'd be coming there late since I worked late.

    This woman goes off and comments about me not being there, disregards the fact I worked more than I told her I would, and she's asking if I'm a licensed plumber, qualified, reputable.........WTF?


    I told her that I encountered problems on this job, that is why I wanted her to come up last night to see my progress. She took this as strange but I do this so people know how the charges associate with work done.


    I ask again.....I'd like to get paid up to a certain point because I know customers don't like big numbers and I don't like them either. In the jist of this conversation like a dumbass I offered to lower my rate $10/hour since I was doing work that's heading towards 20 hours quite easily.

    I told her that I'd like her to come up, she agreed even though she grumbled about why she had to.......and she didn't show up. Almost 3 hours later, no show.

    Now, she told me she'd pay daily...twice she's refused payment and pulls a no show when she's supposed to meet me at her property.

    I packed my stuff up, left.

    The floor is done, but I never set the tub, never set the walls, never replaced the faucet. <<<That statement right there is going to be a pretty good sized task because there is absolutely no access to the tub drain.

    It's going to have to be jigged and set the tub hoping (and through numerous failed attempts) bringing that tub in and out of that bathroom and getting it lined up. Absolutely no access from sidewalls or below since it's over a shallow dirt crawlspace. Back wall is a kitchen sink cabinet, massive work to access, will never be easy.

    Only way is the way I just mentioned and what sucks is the tub drain runs directly center and back under the tub. I was going to have to S-trap it because there's no vent and the drain is low. Not only against code but I considered the task extremely difficult not having any ability to get to it from another angle.

    This weighs heavily with me and even though it would be impossible for someone to see it to say it was a code violation, I'm putting myself in a vulnerable position. Not only that, but I'd say it would of been at least an hour, hour and a half to just get the damn tub set dealing with mixing mortar and all, doing it right.

    When I went to open the box for the tub/shower walls...this was the final straw. It was those paper thin walls and I assumed they were preformed, sturdy. This changed everything because the walls were destroyed from leftover glue on drywall, drywall ripped off, holes in the wall and on top all of this, faucet has to be replaced.

    Going into today, she owed me $422.50 at the reduced rate. I put in 3 more hours and now I'm already nearing the $700 mark we initially talked about.

    To put a guess on the final tally....double the above number and an entire weekend dealing with filthy people, filthy living, and a landlord that is taking pot shots at my credibility as a professional.

    What I've done essentially with the exception of setting a new closet flange was be a carpenter/handyman.

    In a realistic point of view, I understand that the task at hand in the value of the work is substantially less per hour.

    If I was to gauge it....possibly $30 hour tops. I have roughly 10 hours in his job so if it ever went to a court of law, I'd be hustling for $300 in the true sense of the situation.



    It is truly worth it to leave, knowing I'm giving her my work of 10 hours for free, no cost to her to bail and get away from this situation because it doesn't matter if she agrees to all of it; she's shown in less than 24 hours that there's a problem and it's not me.

    Keep your word and I always keep mine, that's why my phone always rings. Am I expensive? Of course, but you don't double spend after I've been at your home.

    This lady hasn't called yet, she's going to and I'm going to bark at her like she did at me this morning for no reason.

    I'm telling her that I'm not charging for my time and I quit because I do not trust your ability to pay.

    Then I'll reference the statement SHE made to pay me daily, then the fact she was giving me **** for starting late when I put in almost twice the hours I did the day before.

    This woman, the tenant was in a huge rush to get this job done, and what I'm doing is going to be very disruptive which is what I want. I could easily see myself being gullable like I was at one time in life, do the job in its entirity and then find out the hard way that I ignored the red flags and warning signs.

    I blame myself for not saying no initially when she spun the address off to me, knowing I don't work in these neighborhoods. This woman also wanted me to put all the trim back on and around the windows, around the toilet, make modifications to the shower walls themselves which just eats up time spent.

    Of course she wanted all this....she's not going to pay from the way her actions were dictating.


    My back is killing me from the extensive work I did on that floor, moving that tub in and out just getting it positioned. There is TONS of work to do to get this tub in and I know now she'll have to pay through the nose to get it in...or deal with more nonsense.

    Being a handyman riding around in a plumbing truck working for free doesn't hurt as bad as being a plumber and being put in a position to give away free plumbing that offers permanent solutions to problems given the way I care so much for correct installation...and let some scumlord think they've beat another tradesman down.

    I'm the for telling people constantly on these forums not to work for these types of people if you don't have to. I was a landlord to 3 units for 9 years but I never subbed out work; I did it all.

    I just saw opportunity to put money in my hands to purchase a gun and the gun "almost" kicked back and hit me in the face.

    Please remember my words next time you see red flags popping up...stop drop and roll and GTFO of there because it's better to lose a little than lose a lot.....especially knowing you just gave the ability for someone to shower and bath as an unknown donation to the community.


    Sorry for the long winded story; I tried to keep it brief but I usually hammer it out there so I don't have to answer a ton of questions of why why why I did something intentionally. I'm sure from the above...I did what's best for me, no one else and I don't care how mad this woman or tenant gets,

    I'm the better for leaving and going to the next job. Phone is always ringing.
    Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 11-08-2008, 04:42 PM.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

  • #2
    Re: Walked off the job

    I'm now sitting back at the office, enjoying a fine meal from McDonalds,

    my dog is happier than hell to see me, and for once I might just watch a nascar race. Time definitely better spent.


    Last night the tenants at this job spent almost 3 hours screaming and yelling at each other for who knows what. This place was a serious roach motel as well. I'll stick to the normal people from now on.
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    • #3
      Re: Walked off the job

      Bad situation. I understand where you are coming from. There are some people/jobs that I would rather just not do at all. I have decided I would rather keep my company small and 'cherry-pick' the jobs, rather than have a big company and be forced to take every call that comes in, no matter how bad.
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      • #4
        Re: Walked off the job

        Sad situation, be glad you got out when you did. Although you never should have been there in the first place.

        Next time one of the crazies wants to play ball, grab a g-note up front. If they balk, you walk without any hassles. Believe me, they'll balk every time.

        She won't call you back either. She's laughing about the free work she got done, probably looking in the phone book for another sucker to call to get some more discount work done. Either that, or some hack living in the building will finish what you started.

        Sounds like you didn't have control of the situation, which is a problem if you're on the hook for time and materials.

        Like Service Guy noted, and I have in the past, too much good work out there without dealing with the junk.

        As well, lately I'm grabbing money up front on eveything. Never used to, as the company I work for was fine doing jobs no money down.

        If they'll cut you a check for 10 percent up front, chances are the job will go smoother and won't go down in flames before it gets started.
        I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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        • #5
          Re: Walked off the job

          Couldn't agree with you more; shouldn't of been there in the first place.


          All materials was paid for by her, I just picked up the materials at the two hardware stores.


          Just my time and effort, that's all but I don't even feel bad about the time loss because I just know without a doubt; I would of done this complete job and either not get paid or just a fraction of what it was worth...and I'd feel a whole lot worse.

          I'm actually feeling kinda special for some strange reason because I just relieved myself of some pretty difficult work, everybody is mad down there and she's going to lose rent money entire time because the renter is without a tub.

          I blocked her number so she'll be fuming for that.


          I got a full day tomorrow putting in water lines/hose bibbs. I just checked my email and a simple toilet replacement expanded into a faucet and dishwasher replacement as well. Job security along with a dozen customers I haven't invoiced to get paid for work done.

          If I'm spot on with my thinking about this crook, she should be expecting my antics...knowing I caught on and playing her same game. Nothing in print to say I was even there working in that bathroom.


          I did get on the horn and warned quite a few plumbers about this lady and the location.


          I guess I'll be buying a toy gun at Walmart instead of a "real" gun at target world.
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          • #6
            Re: Walked off the job

            Does not sound like the tenants will be "missing" taking a bath...NASTY

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            • #7
              Re: Walked off the job

              I don't know about this, Dunbar. I think maybe you bailed too fast.
              I would answer her call (1 call only) and tell her if she wants you to finish she needs to pony up the rest of the cash.
              She might agree. You collect what you are due and THEN you walk and then you block her calls.
              "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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              • #8
                Re: Walked off the job

                If it's worth talking about, it's worth writing down in a contract. CYA-Cover Your A$$
                Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                • #9
                  Re: Walked off the job

                  Originally posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
                  Does not sound like the tenants will be "missing" taking a bath...NASTY

                  I saw the horrors of the old tub that came out, I can only imagine what this new tub will look like in 6 months.


                  It's awesome to know that my work load doesn't deal with this area anymore. There is actually two cities that I've had problems with in regards to the people I deal with. When that poses itself by a territorial standard,


                  there is something really wrong with that and the group of people as a whole.




                  Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                  I don't know about this, Dunbar. I think maybe you bailed too fast.
                  I would answer her call (1 call only) and tell her if she wants you to finish she needs to pony up the rest of the cash.
                  She might agree. You collect what you are due and THEN you walk and then you block her calls.

                  I feel very comfortable not getting paid for this job.

                  When someone tells me they'll pay daily and twice they don't, it's over. They don't deserve my time or effort, let alone my attention.

                  It was a methodical game for her to attack me personally yesterday morning for absolutely no reason at all, and that was the inner voice I'll listen to get out because instinct kicks in that I was about to get really bent over on this job, giving away the keys to the cadillac.


                  Some guys would of went on and just take the beat down, not me.

                  It was a scumlord, a rental property, and my ignorance that created this...the best part about it is I didn't see the money leave my hands, just my time.

                  I bear the responsibility in this one so hearing this scratchy-voiced woman one more time would be an insult to me. Let her struggle continue to which I know is going to be tough with this job. It's not an impossible task but first reactions would be to bid high, real high!



                  If it's worth talking about, it's worth writing down in a contract. CYA-Cover Your A$$

                  This woman never would of put pen to paper, and the contract would of been null and void with her bathroom torn apart when the first ugly surprise showed up when I tore the subfloor up. 3 add-ons would of instantly changed the top number....and it was getting worse as I kept going towards the tub.

                  This is why I was calling her to come up and look, show her what I'm dealing with and she was purposely avoiding this to know she was shown the additional work.

                  I could of never walked away at that point because then I'd have a contract with my name all over it, job undone stating I was to complete the entire job. Now she has legal recourse and the ability to smear. Everything I did above removes that ability as there's nothing in print to show I was contracted to the bathroom.
                  Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 11-09-2008, 12:34 PM.
                  Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                  • #10
                    Re: Walked off the job

                    I hate to say it but I feel part of the blame is on you for not properly accessing the job at hand. It sounds like you were doing the job like service work instead of a remodel. Just as the customer has the option of which plumber to hire we have the option of which projects to take.

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

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

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                    • #11
                      Re: Walked off the job

                      Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                      If it's worth talking about, it's worth writing down in a contract. CYA-Cover Your A$$


                      Totally agree with that statement. It was one of those jobs where the customer acts like they are at a smorgasboard and they want everything on the menu.


                      I guess sometimes I like the feel of the sting when it comes to playing around a wasp nest, to remind me what it feels like so I don't do it again.


                      But I give myself a lot of credit for this stopping quickly, not 2/3rds of the way in or at completion where we ALL know where I'd been at this point.


                      If I had depression medication I would of taken it doing this job. Reminds me of the years when I did work down in this town when I earned my stripes in this business doing total repipes/reworks. The pay was insulting and the work was dirty, horrible to say the least and the people that walked by your truck "might" take your posessions without a second blink.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Walked off the job

                        Sorry to hear about this unfortunate event. Hopefully these aren't common for you and things will turn around for the better.

                        Keep your head up
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                        • #13
                          Re: Walked off the job

                          Originally posted by HouseOfAtlas View Post
                          Sorry to hear about this unfortunate event. Hopefully these aren't common for you and things will turn around for the better.

                          Keep your head up

                          Ahh it already did...it's old news already.

                          I woke up this morning with trying to figure out how I'm going to spend my week and by 9 o'clock tonight, I'm booked out till sunday.


                          I keep wanting to ignore every november that I spend twice as much this month than I do every other month for the business. The writing on the walls (bills) indicate as such.

                          My only regret is the fact that I'm not running with a large surplus of inventory like I used to all the years before. I know for a fact I could of sold an expansion tank and PRV on my emergency call tonight.

                          Saying "I've got them on the truck" would of been the keywords for a good sale, along with the $219 I charged to replace 2' of copper water line.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Walked off the job

                            I'm guessing you were working in Covington? I could probably make a list of 6 or 7 landlords I know of like her and she would be on the list. There are sadly a high number of these types of nasty people in the area. I'm sure there are a few neighbors who have "done some plumin' " she can get to finish the job.
                            I looked at a house a few weeks ago, bank repo, where the only toilet was in a closet, not more that 2' x 3' with a pull chain light and no sink. The people living there were taking a shower in the basement, a 50 year old wall mount shower set, the water went across the floor about 15 feet to a floor drain. The walls and the floor had not been cleaned in a number of years. The coating of soap on the walls and floor was the only thing keeping the concrete blocks from disintegrating. I guess at least they were using soap.
                            The city shut the building down, so the guy who owned it let it go to repo instead of fixing all the problems. First time I have seen a shower set up like that as the only one in the house. I passed on bidding on this house.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Walked off the job

                              Well, you can always save up for that gun.

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