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  • Testing out

    In a bind the other day I hired a non-licensed plumber - licensing is not required in the municipality where the job is located. The guy is from Jamacia and claims to be a 'Master Plumber' there. I have no idea how to evaluate plumbers except to say that this guy was: fast, it took him 5 hours to complete a job estimated by another plumber to take 8; neat, all the joints were soldered with no dripping solder; clean, when he was done he did a good job of cleaning up.

    So the question is: Is an appernticeship an absolute requirement for designation as a Licensed Plumber? Generally, is there a way for someone to take a test in the US and become licensed if credentials can be produced proving a 'Master's License' from another country?

    I have a long term dangerous thought forming in my mind. There is a need for additional ethical plumbers in this area, a $500.00 labor charge for less than an hours work is not right. I am thinking of going into the plumbing business. Not doing plumbing myself just manage the business end. If this guy becomes licensed I am thinking of setting him up with whatever he needs and have him work for me.

    Tom

  • #2
    Re: Testing out

    Varies greatly by state.

    In Calif., the only license is the Contractor's License. To get that, you have to show 4 years of journeyman level experience. But there is no "journeyman" license, except in the unions. So a licensed contractor can hire someone off the street and put him to work, hopefully training him along the way. After 4 years, that employee is eligible to get his own license to be in business for himself, if he choses.


    Tradeschool can sub. for some of the experience, and with proper documentation, they would accept work experience from another state or country,

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Testing out

      Originally posted by EasyEman
      Maybe... try the screw the foreign guy out of decent living website.
      That is a nice thing to say. I paid the guy $50.00 an hour cash, under the table and he used all my tools. I thought that was a good pay rate. How much should I have paid him? The guy was happy as a lark and said to call him whenever I needed any plumbing work done.

      Tom
      Last edited by Tom W; 06-01-2009, 10:16 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Testing out

        Originally posted by Tom W View Post
        In a bind the other day I hired a non-licensed plumber - licensing is not required in the municipality where the job is located. The guy is from Jamacia and claims to be a 'Master Plumber' there. I have no idea how to evaluate plumbers except to say that this guy was: fast, it took him 5 hours to complete a job estimated by another plumber to take 8; neat, all the joints were soldered with no dripping solder; clean, when he was done he did a good job of cleaning up.

        So the question is: Is an appernticeship an absolute requirement for designation as a Licensed Plumber? Generally, is there a way for someone to take a test in the US and become licensed if credentials can be produced proving a 'Master's License' from another country?

        I have a long term dangerous thought forming in my mind. There is a need for additional ethical plumbers in this area, a $500.00 labor charge for less than an hours work is not right. I am thinking of going into the plumbing business. Not doing plumbing myself just manage the business end. If this guy becomes licensed I am thinking of setting him up with whatever he needs and have him work for me.

        Tom
        If licensing is not required in your area, why worry about getting one? Just sell work in areas where it is not required.
        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Testing out

          Originally posted by lovetheUSA View Post
          Varies greatly by state.

          In Calif., the only license is the Contractor's License. To get that, you have to show 4 years of journeyman level experience. But there is no "journeyman" license, except in the unions. So a licensed contractor can hire someone off the street and put him to work, hopefully training him along the way. After 4 years, that employee is eligible to get his own license to be in business for himself, if he choses.


          Tradeschool can sub. for some of the experience, and with proper documentation, they would accept work experience from another state or country,
          You are right the State does not have a program but there are cities within California which have Journeyman programs.

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Testing out

            Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
            If licensing is not required in your area, why worry about getting one? Just sell work in areas where it is not required.
            I try to do things properly. Licensing to me means at least a minimum level of competence has been achieved and would add an element of confidence to customers knowing the plumber was certified. I would feel like a goof if someone called and I had to tell them I couldn't work in their area because the plumber wasn't licensed/certified to work there. If I wasn't in such a bind I never would have hired a non-licensed plumber in the first place. But... I did.

            I took a really big chance by hiring this guy because I don't think my insurance covers plumbing. My heart has been pounding for a week thinking that a pipe would break and flood a customer's house and I would be on the hook personally for damage liability.

            Tom

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Testing out

              Easy guys, dont attack Tom, in most of New York State there is No such thing as a plumbing license!1 Theay are handled on a county or city level, for example I dont believe Albany county has a plumbing license but the City of Albany does. That is one problem with converting to a state license is so many communities do not have a plumbing license the state has no option i think but to offer a test to cicrumvent experience under a licensed pro. If I had a company in Delaware county where there is no Licensing when the state comes out with licesning regulations state wide I am up a creek!! How can i get a license when I cant work undere a licensed pro and there is no such thing!?

              I dont think New York has a choice but to offer the option to test out of an "appreticeship" type program

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Testing out

                I know 3 Mexicans that will run heavy equipment all day for $8.00/hr.

                How far is it to Albany?

                J.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Testing out

                  Originally posted by EasyEman
                  So you hired him to save money... you took money from Licensed plumber who has to pay taxes and fees etc to work. What is the prevailing wage for plumbers in NY...
                  Are you going to issue a 1099. How can the guy you hired use this job to help him get licensed? You re not a Master Plumber so the experience is not counted. You are better off helping the guy find Licensed plumber to work with.

                  If your cost of doing business is to high in Albany you should maybe vote for some conservatives.

                  In Arizona... General Contractors have to use lic. plumbers and electricians.

                  He posted license are not required where the job was so it is possible no one in the area is licensed. I remember when not only were there no licenses but you didn't need to pull permits to build a home in Arizona because there were no inspections. We have to remember different parts of the Country have different rules.

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

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Testing out

                    Originally posted by EasyEman
                    So you hired him to save money... you took money from Licensed plumber who has to pay taxes and fees etc to work. What is the prevailing wage for plumbers in NY...Are you going to issue a 1099. How can the guy you hired use this job to help him get licensed? You re not a Master Plumber so the experience is not counted. You are better off helping the guy find* Licensed plumber to work with.If your cost of doing business is to high in Albany you should maybe vote for some conservatives.In Arizona... General Contractors have to use lic. plumbers and electricians.
                    The plumbers in this area have an aversion to returning phone calls. I made a promise to my customer based on an appointment with a licensed pumber to do the work and he didn't return calls to establish a firm time to meet. I don't discharge my promises lightly. I might not succeed but I am damn sure going to try to keep them. Incidently the licensed plumber was charging $100.00 an hour and I agreed to pay him in cash also. The potential is there to make $800.00 - green - in a day and the guy can't return a call?

                    Prevailing wage for plumbers in Albany County, NY as of 5/1/09 is $31.41 plus $18.62 supplement. I paid $50.00 an hour. I ALWAYS pay really really close to the prevailing wage plus supplements to whomever I hire. And, again cash.

                    Nope I didn't hire him to save money. I bill actual costs plus 20%. So the customer saved a bundle.

                    Nope I am not going to issue a 1099. I will pay whatever taxes are due on profits out of my own pocket.

                    The guy probably can't use my job as experience. But I can use my knowledge of the system in the US versus Jamacia to help him find a way to become licensed. Thus the original intent of the thread. Our system seems complex and confusing to outsiders if I can help I will.

                    I vote conservative. But the overwhelming majority of voters in NYS are liberal. It is frustrating to live here but my wife won't move.

                    In New York the system of licensing is very complex. Each little municipality has their own rules. I am in favor, and have been for a long time, of licenses for all trades.

                    Tom
                    Last edited by Tom W; 06-01-2009, 11:12 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Testing out

                      Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                      I know 3 Mexicans that will run heavy equipment all day for $8.00/hr. How far is it to Albany?J.C.
                      Well send them up they will be in for a pleasant surprise. The contractors for which I work of course pay prevailing wage for municipal work. For private work some pay prevailing wage or they pay 90% of prevailing wage plus benefits , which include paying full cost of individual health insurance and half the cost of family plan, plus retirement.

                      Tom

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Testing out

                        I have no problems with him hiring who he hired or trying to get the guy a license, I was just curious about why bother if you work in a county that doesn't require it. I am satisfied with his answer to me.

                        Here in Illinois, all plumbers working in the state must have either a state issued or Chicago issues plumbing license. I have had to turn away work in the City of Chicago due to the fact I was still waiting for them to issue me my Chicago Plumbing Contractors License. With out it I was not able to pull a permit. But the work in the surrounding area kept me busy enough.
                        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Testing out

                          Originally posted by Tom W View Post
                          Well send them up they will be in for a pleasant surprise. The contractors for which I work of course pay prevailing wage for municipal work. For private work some pay prevailing wage or they pay 90% of prevailing wage plus benefits , which include paying full cost of individual health insurance and half the cost of family plan, plus retirement.

                          Tom
                          I think you missed the point. Or maybe not. Just don't cut the established wage of those that are doing things right in the area.

                          Someone could easily come into your area and put alot of people on equipment for half your wages and put you out of a job. Right? Wrong?

                          Testing varies. Some licenses will reciprocate. Some won't. Where I'm at what you're proposing would be plumbing contracting without a license. Other areas allow the plumbing, hvac, structure etc. to all fall under a General Contractors license.

                          If that's the case where you are, then once again that would put you in a position of General Contracting without a license. Both increase your liability % dramatically and exposure to suits for anything including fraud.

                          Simply saying "I'm just the business manager" won't cut it. At least not here. I have the plumbing board newsletters where bench warrants and jail terms HAVE been issued in some scenarios.

                          We are, after all, litigation nation.

                          Check everything. And keep the wage base up in my opinion.

                          J.C.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Testing out

                            Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
                            I have no problems with him hiring who he hired or trying to get the guy a license, I was just curious about why bother if you work in a county that doesn't require it. I am satisfied with his answer to me. Here in Illinois, all plumbers working in the state must have either a state issued or Chicago issues plumbing license. I have had to turn away work in the City of Chicago due to the fact I was still waiting for them to issue me my Chicago Plumbing Contractors License. With out it I was not able to pull a permit. But the work in the surrounding area kept me busy enough.
                            Spinner was exactly right. Albany county does not have licensing requirements but to work within the City of Albany licensing is required. In addition, Albany is located at the boundaries of two other counties, Rensselear and Schenectady. I am not certain of their requirements but if licensing is required I would do what I can to facilitate licensing in those counties.

                            Tom

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Testing out

                              Originally posted by Tom W View Post
                              In a bind the other day I hired a non-licensed plumber - licensing is not required in the municipality where the job is located. The guy is from Jamacia and claims to be a 'Master Plumber' there. I have no idea how to evaluate plumbers except to say that this guy was: fast, it took him 5 hours to complete a job estimated by another plumber to take 8; neat, all the joints were soldered with no dripping solder; clean, when he was done he did a good job of cleaning up.

                              So the question is: Is an appernticeship an absolute requirement for designation as a Licensed Plumber? Generally, is there a way for someone to take a test in the US and become licensed if credentials can be produced proving a 'Master's License' from another country?

                              I have a long term dangerous thought forming in my mind. There is a need for additional ethical plumbers in this area, a $500.00 labor charge for less than an hours work is not right. I am thinking of going into the plumbing business. Not doing plumbing myself just manage the business end. If this guy becomes licensed I am thinking of setting him up with whatever he needs and have him work for me.

                              Tom
                              What a strange post. If we were face-to-face, I'd knock you out and steal your wallet.
                              (The Low Spark of Steel-Toed Boys)

                              Comment

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