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Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

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  • Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

    “It’s a pretty dirty business,” said Denice Reich, a long-time realtress in the Denver market.

    Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigation « CBS Denver
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

  • #2
    Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

    Yes, there are dishonest contractors. But, who's place is it to dictate what any company charges? Every company is different. What my old company could charge would be way higher than what I would charge now. So?

    IMHO, laterals that have dirt and roots need repair or replacement. Though, for the cost of the replacement (permanent), many (temporary) snakings or jettings can usually be had.
    ~~

    ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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    • #3
      Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

      That type of media coverage and public attention is thanks to the commission-based companies and franchises who spend more time training their "techs" how to sell than how to diagnose and repair.

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      • #4
        Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

        Originally posted by SewerRat View Post
        That type of media coverage and public attention is thanks to the commission-based companies and franchises who spend more time training their "techs" how to sell than how to diagnose and repair.
        This! I have seen it from the inside and have broken free. Sending in the labor board in my wake. There are some commission based companies with ethics. It comes down to the individual as to what they will do in the field and put up with from the management.

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        • #5
          Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

          I've seen hundreds of other peoples videos over the last 15 years. And I can only remember 1 video that I recently watched that I was impressed with. I even wrote up a thread about this recently and tracked the person down to give him praise.

          It's a know fact that a sewer camera doesn't make money with free inspections. It's the repair estimates/ contracts that make money.

          I don't give my camera away for free or for peanuts. And I also don't sell repairs. I rarely see a line in need of nothing more than a good cleaning and sometimes a cleanout installed.

          Yet I see estimates all the time for sewer replacements. Fortunately more and more homeowners are wising up and calling for a second opinion.

          Just yesterday I had a customer call who just threw out the plumber from their house once seeing the invoice.

          Rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

            Originally posted by SewerRat View Post
            That type of media coverage and public attention is thanks to the commission-based companies and franchises who spend more time training their "techs" how to sell than how to diagnose and repair.

            Benjamin Franklin Plumbing - "The company who gave a good guy a bad name."
            ~~

            ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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            • #7
              Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

              My aunt is going through this here, Rotor-Rooter said the pipe collapsed and that the entire main needs to be replaced which involved tearing up the street. The city will not allow anyone but themselves to do the street side, so rotor gave her an estimate of 7200+ dollars for their end and estimates from the city were guessed to be in the 7-8k dollar range. RR had video and showed her the break/collapse just outside the foundation. Also said the rest of the main was improperly sloped and needed to be replaced. Now, this house was built in the late 60's early 70's IIRC. They have NEVER had one back up since they have lived there in over 20 years. Had a second guy come and look, and he said that although the main was virtually flat with very little slope in the line, that he thinks that it will be ok as long as he fixes the broken pipe at the foundation. He said that to get the proper slope to the city main they would have to go across her lot that involves going under the driveway and down the street further or a lift station as the house is about a foot lower than it should be in relation to the city sewer line. I gave her Geno Gardner's number from here, I don't know if she called him or not. I told her to talk to the guy who eventually will do the work and suggested a double cleanout like Rick has posted about so that if they do have troubles with backups, it can be cleaned out from outside the home. They are praying the fix in the break will be enough of a fix as the cost of tearing up the yard, driveway and street is way out of their budget!

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              • #8
                Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                How interesting that someone used the media coverage to "fix" the price of sewer inspections.
                Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                • #9
                  Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                  My experience is different from Rick's... Our entire town is built on Orangeburg sewers and most of the sewers we inspect due to recurrent problems are beyond hope of a good cleaning, in fact a good cleaning will sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Often it is difficult to get just the camera head past the bad spots when the bottom of the pipe has delaminated and there is a ridge in the bottom center of the pipe that is over halfway to the top.

                  That being said, I always try to start the recording with the camera outside of the line, and as I insert it into the cleanout I try to swing the camera around to capture a few distinguishing features of the landscape or building, just to prove that I am not showing a prerecorded video of a different bad sewer to a customer. I also, as often as possible, try to have the owner leaning over my shoulder while I inspect, so that they can see what I am seeing and make a more informed decision.

                  I have only on a couple occasions inspected a sewer for free... but the information we received from the inspection was for our benefit only and no one else's.

                  There will always be companies that use scare tactics, too. We all know that a sewer will often work just fine with one or two bellies in it as long as they aren't too deep, but that is all the upsell companies need to see to hawk a $15,000 repair to some little old worrisome granny.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                    Maybe what Rick and some others need to do is a followup rebuttal to this
                    report by CBS on your local CBS affiliate or a competitor network if CBS doesn't want
                    to hear you. Tell them the truth just as you have here.

                    This would do two things as I see it;

                    1. It protects your companies reputation by taking you out of the bad guy pool (where you have been lumped with every other plumber who is now suspect in the eyes of the HO by this "investigative report") and into the responsible, professional 'good guy' category, thereby distancing you from those who are out to take unsuspecting home owners for a ride. It also will deal those less than honorable companies a death blow as it will be harder for then to pull the wool over on so many people as now the public will be better informed and can ask proper questions AND get a second opinion for expensive repairs.

                    2. I shows off your knowledge of the trade and its the cheapest 3 or 4 minutes of TV advertising you could ever get since its free.

                    I'm not in the sewer and drain business but I would consider doing this if this report had aired in my area.

                    If you don't think my plan would work tell me why please.
                    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

                    https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

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                    • #11
                      Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                      Yesterday I was referred to a new customer via another plumber through a large hardware store.

                      The elderly lady has had the home in the family since the 60s. So I aready knew from talking to her that the recent issues in the last 2 months was just a poor cleaning job.

                      She even watced the so called free video inspection of 90' and saw next to no roots. Yet the free inspection generated a $7000.00 repair estimate. The other inpection generated a $5000.00 estimate.

                      Her phone call to me impressed her with my questions and suggestions. Since it's no emergency at this time, she will wait until after memorial day when I get back to inspect the line.

                      Should be interesting to see how my video and suggestions compare to her 2 other estimates.

                      Rick.
                      phoebe it is

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                      • #12
                        Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                        I have done inspections or free and also charged for it. Depends on the call.

                        I'm looking out for multiple root intrusions that may best be addressed with a jetter. If the pipe has major offsets, we have the option to dig up, re-line, burst or leave it be. Whatever the client wants to do.

                        I prefer to have the home owner see the monitor when the camera leaves the reel and enter the pipe. If the pipe looks good, give a high five! It's too easy to give out gloom and doom.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                          When people call us for a sewer inspection, we charge for the camera. When I am on the job for a drain cleaning, and I feel a bad spot with the cable, I automatically televise the line at no extra charge. The reason is if its just a tight turn, then its no big deal, if there are heavy roots in the line then I know I need to use different cutters to clear the line. If there is a break in the line, then I give the owners an estimate to make the repairs.

                          One of the things I do when I make my recordings, even with the CS1000 (which lets you add job information to the recordings) is I take a notebook and write the date, time and the property address on it nice and bold with a sharpie. Then I turn on the camera and start recording, pan the camera around to show the surroundings, then point the camera at the notebook for a few seconds, then down the cleanout. Also after pulling the camera out of the clean out I once again point the camera at the notebook.
                          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                          Ron's Facebook
                          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

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                          • #14
                            Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                            Ok I am watching the video, and the lady said that the charge for televising a sewer should only be $99.00 to $120.00... WTF Don't they know that this equipment is not free, and the wear and tear costs us money. The prices she suggests doesn't even cover my first half hour charges, let alone equipment.

                            And as price differences, each company should base what they charge on what it costs them to run their business, not what some other shop charges. I had a costumer tell me that Joe's Handyman (made up name for this) up the street is only charging $xxxx amount, and I should charge the same. I explained to them our prices are based on our costs to run the business, not what Joe's Handyman charges.
                            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                            Ron's Facebook
                            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Wide Disparity In Sewer Estimates Prompts CBS4 Investigation

                              Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
                              Ok I am watching the video, and the lady said that the charge for televising a sewer should only be $99.00 to $120.00... WTF Don't they know that this equipment is not free, and the wear and tear costs us money. The prices she suggests doesn't even cover my first half hour charges, let alone equipment.

                              And as price differences, each company should base what they charge on what it costs them to run their business, not what some other shop charges. I had a costumer tell me that Joe's Handyman (made up name for this) up the street is only charging $xxxx amount, and I should charge the same. I explained to them our prices are based on our costs to run the business, not what Joe's Handyman charges.
                              Yes I had a apt Mgr. tell me that in relation to repairs on a "GAS" wall furnace
                              she had the price my company charged on a previous job, then compared that to Joe's handy service, I pointed out that first of all he was not licensed to make repairs and did not have insurance to cover him if something blew up but all she cared about was what it cost the owner !

                              JERRYMAC
                              E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                              CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                              FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                              SINCE JAN. 1989

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