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  • How much time do you spend

    searching for a c/o, be it residential or commercial? Personally, if a customer knows for sure there's a c/o because the line was recently cleared, I'll spend a little more time probing around but generally speaking, I won't break out the shovel and randomly start digging holes (like many people expect me to do). It's the customers responsibility to keep it VISIBLE, exposed and accessible IMO. Nothing worse than wading through the weeds and bushes and turning rocks in search of the ever elusive clean out. Often, I just scan the perimeter of the home or building and if I don't find it fairly quick, I move to plan B, usually the roof vent.

    The other day I had a mainline job. Went through my usual ritual of of diagnosis which included looking for a c/o. Never found one so I cable the 4" vent. Kind of a PITA job too. Big roots way out at the 4X6 about 150 plus ft. Anyway, I charge my normal rate for a mainline from the roof, the tenant cuts me a check and I leave. Get a call from the owner saying there's a clean out at the back of the house under some piece of something or other buried beneath. I was like, sorry pal...too little too late. So he gets ticked off and wants a $50 discount. To me, that's like giving me access to the backyard and not mention there's a huge Rottweiler back there. The crap thing is the plumber that gave the job to me wants me to give the discount. I'm really not interested giving any discount and I probably won't. Then again, I hate to jeopardize an account over fifty bucks.

  • #2
    Re: How much time do you spend

    If you get a LOT of work from this plumber then of course give the discount to keep him happy. But overall the landlord is an ******* and I would tell him to jump off a cliff. Where was he when it was time to cable the line?
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    • #3
      Re: How much time do you spend

      Why would he want a discount? I'm assuming because you had to go on the roof and it would cost more to go on the roof, correct?

      Why didn't the landlord tell the plumber about the clean out when he scheduled the call? Unless the plumber does a lot of work at this rental unit and he is kind of in charge, so he made the call to you without calling the landlord.

      Either way, it's a tough decision. If you are financially strapped and if this plumber is a big source of your income, you might have to give in a bit. But, I would argue a bit and ask why he wants a discount. But I would definetely find a different plumber to work with, unless this type of crap was a one time thing.
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      • #4
        Re: How much time do you spend

        The landlord seems to think since there's an existing c/o, albeit, hidden and unbeknownst to me, he shouldn't have to pay the roof charge.

        I was doing a large amount of work for the guy but as of the last 6 months, not so much. I really hate getting in the middle of these menage a trois deals where I get referred, I do the work, tenant pays me, tenant expects to get reimbursed by landlord, landlord then has some complaint about the price after the work is done. Not my problem as far as I'm concerned.
        The guy that called me out is going to head over to the property to look for this c/o. He kind of alluded that if he finds it, I'll have to cut the discount. Oh well.

        Aside from all that, I was really just curious how much time some of you spend looking for a c/o before taking it to the next level or just move on?

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        • #5
          Re: How much time do you spend

          AFTER DOING THIS FOR 35+ YR'S ,
          I GO PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS YOU DO ! !

          BUT CALL THIS OWNER BACK AND TELL YOU WILL REFUND THE $50.00 ROOF CHARGE

          IF IF YOU CAN CHARGE HIM THE $100.00 FEE FOR
          LOCATING AND USING
          A MISPLACED CLEAN OUT

          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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          • #6
            Re: How much time do you spend

            I agree with Jerry.

            Explain to him that you are trying to do the best job you can and keep your prices as fair as possible for your customers. Tell him that if you (or if another company came out) couldn't find a clean out that you could of sat there for an hour or whatever until he called you and then billed for your time sitting there. Or you could say that you could of left the jobsite and then charged an additional trip charge back to the job site once he called. Overall, it would of cost more than what you charged.

            As for what you asked, I usually spend about a good 10 minutes or so. I do all my main drains in the basement so if the customer doesn't know and I can't find it, I can either pull a toilet or go from the roof. If I have to pull the toilet, I tell the customer its extra. If I have to go up on the roof, I tell them its extra.
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            • #7
              Re: How much time do you spend

              I have installed C/O`s and found out there was already one while backfilling. Now that pisses you off big time....lol
              Now I don't do a discount because the owner didn't know and oked the new C/O install.

              Now I do a ton of work for other plumbers and I will do what ever they ask of me with-in reason.
              If one of my plumbers asked me to cut someone a discount for what ever reason I`d just do it. It`s only labor money and I can make that up at any time

              If it were me, I would get with the plumber and ask him what he wants you to do.
              http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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              • #8
                Re: How much time do you spend

                Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post

                If it were me, I would get with the plumber and ask him what he wants you to do.
                He wants him to refund the $50. You are right, though. I mean, as busy as you are All Clear, it would probably be a mosquito bite to your business to give back $50.

                I still want to know why the landlord didn't tell him where the clean out was when he scheduled the job. That doesn't make sense.
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                • #9
                  Re: How much time do you spend

                  The way I do rental property is I have to talk to the landlord before I will show up.
                  He has to OK me working on his property and tell me who`s paying the bill.
                  At that time I always ask "IS there an outside C/O ?"
                  If not I explain the extra charge he`s gonna have and try to sell em a C/O install for next time.

                  I will not work on any house unless I have the owners "OK"
                  http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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                  • #10
                    Re: How much time do you spend

                    Let the plumber who gave you the job give back the 50. What if the cleanout cap couldn't be removed? What if the cleanout was backgraded so you had sewage coming out? The point to my "what if's" is the customer relies on you for your expertise. They do not get to tell you what to charge. Did you snake from the roof? Yes, so you charged accordingly and rightfully so.

                    If I can't find the cleanout cap after 15 minutes, I start to charge in 15 min. intervals. Make sure you ask about sprinkler lines as a tile probe can easily go through funny pipe. Line up the vents to find the wet wall and a cleanout is pretty easy to find if it's there. Also check the neighbors and see where their cleanout is. Scrape the back of the foundation with a shovel to find a C/O in the back yard.
                    Last edited by gear junkie; 08-15-2008, 09:23 PM.
                    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: How much time do you spend

                      It is not the drain-cleaner's responsibility to find 'hidden' cleanouts, unless he is specifically charging for that task. The landlord do not tell you there was acleanout or where it was hidden, so for him to complain is ridiculous. Its not fair, period.

                      I liked what JerryMac said...if he expects you to find hidden cleanouts, then you should have charged for that. If you had got out a camera and locator and charged for using that equipment to find the cleanout, the bill would have been even higher!!! Either way, the landlord would bltch and moan, so its really not fair.

                      This type of thing happens all the time to the service trades:
                      My company policy is to refuse to work for landlords without a written consent to do the job or at least a verbal consent and credit card over the phone.

                      In this situation I would refuse to discount the job just because the plumber guy wants you to, but then again I don't rely on referrals from other plumbers.
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                      • #12
                        Re: How much time do you spend

                        Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
                        The way I do rental property is I have to talk to the landlord before I will show up.
                        He has to OK me working on his property and tell me who`s paying the bill.
                        At that time I always ask "IS there an outside C/O ?"
                        If not I explain the extra charge he`s gonna have and try to sell em a C/O install for next time.

                        I will not work on any house unless I have the owners "OK"
                        Same here. Its a smart policy to have Allclear.
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                        • #13
                          Re: How much time do you spend

                          Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
                          I have installed C/O`s and found out there was already one while backfilling. Now that pisses you off big time....lol
                          Now I don't do a discount because the owner didn't know and oked the new C/O install.
                          Yep. Been there done that man

                          Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
                          If one of my plumbers asked me to cut someone a discount for what ever reason I`d just do it. It`s only labor money and I can make that up at any time
                          The 50 bucks is no biggie. It's not the money, just the fact that this dimwit landlord thinks he should get a discount for a now hindsight job without telling someone about the c/o beforehand. If at this point, I myself go back to the job (not exactly nearby either) just to locate this stupid c/o, it's gonna end up costing me more than the 50 he wants. The plumber agreed to head to the job and take a look. Why he hasn't asked the owner why he didn't mention the c/o, I don't know. I think the plumber doesn't want to turn it into something it's not.


                          Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
                          If it were me, I would get with the plumber and ask him what he wants you to do.
                          He's going to check it out. The owner has now told him exactly where it's at.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How much time do you spend

                            Originally posted by JERRYMAC;166360[B
                            [/B]]

                            IF IF YOU CAN CHARGE HIM THE $100.00 FEE FOR
                            LOCATING AND USING
                            A MISPLACED CLEAN OUT

                            Now were talking.

                            What is it with some people that expect others to offer a free lunch???

                            atlas,

                            It doesn't make sense because the owner is obviously senseless. He dropped the ball by not mentioning the c/o. and I'm caught in the middle. What I would like is for the plumber (whom I normally trust) to step up give this guy what for. But, evidently, this the plumber gets more work than just this one job from the owner so 50 bucks I'm guessing, isn't worth it to escalate this situation--as it shouldn't if I were in his shoes. But, on the flip side, If this dude (the plumber) expects to keep me around, he best not make a habit of not backing me up.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How much time do you spend

                              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                              It is not the drain-cleaner's responsibility to find 'hidden' cleanouts, unless he is specifically charging for that task. The landlord do not tell you there was acleanout or where it was hidden, so for him to complain is ridiculous. Its not fair, period.

                              In this situation I would refuse to discount the job just because the plumber guy wants you to, but then again I don't rely on referrals from other plumbers.
                              I certainly don't want this to become habit with particular plumber and as far as referral work, I have to take what I can get for now.

                              I can tell from your other posts, you don't take no

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