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  • Billing for extra work on pm contract

    Hey all,

    Would like to get your input on this.

    Have a long standing contract for pm cleaning of various lines in a large (for here) commercial building. Conference center, restaraunt, deli, lobby for attached resort, etc. This concerns the main line, one of many we maintenance in this building.

    Main line is a rollercoaster. It's under the building and not accessible for replacing/regrading. Relining or bursting not really options as the pipe itself is sound, just poorly graded. We've kept this more or less under control for many years by jetting on a pm basis 5 times a year. It came due this month.

    The final run is 160' from a cleanout to where it joins city main at a manhole. We typically do 3 passes on this with a warthog, taking an hour or less on this section depending if you include setup time which is shared with two other sections. Probably 2 or 2 1/2 hours total all three sections including setup.

    This time around my tech spent two hours fighting a spot 80' out before giving up and calling for help. We went there together this eve. He suspected an object as he kept hitting a dead stop at 80', so we camera'd. This is an 8" line at that point, and though it was flowing it was semi-backed up to where we could not see anything; under water and just ram up against something and see black. Throw the jetter in and eventually eat thru it and get to 160'. Make many passes before it loosens up and we move through that area as we have it the past. The hose is coming back very greasy for the first 3 or four passes.

    Tech noted that when doing floor drains in the kitchen, which drops into this line, that the formerly painted concrete floor had been redone by laying, presumably gluing, material over the top of the concrete. This is a big kitchen, probably 2000'.

    We suspect we were fighting grease from a scrubdown of the concrete floor prior to gluing the new flooring in. We had about 6 extra man hours over and above the usual to get this line to the point we felt comfortable with it.

    Also on this go-round we had some extra time in replacing a drain flange on a leaking urinal; an ear had broken off so the urinal could not be tightened to the flange on one side.

    This is a large account, not a huge percentage of our business, but significant. Also it has emblematic value to us as it was the first large account landed by my partner/founder of the business when he first started out. We have long standing history here, about a decade, are well liked and respected and trusted.

    Do I bill for the extra time, or just suck it up?
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

  • #2
    Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

    Suck it up this time and make them aware there can be extra charges if this happens again.
    Seattle Drain Service

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

      what i do is note it in the invoice and than discount it off and let whoever your contact person with your account know the extra work that was put in, it makes you out to be the goodguy and the hero, and if it happens again you can charge them and there is no suprises
      Mike
      Clark County Plumbing And Drain
      www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

        Originally posted by Cuda View Post
        Suck it up this time and make them aware there can be extra charges if this happens again.
        cuda i was up in your neck of the woods this weekend
        Mike
        Clark County Plumbing And Drain
        www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

          since you're on a p.m 5x a year. unless you can come up with something that was put into the drain that doesn't belong, you'll have to eat it. that's the reason why you're there to maintain the system that they and you already know has issues.

          now if you say the floor guys dumped grout down the drain, that's a different story.

          i have an account that they want done every month to prevent known issues. so far it's the same thing every month. unless something changes, the price i quoted 2 years ago is the price that remains.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

            I think Rick is right about the grout or maybe it is paint. I have done a few drains where the painters or cementers just washed the tools off in the drain. I think I would eat it this time but send a note about what had happened and this time you will not charge as they are good customers but ask them to tell anyone that works there not to pour that stuff down or the painter will have to give them a discount to pay for the extra labor. It might work this time if you want to chance it but they will denie it and make you look bad. But let them know I don't mind doing a job over for free if it is still under warranty it gets around that you stand behind your work and will make you more money then you lose. I might do some little stuff while I'm there and not charge like clean an aerator or something that don't need parts but I charge for anything bigger They understand you cant do it for nothing.

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            • #7
              Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

              I also agree with Rick. How many times did you visit this place before you gave them a price on the PM contract? If you were there a couple times you should pretty much know what to expect and the lay of the land so to speak, so how can you claim (barring any unforeseen circumstances or actions by outside forces) that this is extra work?

              Does the contract spell out what is included and what is considered extra work? THAT, I think is the key.
              "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
              John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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              • #8
                Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                Well,

                The contract has been in place longer than I have been cleaning drains. I've probably done this line twenty times. It felt like extra work this time as doing all three sections has never taken me more than 3 hours before, and my tech had fought this one section of it for two hours alone the previous day.

                There may be some inexperience involved as he has less that a year of experience, and when we went out together I didn't do anything all that special and we did get it done in about 2 hours, most of which I spent cleaning and organizing his van... I very specifically did not tell him what to do, just asked him some ever so slightly leading questions...."Well, that isn't telling us anything... what do you think we should do now?" Mostly he did it and just needed someone there for confidence. It was out of the ordinary for this line though.

                Thanks all for the input. I will let it go at the set price and have a chat with the building manager about what we ran into so he can think about what may have led to it.
                This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                  How will you be billing for the additional urinal work?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                    That will be on them; we jet urinals thru the cast in traps, and pricing is based on our experience that we can do these without taking them off the wall.

                    This one was pulled as it was leaking when we jetted it. We felt we might have blown out a wax seal with the jetter. That would have been on us, but in fact we found that one of the two ears on the brass flange was snapped off; no way to tighten that side of the urinal to the flange.

                    Might well have been that way for a while and been ok under the lesser pressure of just a flush, but still I don't feel responsible; I jet a lot of these and when they are installed right and snugged up tight never a problem.

                    We jet this urinal twice a year, and I wouldn't have missed a leak six months ago, so I think that either it's been that way for years and just decided to finally start leaking, or someone on their maintenance staff messed with it for some reason and broke the ear off and didn't fix it for whatever reason.
                    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                      Ace what size hose do you use on your jetter when you run it thru the urinal. I've tried to do this before with no results. Never been able to get the head thru the trap

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                      • #12
                        Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                        Originally posted by ksmoker23 View Post
                        Ace what size hose do you use on your jetter when you run it thru the urinal. I've tried to do this before with no results. Never been able to get the head thru the trap

                        1/8" Harben micro mini, nozzle about 7/8". Some are easier than others, some are not possible, these are Kohlers which are pretty easy. The toughest spots are getting it over the top of the trap and out the back into the line. A piece of string tied to the nozzle helps.
                        This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                          Ace,what size jetter are you all using for 6"-8" lines?------Do you think some type of grout was in the line?
                          Kenneth Collier
                          Maintenance and Sewer

                          P.O. Box 9441
                          Jackson, MS 39206
                          (601) 613-2678 (Cell)
                          drainman881999@yahoo.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                            Originally posted by drainman881999 View Post
                            Ace,what size jetter are you all using for 6"-8" lines?------Do you think some type of grout was in the line?

                            5-6 gpm... pushing a 3/8" warthog, about 3000 psi. I'd prefer to have more flow for this size line but a good job can be done with 5 if you show some care... takes longer and not a no brainer, but it can be done. I've chosen to stay at 5-6 gpm machines as this is what I can run without a supply tank so that it fits in the van with everything else and I don't have to drag a trailer around.

                            I don't think it was grout or anything like it. I believe it was grease, lots and lots of it, as that was what was coming back on my hose. I suspect when they refloored the kitchen they had to do a massive scrub-down to get the years of buildup off so the new flooring would stick, and that all that went down the drains and ended up in this line.

                            Also this would be a natural time to do a deep clean of all the equipment in the kitchen, so that would be more grease. And I wouldn't be too surprised if a new guy who didn't quite understand how to do it dumped a fryer or two down the drain instead of into the waste oil barrels. Keep in mind this is a pretty big kitchen...I'd guess about 2000sqft without pacing it off.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Billing for extra work on pm contract

                              Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                              5-6 gpm... pushing a 3/8" warthog, about 3000 psi. I'd prefer to have more flow for this size line but a good job can be done with 5 if you show some care... takes longer and not a no brainer, but it can be done. I've chosen to stay at 5-6 gpm machines as this is what I can run without a supply tank so that it fits in the van with everything else and I don't have to drag a trailer around.

                              I don't think it was grout or anything like it. I believe it was grease, lots and lots of it, as that was what was coming back on my hose. I suspect when they refloored the kitchen they had to do a massive scrub-down to get the years of buildup off so the new flooring would stick, and that all that went down the drains and ended up in this line.

                              Also this would be a natural time to do a deep clean of all the equipment in the kitchen, so that would be more grease. And I wouldn't be too surprised if a new guy who didn't quite understand how to do it dumped a fryer or two down the drain instead of into the waste oil barrels. Keep in mind this is a pretty big kitchen...I'd guess about 2000sqft without pacing it off.
                              I like grease users.---------congrats on not giving up.-----------maybe that's why you are called ACE.
                              Kenneth Collier
                              Maintenance and Sewer

                              P.O. Box 9441
                              Jackson, MS 39206
                              (601) 613-2678 (Cell)
                              drainman881999@yahoo.com

                              Comment

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