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  • Taking Away Your Business

    Yesterday I spoke with a home owner in AZ, this home owner had roots in his sewer and the city came out and inspected it. The city told him that they would replace his line from under the house to the street for $1,100.00. I was shocked……….. a city replacing a lateral line and charging for it??????? I know they do that in Canada but in the USA, WHAT? I told him to call around and get some quotes if he wanted the line replaced and I explained that he can help the local economy and keep business in the community by hiring someone local to replace the line. He said he didn’t want to take the time to look into it. I again reminded him that it is not the government’s job to replace your sewer it is a plumbers / contractor’s job. He thanked me for the advice in a tone which I know he didn’t care what I had to say. When I hung up I was so frustrated that he wanted to take food out of the mouths of the hard working plumbers in his community. Then I thought about it. Why would I be angry at a home owner when the city is the one undercutting the pros and taking business away from them? This is an outrage and I have been hearing more and more situations like this. If the government is going to start doing sewers, what next plumbing or Septic tank installations? Why not have city workers come out and have them do landscaping or house additions. I don’t have to tell you this is a tough economy and if your city or county is going to take work away from you…………………………..
    Then what?

  • #2
    Re: Taking Away Your Business

    City near me has a smaller one too but they just purchased one of these. Saw it doing maintenance on the larger lines. Been told they will jet a homeowners line so I have smaller incentive to purchase a jetter.

    http://www.vacallindustries.com/prod...r_cleaner.html
    Last edited by BobsPlumbing; 06-03-2009, 11:43 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Taking Away Your Business

      Gas company (Govt licensed utility) is doing it too. If you have a leak they will "move the meter" closer to the house for a price. They fix the leak and don't get inspected don't fix any other code problems(Flue pipes etc). If I do it I have to get inspected which means more time and materials more cost.
      Who is going to hire me when the gas co. will do it for 30%-50% less?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Taking Away Your Business

        dan, interesting they're doing sewers.

        out here we can get our sidewalks and driveway approach replaced by the city and pay 50% of the rate. it's a 50/50 split. sure the city drags their feet, but in the end it boils down to the bottom line $$.

        i doubt any plumber can compete with the $1100. bill.

        i also doubt that the city is losing money, but just covering cost.

        i also doubt that too many plumbers will attempt to compete with the city crews. but how many will actually wait for the city to schedule the work.

        it will be interesting to see this follow up. i think it will end up in court like some of the utility companies did when they offered service work.

        rick.

        p.s. can't expect the homeowner to pay 2-10 times the price for the private sector to do the job. i don't think anyone would want to pay that much more. just look at all the people that shop at costco or walmart.
        remember it's a free market and pricing can be anything, just not price fixing.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Taking Away Your Business

          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
          dan, interesting they're doing sewers.

          out here we can get our sidewalks and driveway approach replaced by the city and pay 50% of the rate. it's a 50/50 split. sure the city drags their feet, but in the end it boils down to the bottom line $$.

          i doubt any plumber can compete with the $1100. bill.

          i also doubt that the city is losing money, but just covering cost.

          i also doubt that too many plumbers will attempt to compete with the city crews. but how many will actually wait for the city to schedule the work.

          it will be interesting to see this follow up. i think it will end up in court like some of the utility companies did when they offered service work.

          rick.

          p.s. can't expect the homeowner to pay 2-10 times the price for the private sector to do the job. i don't think anyone would want to pay that much more. just look at all the people that shop at costco or walmart.
          remember it's a free market and pricing can be anything, just not price fixing.

          I don't know any one that can compete with an $1,100 sewer replacement. Your right they are covering the cost's but why would a city take away business from their own people. I speak with so many people every day and so many of them are barely treading water and I am not talking about some fly by night company I am talking about a reputable company that's been in the business for thirty to forty years. It's frustrating to see good companies, good people having to struggle and when work is taken away it just makes me sick. I am passionate about this because I know first hand. I grew up in a family business that struggled to keep the lights on the first couple of years.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Taking Away Your Business

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            dan, interesting they're doing sewers.

            out here we can get our sidewalks and driveway approach replaced by the city and pay 50% of the rate. it's a 50/50 split. sure the city drags their feet, but in the end it boils down to the bottom line $$.

            i doubt any plumber can compete with the $1100. bill.

            i also doubt that the city is losing money, but just covering cost.

            i also doubt that too many plumbers will attempt to compete with the city crews. but how many will actually wait for the city to schedule the work.

            it will be interesting to see this follow up. i think it will end up in court like some of the utility companies did when they offered service work.

            rick.

            p.s. can't expect the homeowner to pay 2-10 times the price for the private sector to do the job. i don't think anyone would want to pay that much more. just look at all the people that shop at costco or walmart.
            remember it's a free market and pricing can be anything, just not price fixing.
            Please remember this when comparing or discussing another companies/person's billing system.

            J.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Taking Away Your Business

              You will be seeing more of this as the months pass, especially in the "right to work" states, where the individual is not required to be licensed, keeps the guys working and the city/county is not allowed to make a profit, just cover expenses.

              I was doing some work at the local National Guard Armory a few months back and the local engineer group is headed off to learn plumbing, wonder if the Feds are gonna get into the contracting game?
              sigpic
              www.uandiplumbing.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Taking Away Your Business

                I remember when some Utility was doing furnaces and water heaters, and they where taken to court by the states attorney cause there is no way us plumbers and heating guys can compete against them. They can low ball the job and make up the difference in taxes or utility fees. What you just explained is the same thing. I have been talking to state officials about Cities doing the same thing around here. I have been told they are working on it.
                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


                • #9
                  Re: Taking Away Your Business

                  In my town the city jets sewers at the customer sewer service for free.( 365 , 24/7) all holidays all hours. I dont care how good or cheap you are you can't compete with free. And i get to fund my competion. This started in the 1980s.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Taking Away Your Business

                    What city in AZ does this, Dan?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Taking Away Your Business

                      Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                      Please remember this when comparing or discussing another companies/person's billing system.

                      J.C.

                      my point exactly.

                      who are they going to hire. the city at $1,100 or the private plumber for well more than twice as much?

                      so unless everybody comes down to the cities price, they will be the only sewer contractor in town.

                      so when the customer is informed of the cities services, all the others will either get out of sewers or, drop their price, or hope the city is so booked that the customer has no choice but to go with the company that's avaliable now.

                      i doubt too many who have a choice will be willing to spend 2-5+ times more for the job. i would even hire them for my own house

                      so what it boils down to is price and choices. in this case price will prevail unless the customer has no choice

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Taking Away Your Business

                        [QUOTE=gusty60;233815]What city in AZ does this, Dan?[/QUOTE

                        I don't think he told me.....? When some one calls me one of fist things my secretary asks is what state are you in so I can find the info the home owners need and then I go from there but I don't think I ever got to a specific location. The conversation started out with questions about our product in the end it sounded like the city made a good recommendation that the line was pretty much shot and needed to be replaced because the roots had caused a large break in the pipe and cause dirt and roots to keep backing up his line. I frequently take notes when a home owner calls in case they call back later for more questions so I can remember their details. When I get in the office tomorrow I will see if I have not throw them out yet.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Taking Away Your Business

                          Originally posted by gusty60 View Post
                          What city in AZ does this, Dan?
                          Sorry i didn't write the city down but since you live in AZ have you run into that problem at all?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Taking Away Your Business

                            Never seen anything like it in this area. How bizzarre. Why would the municipal people jet a service for free when they have gone to such lengths to clearly demark the main as theirs and the service as the homeowner's? Just to keep their people busy? Seems if they have budget for equipment and operators to go around doing work on pipe that isn't theirs they are overfunded.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Taking Away Your Business

                              Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                              Never seen anything like it in this area. How bizzarre. Why would the municipal people jet a service for free when they have gone to such lengths to clearly demark the main as theirs and the service as the homeowner's? Just to keep their people busy? Seems if they have budget for equipment and operators to go around doing work on pipe that isn't theirs they are overfunded.
                              I agree with you 100% like the City I work in installs clean outs on the home owners property and relines the homeowners seervice for them at no charge.
                              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

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