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  • new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

    I work in a smaller community just took over business from my mentor I'm no longer the grasshopper " but far from the master.... my retired boss is one help of a plumber is layout and ability to do " the whole" job in his head before the footing are dug or plans even approved is a inspiration but he never did any drain cleaning in his 40 something years of plumbing and pipe fitting lots of foreman and shop Stewart positions moved from British Columbia to Washington late 90s first time he'd done residential any way long story short I'm now the boss and the only guy within 60 km started getting a lot of calls for plugged drains had no choice bit to refer other guys I wasn't equipped keeping in mind I'm 24 25 in august got. 2 kids and a wife plus 2 mortgages don't have any spare money kicking around. When a customer called me back after my competition had "helped him" short lived by the way. He told me what their initial bill was I was outraged it was quite sick. Any how went and ordered a k49 drill selffeed and a k 750 with 100' of 5/8 and tool kit. I used a old general once not sure of model I used the k49 a few time now seems pretty logical.. invested on a bunch of painters drop sheets a couple rubbermaids.. pick the 750 up on Monday any advise would be extremely helpful and appreciated iv only been plumbing 6 years I'm logical I'm the first to admit I know very little about most things but I like to atleast be well informed. Last but not least I did get an autofeed "asked a previous boss about it he replied what Sean afraid to get your hands dirty that's not like you Haha" are they worthwhile or is it just another part to go wrong and a few more pounds to lug up and down stairs? Last but not least how do you guys charge for drain cleaning , flat rate hourly charge the machine then it labour. Thanks again the rookie

  • #2
    Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

    Originally posted by seanny deep View Post
    I work in a smaller community just took over business from my mentor I'm no longer the grasshopper " but far from the master.... my retired boss is one help of a plumber is layout and ability to do " the whole" job in his head before the footing are dug or plans even approved is a inspiration but he never did any drain cleaning in his 40 something years of plumbing and pipe fitting lots of foreman and shop Stewart positions moved from British Columbia to Washington late 90s first time he'd done residential any way long story short I'm now the boss and the only guy within 60 km started getting a lot of calls for plugged drains had no choice bit to refer other guys I wasn't equipped keeping in mind I'm 24 25 in august got. 2 kids and a wife plus 2 mortgages don't have any spare money kicking around. When a customer called me back after my competition had "helped him" short lived by the way. He told me what their initial bill was I was outraged it was quite sick. Any how went and ordered a k49 drill selffeed and a k 750 with 100' of 5/8 and tool kit. I used a old general once not sure of model I used the k49 a few time now seems pretty logical.. invested on a bunch of painters drop sheets a couple rubbermaids.. pick the 750 up on Monday any advise would be extremely helpful and appreciated iv only been plumbing 6 years I'm logical I'm the first to admit I know very little about most things but I like to atleast be well informed. Last but not least I did get an autofeed "asked a previous boss about it he replied what Sean afraid to get your hands dirty that's not like you Haha" are they worthwhile or is it just another part to go wrong and a few more pounds to lug up and down stairs? Last but not least how do you guys charge for drain cleaning , flat rate hourly charge the machine then it labour. Thanks again the rookie
    I dont use autofeeds. I'm all buck tho.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

      This is my advice, I am not a expert with hundreds of Hrs running a machine, but I have a K750 and a K380 and a drill type sink machine and have some experience,

      first I would practice with your own drains, get a feel for the machines, Do your relatives as well, if your entering into a septic tank or have concern with a street main, pull out the cable and mark the cable with some spray paint so you kinda know where you are if you run your cable and some length of it into a septic tank you can tangle it up and have a real mess, with a knotted up cable in the tank, feel your way through roots, do not try to clear it all at once, (especially if your dropping into a larger pipe from a smaller one, if you get a bunch of roots wrapped up around your cable and try to remove it back through a smaller pipe you can have some fun,

      ever one has that day they wished they had said NO,

      one of the problems with the drum machines is it is very hard to guess what or how much cable is out of the drum, paint does not last only a few drains, and it is deceptive on how much cable is moving in or out, (one of the reasons the guys like the sectionals as you know how many sections of cable is on the unit),

      I marked the drain hole on the drum with a marker so I know when it is up and or when it is down for draining, it is kinda sicking to look back over a nice carpet and see that the machine peed a trail across it when taking it out of the house,

      be careful going down and up stairs the machines are very heavy, (a helper is very nice), (and loading)

      do not use rubber gloves on the cable use leather, rubber can catch and grab the cable in an instant and wrench your hand a good one , (I use a pair of latex under inside the leather), and I buy the cheap nearly disposable leather gloves, (I think there a little over $1 a pair by the dozen), I buy them from Northern tool,

      an assortment of cutters and tools you will develop your favorites,

      read a lot of the older back threads many many threads on drums a few years ago,

      keep the exposed cable as short as possible, yet be able to work it, and use some common sense, and be careful, a flipped cable wrapped around your hand or arm is not having a good day,

      I usually run the feed with my right hand and left hand on the cable to feel the working of it, (even with the power feed one may/will still have to hand feed it some),

      If your having difficulty getting your machine close enough one can use some plastic pipe and make a path for it to be able to work, (there is a picture on the board of one of the guys using pipe to extend a roof vent and run the drum machine from the ground),

      a good 5 gallon bucket for a seat is nice as well,

      a spair air bulb to run the switch can save the day,

      drain out the water and put some oil in the drum to keep the cable from rusting,

      be careful when working with drains that have had chemicals dumped in them, one can get sever burns or skin and or eye injury, and it is very hard on the cable,

      once one has it clear, run water down the drain if you can.

      as far as charging, most of mine work is for my own or close family and the church, so the simple is I am not charging enough, as most of the time is mostly at no or little charge,

      many charge there service call fee and and hourly rate, some do flat rates,

      hope this helps you some,

      Do some searches for K750 K7500, drum machine, even Rick has a dozen drum machines and only two dozen K60's
      and was a K7500 fan until that K60 bit him and gave him the K60 fever,
      Last edited by BHD; 07-14-2011, 05:48 PM.
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

        Thanks for taking the time, i really appreciate the advise.. starting at my house was my plan. The paint is a good thought i wandered what to do to prevent loosing a cable. I could see that being a pain in the but il take your advise and post and let you know how it goes.

        Thanks again

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

          the cable has a end pig tail that is bolted in the drum, so one will not feed the cable out of the drum and loose it, but some markings are nice to give one some idea how much is out,

          one other thing I have got into a habit of doing is when I put on a cutter I will use a little electrical tape around the connector (I did not do it but a friend of mine lost a cutter down the pipe. this may have just been operator error), so I usually secure it a little extra with a wrap or two of black electrical tape),
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

            Charge hourly on drain cleaning. If your going to be known as a "Drain Cleaner" in your area, and not just someone who pokes holes in stoppages then you will have to charge hourly. Some drains take 1 hour, some take 3-4 hours. You deserve to get paid if your doing a good job, and the only way to do that is to charge hourly.

            As for your equipment, I've never heard a K-49, did you mean K-45? The K750 is not a bad unit, but with out an inner drum, it's not realy a beginners machine. You would be better off getting the K7500.
            Will Rogers Plumbing
            Moore, Oklahoma
            (
            405) 323-2852

            "Your Solution for Any Sewer and Drain Cleaning Needs"

            "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"



            www.willrogersplumbing.com
            http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

            "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

              Well today I learned a bot and appreciated the advise.
              I got a call this morning tom the maintence guy at. The local hospital got a plugged staff room double sink.
              The clean out was a mechanical joint with a street cast iron cap " never seen a street cap before" anyways right beside a stud with an air gap in front of it sauder copper made it difficult happened to have my k 45 autofeed not the prototype k 49 I keep referring to " all apologize for the confusion" a dog to get it.in took three hours of confusion to finally solve the problem after lots of black goop.and lots of time i gave.tom a bill. And he laughed your a third.of.the guys that drive three .hours to get here.

              He says . Any ways proud to have got the job done learned a bit about the tool and a plus sold my f

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

                A plus sold my f250 powerstroke diesel with a 6" lift paid for.my.k 45 and my k 750 plus the tool kits.
                Zgot a 89 gmc rally stx, van for three.hours work much more practical anyways learned lots in a little time today thanks for. The advise.by the .way the ridgid six foot straight auger toilet auger is a peice okf junk dont buy one had to go get my old craftsman orked like a charm.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

                  Kept reading the old post, and ask ?'s. I have learned alot from this and other fourms. Good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

                    Originally posted by seanny deep View Post
                    A plus sold my f250 powerstroke diesel with a 6" lift paid for.my.k 45 and my k 750 plus the tool kits.
                    Zgot a 89 gmc rally stx, van for three.hours work much more practical anyways learned lots in a little time today thanks for. The advise.by the .way the ridgid six foot straight auger toilet auger is a peice okf junk dont buy one had to go get my old craftsman orked like a charm.
                    General auger is the balls
                    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: new to drain cleaning " now im a journeyman its time to learn"

                      Too much torsion on the cable is bad. If you encounter resistance, ease up on the feed and slowly work the stoppage. If you stop progressing forward, pull back the cable to see if you've got a root ball.

                      General Auger is superior.

                      General has a slinky leader that allows the navigation of tight bends, a must for closet bends.

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