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who pays for broken cable

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  • who pays for broken cable

    Went on a job last night and got hung about 35' out I was in a basement drain going through a 4" trap with a spring leader and a small 4 blade cutter on my 3/4" general cable in my RidGid 7500. It would not come out when I flipped the auto feed in reverse it just torked the cable down. I tried pulling the cable no good, so I had to flip the motor in reverse and it started to come so I flipped the motor back and no good. I had to bring the whole cable out in reverse it was so hard the cable flipped over in the drum and it was an almost new cable. I had only had the 7500 do that on one other job a factory drain with a broke tile. Back to last night when I got the head out the leader head and cable had 5 ft. of wire roots on it. The owner seen it and said the last time I had cleaned it out was 27 years ago. I remember I use to have to clean it every 3 years. It had to have been stopped up for years as long as it seeped out he just let it go,like a lot of my customers are doing.Well 4 hours later and a hole hand dug down to the pipe out side I had a clean line, a large pile of roots, and a new cable that will never work again. Most drillers around here charge for a damaged cable, I never have in the past, but I cant afford to lose a $ 300 cable every time I clean a drain as more people start having there drains cleaned again. What do you guys say charge for the broken cable or not. He is a distant neighbor he lives about a mile and a half from me on the road to town but we don't talk much, I just know him and we never run in to each other. I'm leaning toward charging him and just figuring on not getting paid as he is kind of a hot head.

  • #2
    Re: who pays for broken cable

    I usually do not charge for a broken cable or bit. I figure it's just part of doing business and it's figured in the cost of all jobs as a recurring maintenance cost.

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    • #3
      Re: who pays for broken cable

      Who pays for the dig when you're stuck & can't get out ???

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      • #4
        Re: who pays for broken cable

        When you go an a service call and have a flat on your truck because your tires are worn out, do you charge that customer for a new set of tires? No, the price of the service call includes wear and tear on the truck to keep it running.

        Like said above, just part of doing business. You need to figure into your pricing the life expectancy of your cable and when it wears out it should have paid for itself. I know you are going to say it broke on the second job, but some times that is just the cost of business, maybe go up a little on your cable work from now on.

        If the customer is a hot head and not going to pay, what difference does it make?

        Kind of like when my Dad built his house and had a well drilled, the drillers old cable finally broke and he wanted to charge Dad for a new cable, didn't happen. As Dad explained to him that the cable had drilled many wells over time and should have paid for itself and then some by now.
        Last edited by G3sprinklers; 01-12-2013, 08:41 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: who pays for broken cable

          i've never charged for a broken cable or anything else. it's just part of knowing when to say no more.

          i'm sure you knew the limits of your machine and cable. at a certain point, you tell them you can't clear it with your equipment and you either bring in something different or bigger.

          i've been stuck where i flipped a cable in the line and i cut the concrete, cut the pipe and fixed it on my dime. but stuff like that is 1 in a thousand. just part of the business.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: who pays for broken cable

            I use to, but after doing some research the point was made that you are hired to open the drain not to run an auger through it , If you cant get it open with a drilling rig and it takes a backhoe to get it open then that is how you have to open it. I tell the owner I can get someone in or they can get who ever they want, because that is the only way to get it open so they pay. Now if I have a cable come unlocked or I made some mistake then My insurance pays. I tell the insurance agent about anything like that If I have to pay I only pay to get my cable out and repair just the spot that was damaged, most times they have the plumber replace the whole line then the plumber cuts me a brake. If I think I owe it I pay it, but in any case I talk to the insurance company and let them hash it out, That is what I pay them for.

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            • #7
              Re: who pays for broken cable

              I use to, but after doing some research the point was made that you are hired to open the drain not to run an auger through it , If you cant get it open with a drilling rig and it takes a backhoe to get it open then that is how you have to open it. I tell the owner I can get someone in or they can get who ever they want, because that is the only way to get it open so they pay. Now if I have a cable come unlocked or I made some mistake then My insurance pays. I tell the insurance agent about anything like that If I have to pay I only pay to get my cable out and repair just the spot that was damaged, most times they have the plumber replace the whole line then the plumber cuts me a brake. If I think I owe it I pay it, but in any case I talk to the insurance company and let them hash it out, That is what I pay them for.

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              • #8
                Re: who pays for broken cable

                You guy's have to forgive me. My daughters just had leg surgery and I am on nurse duty for her and I am trying to use her lap top. So I am getting some things in the wrong place.But I needed the input I guess Ill keep doing business as usual and eat the cable cost. I put in five hours none of it due to the stuck cable so Ill just trade the work for a new cable. Thanks guy's

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                • #9
                  Re: who pays for broken cable

                  Who pays for a flat tire on the way to a job? You don't throw that on the client do you?
                  Well, yes you do but not directly, it's covered in your overhead as part of the cost of
                  doing business. Broken tools should be treated no different, especially something whose
                  cost you amortize over time like a truck, pipe machine, backhoe, computer, and other
                  high value items. How can you put that cost on one customer?

                  Now, if you purchased a special tool or equipment to do a job you normally would not do
                  and that cost was figured into your bid, well then you've already covered the cost of that tool
                  so again there is nothing to pass on.

                  What are you going to do, walk up to your customer and say "I broke my cable while clearing
                  your sewer, you owe me an additional $xxx on top of my estimate." That could get you shot in
                  many places.

                  I am not in the sewer and drain business but I don't think it matters, the same principle applies
                  in just about any business. And since you know that there is always the possibility of breaking a
                  cable, you should have that factored into your pricing structure to begin with.
                  ---------------
                  Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                  ---------------
                  “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                  ---------
                  "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                  ---------
                  sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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                  • #10
                    Re: who pays for broken cable

                    I just blew a Hydraulic line on My back Hoe last month. My problem !
                    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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