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  • Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

    Everyone has a different way how they run their business, just thought it might be interesting how everyone works theirs, what works for them.


    I'll go first since I'm the newbie here. I run plumbing service only, had a shovel in my hands for the first time last monday in 3 years. I'm slowly phasing out of water heater replacements and I cherry pick my drain cleaning calls these days. I prefer to rebuild Delta 2 handle lav faucets all day but that's not feasible. Anything that takes over a 3-5 hour period I try to avoid completely, and if they are repeat customers I'll break that call over a 2 day period so I can run all my rinky dink scheduled calls and beater calls all in the course of a day.


    When it comes to PowerVent water heater service and repair of electronics I send them all away to the authorized rep in my area for all 3 mfgs. When I get outside dig jobs I send all of those to another master plumber that prefers to do nothing but outside work. Then there is a plumber I send all my out of town calls to do large plumbing jobs like an Old Navy or Macy's or some large job involving a crew to do the work. I'm not into starting jobs and not getting paid for months. It's not going to happen.

    I never ask for kickbacks from any of these jobs, I don't sub them out under the name of my company. It's just like a football game and I've thrown an interception to where the other team is taking the ball and running with it. That way if the job goes sour, my name isn't attached to it.

    I might be indirectly banking favors on the ones I send work too; I make sure that the call heading their way is to mention my company. Who knows, I may one day get a cable stuck in a drain and need a digging crew on my dime to get the situation resolved at a customer's property. OR, I have a really good customer that needs a water heater replaced and I know the guy I send to do the replacement won't take my future service work from me with that client.

    All of this probably sounds really stooopid to some of you wandering why I shell so much work away from me. It's because I've built some really good ties to my community and my advertising works really well. This in turn allows me to do almost what I want on a daily basis without the income generator forcing me into a ditch at 3 in the morning up to my armpits in ****. I still might end up out at 3 am.....but it might be a leaking angle stop or a frozen water line that led to a outside faucet that ruptured.

    Since being a one-man band makes it impossible to do it all, I feel that utilizing the work load and delegate work to those I know will send me service work back at me, is priceless IMO. And it doesn't mean I "have" to take those calls from them either, same as the ones I send them.

    I even have a drain cleaning company I send work to weekly and I've got 7 grand worth of drain cleaning equipment. You know the calls I'm pushing away..... The ones you wish you never put the keys in the ignition to leave and go do.

    Anyone else? Not asking for trade secrets.
    Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 10-01-2007, 10:57 PM.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

  • #2
    Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

    dunbar, not too far off where i come from.

    i get the calls that others plumbers refer to me. especially cameras and locating,snaking and jetting, propressing, pipe freezing, trenchless, sawcutting and coring.

    i too turn away remodels for the most part. repipes and anything else that involves a lot of crawling by myself. or jobs that require too much of my time for consecutive days.

    yet i will do a 100 gallon heater by myself even on a platform or up stairs

    digging is no problem

    there are days that i will get to 5 calls and days that i sch. 1 job for the day.

    still pretty much like you, just i like the more challenging jobs over the running all over jobs.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

      Nowhere near as established as you are, so the option of farming out jobs isn't really excercised very often with me, except larger jobs like a 6 bath new residence I sent my old boss...he treated me very well when I was with his shop, did a couple of weekend boiler jobs he didn't want to take.

      I agree about the smaller jobs, being on one job more than a few days gets to be a drag.
      I'm starting to find a new appreciation for repetetive work, water heaters, faucet replaces, toilet seals/flappers/fills.
      It's when I get a call for a Symmons leak, bring a cartridge all to discover the customer didn't know the fact that it's over 30 years old means there aren't replacements available that I wanna pull out my hair.
      Last edited by DuckButter; 10-01-2007, 11:16 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

        Not a whole lot on this one,since I install all service farmed out to a couple of different guys.I have a very reasonable drain cleaning company in my community.All of my associates are satisfied with them.Although I do take care of those close to me(friends and family)in the service area,thats why I'm working up to a k-60(need too many commercial tools first).Camera and jetting I think I would use one of the guys here on the forum

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        • #5
          Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

          I totally agree! The main reason I got my license was 1) Because it makes ME look good to my customers and especially to my prop management accounts.(I'm primary a drain guy)
          2) I was also doing alot of sewer pipe replacements and clean-outs. One job that was around nine thousand dollars the lady wouldn't pay us....we went to court and lost. We knew we were wrong but after that I got serious about getting the license.

          As time goes by, I am getting more and more jobs for strictly plumbing work. I won't anything I am not comfortable with or have time for. I certainly won't be re-piping the Hotel dell! LOL

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          • #6
            Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

            Originally posted by TomSV650 View Post
            the lady wouldn't pay us....we went to court and lost. We knew we were wrong but after that I got serious about getting the license.

            Explain further on this note. The piping was installed wrong or you installed the system without the proper licensing?

            Thanks for all the responses so far.

            Here sooner or later I'll be tossing away even more work as I've started a second business that demands a lot of my time but I still have to work to generate revenue to get the second business pumped up.


            Instead of starting another thread......has anyone set a booth up at a convention for their own plumbing business? I'm doing this next year at the Home & Garden show at the Cincinnati Convention center, my first time putting the name out there. I don't expect to get calls out of it.......I just want the video of my just being there so I can youtube it. Then all my potential customers along with repeat customers that go to my website can see that I had a booth.
            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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            • #7
              Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

              I believe tom didn't get paid because the customer was wise to the law and knew she could get a free sewer and the un-licensed contractor has no legal contract, invoice or recourse for anything over $500.00

              Without a city permit filed, un-permited work like new sewer lines and repipes don't really count as property improvments.

              Sorry you got stiffed tom, but oh well, I am glad you have your license and congrates. I wish the CSLB paid a guy to drive around the south bay and pull every white van over that dosen't have the proper info on the van, I see so many that are not following the regulations.

              I was thinking about starting a company that would look for these outfits, maybe funded by contractors who care about the trades and are tired of fly by niters destroying it. Any ideas? Or should I just stop caring?
              sigpic

              Robert

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              • #8
                Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

                Ahh, I C I C. Yep, that is definitely a loss in the books.

                That would be a great idea to chase those who are unlicensed but there are so many of them.

                In my area we have code compliance officers that sit at the Home Depot's and Lowe's watching contractors walk out with plumbing materials.

                Then they follow them to the house, bang on the door after they've been there about 15-20 minutes knowing they got the old stuff out and ready to put in the new.

                Shames the person completely, greatly upsets the homeowner and WHAM-O you now have a new friend from the state of KY. Give's true meaning to fly by night as they now have to work at night to keep from being busted again.

                Indirectly though, their screw-ups usually lead to money in our pockets but the property owner pays twice which isn't exactly fair.
                Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                • #9
                  Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

                  California courts are very tough on unlicensed Contractors. At one time the law was written to where a judge could not give a judgment to an unlicensed Contractor. Today the law states the owner can sue for a return of 100% of the money they paid to an unlicensed contractor regardless of the work which was preformed and the quality of the work.

                  I am representing a client who did the plumbing on a large hotel here in Southern California. He is a licensed plumbing contractor in California as a sole proprietor. His Corporation is a licensed plumbing contracting firm in a local State. The hotel owner is suing for a full refund of all monies paid based on the charge the corporation was not licensed in California even though the owner of the corporation was.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

                    Another "wow" to this thread. Seems like property owners know how to get free work indirectly.

                    But, you give an inch to take, nobody is to blame but you when they take a foot!

                    I will soon be in a predicament with my second business whereby the devices I'm building I am going to "electively" put backflow protections on them, most likely DCVA's and even though I'm a backflow tester in KY I'm going to have to sub that out to my buddy I send work to that has the same license and has a computer operated gauges.

                    The gray area is the fact that the device using water isn't considered a plumbing appliance or appurtenance......so I need to find out if testing the backflow is a solid insurance to the device it is operating to protect.

                    Remember though...backflow devices only require annual inspections and it is a mere snapshot. The device could fail immediately before the guy takes off in his truck.
                    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                    • #11
                      Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

                      Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
                      I believe tom didn't get paid because the customer was wise to the law and knew she could get a free sewer and the un-licensed contractor has no legal contract, invoice or recourse for anything over $500.00

                      Without a city permit filed, un-permited work like new sewer lines and repipes don't really count as property improvments.

                      Sorry you got stiffed tom, but oh well, I am glad you have your license and congrates. I wish the CSLB paid a guy to drive around the south bay and pull every white van over that dosen't have the proper info on the van, I see so many that are not following the regulations.

                      I was thinking about starting a company that would look for these outfits, maybe funded by contractors who care about the trades and are tired of fly by niters destroying it. Any ideas? Or should I just stop caring?
                      Very true about the customer, she even had her lawyer at the court.
                      I've learned so much during and after getting my license. It definably has been an eye opening experience. I've always tried to treat my customers fairly, so getting the license is a very good thing for me and my customers.

                      Understanding the laws now, I understand why licensing is such an important thing and I definitely get pissed seeing handyman or even maintenance men doing plumbing work.

                      Ever read craigslist? it's a riot reading the posts from the contractors bashing the non-licensed tradesmen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Business Question (Job Contracting/Brokering)

                        Craigslist infuriates me.
                        I found an ad there in my state openly asking for guys to install plumbing & gas fixtures for a handyman svc.
                        I E-mailed the ad for the sake of it, openly stating I was licensed...surprisingly they never replied.
                        I used to look there for the "plumbers wanted", got two customers from it and after hearing "can you go down a little more?" too many times, I decided it wasn't the best source for work.

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