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  • #16
    Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

    I guess plumbing is a lot diffrent than HVAC...in HVAC (in my area from what Ive seen)...their is a big class system....new construction HVAC (Residinal) just puts in the duct work..sets stuff on the slab and runs the copper tubeing...no EPA card required..no real knowledge of systems required...also low low paid..$10 an hour. Change out crews (usaly 2 man)....rip out old..put in new...soo reuires more skills and knowledge..and tools soo paid more. Techs fix it soo considered the smart kids of school...a good change out crew is golden...and people love or hate change out....techs are top of food chain.

    But HVAC is built to be replaced every few years....soooo in a sense its simpler design than plumbing....we run copper tubeing through a 4" chase unlike a repipe....but techs run into more wireing diagrams and control board problems...

    From what Im reading their is not the same class structure in plumbing as hvac....for example go from new construction to drain cleaning to service....
    sooo it is very diffrent than HVAC trade...which is what I was ????

    As for companies..bidding on jobs and such...I do not know how that works in HVAC trade..or any other trade...was thinking more of an indivual stand point......Im sure there are some who sneer at other parts of any trade...got snobs in all feilds/

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    • #17
      Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

      Adam, I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone's ranting.
      Fact is, for once it looks like everyone's agreeing and complimenting the same views. (huh??)

      As for whats smartest..the one your heart is in.

      Despite all the negative points, Mark has pointed out he did like the creative aspects of new residential.

      I personally like a service job that has me nailbiting on the way in...and releived/rewarded with results as I leave, customer smiles are a bonus.

      As I typed this I missed a Pats TD over the Jaguars..making it 21-14...I gotta pay attention! aaaarggh

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

        Hey I'll admit, I'm the dumbest one here but lookie what I can do!!!






        CLICK >>>>Name:  78cce5e67a468992a35e6e58deedefff.gif
Views: 1
Size:  46.5 KB<<<< CLICK
        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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        • #19
          Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

          I remember the first time I did the finish on a new construction house. I was smiling ear to ear when I set the toilet. No warped, broken, flange, floor was level and solid, new toilet, not covered in urine, shut-off valve didn't leak when I touched it, no clothes, mats or toys to move around.

          I personally don't buy the whole "we are better or smarter" act, no matter what area they are in. Everyone has strengths, and each must apply theirs as they see fit.
          Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

            Originally posted by Tyman View Post
            I remember the first time I did the finish on a new construction house. I was smiling ear to ear when I set the toilet. No warped, broken, flange, floor was level and solid, new toilet, not covered in urine, shut-off valve didn't leak when I touched it, no clothes, mats or toys to move around.

            I personally don't buy the whole "we are better or smarter" act, no matter what area they are in. Everyone has strengths, and each must apply theirs as they see fit.
            Tyman , This I agree with WHOLE HEARTED ! My point earlier was NOT to insult ,,,again I have the utmost respect for ALL of us who apply our trade well .

            Having done the full gamete of the different aspects of our trade ,,, simply saying that setting out a new house or commercial building is NOT the challenge that a remodel or service plumber faces .

            What is bugging me is the point everyone keeps making that sounds like ," Service plumbing is the easiest " ! ?? WHAT ???

            Maybe some parts are easy , changing a ballcock or a cartridge etc . BUT let's look at things that new housing or commercial don't have to deal with :
            - Years of home owner 's STUFF in your way.
            - People / Pets always in the way .
            - Messes that are made from leaks or that you create while getting to a leak.
            - Talking and taking $ from the homeowner . It's a lot tougher when YOU are the one asking an 80 year old to write a BIG check then it is collect a paycheck from the boss every Friday.
            - Broken valves , rotten flanges , cracked kitchen wastes lines , tight spaces that usually have mold / piss / etc that you have to get to .

            AND SSSOOOO MANY MORE !

            My point ... NONE of it is easy . It ain't fair to say it is .

            cplumb

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            • #21
              Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

              It's absolutely correct that none of it is easy. I did my apprenticeship in commercial, did some maintenance, did production, and got thrown into new house plumbing long before I was ready. In business for myself, I did a lot of houses and finally switched to nothing but service about ten years ago.

              When you've got four guys on a piece of 4" steel pipe, moving it across the yard, it's hard work. When you've been working for about 12 hours straight plumbing a house, you're going to be beat the next day. When you're snaking a drain full of baseball-sized rocks with a 200-lb sewer machine, you are certainly earning your money. And when you're trying to install a new cast iron bathtub in a finished bath doing as little damage as possible, you're absolutely worth your hire.

              As I see it, the differences for the working plumber are that you are good at solving problems. If you're doing service work and all alone, you are where the buck stops. If you're doing commercial and you run into a problem, your skill may be in getting the architect to make a change. You have other people who can help solve problems.

              In house plumbing, you need a system. You know the code, and you do things the simplest, easiest, most professional way every time. It almost seems easy after a while because you've done it before. Once in a while, someone throws a new curve at you, like a new type of pipe or solar panels or something out of the ordinary.

              But in service, anything can happen. You're working with the public, which means that they are not professionals and can often have unreasonable expectations. They "know" that plumbers are too expensive and you will almost always have resistance to whatever you charge. I think if you charged ten bucks an hour and threw your material in for free, they'd still insist that plumbers are expensive and that they were ripped off.

              One day it's a plugged drain, the next day it's no water coming to a faucet. Then it's a tub valve and no, we can't mess with the tile or the bedroom wall on the other side. You mustn't track dirt on that white carpet. And can't you just . . . to hell with code or quality, we can't afford to have it done right. That has to be my least favorite phrase in the English language.

              Your truck always has to be running. If you aren't finished and the water isn't back on, you'll just have to work until it is - and, what? You want more money after five?

              What do you mean you've never seen one of those before? How long have you been plumbing? True Value's been selling them for years. Illegal? It can't be illegal. That other plumber did it and it's been working fine all these years.

              The vent's not plugged, the sewer runs fine, you've augered the the toilet and it will not flush. What are you, stupid? You've been working on that thing for two hours and it still isn't fixed!

              Why is my copper pipe leaking? And that faucet is only ten years old, what do you mean you can't find parts for it?

              And like Ellen Rohr says: "I've been pulling in thousands of dollars. Where did it go?"

              Sure, some of these problems can occasionally be found in commercial, but I still think service is the most difficult part of the trade. I think that to be good at it, you need a lot more experience and a good background in all the aspects of plumbing. I realize that there are a lot of fly-by-night companies putting "techs" out doing service work right off the street, but I am not able to pretend that they actually know what they're doing.

              You can hire on with a commercial firm and be plumbing right away. You might spend most of your first year cutting pipe for a plumber. You might start in housing and spend a lot of time digging and drilling holes before you get to assembling pipe. But in service, you don't have a crew or other guys to help you - and you never know what you'll be doing. You not only need to know how to assemble pipe, but how to do it in a small wall cavity with some of it immovable. You need to know how to find out where the leak actually is without demo-ing half the house. You have to know what to carry on the van. You have to be able to find new addresses several times a day. You have to be able to solder in tight spaces with kraft paper and other flammables lurking. You need a feel for that sewer cable - to know when you're in trouble, and how to get out of trouble.

              The good part about service is that it's not always as physically demanding as new construction. (Except for those hundred or so trips up and down a set of basement stairs for tools and parts.) Now that I'm getting up in years, I no longer have the energy to plumb houses for ~12 hours a day. I won't be installing factory fire sprinkler lines fifty feet in the air for 16 hours straight with temperatures over a hundred degrees.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                Well said Herk,
                My sentiments were just completely summed in your post.
                Digging around in the back of my truck at 9pm for the one thermocouple I'm certain I still have, in the dark with boatloads of of countless fittings parts & pipe to shuffle through, all the while the customer stands there tapping feet & arms crossed ...seeming angered by the fact that I didn't just walk right in and magically restart the cold boiler.

                In seeing they have small kids, I get it up and running..cut my price because I feel bad for the family/kids...to hear: "That seems kind of expensive.", because they're conditioned to automatically think our rates are high.

                VERY few customers are that way, but the ones that are really make a good day bad real quick.

                Then there are the ones who praise you, regardless the price...I happily reschedule other jobs when they call back...these are the customers I work hard to keep as regulars.

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                • #23
                  Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                  If there was a hall of fame for posts, I think Herk's post would certainly qualify.
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                    Sounds hard

                    4 guys carrying a 20' piece of sch.40 black.No wonder you like commercial.Two of those guys can go find work somewhere else away from me.

                    This is my sugarless truth.Me(alone),on the ground with a verical 18' foot stick of 4" black shoving it up into my helpers spinning guiding hands at the prealigned 90.Oh I had a cap on my end to keep from shreding my hands.
                    Still carry 6" cast solo.Got rid of a whinner as the last straw when he said it was too hard.

                    No,the architect does not help out any more than your tile or drywaller does when the pipe has to be accessed.

                    That was a very nice post Herk,I would like to be able to verbalize as well as so many here.That's another great skill of service plumbers.And another reason why I enjoy spending time with you all here.Plus I am learning years of experience in a matter of months.

                    I would love to tear into it and share my woes further.But in the interest of this current state of the forum....I'm tapping out.

                    Again,bottom line..Great post Herk
                    Last edited by drtyhands; 01-13-2008, 04:40 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                      Um...doesn't Black M. come in 21' lengths?

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                        Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                        Still carry 6" cast solo.Got rid of a whinner as the last straw when he said it was too hard.
                        Is this 5ft or 10 ft length?
                        Buy cheap, buy twice.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                          Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                          Is this 5ft or 10 ft length?
                          10' we might look small, but we work for a living.

                          i was telling adam, in my younger days, 15 years ago, i lifted and installed 20' lengths of 6'' type l copper. the hard part was putting it down and being careful not to over rotate in making a turn, as it would keep swinging around.

                          try carrying 40 gallon heaters on your back up 4 floors all day. or cast iron sinks up 4 floors and dropping them onto tile counters.
                          ah, the good old days

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                            Originally posted by Herk View Post
                            It's absolutely correct that none of it is easy. I did my apprenticeship in commercial, did some maintenance, did production, and got thrown into new house plumbing long before I was ready. In business for myself, I did a lot of houses and finally switched to nothing but service about ten years ago.

                            When you've got four guys on a piece of 4" steel pipe, moving it across the yard, it's hard work. When you've been working for about 12 hours straight plumbing a house, you're going to be beat the next day. When you're snaking a drain full of baseball-sized rocks with a 200-lb sewer machine, you are certainly earning your money. And when you're trying to install a new cast iron bathtub in a finished bath doing as little damage as possible, you're absolutely worth your hire.

                            As I see it, the differences for the working plumber are that you are good at solving problems. If you're doing service work and all alone, you are where the buck stops. If you're doing commercial and you run into a problem, your skill may be in getting the architect to make a change. You have other people who can help solve problems.

                            In house plumbing, you need a system. You know the code, and you do things the simplest, easiest, most professional way every time. It almost seems easy after a while because you've done it before. Once in a while, someone throws a new curve at you, like a new type of pipe or solar panels or something out of the ordinary.

                            But in service, anything can happen. You're working with the public, which means that they are not professionals and can often have unreasonable expectations. They "know" that plumbers are too expensive and you will almost always have resistance to whatever you charge. I think if you charged ten bucks an hour and threw your material in for free, they'd still insist that plumbers are expensive and that they were ripped off.

                            One day it's a plugged drain, the next day it's no water coming to a faucet. Then it's a tub valve and no, we can't mess with the tile or the bedroom wall on the other side. You mustn't track dirt on that white carpet. And can't you just . . . to hell with code or quality, we can't afford to have it done right. That has to be my least favorite phrase in the English language.

                            Your truck always has to be running. If you aren't finished and the water isn't back on, you'll just have to work until it is - and, what? You want more money after five?

                            What do you mean you've never seen one of those before? How long have you been plumbing? True Value's been selling them for years. Illegal? It can't be illegal. That other plumber did it and it's been working fine all these years.

                            The vent's not plugged, the sewer runs fine, you've augered the the toilet and it will not flush. What are you, stupid? You've been working on that thing for two hours and it still isn't fixed!

                            Why is my copper pipe leaking? And that faucet is only ten years old, what do you mean you can't find parts for it?

                            And like Ellen Rohr says: "I've been pulling in thousands of dollars. Where did it go?"

                            Sure, some of these problems can occasionally be found in commercial, but I still think service is the most difficult part of the trade. I think that to be good at it, you need a lot more experience and a good background in all the aspects of plumbing. I realize that there are a lot of fly-by-night companies putting "techs" out doing service work right off the street, but I am not able to pretend that they actually know what they're doing.

                            You can hire on with a commercial firm and be plumbing right away. You might spend most of your first year cutting pipe for a plumber. You might start in housing and spend a lot of time digging and drilling holes before you get to assembling pipe. But in service, you don't have a crew or other guys to help you - and you never know what you'll be doing. You not only need to know how to assemble pipe, but how to do it in a small wall cavity with some of it immovable. You need to know how to find out where the leak actually is without demo-ing half the house. You have to know what to carry on the van. You have to be able to find new addresses several times a day. You have to be able to solder in tight spaces with kraft paper and other flammables lurking. You need a feel for that sewer cable - to know when you're in trouble, and how to get out of trouble.

                            The good part about service is that it's not always as physically demanding as new construction. (Except for those hundred or so trips up and down a set of basement stairs for tools and parts.) Now that I'm getting up in years, I no longer have the energy to plumb houses for ~12 hours a day. I won't be installing factory fire sprinkler lines fifty feet in the air for 16 hours straight with temperatures over a hundred degrees.


                            Herk, that is truly an excellent post!!

                            I could not agree more!
                            sigpic

                            Robert

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                              Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                              Um...doesn't Black M. come in 21' lengths?
                              And next you'll be correcting my spelling
                              YEEAAAAAHHH....... 21' FOOT LENGHTS








                              YEEEEH-HE-HEEEE

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Types of plumers and status in the trade??

                                Yeah, that post was right on the mark. But people will go to a dentist and spend $500 no question asked to get a couple fillings or $140 for a set of dental X-Rays, or better yet, the $45 for a doctors office visit where you feel awful and he sees you for 5 minutes and tells you basically to go home and sleep it off.

                                Do you think anyone ever told their doctor: "don't worry about it, just fix me up as cheaply as you can Doc". Hell no they didn't, they expect just tje opposite don't they? Why do they treat the profession that does as much if not more than a Doctor does to protect their health and give them comfort every single day? If anyone is ripping off the general public it is the medical profession. Oh, wait, I forgot about the insurance companies. :-(

                                The big difference between these groups and plumbers is they never get the chance to rip into the other guys like doctors and dentists or their insurance agent as they can with someone who is stuck under their sink trying to clear a clog or install a new water heater. They've got a captive audience and they are gonna take their frustration out on you.

                                I don't do any service work. I did for about a year when I was an apprentice and did not like it, so I never did it again. Don't like dealing with the public one bit. Now after 30 years of fitting I am not so nimble. I wouldn't last long in the field, so I work the other side of the drawings. Yeah I can still do the work but at the end of a day I am beat, if it's a long day like during a shutdown and its 2 shifts of 7-12s for a month or so till the unit is back up well I can't handle that much longer than a week any more and drive 45 minutes each way to the job to boot. My record was 11-1/2 months of 7-13s with a 65 mile drive on each end of that and I didn't miss a single day but I was in my early thirties then and didn't need to sleep. :-)

                                So I found a position that lets me work more with my brain but stay working in construction and make about the same as I did with the tools. My right knee does not swell up by the third day of the week, my shoulders are not aching all the time, and my back does not hurt from humping lengths of pipe or working off a ladder all day but the job has its own set of pains and headaches. But it's easier than being a service plumber and that doesn't bother me in the least. You guys are welcome to all the glory (and money) you can muster, I've did enough jobbing to know that's true.
                                "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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