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  • #46
    Re: So where do we draw the line

    I am more afraid of giving advice, and having it come back to haunt me. I am not there, cannot see whats going on etc. If you give advice and it causes damage, be prepared for litigation.

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    • #47
      Re: So where do we draw the line

      Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
      yes i do. the "complete strangers'' are not complete strangers as someone has recommended them to me. the first question i ask is where they found me from.

      it's acceptable because we come here on our own accord. we don't get paid and we are welcome to check out anytime. i honestly believe that more has been learned by other plumbers by sharing info/ help with both each other and with homeowners. part of the learning process is being presented with limited info and then asking the proper questions. the majority of the people looking for help are not looking for anything more than something basic.

      rick.
      In BOLD, I do the exact same thing, you pretty much made my point...it appears you don't just offer DIY info to total strangers.

      As for the plumbers learning from eachother, correct, there's no denying the fact that many details not usually mentioned between plumbers does come out.

      Comment


      • #48
        Re: So where do we draw the line

        Originally posted by Ruudacguy View Post
        I do. 100% of the time. And I have had the same results as the other Mark. I have been paid back what seems like ten fold with kind words and most importantly referrals. In fact, more often than not, a thorough explaination to the customer of what they are really getting into results in them having me come out anyway.

        I've been around guys at the supply house and other places who are stand-off'ish when a customer calls on their cell phone. I am floored that these guys can run their business that way. I really think they get to a point to where they start to answer every call like its a nuisance. Its like the customer has to know exactly how to phrase their question, so as not to piss him off.

        JMO

        Andy
        I DO see your point, there are extremes to any topic.

        I have caught myself prejudging and then having a customer call me back to do the work.

        However, I wouldn't go to the opposite extreme either.

        I am still alive for the reason that my regulars like my personable, down to earth & honest approach.
        (believe it or not)

        I will admit to having an adverse attitude in the past, and realizing you cannot assume negative things on every call.
        Benefit of doubt is a MUST, but I still won't walk someone through a full bath remodel, boiler, or even a faucet install.

        In the same respect, I have been burnt repeatedly with new customers grilling me on what stock & technique I use and never hearing back from them.

        Comment


        • #49
          Re: So where do we draw the line

          Personally I think if you guys want to have "rules" on the forum, dealing with DIY, have a sticky at the top with the rules posted,

          some thing along this theme,
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          do to the fact that most governmental regions have required licencing as a requirement for plumbing, do to the possible health hazards and danger that can be incurred with dealing with water and wast water distribution systems, out help will be limited to...

          simple repairs,

          basic advice,

          and some trouble shooting needs,

          we will not discuss pricing issues, (if you think it is to high then get some more bids),

          If your asking about Gas lines. You need a on site professional

          How water heaters, can be very dangerous if improperly installed, help on this subject will be very limited, a on site professional is recommended, to the potential dangers of explosion, electrical shock, and or gas explosion, and CO poisoning. If Improperly installed.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmJoyuUJj2Q

          we are not here to plumb your house via the internet,
          nor are we here to plan your new addition,

          another recommendation,
          talk to your neighbors and find a competent professional in your area, before you need them, when a emergency arises, you will know some one to call that you can trust.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~

          also unless you want the ridgid forum to look like a horses a$$,
          keep your feelings towards a poster to the pro side of the discussion not in the same post as the DIY post, if some one asks a question about pipe dope, there is no reason to bad mouth or make fun of some one who does not know what dopes are rated for, similar to I doubt if you know what the different insulation letters on electrical insulation mean, does that mean you are stupid NO it means you do not know, and asking some one who may know what type to use, shows Intelligence not stupidity,
          to ridicule or bad mouth or discuss if some one can afford a pro is not what the ask a pro is about, simply If one does not have some thing constructive to say then do not say any thing.

          yes there are lazy people who will not use a search engine to look up any thing, and there are leaches that want to suck you dry, but that is not IMO for comment or discussion on the DIY thread by the "PROS"

          I personally think many of you are giving your profession a black eye and the forum a black eye, the way the discussions have been going, and bashing or bad mouthing the poster,

          step up and act like professionals, not children who have to share there toys, if you feel like your betraying your trade by helping some one other than a pro, then fine, do not post on the "ask a pro" forum.

          (on one electrical forum, if it is a question that is beyond the scope of normal DIY skills and knowledge, the moderator will state "this question is beyond the scope of discussion via the rules of this board", and lock the thread).
          Last edited by BHD; 09-03-2008, 09:57 AM.
          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


          • #50
            Re: So where do we draw the line

            Originally posted by BHD View Post
            (on one electrical forum, if it is a question that is beyond the scope of normal DIY skills and knowledge, the moderator will state "this question is beyond the scope of discussion via the rules of this board", and lock the thread).
            Good idea.
            Buy cheap, buy twice.

            Comment


            • #51
              Re: So where do we draw the line

              BHD, I'll agree.
              I tend to go to the extreme because it seems like it offsets some of the rediculous extents to which advice is given.

              Having watched whole additions be advised, even a CO vent installation being encouraged to an individual in my state where it's absolutely illegal AND dangerous, I finally realised a simple warning wasn't doing anything.

              There was a thread earlier this year where a fella was being coached through working on his boiler, he finally took it upon himself to modify the gas valve without a combustion analyzer... that could be suicide.

              Simple warnings have yielded little result, seems like tenacity and a willingness to look like the bad guy are the only way to arouse awareness.
              Last edited by DuckButter; 09-03-2008, 10:04 AM.

              Comment


              • #52
                Re: So where do we draw the line

                I have mixed feelings about this. In my years in business, too many have been in near-poverty. I've gone long periods with no power, owed money that I couldn't pay, and yet I hung onto the plumbing business because it was really all I had.

                I bought a house for $ 9,000. That was the same year that I started on my own. I had a new baby with severe medical problems and a wife who was recovering from the surgery.

                I started the business with $3,000. The first $1,500 went to a service body pickup. That first year, I went in the hole $14,000 to supply houses. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I learned.

                In my second year, I did really well, paid back everyone I owed money to. Then the housing market took a dive and I was back to very little income.

                Through all this, I wound up repairing the engine in the truck and even replacing it a number of times. Before that, my experience with automotive work had been confined to replacing starters, brake jobs, rebuilding carburetors, and an occasional replacement of some other part.

                When I first started having problems with the truck, I couldn't afford a mechanic. But with the help of others, and some manuals, I was able to pick up enough knowledge to replace cams and timing chains and lifters, and finally to rebuild engines and occasionally an automatic transmission.

                During my 32 years of business in this little one-horse town, I've had to do those sorts of things quite a number of times, and it was only through the kindness and concern of others that I was able to figure out what to do. And there were times when someone would offer free machine work and so on.

                Before I started in business, I worked in the same houses with perhaps 7 electricians. I was able to get a deal on an electrical service panel from the company I worked for - all assembled and ready to use - and the questions I asked along with the books I read allowed me to wire my house from scratch. Of course, being a plumber and curious, I already knew quite a bit about wiring. The inspector thought my work was just fine. That was 32 years ago and I've never had any problem with any of it.

                Framing and so on? Simply watch and learn. Keep things like Code Check around to see what framing lengths and sizes are. Even the Readers Digest book helped.

                I've built my own cabinets, poured my own concrete. When I was a kid at home, my dad, also a plumber, was always doing things like that.

                My perhaps 130-year-old house now appraises at somewhere around $140,000 + or more for the structure, since it's been a long time ago that it was appraised by an insurer.

                I owe my ability to survive to others.

                Years ago, a local supply house put a sign on their counters that they could not offer advice because of liability. If they gave advice and someone used it, they could be sued when things went awry. But I saw that they eventually scrapped the signs and were giving advice as if they were plumbing professionals.

                Like I said, mixed feelings.

                Some people will do things themselves. My advice these days tends to be something like: no, that's incorrect. I don't feel right about giving advice to someone who really has no clue what they're getting into. About a month ago, one of my good service contract customers came driving into my yard and asked me a number of questions about repairing plumbing. He's about 75 years old and lives in a nice house, drives a nice car. Something about his daughter not having any money, etc. I gave him limited advice. I know he's not rich, but not doing badly, either. Although it hasn't yet, I do agree that it might lead to good feelings down the line and more work. When they mess it up and can't figure out why, it becomes a job.

                So I do hang out at places like Terry's, and sometimes offer some advice, often trying to judge whether this person just has an attitude problem or really has financial difficulties. Even people with fancy cars and nice houses can overextend themselves. They don't always have the option to sell and live in something less magnificent.

                The ones who have lots of money but think people should all work cheap have no sympathy from me.

                But what goes around comes around and although things are going well for me at the moment (Thank you, flat rate. Thank you, marketing advice.), I can't help but recall the good help I got from others.

                As has been pointed out, the few jobs we lose to the people in the DIY forums aren't really going to impact the DIY market or our own bottom line. There will always be DIYers, and we only offer our advice if we want to - there's no requirement to do so.

                And much of my own problem was because of my ignorance. If I'd known more from the beginning about how to price and market my services, I would never have been in a bad mess. Some things that happen are beyond our control, and we have to be able to recognize what are and what aren't. Sometimes we need help, too.

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                • #53
                  Re: So where do we draw the line

                  that was worth the read Herk!

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Re: So where do we draw the line

                    Well, I guess I am too blunt with people according to you guys and I should just shut up. I still stand by what I said...If you can't afford the maintenance and repairs for a house, then you should sell it. Houses are expensive and it is a privilege to own one. I was nearly homeless once and struggled for many years to get on my feet after leaving 'the nest' of my poor parents. I now choose to own my own house via the bank, and I work my butt off to pay my mortgage and maintain the place. I know if I get behind, I may be forced to sell it. Anyone who owns a big house and whines about repairs gets absolutely no sympathy from me.
                    But I get it. You guys think I am rude and condescending and giving Ridgid a bad name. What about fixitmom5x? She befriended me, even apologized to me after I explained her my perspective of plumbers and how to deal with them as an asset, instead of a liability. She 'came around' even after my so-called rude posts. If this is unacceptable, then I'm out of here. Free speech means to much too me. Bye-bye.
                    Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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                    • #55
                      Re: So where do we draw the line

                      I for one Carl have no problem with you. I think that you are a postive contributer and an asset to the forum. I used you as an example and hope that you dont think I was singleing you out. I was commenting as an overall attitude a number of our friends have been portraying. I was also trying to warn you and others about the anonmyninty of the internet, look up JC's Plumbing on Google and tell me where you get directed. Now I just got refered to JC by a neighbor so i do a little homework.....

                      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...north+carolina

                      do you catch my drift?

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Re: So where do we draw the line

                        Herk - I have to disagree about your DIY'ers comment. They are taking tremendous business away from the service plumbers. All three of our supply houses are hurting, but anyday day of the week you see water heaters, toilets, faucets etc. going right out the door of the big box stores. Consumers buy name brand 'junk.' The Delta at Lowes is nothing like the Delta you buy from a supply house. The consumer loses in the long run. Try to find parts for a Pegasus or Glacier Bay faucet.

                        No one here appears to be stingy. We all feel for the less fortunate. Our company gives back a lot to those in need in our own community.

                        With the internet, it's a little different. You have no idea who you are giving info. to. Perhaps the 'hack' contractor or the maintenance man down the street from your shop? So maybe the advice you are giving doesn't hurt your business, BUT, just maybe it is hurting the struggling honest plumber down the street. Where is our loyalty and charity to them?

                        When we get a service call, we give information based on the tone of the caller. In person, by the attitude of the recipient. You have a lot more facts before doling "free" advice.

                        The less fortunate arguement - do they live in a vacuum? There are churches, family, neighbors, work associates, community organizations etc. IMO - most are just cheap and don't want to pay a professional.

                        When wanting to share plumbing information / knowledge / charity - why not help a local apprentice? Why not help someone in your own community that you can see?

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Re: So where do we draw the line

                          I`m new to this forum but am a senior member on another plumbing forum,
                          so I usually pick and choose who I give advice to.I do not try to take
                          on any questions that refer to rough ins as in MHO that should be left to the
                          pros.Licences & permits help protect the home owner.I do give advice
                          installing faucets,toilets & other miner repairs.Also I like the chit chat
                          between all the other pros, and hope to get the same from this forum.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Re: So where do we draw the line

                            Welcome Cincy plumber!

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Re: So where do we draw the line

                              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                              Well, I guess I am too blunt with people according to you guys and I should just shut up. I still stand by what I said...If you can't afford the maintenance and repairs for a house, then you should sell it. Houses are expensive and it is a privilege to own one. I was nearly homeless once and struggled for many years to get on my feet after leaving 'the nest' of my poor parents. I now choose to own my own house via the bank, and I work my butt off to pay my mortgage and maintain the place. I know if I get behind, I may be forced to sell it. Anyone who owns a big house and whines about repairs gets absolutely no sympathy from me.
                              But I get it. You guys think I am rude and condescending and giving Ridgid a bad name. What about fixitmom5x? She befriended me, even apologized to me after I explained her my perspective of plumbers and how to deal with them as an asset, instead of a liability. She 'came around' even after my so-called rude posts. If this is unacceptable, then I'm out of here. Free speech means to much too me. Bye-bye.
                              I would'nt sweat it...everybody wants something for nothing. There are always people who think every trade or career is a sham, besides theirs. For every three DIY'ers, there is one who will mess things up beyond all belief, then have to pay twice as much.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Re: So where do we draw the line

                                Originally posted by wrench spinner View Post
                                I for one Carl have no problem with you. I think that you are a postive contributer and an asset to the forum. I used you as an example and hope that you dont think I was singleing you out. I was commenting as an overall attitude a number of our friends have been portraying. I was also trying to warn you and others about the anonmyninty of the internet, look up JC's Plumbing on Google and tell me where you get directed. Now I just got refered to JC by a neighbor so i do a little homework.....

                                http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...north+carolina

                                do you catch my drift?
                                That's an excellent point I haven't thought of either. I have never Googled myself (no jokes please ) so it never occurred to me about my thoughts & opinions being available to the WORLD. Hope I don't embarrass myself.

                                J.C.

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