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DIY'er - To give or not to give?

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  • DIY'er - To give or not to give?

    Justification for helping HO seeking Professional advice:
    1. Plumbing companies (Flat rate & rip-offs) gouging homeowners. Seems to be a lot of that in CA. Here on the east coast that is just not the case. We have approximately 20 'real' plumbing companies. Three gouge consumers (2 are national franchises & 1 is an independent). Giving advice hurts the smaller honest company more than the gougers.

    Small honest company - $100,000.00 in sales = $7,000.00 in profit (if you are lucky).

    Gouging company - $100,000.00 in sales = $30,000.00 in profit (standard)

    For those not in the residential service business - reality is 75% of what we do is what you refer to as easy (installing faucet, pulling/resetting toilet, unclogging toilet, rebuilding toilets, unjamming g. disposals).

    For arguments sake, lets just say small honest companies lose 20% a year due to DIY'ers doing it themselves.

    Small company - $100,000.00 in sales - 20% loss to DIY'ers = $80,000.00 in sales = $5,600.00 in profit.

    Gouging company - $100,000.00 in sales - 20% loss to DIY'ers = $80,000.00 in sales = $24,000.00 in profit.

    At this rate, the gouging company still has plenty of money for advertising to look for the next sucker out there.

    The honest company has even less money to advertise his business. Less money to advertise = less sales = less profit = bankruptcy.

    Helping DIY'ers to get back at the gougers is only hurting the honest plumbing company.

    2. We only give away easy, general knowledge where the HO doesn't have a chance of getting hurt.

    What everyone is referring to as easy jobs is where most of the work is for small service companies. So you are hurting us.

    Easy in my opinion - 1. Hit the reset on the G.Disp, 2. Check the breaker before calling plumber to see why you have no hot water 3. Faucet dripping, check the aerator etc.

    What you are calling easy -- A. installing a faucet - tell that to our customer who installed his faucet and had the supply give way while he was at work - flooded his first floor. B. pulling & resetting a toilet - tell that to our customer who reset their toilet, overtightened bolts & cracked the bowl or tell that to our customer who reset their toilet after tiling a floor and broke the flange - tell that to the HO who reset the toilet, caulked the base and had their floor rot out from underneath, C. Rebuilding a toilet - Tell that to the homeowner that did a poor job rebuilding and ended up with a $700.00 water bill.

    3. It makes me feel good to give back. - You have no idea of who you are giving back to. It could be the hack down the road from a legit. plumbing company. Giving back is great - give back in your own backyard!

    Observation of those who give advice
    !. Union contract plumbers where wages and benefits are much better.
    2. Commercial plumbers
    3. Those who are older and getting close to retiring. (most of you don't realize what us small companies compete with on a daily basis).
    4. Employees - who have no idea what it cost a business to operate

    Dangers of giving advice via internet
    1. Homeowner can get hurt physically as well as financially.
    2. You may be educating the hack who plans to compete with his local plumber.
    3. You are taking business away from small companies
    4. You devalue the profession by insinuating an average Joe can do plumbing. If the average Joe can do most of it, than all of you plumbers are way overpaid! Plumbing wages in the contracting sector were going up until the influx of illegal labor.
    5. The DIY'er who learns to do some plumbing with inside do's/don'ts starts to think - Hey, I can do this for a living. The local plumber charges $105.00 to install a faucet. I'll do it for $50.00, make a bundle, and will have all the business I want. At that price, people will be referring me to everyone.

    Honest plumbing companies do not make a lot of money relative to what they are risking. We offer 24/7 emergency service - that has to be worth more than the average $40,000.00 / year that a plumber earns.

    All we are asking is that you consider your actions in giving step by step instruction is HURTING US. We live it, so don't belittle us by saying you are doing no harm. What harm would come to you if you stopped doling out free advice?

    I know, no sweat off your back. Doesn't effect me, I don't care!

    BUT YOU SEEM TO REALLY CARE ABOUT THE DIY'ER - why not others in your own profession????

    Caryn - Being a good person, if you had a friend or family member needing plumbing services, the best thing to do is to refer them here for free advice so that they too can avoid paying a plumber for the easy work. Referring any of our businesses to them if the job is easy would be a disservice to them. They deserve to save money just as you did.

  • #2
    Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

    I'm a broken record, said all of the above repeatedly over and over.

    It's one thing if I give out DIY advice in person when I deem it prudent because a customer is either broke, or the job is harmless enough to where I feel the customer has given me enough business to warrant a return of the favor.

    To make a judgement on someones abilities over the complete anonymity of the interent can be insane.

    Add to that, the fact that you don't know who you are talking to, it could be a hack looking for priviledged information after winning a job from a licensed plumber.

    The fact that most jurisdictions require licensing to do plumbing technically makes it illegal.

    "Fixitmom" was a legitimate reason to say that online DIY info can be a good thing, the problem was a blocked drain, which is relatively mundane.

    However, to simply decide across the board that all requests are legitimate & good karma is career suicide in the longterm.

    I have seen it repeatedly here and on other forums, once a plumber or two decide it's a good thing...then others start joining in a competitive ego oriented "I'm the best plumber" contest.

    The forum reaps the benefits of increased web traffic, and our trade is sold out as a whole.

    Even at the pro's only forum with the warning in bold print that states it's for pro's only, we still get the occasional visitor who seems appauled that an online plumbing forum isn't dedicated to free information.
    It's slowly becoming the norm for any forum with the word "plumbing" in it, is there for free information to avoid hiring a plumber or to attain information for illegal work at a profit.

    I have seen a few justify this as an "evolution" for our trade.

    We're "evolving" ourselves out of work & into lower pay standards.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

      Plumbcrazy that is not true. Not everyone wants nor has the time to do their job themselves.

      I would not attempt to do a job beyond unclogging my toilet or replacing the toilet itself.

      I would contact one of the plumbers that told me to call the city, or there is a plumber that is not too far from me on here who said he knows a good plumber in my area, so I might use his referral.

      And, lets say my 60 year old widowed aunt needed a good plumber, I would ask here if anyone was from her area, and could go diagnose and fix her problem as she certainly would not do it herself. (and not for free)

      What comes around goes around.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

        Originally posted by fixitmom5x View Post
        Plumbcrazy that is not true. Not everyone wants nor has the time to do their job themselves.

        I would not attempt to do a job beyond unclogging my toilet or replacing the toilet itself.

        I would contact one of the plumbers that told me to call the city, or there is a plumber that is not too far from me on here who said he knows a good plumber in my area, so I might use his referral.

        And, lets say my 60 year old widowed aunt needed a good plumber, I would ask here if anyone was from her area, and could go diagnose and fix her problem as she certainly would not do it herself. (and not for free)

        What comes around goes around.
        You could pick at every word of the opening post, not everything is black and white.

        As a one man shop/business owner I fully relate to this thread.

        Right now, almost my entire profits are attributed to old business and referrals.

        Most new calls are nothing more than bargain shoppers or people looking for free info...all of which are paid for with advertizing.

        When you dole out a thousabnd dollars to advertize, then see you only made $800 off the thousand, it gets scary.

        I know you can relate.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

          I do not dispute the validity of if someone did not know how to do something they would call someone who did to come do it, thus paying them to do so.

          I only think that for however long there is a section that reads Ask The Experts, need advice? ask a professional, people are going to go there and ask, and not be wrong for doing so.

          That's all.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

            Originally posted by fixitmom5x View Post
            Plumbcrazy that is not true. Not everyone wants nor has the time to do their job themselves.

            I would not attempt to do a job beyond unclogging my toilet or replacing the toilet itself.

            I would contact one of the plumbers that told me to call the city, or there is a plumber that is not too far from me on here who said he knows a good plumber in my area, so I might use his referral.

            And, lets say my 60 year old widowed aunt needed a good plumber, I would ask here if anyone was from her area, and could go diagnose and fix her problem as she certainly would not do it herself. (and not for free)

            What comes around goes around.
            Fixitmom, you're right and wrong at the same time. As plumbers we have to use our experience to anticipate what might happen. You feel comfortable replacing your toilet.

            What course of action do you take when the angle stop breaks in your hand when you begin to turn it?
            Shut the water off to the whole structure? Then the main shutoff won't work or is broken, now what?
            Go to the street to shutoff the meter? No meter key, it won't shutoff, it breaks, or their is a fine.
            What if you run into all of this and it is on a well with a jet pump? You shut the pump off? The footvalve has a tiny leak and the jet pump loses prime? On and on and on at the things that might happen. We've all seen it more than once.

            So it isn't arrogance, mean spirit, or anything of the sort alot of times when something that a homeowner feels is ok to do doesn't feel right to a professional. And therefore many professionals will tell you to "call a local, recommended, licensed company" when you feel that you shouldn't have too.

            J.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

              I have noted that forum wide over this and the other top forums out there, since a few of us have been much more vocal about the reasons for not giving specific advice, there seems to be quite a lot less advice being given. for those of you that understand the impliations and complications of de-valuing our profession, I thank you. For those that do not, I hopeto a good you will re-think your decisions. You can still help the diy'er without having to give step by step instructions in detail. Steer them to a reputable, licensed plumbing contractor and do everyone a favor.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                Plumbcrazy,
                I appreciate your participation here the different points of view like yours and the Duckman's help us/me to get everything out in the open and help this forum grow.The two of you have stuck with this instead of just staying over at the other forum.This also shows me how important this is to you.I hope this gets worked out to where no one gets their feelings hurt.

                You may be correct about more ripoffs being more predominant in our area.

                For the record I do give back in my Backyard!


                A friend calls up on the and wants to know how to do something I'll tell him straight up..DONE...NEXT
                Just like a employer tells his Unlicensed employee how to rebuild a toilet.

                I haven't even pushed to my full company potential and I know it.There is plenty of work if you slam hard enough.

                For some reason ole Clint comes to mind today.."A mans got to know his limitations" sure rings in my head.
                Last edited by drtyhands; 09-07-2008, 04:25 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                  JC, I see. I did not realize that all of these problems could happen just from raplacing a toilet. I have replaced toilets three times now, and have not had any problem, I actually found replacing a toilet to be fairly simple, but if I had known there could be so many problems doing it myself I would have called a plumber for sure.

                  No one here told me how to replace a toilet. I learned on my own by reading actual instructions.

                  Oh yeah, and if I even said in my initial post, anyone who told me I needed to call a professional. I appreciated that. Someone telling me, this is something you can do yourself, or this is not something you can do yourself coming from an expert can help me determine what I need to do.
                  Last edited by fixitmom5x; 09-07-2008, 04:37 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                    Originally posted by fixitmom5x View Post
                    Plumbcrazy that is not true. Not everyone wants nor has the time to do their job themselves.

                    I would not attempt to do a job beyond unclogging my toilet or replacing the toilet itself.

                    I would contact one of the plumbers that told me to call the city, or there is a plumber that is not too far from me on here who said he knows a good plumber in my area, so I might use his referral.

                    And, lets say my 60 year old widowed aunt needed a good plumber, I would ask here if anyone was from her area, and could go diagnose and fix her problem as she certainly would not do it herself. (and not for free)

                    What comes around goes around.
                    Caryn - With all due respect, this post was created to give the plumbers doling out free advice something to think about.

                    DIY'er Ask the Expert - It is well within your right to ask. Our hope is that other plumbing professionals will understand how this ultimately hurts our profession and not participate.

                    And Caryn - you are wrong? How many plumbers doling out advice here have EVER received a real call that led to money by participating in this forum?

                    How many feel they have been directly or indirectly hurt?

                    What comes around goes around - YES! That is why we help our longtime loyal customers and give them free advice and help. We just don't give it to an annonymous person over the internet.

                    Check mate!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                      Fair enough fixit. I think we've all learned something and it's just been beat to death now. When I first joined this forum I was learning about jetters, drain machines, jobsite pics, code interpretations etc.

                      For awhile now it's been DIY discussion hell.

                      No fun.

                      J.C.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                        Caryn - you neglected to answer my question about your supplier of furs due to it was off topic in your suggestion thread.

                        I will post it in your offer to help thread. I look forward to your help that you generously offered in your field of expertise & seeing who your supplier is so I can get a fur at your cost and save myself some money.

                        To you, this may be a cute debate. But to us, it's our livelihood at stake.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                          PlumbCrazy, Well then I must be some weirdo because next time anyone I know has a plumbing problem, I am going to refer the the job to someone from here who was helpful to me especially if their advice was to call a professional because I really needed one, and I did not know it.
                          Last edited by fixitmom5x; 09-07-2008, 05:21 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                            Don't refer them here like you are doing us a favor. Refer them to their local plumber. Check the plumbing companies BBB rating, ask friends/neighbors for an honest plumber.

                            This proves my point - answer one DIY'er and it attracts 5 more.

                            Again plumbers - all your good will and advice here - How many have actually received a job as a direct result of you participating in this forum?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: DIY'er - To give or not to give?

                              Plumbcrazy, Actually I did answer that question to Duckbutter in my suggestion thread. If you choose to; go back and take a look.

                              Just for the record I don't think the debate is cute. I'm not sure whaqt you meant by that.

                              Comment

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