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  • Repair or replace? That is the question

    When it comes to fixtures (or even piping), when do you say, "Hey, this needs to be replaced?" Do any of you even mess with older fixtures? Or do you try to sell new fixtures?
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  • #2
    Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

    i always repair when the fixture appearance is still presentable. especially when the entire bathroom is the same trim.

    there's a reason why i have hundreds of stems, seats, o-rings, aerators.

    i only sell a handful of faucets a year.

    on toilets, that depends on the situation. all home sales in los angeles require low flow toilets. if the toilets are real old and parts are very expensive, i typically will suggest a good low flow. really depends on what is wrong and the cost of repair parts. also if they are planning to sell. how well their old toilets actually flush too.

    repairs is why it's called "service and repair"

    otherwise it would be called "service and replacement"

    unfortunately it's getting the reputation of "service and sales"

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

      OK,so here lies the issue.
      A few months ago I replaced 1 stem.The thing was $75.00.I want to be efficiently stocked.
      Does this mean a qualified individual needs $4,000 in faucet replacement parts?
      Or can I feel comfortable going to the supply house for them?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

        It depends on the brand and the condition of the fixture on how hard I will push for replacement over repair.

        If the faucet is a quality brand and can be repaired and continue to have a long life, I will tell the customer that unless they are sick of looking at the faucet, let me repair it. Some people will say fix it, others will start talking about upgrading to the newest style or color faucet. Make sure you have color faucet catalogs with you to show people.

        If I feel that the customer would be better served replacing the fixture, then I push a bit harder for replacement. Examples would be elderly people that have problems turning on and off their Mixit brand shower valves, or anyone that still has a Valley brand faucet. Yes, I do stock the parts on the truck to fix both of those brands, but those are both bottom end brands, and a lot of people will replace them.

        As for toilets, I repair many more toilets then I do replacements. I will always ask before I start the repair if the toilet flushes well for them and if they are happy with the style. If they show interest, I try to sell them a modern, reliable flushing toilet. If not, I repair the toilet.

        With the way the economy is going, I get a lot more people who would rather repair the faucets then replace.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

          Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
          OK,so here lies the issue.
          A few months ago I replaced 1 stem.The thing was $75.00.I want to be efficiently stocked.
          Does this mean a qualified individual needs $4,000 in faucet replacement parts?
          Or can I feel comfortable going to the supply house for them?
          You need to figure out what is popular in the areas that you are going to service. Keep the parts that are going to get used often on the truck. The oddball parts you can run to the supply house for. It takes time to figure out what you use and what just sits.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

            I look at the whole picture and base my decision on that. Sometimes it is cheaper in the long run for the customer to just have a new faucet installed.

            I've seen guys tear a faucet apart, run to hardware that didn't have the part, go back to the customers house reassemble the faucet, order the parts from supplier, return and install the part. Jeez, just put in a new faucet.

            Some plumbers have more pride than sense.
            Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

              I take pride in repairing/rebuilding things. There is a time to replace, of course. I really like running into Chicago faucets, at schools, power plants or restaurants. I throw in ceramic 1/4 turn cartridges and it's like a new faucet.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                Here's another honest question.If I decide to do an hourly gig and the customer agrees.So I have them pay me to go and get their parts that I don't have on the truck?
                This is another plus to me having a set price for something like this.If I flip over to do service full time.I'm going to feel responsible for lacking knowledge on how to take care of the homeowner.Why should he pay for me not knowing my profession.

                Sorry,just thinking out loud.This new territory is unsettling.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                  Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                  Here's another honest question.If I decide to do an hourly gig and the customer agrees.So I have them pay me to go and get their parts that I don't have on the truck?
                  This is another plus to me having a set price for something like this.If I flip over to do service full time.I'm going to feel responsible for lacking knowledge on how to take care of the homeowner.Why should he pay for me not knowing my profession.

                  Sorry,just thinking out loud.This new territory is unsettling.
                  I usually won't run to the supply house immediately to pick up a part I don't have. I'll reschedule for another day. The customer doesn't expect you to carry every eclectic part in existence (man, how many words started with e in that sentence). Unless of course the supply house is a block away and it suits my schedule. And since I only charge for time on the job anyway (I've already figured average downtime into my hourly rate), the customer comes out ahead.
                  No one has ever complained and it has never been an issue. It has nothing to do with you not knowing your profession. It has to do with being cost-effective.
                  "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                    Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                    OK,so here lies the issue.
                    A few months ago I replaced 1 stem.The thing was $75.00.I want to be efficiently stocked.
                    Does this mean a qualified individual needs $4,000 in faucet replacement parts?
                    Or can I feel comfortable going to the supply house for them?
                    You know, frequently a stem has to be identified and ordered online. Most customers are grateful and relieved that you know how and where to search.

                    And there's a lot to be said about how you present it to the customer.
                    "I FINALLY located that stem at a supply house on the other side of town. I have asked them to hold it for me until I am in the area on other business so I won't have to charge you for travel and pickup. Will that be OK?"
                    In the meantime, the supply house will ship it to you for $5. And seeing that your hourly rate is probably about $2.50 a minute, that's a hell of a deal.
                    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                      We carried a couple thousand worth of repair parts in each truck. However, if you had a 4" PP center set which looked to be on it's last leg a replacement faucet is in order. Then again if you had a Kohler faucet which matched the other trim on the rest of the bathroom you need to repair the faucet.

                      For repair parts I would suggest you start with repair kits for all of the major brands of builder quality stuff. For the more expensive stuff I would recommend every time you need one for a customer order two so you add one to stock. It won't take too long to build a decent stock.

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

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                        Bigger items like stoves and HWS repairs with labour and materials can easily get within new replacement cost and would recommend replacement due to age/condition as other parts may start to fail and need replacing costing more than in the first place and with a new item they can have min 12months guarantee. Not always but really depends on age/condition.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                          As I set up my fleet, I put together an inventory list that included repair parts for almost every faucet and toilet that we could think of. (probably close to two thousand items) Sometimes some of these parts would sit on our trucks for a long time so it was important that we packaged them in a way that they would still look good when they were unwrapped, this included a lot of new faucets and garbage disposals. You can either ask someone in your area to share their inventory list with you or you can start to compile one as you go. Setting up the interior of your truck is very important as well or you will soon discover how quickly a toilet seat cover can get scratched. Any way you look at it, a complete inventory ( less the exotic stems) will always make you more efficient in the customers eye and allow you to acomplish more every day.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                            I carry only a limited amount of faucet repair parts. If it looks bad, or over 10 years, or the customer insists, then it gets replaced. In our area, we have very hard water. You can spend an hour rebuilding a faucet, then it may leak, not work or who knows.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Repair or replace? That is the question

                              I'm guessing , a certain amount of repairs will have a call back , at Your loss!

                              New fixture change out ,Your reputation isn't in question . If You come back ,It's to sell

                              another product or service.
                              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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