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  • My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

    Sure enough...Rodded a kitchen sink, turns out completely blocked with grease, grime and a bunch of hard junk! The pipe needs to be cut out, and replaced. Homeowner says since I did not fix the problem, I was only giving him an estimate! Here is the 411...first he wanted a "deal" for cutting out the 2" Drain pipe. When I would not budge on my hourly rate, he wanted me to apply the initial call price to the repair. When I applied $50, he then wanted the whole amount applied to the repair. At this point, I told him if he was not going to pay for my service I was leaving...he held out the money, I took it. Anyone ever call the police for "theft of service?" Live and learn...

  • #2
    Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

    Some people are just plain evil. That is the conclusion I have come to after dealing with the general public long enough. I do my best to be selective and weed out the ultra cheapskate jerks on the phone, but sometimes one slips through.
    See my thread, "Firing a customer."
    Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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    • #3
      Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

      I`m getting ready to. If I get another bad check or another "NO PAY" I`m gonna
      http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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      • #4
        Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

        After a while I came to realize that there are people out there who have literally been raised from birth to cheat and defraud any way they can. Most have no idea how wrong they are. He gave you several signals that trouble was coming, all you can do is learn to recognize those signals in the future and get out of dodge when you see them!
        spodelee

        Until lions have their own storytellers, stories of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter

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        • #5
          Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

          I did see the warning signs right after the diagnosis. However, it was a losing battle. You should have heard the message he left on the machine. He even stated I used profanity, man now I REALLY know how this guy works!

          We do have a new policy though: We do not rod, just cut out the pipe.

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          • #6
            Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

            I'd re visit a dark rainy night , NO BODY STIFFS ME!!
            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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            • #7
              Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

              Originally posted by Big Jim
              Went on a stoppage call the other day. When I pulled into the drive there was another plumber's van there and he and the H.O. were standing around the clean-out. I approached and told the H.O. in no uncertain terms, that while he was free to call any plumber he chose, it was not not fair to me or the other guy to call both of us and that I was not leaving without collecting payment for my time, whether I do the job or not. To my surprise, the other plumber said, "Hey, you can do the job. I've got other work to do." And with that, he walked away. After taking care of the stoppage (about 15 min. w/ K-60), I pulled both toilets, replaced wax, repaired a broken flange. H.O. was pleased and said, "I guess I'll be calling only you from now on." Turns out that the H.O. was a prior customer of the other plumber. Go figure!
              i had pretty much the same thing happen a few months ago.

              the hoa president called me to snake a main that was blocking 1 units townhouse. problem was the homeowner also called their plumber.

              i got there just minutes prior and was walking around with the pres. i had no track record at the building since it was a referral from my buddy steve's shop.

              funny part was the i knew the other shops owner and the guy that came out was really good about it. he actually stayed around first to bail me out if my k-60 didn't get it

              problem was he had never seen a k-60

              needless to say, he went back to his shop, without billing and asked his boss to get him a k-60

              funny part was joey just had a morning networking meeting the other day with his boss. he still remembers her from a couple years back baiting his hook at a supply house fishing trip

              rick.
              phoebe it is

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              • #8
                Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                Will someone please enlighten me here because I must be missing something? The homeowner hired you to unclog a blocked pipe. The equipment that you brought to the job was not up to the task you were hired to do. You didn't provide the service that you were initially hired to do yet you want to be paid for not completing the job. I think that the homeowner wasn't totally in the wrong here. I'm thinking that a little more diplomatic approach to the replacing the pipe situation might have ended up with two happy people instead of two dissatisfied ones. But then again, maybe I just don't see it the same way as you.
                Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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                • #9
                  Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                  So if your truck does not start and the mechanic says $50 to tell you what is wrong. Finds that the ECM needs reprogramming $200.
                  Tries to reprogram and finds the ECM is bad and needs $1000 to fix that.
                  Would you pay him $1250 or $1050?
                  Point being that if a professional gives an estimate and is wrong then you eat the time unless you specify the steps in the estimate, in my example, I think I can fix it by reprogramming but if that does not work it will need the ECM and in that case the cost of the entire job will be $1250

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                  • #10
                    Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                    Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
                    So if your truck does not start and the mechanic says $50 to tell you what is wrong. Finds that the ECM needs reprogramming $200.
                    Tries to reprogram and finds the ECM is bad and needs $1000 to fix that.
                    Would you pay him $1250 or $1050?
                    Point being that if a professional gives an estimate and is wrong then you eat the time unless you specify the steps in the estimate, in my example, I think I can fix it by reprogramming but if that does not work it will need the ECM and in that case the cost of the entire job will be $1250
                    The difference being the mechanic has the ability to perform advanced diagnostics prior to his estimate. The plumber on the other hand, has no way of knowing or diagnosing what might or might not be deposited in the pipe and how it is constructed inside a hidden cavity. The first step is to attempt to clean the drain and the next step is to replace the pipe if the drain can't be cleaned. Assuming the plumber performed the drain cleaning work in an acceptable manner that is consistent with acceptable standards of the trade, the plumber deserves to be compensated.

                    On the other hand, reality dictates that if the plumber can't clear the drain, and he did not obtain written approval before hand that his work might not solve the problem and that he would require payment regardless of the outcome, then the charge is likely to be disputed by the customer and the cycle will continue.

                    There has always been and will always be, a huge difference between what is technically right and what the public actually expects or demands from a service company. The clearer the communication is, the narrower the difference will be between what is right and what is expected.
                    Last edited by spodelee; 10-31-2008, 02:22 PM.
                    spodelee

                    Until lions have their own storytellers, stories of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter

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                    • #11
                      Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                      Originally posted by Big Jim
                      Went on a stoppage call the other day. When I pulled into the drive there was another plumber's van there and he and the H.O. were standing around the clean-out. I approached and told the H.O. in no uncertain terms, that while he was free to call any plumber he chose, it was not not fair to me or the other guy to call both of us and that I was not leaving without collecting payment for my time, whether I do the job or not. To my surprise, the other plumber said, "Hey, you can do the job. I've got other work to do." And with that, he walked away. After taking care of the stoppage (about 15 min. w/ K-60), I pulled both toilets, replaced wax, repaired a broken flange. H.O. was pleased and said, "I guess I'll be calling only you from now on." Turns out that the H.O. was a prior customer of the other plumber. Go figure!


                      Something really strange about that one, especially when the "other" guy was so willing to give up a customer.

                      Sounds like some of the ones I've dealt with over the years, only to find out that I know why someone else was glad to pass the torch to me.
                      Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                      • #12
                        Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                        Originally posted by BadgerDave View Post
                        Will someone please enlighten me here because I must be missing something? The homeowner hired you to unclog a blocked pipe. The equipment that you brought to the job was not up to the task you were hired to do. You didn't provide the service that you were initially hired to do yet you want to be paid for not completing the job. I think that the homeowner wasn't totally in the wrong here. I'm thinking that a little more diplomatic approach to the replacing the pipe situation might have ended up with two happy people instead of two dissatisfied ones. But then again, maybe I just don't see it the same way as you.


                        My equipment goes and clears drains on a regular basis, when I attempt my skills at performing that task, I have no clue what my equipment is going to encounter. If it is older piping system like galvanized or cast iron, knowing the time stamp of that product *30-50 years old* I tell people,

                        "You're piping system is past its prime" and "This piping should be replaced" before I even get involved. Enough years in this business I already know what the condition of that piping will be.


                        Those statements alone set boundaries with the customer to let them know that I'm doing my best, my machines unclog drains every day and if I can't get mine to past through yours, you're still going to pay for my time regardless.


                        In the right minds of many plumbers/drain cleaners, the customer should expect a little bit of discount, not much as the person there now gets the ability to replace the drain as well if the price is right.


                        BadgerDave,

                        If I came to your house, exact same situation, I'd tell you up front that the initial charge covers up to the first hour, X amount of dollars per hour for every hour afterwards.


                        If you wanted me to stay 2,3,4 hours to get that drain open, I'll do it......but you're going to pay me a fortune to open a pipe that I know through your habits of using the drain that it's going to close back up.


                        If you'd rather buy the repair and not the fix, I as a master plumber offer both options to my customers. But if I'm notorious for banging clogs open in less than 20 minutes, at the most 45 minutes and I come to your house and your plumbing is a mess?


                        Something is wrong with your plumbing to have drain cleaning equipment not opening the drain as quickly as a normal drain cleaning is.



                        Now If NLP's approach is incorrect, or his equipment isn't suited for the task at hand...that changes everything in the equation and puts the customer at a disadvantage.
                        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                        • #13
                          Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                          Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                          ..................
                          Now If NLP's approach is incorrect, or his equipment isn't suited for the task at hand...that changes everything in the equation and puts the customer at a disadvantage.
                          Not to pick on NLP or his equipment but that was kind of my point. An experienced plumber should pretty much know very quickly whether or not the repair will be an easy job or not. The condition and age of the existing piping is something that should be noted before a job is even started. Then and there would be the time to inform the homeowner that the pipe might need to be replaced not after some time has been spent trying to free up the blockage and failing to do so. If all the cards are on the table before the game starts then nobody can be accused of cheating.
                          Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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                          • #14
                            Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                            I spoke with his wife TWICE, before I came out. Three hours passes between our first conversation (maybe some other sucker is there) and the second call. I explained that the charge is for the first hour, and that is usually enough time to get the job done. I also said that the machine I use (k50) will take care of most clogs. The house was 9 years old. PVC all the way. The rate was for the 1st hour, not the second mind you.

                            Also back to the scammer, 1st he wants a break on my hourly rate (nope), then wants a break for the present cost (nope), then asked if I can apply today's bill for the pipe tear out (Mmm maybe). When offered $50 he then wants all of it applied (nope). When denied this, he says I am scamming him by charging him for an estimate, because I tell him the pipe needs to be cut out. I told him to keep his money, as I wanted nothing more to do with him..he gave it to me cash!

                            You should hear the message he left...he said that I used profane language at him. Well, now I know where this guy stands. He is a LIAR, I never swore at him.
                            Last edited by NorthernIllinoisPlumber; 10-31-2008, 06:30 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: My rod job did not work...H/O says it was an estimate!

                              Originally posted by BadgerDave View Post
                              Will someone please enlighten me here because I must be missing something? The homeowner hired you to unclog a blocked pipe. The equipment that you brought to the job was not up to the task you were hired to do. You didn't provide the service that you were initially hired to do yet you want to be paid for not completing the job. I think that the homeowner wasn't totally in the wrong here. I'm thinking that a little more diplomatic approach to the replacing the pipe situation might have ended up with two happy people instead of two dissatisfied ones. But then again, maybe I just don't see it the same way as you.
                              Proper protocol is to rod the sink, then go from there. That does not always work. What would you advise?

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