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  • #16
    Re: My first Burning

    Ten years ago I worked for a large rooter company. They sent me to a job with a sewer back up.

    History - 40 years earlier this house (and every house in this subdivision) was on a septic tank in the back yard but soon after, city manholes were installed. Instead of tunneling under the home to reroute the sewer which was expensive they cut the sewer at the septic tank and ran the sewer around the perimeter of the house to the front street. New Orleans and most of the surrounding area are built on filled-in swamp land which is slowly but steadily sinking. The slab homes stay in place sitting on pilings while these extra long sewers sink with the ground causing long stretches of sagging pipe and, of course, thick toilet paper build up. "plumbers paradise"

    So I worked on this sewer, first from the roof, then I dig up the two clean outs in the back yard. Run the line back and forth. Starts drizzling half way through, but stubborn me drives ahead. I don't want to be BEAT by this sewer! Finally 4 hrs later I bring the customer outside, tell him he's going to need the water jet and someone else from the company needs to come out. He said, o.k. So I pick up my stuff, write up the companies flat rate (wouldn't want to ask for more since I couldn't get it open) and walk up to the door. He comes to the door and tells me he's not paying because I didn't get it open. I say, but it's just a basic charge and I did work for at least this amount. He tells me that when he goes to a customers house the problems gets fixed. I say to him that's because your a A/C repairman and you replace old parts with new parts.

    Well I'm not paying - door shut in my face.

    Lesson learned.

    Ever since then my rule is - if two passes with the cable don't work they need at least the jet and possibly camera. I keep the customers aware of what's going on, including prices. No surprises for them, or me. Once they are aware of the situation and the prices, the ball's in there court. No pay, no play.

    Lenny

    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

    I know, it doesn't make sense.


    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

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    • #17
      Re: My first Burning

      I say wait a few days, meet him in a dark alley and break his legs...leave him for pain and misery for an existence.

      Then dump sewage on him.

      That'll teach him.
      Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: My first Burning

        Tough break Oakie. It usually helps to set some hard and fast rules:

        *If I can't clear the line within ?? Hours I will stop and evaluate the situation.

        *If I don't have a tool that I need and I don't think I can finish without it, then I will tell the customer that I can't proceed without a tool and give them the option to call someone else.

        *If I decide I want to keep trying, then I will take lunch before I give it another go.

        I had a plugged main a few months ago and I just couldn't figure out how to work the double cleanout at the curb. I spent about an hour on it, realized I was over my head, and referred the customer to a plumber that I knew could handle it. I didn't charge, she is still an HVAC customer and she seemed to appreciate that I knew when I was whipped.

        I went home that night and started finding info on double cleanouts on the Internet . Now I am ready to give it another shot when another similar scenario presents itself.

        It's ok to and very professional to admit to the customer that you don't have the resources to solve their problem.
        spodelee

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

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        • #19
          Re: My first Burning

          Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
          I'm sorry Bill.



          This the fear I have just finished explaining to a few friends over the weekend.
          Some of them have said I need to get the drain jobs first(clientel).Why,so I can show them I do not have the equipment to do the job properly and they can tell ten friends?
          Nope,I'm setting my sights hard on making sure I get tooled to go out ready for bear.I'm sure I won't have everything I would like when I start hitting the bricks,still going to try to get a mainline machine,camera and locator.
          Some of those friends have offered to loan you all of the equipment you need. It's not always about borrowing, sometimes it's about allowing others to give. It helps us all grow a little when we work together.

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

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

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: My first Burning

            Sounds to me like you need to get some help, at least in the office department, you know answering the phone and at the least making out invoices.

            G3

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: My first Burning

              The way I read it Bill is you were trying to do the customer a favor by working so hard to get the line cleared, but they are too stupid to realize it. The fact that the other company didnt clear it only proves you were right.

              IMO, this customer burned his bridge with you, not the other way around. Bill him for your time. He will be calling you again for other projects once he figures out the other company that underbid you just bid it cheap and will have overcharges.

              Im in the same boat with work Bill. This time last year I had a customer wait 3 months for a furnace replacement because I was constantly busy with emergencies. This year is exactly the same. I've had a 2 furnace replacement job since the beginning of December that I havent had time to get to. I piss and moan alot about being so busy and having to work so much, but working for yourself does have its advantages. If I worked 40 hours for someone I wouldnt have the freedom to spend all morning shoveling 6 inches of fresh snow in zero degree temps with -20 wind chills. I'd have to do it tonight after I got off work when its going to be even colder. My backwards way of thinking lets me know how good I have it, on days like today.

              Andy

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              • #22
                Re: My first Burning

                Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                I work 60 hours a week and most days I can't tell you what I did the day before without getting jobs mixed up or looking at my schedule.

                The phone keeps ringing and I just can't say no for fear of failing all the while screwing up the work I already have because I keep stacking on more and more and more...
                Friend of mine, owner of a plumbing business, had a major heart attack probably from work related stress. He was gone but the EMT/Dr. were able to get him back. You have to say no every now and then to give yourself more downtime, you won't get any work done from a hospital bed.

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                • #23
                  Re: My first Burning

                  Originally posted by dirtyhands
                  Nope,I'm setting my sights hard on making sure I get tooled to go out ready for bear.I'm sure I won't have everything I would like when I start hitting the bricks,still going to try to get a mainline machine,camera and locator.
                  I've got all the drain equipment I really need with the K-60 and the Super Vee.

                  As much as I would like to have a camera and locator, I know that no one here will pay for their use. Since I primarily do plumbing repair, I don't do enough drain cleaning, at least not at present, to justify more equipment.

                  If it gets to where I'm doing more than 50% drain cleaning, I'll certainly buy more equipment. I went a long time with no drain cleaning at all. Years ago, when I did it regularly, I wasn't charging enough to pay for the damage to the equipment. Learned my lesson. Cameras can cost a lot of money very quickly.

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                  • #24
                    Re: My first Burning

                    Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                    Some of those friends have offered to loan you all of the equipment you need. It's not always about borrowing, sometimes it's about allowing others to give. It helps us all grow a little when we work together.

                    Mark
                    True. And I am accepting all donations.

                    J.C.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: My first Burning

                      Originally posted by Herk View Post
                      I've got all the drain equipment I really need with the K-60 and the Super Vee.

                      As much as I would like to have a camera and locator, I know that no one here will pay for their use. Since I primarily do plumbing repair, I don't do enough drain cleaning, at least not at present, to justify more equipment.

                      If it gets to where I'm doing more than 50% drain cleaning, I'll certainly buy more equipment. I went a long time with no drain cleaning at all. Years ago, when I did it regularly, I wasn't charging enough to pay for the damage to the equipment. Learned my lesson. Cameras can cost a lot of money very quickly.
                      I hope I never hit 50%! I want the right equipment if I get called to do it. If I cant finish the rod job, then pull the camera out and see whats going on. That way, I can finish the work. I hate the thought of someone come after me. Plus drain calls can lead to other plumbing as well.

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                      • #26
                        Re: My first Burning

                        A couple more burns and you'll start to develop callouses. Pretty soon you'll be taking the pizza out of the oven with no gloves.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: My first Burning

                          Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                          I just went through my time working up a bill for this job...

                          It appears I have lost a few days somewhere... I have no doubt now that loosing this job was my fault...

                          Where does the time go!!! WTF!

                          I work 60 hours a week and most days I can't tell you what I did the day before without getting jobs mixed up or looking at my schedule.

                          The phone keeps ringing and I just can't say no for fear of failing all the while screwing up the work I already have because I keep stacking on more and more and more...

                          It's all a blurr lately I have nobody to blame but myself...

                          Gotta get up in the morning and make it right (Turn off the phone and get some work done)

                          Okie
                          Charge more. You are not the only plumber in town so you don't have to save the world

                          Seriously, though. If you are that busy, I would charge more. If people say, "Why are you so expensive?", tell them you are very busy and in demand because you are awesome at what you do
                          YourHomeContractor.com - The Trusted Online Community For Homeowners and Contractors.

                          Plumbing Reviews

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                          • #28
                            Re: My first Burning

                            Originally posted by HouseOfAtlas View Post
                            Charge more. You are not the only plumber in town so you don't have to save the world

                            Seriously, though. If you are that busy, I would charge more. If people say, "Why are you so expensive?", tell them you are very busy and in demand because you are awesome at what you do
                            That is what I shall do muwhahahahah!!!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: My first Burning

                              Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                              Some of those friends have offered to loan you all of the equipment you need. It's not always about borrowing, sometimes it's about allowing others to give. It helps us all grow a little when we work together.

                              Mark
                              Willing to fly east at all?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: My first Burning

                                Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                                Some of those friends have offered to loan you all of the equipment you need. It's not always about borrowing, sometimes it's about allowing others to give. It helps us all grow a little when we work together.

                                Mark
                                Mark,
                                I read your post earlier when you first posted.Duck reminded me I needed to address my response.


                                These friends have already been helping me hand over fist...Countless times.
                                It feels out of balance.Now if I was doing things for them on such a frequent basis...Well,you know what I'm saying.

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