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  • Giving up work (for good reason)

    A repeat customer contacted me just now, wants all her faucets replaced in her home, wanted me to check out a situation in the basement where the washing machine dumps it ends up filling the toilet. ? Nothing I can do about that, she said it happened the day it was installed. I would say hack city here we come!



    Anyway, back in december I replaced a toilet for her and since I was reconnecting to a water supply, I checked the water pressure. 100+ static


    I explained this situation to her, told her how many in that exact subdivision street had me install a Pressure Reducing Valve and Thermal Expansion Tank, and that the street is notorious for high water pressure.

    I even relayed to her the $18,000 damage done to her neighbor's house due to a supply line that blew off.

    Please, the deer is in the headlights and you're heading right towards it lady.


    Since I'd been there before, know the situation fully, I told her that I would not install anything in her home until that pressure issue is resolved, to which I told her involves spending money.

    She didn't like this...but she knows there's a problem. She just doesn't want to spend money that she feels isn't going to see any benefit to her personally. She had no problem letting someone hack her bathroom in the basement, but she obviously has a problem doing something right.


    Following me so far?


    So, I trumped her, told her that I won't touch it. Fix the water pressure issue and I'll consider doing the work.

    Replacing all the faucets in her bathrooms 4-5 could add up pretty quick in making money but this is a price shopper, looking for rock bottom.

    I don't care that I could use chrome supply lines to each faucet, know they would hold up without a leaking issue. It's the principal that I'm fully aware there is high water pressure in this home and I'm taking a huge chance on the spectrum of liability that if anything blows apart/leaks, damages personal property, I'm going to be the one paying for it because this woman whether she understands the seriousness of her problem or not...she's going to look for a cop out and say she didn't understand.

    She does though, and to have a plumber tell her he won't do plumbing in your home is probably very insulting. So be it. This is about protecting my company and my reputation, not cater down to those who understand the underlining problem and don't want to address it.


    She got very short with me, said she was going to talk to her builder, and hung up basically in my ear. So be it. I explained it to her fully, referenced two website links off my site that gives a full understanding of what is considered a normal functioning plumbing system.

    Not someone who treats their plumbing by how pretty it looks, nevermind the imposing dangers.


    Do I need the work, the money? Of course I do. But there's a reason why 6 other property owners in that same damn culdesac had me install a pressure reducing valve and thermal expansion tank. I don't need to set myself up for days/years/weeks/months worrying about some frantic call and now it's my fault for turning my head and looking away, ignoring a potentially bad situation.

    The phone will still ring, but this lady crossed me wanting me to come up and give her an estimate. No estimates. I've been in your house, you see how I work, find another plumber.
    37
    You did the right thing, no sense of setting up tragedy
    56.76%
    21
    I'm broke and I'll do anything, even if it is wrong
    0.00%
    0
    I didn't know the pressure climbs to 120+ at night (Dunbar did)
    0.00%
    0
    This customer is not reasonable at all
    5.41%
    2
    This is how plumbers get themselves in trouble; money before logic
    2.70%
    1
    I toss the free estimate types like they have no value
    0.00%
    0
    I'd rather flip burgers than do something wrong in plumbing
    5.41%
    2
    I'm flipping burgers now because I did something wrong in plumbing
    0.00%
    0
    I would like a burger
    10.81%
    4
    I'm eating a burger laughing about this poll
    18.92%
    7
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

  • #2
    Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

    I see nothing wrong with turning down the work. If they don't want to pay to make it right, let them call someone else.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

      Unfortunately there's literally 1000's of plumbers out in my area right now that would jump at this call no matter if it had 200 pounds of pressure.


      That is a scary reality at this point, but I've only used my liability insurance once. I like it to stay that way regardless of the budget minded.
      Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

        Why put smart *** answers in your poll I just could not resist.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Giving up work (for good reason)





          Gotta have a sense of humor in this profession, otherwise it's boring as hell.


          Besides, you're the one that checked off "I'm eating a hamburger laughing at this poll"
          Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

            I like Chicken and Waffles.
            Last edited by BobsPlumbing; 11-17-2009, 12:15 PM. Reason: Hungry. :(

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

              JC if I start having to manipulate the honesty of a ritual that embeds the reality of a problem, just to get plumbing fixed properly, I'm leaving the profession for good.


              Besides, she's already looking for rock bottom and figuring almost $200 in for a PRV install (even more if in a concealed or difficult location) that over 4 lav faucets is going to be steep.

              I personally win being excused from the situation and letting the fool after me take that fast buck and play the gamble. I won't.


              I've done the above quite a bit to have some customers contact me back for being headstrong and true to code and accept the standard that when something is wrong in your plumbing system, you do not overlook it, nor make excuses why it cannot be fixed correctly.

              But I'm a rare breed in this trade, no doubt.


              A thermal expansion tank is involved as well, even more money.
              Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 11-17-2009, 12:02 PM.
              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                Understood. Sometimes I try to help people without the good sense to help themselves.

                I'm sure at fault sometimes.

                J.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                  I am not comparing apples to apples or any other fruit for that matter, but would a dentist use the wrong size fillings to save client money? Would a mechanic use used motor oil to be cheap? I believe that we all have a professional code of ethics to adhere to. Furthermore no one should risk their business, assets, or reputation for a homeowner that would sue you for everything you have at the drop of a hat. Try passing the bid pre-quall for higher end work with insurance claims. In the State of Oregon anything over 80 psi is considered unlawful based on the plumbing code. And we all know fixtures were never intended to handle overly high pressure. Would this situation have been different if the homeowner’s reaction would have been more pleasant? If any homeowners/customers read these posts please be aware that we as professionals are not out to screw you. Most, of us (the ones who will still be in business 5 years form now) care about our profession and the people we serve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                    Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post




                    Gotta have a sense of humor in this profession, otherwise it's boring as hell.


                    Besides, you're the one that checked off "I'm eating a hamburger laughing at this poll"

                    I couldn't help it made me laugh. Great thread!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                      Perfect response to the lady. While we may be looking out for the customer (contrary to popular belief) the customer is never looking out for us. Why put yourself in a situation that could be dangerous for the customer and expensive for both of you.

                      You done good!!

                      I always quote Kenny Rogers' song when I try to explain to inexperienced business people that if you take all of the work offered to you you are headed for trouble: "You got to know when to hold up, know when to fold up, know when to walk away and know when to stay..."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                        Regarding the high water pressure issue and the multiple faucet installations and turning down work.
                        I would have worked with the customer, showed up to her home for free to explain the situation. I would have easily given her a 50% discount on the prv in exchange for all the new faucets and supplies I would be installing. A prv takes me maybe 20 minutes to install using the propress, so what, piece of cake. I would not have used scare tactics or played the know it all.
                        I would have been more than happy, the customer would have told everyone she knows how great my company is. In the end I win, she wins, we're all happy.
                        I Like keeping my customers. I don't need to play the hard ***, yet I also don't lose money either. To each their own I guess.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                          I am really eating a burger ...lol

                          But I am a smart a$$ as well though

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                            Originally posted by Justintheplumber View Post
                            Would this situation have been different if the homeowner’s reaction would have been more pleasant? If any homeowners/customers read these posts please be aware that we as professionals are not out to screw you. Most, of us (the ones who will still be in business 5 years form now) care about our profession and the people we serve.

                            The "majority" of customers I deal with in regards to understanding the cause and effect of high water pressure at least ask me what the price is.

                            This woman didn't. She didn't care. She didn't want to address something she feels is not warranted.


                            Given I've installed 7 PRV's/EXP tank in the circle of this cul-de-sac, I'm not going to play money games, I'm not going to play trick sales tactic, I'm not going to discount my time or my efforts to get the necessary protection that's needed in the home. The difference is it isn't required; KY laxed on anything over 80psi requires protection which was a terrible decision. It was in the early 90's, don't know wtf happened to change it.

                            If I stray from how I methodically bring the logic, not fool's salesmanship to this customer, the design to educate and protect is lost, completely.

                            Trying to hide almost $400 of labor and material for a PRV/EXP tank installation (more if that main is in a concealed wall) across the rest of the work to be done isn't going to happen.

                            The idea is not to smoke and mirror the customer to gain the sale. I throw the facts out there, I know the facts real well and I let the customer decide what's in their best interest. This customer is not my customer anymore without regret. The phone always rings for the next one and logic always wins.

                            I should reveal that this woman lost her husband two months ago to a prior injury (fell head first down the basement steps) and with the holidays coming it's probably stressful as hell. This might screw up rational thinking very easy.


                            But I'm on target from the conversation I had with this woman in december and today. She has to find out the hard way that when a plumber insists on correcting a problem that there has to be some valid reasoning.

                            I always tell the customer to feel free to contact the local plumbing division of our state for more information.

                            It does not get any more solid than that.
                            Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 11-17-2009, 10:47 PM.
                            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Giving up work (for good reason)

                              I had an instructor during 4th year who always said, that if you don't want to do it right you should become a baker instead of a plumber. That way you can always eat your mistakes instead of them biting you in the ***.

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