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  • Your opinion, please re: charges

    I don't clear sewers for reasons I've outlined in previous posts.
    I used to call a nationally known rooter shop with whom I developed a nice relationship with and they would give me a discount. Since I did this on behalf of my customers who trusted me to get the job done whether I did it or not and I would simply pocket the discount. It is measly and doesn't even cover my phone time and follow up. And I always followed up because as mentioned in another recent thread, you have to stay on top of them or you are apt to get screwed.

    I now mostly call another one man shop who used to work for the major rooter company but is now on his own. But, he doesn't own a jet or a camera yet.

    That is all in the way of explanation. Here is the sequence of events and you tell me if the charges are fair. I won't go into the actual dollar amounts here.

    1. I call my friend out to clear the sewer at a school. He cleared it a couple of months ago and reported an issue at about 20' and recommended a camera at that time. The school, (on a tight budget), declined the camera for now hoping it could wait a year. The report was the same- stoppage at 20 ft which would put it under the building slab somewhere. The line is flowing though because he got his cable past with one blade.

    2. I call the rooter company to camera the line (on a friday). They say there is debris on whatever the obstruction is and recommend jetting the line. That's one full camera charge now.

    3. They come back monday and jet the line and put the camera back through and report the bottom of a comb is rotted out.
    Now they lay another full camera charge (over $300) on me and give me 1/2 price on the jet.

    Your thoughts?
    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

  • #2
    Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

    My price to jet includes camera. The camera is the only way to tell for sure the line is totally clean.
    INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
    Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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    • #3
      Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

      I would not have charged like that but it is how a lot of places charge,camera went in but to dirty to see, jet then camera again 2nd charge, at least they did a discount on the jetter.
      Seattle Drain Service

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      • #4
        Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

        It seems the first camera was to see what was needed to clean the line, the second camera was for the jetter to verify the job he did. He should not have charged a second charge for the camera.

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

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

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        • #5
          Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

          Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
          It seems the first camera was to see what was needed to clean the line, the second camera was for the jetter to verify the job he did. He should not have charged a second charge for the camera.

          Mark
          I agree with Mark. The camera and the jetter go hand in hand. We rarely charge for both on the same trip.

          I may not have charged full price for the first camera if it didn't provide a lot of detail.

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          • #6
            Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

            Keep in mind I can only give my opinion on what and how I would handle this situation. I really am not to concern what other people charge. I have no idea what they need to maintain their company and overhead. I cannot allow someone to set my prices when they have no clue what it costs to run my business.

            I charge for the original camera to check on the condition of the building drain or sewer. Charge for hydro jetting or a sewer rod out. If the client chooses the rod out a second camera charge is in order if they water jet I will not charge for the camera I must make sure I have fully cleaned the system. Again this is how we do this particular job however another company may have to do it differently.

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            • #7
              Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

              I think that is how I would have preferred it and the way I thought it would be charged. One full camera charge and One full jet charge. (By the way, I only receive discounts for cable jobs, not jet or camera jobs.)

              Regarding you having "no idea" of what it takes to maintain their business I would disagree. You probably know what it takes to maintain your business. There are standard industry margins for profit and overhead-within a range. And you can take a good educated guess on the rest.

              But then there is the point that I have spent many, many thousands of dollars with this company over the last 14 years. Do they want to keep my jetting and camera business or not? Apparently NOT.

              Which brings me to a decision I have been pondering for the last several months. Is it time for me to invest in a camera. I'm no spring chicken anymore and I would like to get away from the heavy and body contorting work. People regularly ask me who I use for camera inspections (other plumbers, property managers).

              I think it would pay for itself in a relatively short period of time (any guesses?). Since I don't buy anything on credit I had better start saving.
              "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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              • #8
                Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                Slim sure I could give a guess but I need more information . Pay scale,bennies, own a building, working out of thier home information is king. How many in the field ,how many in the office. Each company is different with thier costs.Using our company each and every plumber we employ has a journeymans license and is qualified to be in the clients home.Most of our competition cannot make that claim.I have to pay our techs well to keep them at our shop. I want and ened really really really good technicians and that is why we are doing fairly well during these times.We are more, we are problem solvers.

                To the camera, I have always loved the idea to pay for the things we need. I am not a fan of credit and time that adds stress to the company.The camera is a neccessary evil at this time. The market place is so competitive and to be able to locate the problem areas and give a solution has added a lot of value to our company.

                Good luck with your decision.

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                • #9
                  Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                  My thought is why even show up with the camera and not have a jetter with you? About half the time you gunk up the lens pushing it through muck and need to jet to clean up the line to the point you can see anything.

                  I'd have charged a jet and a camera; the first trip with the camera told the customer only that there was a problem at ~20', which he already knew. Yeah, I'm out time for sending a guy out to camera, but no value was given to the customer for that, and it's my own fault for not knowing better and making sure he's got a jetter with him. At the very least I'd have discounted the first camera charge to a service call, charging that just to cover the extra trip out.

                  And on that note, I think you'd want to consider a small jetter to go with your camera if you get one. The expense of having all the equipment you need to get the job done in one trip is worth it when you are trying to get through a busy day.
                  Last edited by Ace Sewer; 03-14-2010, 04:07 PM.
                  This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    My thought is why even show up with the camera and not have a jetter with you? About half the time you gunk up the lens pushing it through muck and need to jet to clean up the line to the point you can see anything.

                    I'd have charged a jet and a camera; the first trip with the camera told the customer only that there was a problem at ~20', which he already knew. Yeah, I'm out time for sending a guy out to camera, but no value was given to the customer for that, and it's my own fault for not knowing better and making sure he's got a jetter with him. At the very least I'd have discounted the first camera charge to a service call, charging that just to cover the extra trip out.

                    And on that note, I think you'd want to consider a small jetter to go with your camera if you get one. The expense of having all the equipment you need to get the job done in one trip is worth it when you are trying to get through a busy day.
                    Thank you, Ace. That is useful information. I don't think I will invest in a camera w/transmitter AND a jetter. But I do now know to recommend a jet BEFORE I locate
                    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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                    • #11
                      slim

                      since you have decided to not buy now, this would be the perfect time to keep a written tab of the number of people that want these services. say 3 to 6 months. written. then you will see if there is any money in the hole. i do that with all my major purchases, i need to pay it off in 6 months or less + something for me. breid...........

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                      • #12
                        Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                        Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                        Thank you, Ace. That is useful information. I don't think I will invest in a camera w/transmitter AND a jetter. But I do now know to recommend a jet BEFORE I locate
                        you can locate in the dark; just less sure of what you are locating. I've used mine to tell me where to dig before when I couldn't see anything because I couldn't get any drainage; jet or snake or both in so many feet and hit a brick wall, camera and see nothing but hit the same wall at the same distance, locate and it probably your spot. Also useful for finding septic tanks with buried lids.
                        This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                          Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                          you can locate in the dark; just less sure of what you are locating. I've used mine to tell me where to dig before when I couldn't see anything because I couldn't get any drainage; jet or snake or both in so many feet and hit a brick wall, camera and see nothing but hit the same wall at the same distance, locate and it probably your spot. Also useful for finding septic tanks with buried lids.
                          How much time do you spend with a probe before you break out the camera to locate the tank?
                          www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

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                          • #14
                            Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                            I don't own a probe; I'm in the Rocky Moountains. You can't stick a probe more than an inch into most soil here when it's not frozen (which it's usually frozen from mid Oct to mid May, and for sure froze up hard Nov thru Apr). Here, you dig dirt with a pick or a hoe; shovels are for snow.

                            When I'm looking for a tank, it's because I'm doing a main line clog and I want to pop the tank lid to see if it's above, below, or at the tank. And because, even if it is between the house and the tank, I'd prefer to jet it up from the tank so I don't have to worry about flooding anything. If the tank is buried under just snow, I'll dig for it. If it's under frozen dirt in winter, it's a nightmare to get to it even if it's only a couple inches of dirt, so I go there only if I have to, and it's so much effort to dig that I always locate it first.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Your opinion, please re: charges

                              Not being a Plumber and not having the experience in sewer work, I can only offer this:

                              When you go to a Doctor, a Dentist, a Lawyer etc. A professional in other words, do they charge you for each and every visit, whether it be follow up or the actual work performed. I think SO! And as professionals, I don't think (even though I am guilty) we should provide free service to anyone for any reason unless you want to do charity work.

                              Another thing I will mention. If you don't do the actual work yourself and it's not your expertise, in my humble opinion, you should bow out instead of becomming an unlicensed General Contractor sub contracting out other peoples work. You do the Plumbing, let the Rooter guy do the Rooting. If you want to do the Rooting, get the equipment, the experience and go for it.
                              Just my 2ยข worth.
                              Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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