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Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by ToUtahNow
    When I am doing cost estimating on a project the price may vary quite a bit from one region to another. In addition if you are doing a one-hour service call your rate is generally higher than if you are working on new construction or a remodel. The reason service calls cost more is there is more costs involved in a service call. Typically a service plumber is on the road all day long which cost more and there always seems to be more material loss on a service truck than on a finish or rough-in truck.

    My guess without going to my book is you should use a labor rate of around $85.00 per hour. This rate is high but it is not unreasonable.

    Mark
    That's not even close to being high around my parts. Matter of fact, I can't even think of getting that labor rate from any licensed plumbing contractor in my area at all. The going rate is more around between 125 and 150/hour, with 90/hour being low ball.

    Comment


    • #47
      My intent in starting this thread was to find out if I was getting charged a fair amount for this work. The consensus seems to be that I was over-charged, maybe by just a little, maybe by a lot. I certainly learned a lesson. I'll never let someone do a big job in my house without a written estimate first. There's just too much room for creative pricing based upon factors that have nothing to do with the job itself, i.e. does the contractor want to stick you on job A for job B that he didn't get?, is the contractor trying to make up for yesterday when he charged someone too little for a job that ended up being more difficult?, does the contractor feel that he's got you over a barrel because he's already on the job doing something else.

      Over and above paying $200 - $700 too much for the job, it just leaves me with a really bad taste in my mouth about this plumber. I'm a professional who can easily charge $160 an hour. That's the top rate in my field. I think that's exorbitant and refuse to charge it. This guy had no compunction about charging more than the highest hourly rate anyone on this board can ever imagine, over $200 an hour, and the explanation? "My insurance is very high. It was a hard job. I have expertise that costs money."

      Too bad, this guy could have worked for me on this old house for the rest of my life...and I would have given his name to 50 other people in town who have plumbing issues too.

      Thanks for all of the feedback.

      PS I had another plumber come over yesterday for a leaking faucet. He came with another guy. It took him 15 minutes to do that job. I asked him how much I owed him. He said, "Nothing. Why should I charge you for such an easy job?" I gave him $40 and will use him for the rest of my life and give his name to all of my neighbors.

      On the bright side, tomorrow is Opening Day! Play Ball!

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by HVAC HAWK
        I'm not doing plumbing anymore but if I'm on a job and working on something and something brakes down the line from were i was working do to me shaking or banging it we would fix it at no charge. even if the system was 100yrs old .that's what you get into when you do renovation work .

        we can make up the loss with a good referral from that person telling others that we fixed this and did not try to rape them.

        a good referral is the best advertisement you can have !!!

        like i said before
        you can charge $500 an hr and be greedy . we have some companies in my county that have to travel about 2HR or more to get work because they raped there customers for years and can't get local work.

        so be fair on what you charge and you will have respect close to home and go home knowing that you made some one very happy to day.

        money can make you greedy and snobby

        being fair and nice to others have endless rewards
        Charlie

        My seek the peek fundraiser page
        http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


        http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

        new work pictures 12/09
        http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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        • #49
          " ..."My insurance is very high. It was a hard job. I have expertise that costs money."..."

          These are all valid factors in someone pricing a job, but it is not an excuse to commit robbery as you unfortunately have come to experience njcardsfan.

          For a look at how bad it can be in NJ (and elsewhere, NJ is not the only place where this happens), follow the link below and read some of the testimony given during a State of NJ investigation which started in 2003.

          Read the last few pages of Nov 2003 Day 1 testimony, starting at page 318 of 321. Also look at pages 287-299. Then go read the Final Report.

          New Home Construction
          Issues Public Hearing
          November 2003, January 2004
          Last edited by Bob D.; 04-05-2006, 11:33 AM.
          "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
          John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

          Comment


          • #50
            Bob is correct this stuff goes on all over the place. I've been doing Construction Defect investigations for over 18-years and regardless of which party I represent there is always something wrong.

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

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

            Comment


            • #51
              Its all about clear communication and diplomacy.

              like previously noted, a tender document should include details of rates of charge for variations and extras.

              in this tricky situation you have to talk with the trades involved, and probably give them a written instruction and request an estimate.

              i too have seen both sides of thiis situation and learnt some expensive lessons because i didnt get a written work instruction, and my interpretation of the builders verbal instruction was different to his.

              pain in the hip pocket makes you learn real fast.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by HVAC HAWK
                I'm not doing plumbing anymore but if I'm on a job and working on something and something brakes down the line from were i was working do to me shaking or banging it we would fix it at no charge. even if the system was 100yrs old .thats what you get into when you do renovation work .

                we can make up the loss with a good referral from that person telling others that we fixed this and did not try to rape them.

                a good referral is the best advertisement you can have !!!
                Hawk,

                Everything in construction is relative. Utah is correct, if you are talking a hundred dollars on an eighty-thousand job, for a good client, yes that might be a good investment.

                But none of us know what was involved in this job without looking at it. It seems to be high based on the description, but that description is not given by an expert.

                My suggestion to the homeowner is to get other prices if it seems too high. Because he is under contract for the original project does not preclude him from bringing in an outside contractor for change orders. He should, however, be contacting reputable contractors only. In almost every case the contractor on site should be cheaper because he is already mobilized on the project. A house remodel is a one-shot deal, so (and I emphisize) a reputable contractor would have no reason to undercut the plumber on site.

                Again, this can onl be used if you are dealing with contractors you have excellent references from.

                Just my opinion.
                the dog

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
                  my motto too. i've never advertised and don't need to work for total strangers

                  rick.
                  What are you talking about? You NEVER work for other clients? Ever?

                  They must have some seriously FUBAR'd plumbing to keep you THAT busy.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Here's a link to the NJ Home Improvement Contractors law which went into affect 12/31/05.

                    http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/con.../statsregs.pdf

                    It's 20 pages long.

                    To quote one section from pg 10 which is relevant to the issue in this thread;



                    12. Home improvement contract requirements--writing requirement:

                    All home improvement contracts for a purchase price in excess of
                    $500.00, and all changes in the terms and conditions thereof shall
                    be in writing. Home improvement contracts which are required by
                    this subsection to be in writing, and all changes in the terms and
                    conditions thereof, shall be signed by all parties thereto, and
                    shall clearly and accurately set forth in legible form and in
                    understandable language all terms and conditions of the contract,
                    including, but not limited to, the following:

                    i. The legal name and business address of the seller, including
                    the legal name and business address of the sales representative
                    or agent who solicited or negotiated the contract for the seller;

                    ii. A description of the work to be done and the principal products
                    and materials to be used or installed in performance of the
                    contract. The description shall include, where applicable, the
                    name, make, size, capacity, model, and model year of principal
                    products or fixtures to be installed, and the type, grade,
                    quality, size or quantity of principal building or construction
                    materials to be used. Where specific representations are made
                    that certain types of products or materials will be used, or
                    the buyer has specified that certain types of products are to
                    be used, a description of such products or materials shall be
                    clearly set forth in the contract;

                    iii. The total price or other consideration to be paid by the buyer,
                    including all finance charges. If the contract is one for time
                    and materials, the hourly rate for labor and all other terms and
                    conditions of the contract affecting price shall be clearly
                    stated;

                    iv. The dates or time period on or within which the work is to begin
                    and be completed by the seller;

                    v. A description of any mortgage or security interest to be taken in
                    connection with the financing or sale of the home improvement;
                    and

                    vi. A statement of any guarantee or warranty with respect to any
                    products, materials, labor or services made by the seller.
                    Last edited by Bob D.; 04-09-2006, 07:13 AM.
                    "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by AZPlumber
                      What are you talking about? You NEVER work for other clients? Ever?

                      They must have some seriously FUBAR'd plumbing to keep you THAT busy.
                      let me restate what i said.

                      i don't advertise. i don't post my # on my truck. i'm not looking for clients that see my # and want a free estimate.

                      the people that call me get my # from family,friends and neighbors. it's called a referral. since tracking my database for the last 5 years, there are over 1000 different clients i've worked for. everyone that calls me for the first time always tells me they got my # from a family member, friend, neighbor, or another contractor. some i work for several times per year. others just 1 time in the case of a camera job for another plumber.

                      i typically don't need to bid against other contractors. i'm their plumber.

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by njcardsfan
                        I'm in the middle of a home renovation and the 4" stack pipe broke and needed to be replaced. The plumber on the job did it by himself in about 7 hours. He charged me $1600. Is that reasonable?
                        no it is not

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          "...i don't post my # on my truck. ..."

                          Rick, in NJ you could not do that. Law requires you place your name and LMP# on both sides of your vehicle(s) in letters 3" high.
                          "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                          John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Bob,

                            In California as a Plumbing Contrctor you have to have your name an license number on your truck as well but I think Rick may have meant he does not have his telephone number on his truck.

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

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

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              OK, I an see the value of doing that, I misunderstood what number he was referring to.
                              "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                              John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by HVAC HAWK
                                I'm not doing plumbing anymore but if I'm on a job and working on something and something brakes down the line from were i was working do to me shaking or banging it we would fix it at no charge. even if the system was 100yrs old .thats what you get into when you do renovation work .

                                we can make up the loss with a good referral from that person telling others that we fixed this and did not try to rape them.

                                a good referral is the best advertisement you can have !!!
                                I don't see how you can do that. I would go broke....fast.

                                I do alot of service plumbing on older houses and buildings. Some of these systems are well over 50 years old....and some of the boilers and boiler manifolds I work on are older than I am. Many times, customers don't call for service until it's far too late....until a bad leak finally springs up. By the time I get there, I'm usually looking at one big pile of corroded copper/iron, and EASILY half the time when you start working on such systems something is bound to fail down the line. How is it my fault that the customer let the system get that bad to the point that I can hardly TOUCH it without something else falling apart? And how can I justify spending an extra hour or two or three fixing everything else that may fail due to my working it because the entire system is practically rotten? I'm not gonna spend half my day in someone's crawl space or mechanical room fixing stuff that breaks in the process of my fixing something else for FREE because the customer did'nt want to maintain their system properly over the years. How am I going to pay a plumber working for me 30/hour to do so and NOT charge the client? You have got to be kidding me. If it's not my fault something else broke because simply my touching or moving something made some other rotten part of the system go, that's just the way it is. If they want that fixed too, they gotta pay me. Maybe next time they'll maintain their systems properly, but I don't work for free. If something else breaks due to my own negligence or carelessness, or if it's just something that's a real super easy fix, of course I'll repair for free....but absolutely not under any other circumstance. I'm not out here busting my butt because I feel like giving people freebies.

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