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Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
    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.
    That's great Rick. Congrats. Sounds like you have a really, REALLY good customer base built up.

    I could'nt stay in business like that myself. I have a customer base, but honestly, they don't number in the hundreds, and their plumbing is'nt always in need of attention. Therefor, unless I have a city contract or a maintenance contract with a real estate company, I have to advertise. Contracts are always put back up for bids every year, and I can't take the chance of going under if I lose one. That's happened to a local outfit I'm well acquainted with. They are a well established HVAC service company which has been in business since 1975! They had the same city weatherization contract for almost 25 years....and got SO comfortable with it they stopped advertising altogether (except for logos and number on service vans)...well, a new mayor got elected, and alomng with it a bunch of new politics...they lost the contract to another company, and now find themselves in the position of needing to lay off a guy or two because EVEN AFTER being in business for 30 years and having an IMMENSE past customer base as well as one of the sharpest, most knowledgeable HVAC mechanical admins in the area, they are getting maybe 2 or 3 service calls trickling in a day now, mainly for simple stuff like changing a thermocouple on a furnace or replacing a corroded dialectric union on a boiler, or replacing a rusted vent pipe, stuff that takes maybe an hour service call to do at best. They're now seeing the need for advertising in a big way.

    I simply could not afford to stay in business without advertising. Referrals and past clients calling back are great, but in my experience, unless you have half the entire city lined up that way, you always have competition, you can't always get to a customer immediately because your stuck on another big project and they don't want to wait an extra hour so they call someone else....loads of reasons one simply can't afford to depend on referral work unless one is a one-man show only looking to make a small living. I'm not a weekend warrior, I depend on constant cash flow and work to stay afloat. I DO get alot of referral work but there are always weeks where they just don't come in. Without advertising I'd be twiddling my thumbs half the time. Maybe you just live in a much much larger town where the competition is'nt so fierce?

    By the way, there's no law up here that says you have to put your license number or even name on your vehicle. It's just a good idea anyway.
    Last edited by AZPlumber; 04-15-2006, 03:57 PM.

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    • #62
      AZ Plumber,

      In fact, California contractor's license law requires a license number and name on a truck for plumbing contractors.

      But regardless, Plumber Rick is a knowlegable plumber, but he is also arrogant. He is who he is, but he thinks he is the best who ever existed. He's not. I have a alot of respect for Plumber Rick, I'd work with, hire him, have him work on my house any day. He knows more about repair plumbing than anyone I have ever known. He knows alot about new-construction plumbing. But, he is who he is. Hell, I am what I am.

      What does all this mean?

      I don't know.
      the dog

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      • #63
        As I recall the three trades which are required to have their names and numbers on their trucks in California are Plumbers, Well Diggers and Electric Sign Contractors.

        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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        • #64
          Like this?

          Attached Files
          Lorax
          "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

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          • #65
            Originally posted by plumbdog10
            AZ Plumber,

            In fact, California contractor's license law requires a license number and name on a truck for plumbing contractors.

            But regardless, Plumber Rick is a knowlegable plumber, but he is also arrogant. He is who he is, but he thinks he is the best who ever existed. He's not. I have a alot of respect for Plumber Rick, I'd work with, hire him, have him work on my house any day. He knows more about repair plumbing than anyone I have ever known. He knows alot about new-construction plumbing. But, he is who he is. Hell, I am what I am.

            What does all this mean?

            I don't know.
            Hi Dog, Happy Easter.

            Yes, you're quite correct about California requirements....they're the same in Arizona (hence my nickname, I'm a former resident and plumber there for 10 years). All work vans and trucks needed the contractor's license number on them, or you could easily have a roaming inspector walk on your job if he happens to drive by and observe you carrying 20 foot lengths of copper inside a house lol. But up here, there's no requirement for it (Alaska). If there is, I can't find it anywhere and it's definitely not enforced. I know many HVAC and plumbing outfits who don't put their numbers on their fleets...they just don't bother with it, it's not that great for advertising, they already have large ads in the yellow pages, etc. Alaska has many laws that are or can seem quite lax in comparison to the rest of the country, especially in terms of who can do work on what in what situation, such as it being legal for an un-licensed johnny handyman to re-build boiler manifolds or replace water heaters, etc, long as the work being done is "repair" classified. Believe it or not. The Muni of Anchorage where I work however is becoming quite like Kalifornia, where you not only need a State journeyman's card but also a municipal one, and the codes are much more stringent than the rest of the state.

            On advertising, I seriously could'nt afford to not do so. Too many other guys around, too much competition. No matter how good my work is, people just are'nt always that loyal...they're fickle, they'll always try and find a cheaper guy to use. Unless you're low-balling out everyone else in town on bids, you're bound to lose some "referral" work, and besides, unless you have an absolutely immense customer base, on the scale of Halliburton or something lol, you just can't rely on a "good old boy" network or past customer to call you back all the time in my experience, if you want to actually make serious money at least. If someone else here says they can.....more power to them. I can't see it, but hey, what do I know? I'm just a dumb wrench turner in BFE.

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            • #66
              After I had been in business for about five years my customer base was such that I quit advertising as well and there were 40 or so companies in our valley. I could not see paying $1,200 a month for a Yellow Page Ad so people could call for me to turn the work away. Eventually I did a radio show called Home Improvement (before Tim did his) where I answered plumbing & mechanical questions for callers and the station did my jingle on the radio every couple of hours for my pay.

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

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

              Comment


              • #67
                consumer affairs ca.

                hold a gen. B ca. license. much of our work is remodeling.lots of one of a kinds ,that's hard to estimate. I ,not my guys ,does the plumbing on our own work. just picked up permits for one last week. my license allows me to pull all permits and do the work. most of our work is strictly t+m. now that's against ca. law,and I've allways known this. But it works for me and others.
                we do good work,so this has never been an issue. Tool
                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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                • #68
                  Originally posted by toolaholic
                  hold a gen. B ca. license. much of our work is remodeling.lots of one of a kinds ,that's hard to estimate. I ,not my guys ,does the plumbing on our own work. just picked up permits for one last week. my license allows me to pull all permits and do the work. most of our work is strictly t+m. now that's against ca. law,and I've allways known this. But it works for me and others.
                  we do good work,so this has never been an issue. Tool
                  Do I understand you correctly to say that in California it is illegal to contract any sort of plumbing work on a t&m basis!? Sssshhhhhh, don't tell Rick! He must not have gotten the memo!

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by ECS
                    Do I understand you correctly to say that in California it is illegal to contract any sort of plumbing work on a t&m basis!? Sssshhhhhh, don't tell Rick! He must not have gotten the memo!
                    wrong!

                    i think what he is trying to say is that as a "b" (general contractor) he can't do just plumbing. he has to contract for 3 major trades to make it legal. otherwise he needs a c-36 license (plumbing) c-10 ( electrical) and so on. this is what got home depot into big trouble years ago.

                    rick.

                    marc can probably explain this better as he is also a "b" general contractor.

                    prior to a few years ago there was not framing contractors license. it was a "b" genearl contractors lic. now there is a framing license
                    c-?
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      I believe what Tool is talking about is taking a remodeling or new construction contract on T&M. Some time back California required we all had to get our HIC (Home Improvement Certificate) to do remodeling work. While the HIC certificate is no longer required we still are not suppose to do a remodel without a written contact and written change-orders.

                      As far as pulling permits or doing the work Rick is correct. With my B-1 (General) license I can pull three or more non-related trades where with my C-36 (Plumbing) I can only do plumbing. However, certain areas will still not let you do plumbing, electrical or refrigeration with a B-1 license.

                      A framing license is a C-5.

                      Mark
                      Last edited by ToUtahNow; 04-18-2006, 12:58 AM.
                      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

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

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        the source of this info on T+ M in C.A.

                        I belong to marin builders ***. I pay dues and also pay for lobbiest to rep. us. I attended one of Sam K. Abudulaziz's seminars. I brought up the T+M question. Not legal in Ca.He has helped write consumer law in Ca.
                        plumbers to paper hangers ,We are all under consumer affairs laws. I don't
                        agree with this T+M law and do what I need to, to survive. I treat customers fairly and do neat work. Never had a problem. questions on this
                        ? Email SAM. be well Tool
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

                          Here is some insight i have worked for the good and the bad. Normaly what they charge is any wear from $60.00 an hour to $120.00. then theyll and 30% mark up to all parts. Then if he had a laborer hill throw in cost for that because he dosnt want it to come out of his pocket.... Then you need to see if he charged you an energy surcharge.. Ive seen that...

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                          • #73
                            Re: Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

                            Hi,

                            I just thought I would CHIME IN here:


                            Its EXACTLY what Mark & Rick are saying FLAT RATE UN-FAIR PRICING ~~ PERIOD.

                            They new you were stuck, and they stuck it to you.

                            I would do exactly what both Mark and Rick said, ASK for a detailed bill, and then report back to the good fellas here and I am sure they will have more awesome advice.

                            BTW: Mark & Rick are two really knowledgeable people on the internet about plumbing. These guys not only know plumbing BUT they kick arse at the business side as well.
                            Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
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                            • #74
                              Re: Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

                              Let me get my 2 cents in. discussing pricing on an open forum is un fair to both parties because we are never going to get both sides of the story. The price may indeed be a bit high but I have no idea what the circumstances are and neither does anyone else on here. I would not want my invoices analyzed here and I doubt any of you would either. These sorts of discussions do nothing to improve the trade or customer relations.
                              sigpic

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                              • #75
                                Re: Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

                                First of all, ever one here is trying to armchair quarter back this thread. Post some pics of the stack before and after. Was there more than one man there for the stack replacement? Did they go all the way back to the lavs, tubs, shower pans and or laundry tray. Did they redo the main stack vent to the roof? Or did they just cut the stack at ty and fernco or mission coupling the new stack. Maybe you did get over charged and maybe you didn't. One picture is worth a thousand words is the old saying. Please post some pictures.
                                WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE,
                                ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE

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