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I was called to do estimate for boiler replacement. After discussion the job with the prospect customer, he and his wife asked me to draft the contract. After I sent the contract for their examination, the customer decided to take a quote from another contractor. Here we go again, the buyer’s repentance was made even before the final purchase, the customer started questioning my means and methods, as a matter of fact he challenged me in the fact, that the utility company shall upgrade gas services to the house, another contractor stated that national grid will be installing additional gas services to the house, with an additional new gas meter. After all, he challenged the code requirement to test existing gas piping, which will be connected to a new service.Another plumber told him, it is not nessesary. I pointed out that he and his family would be at jeopardy, if I wouldn’t do the gas tests. So, then he stated, that the other plumber said, a small leak in the gas line is no big deal, and it will be diluted in the air. No biggie. At this point I almost fainted to the floor at this nonsense, and was strained to reject the customer all together. Here is my question: how can the customer differentiate a normal contractor from a fake one? Another question is how my competitors manage to get away with this staff? Any ideas?
 

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Water Whisperer
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I would have walked, too. You never know what's really going on and most of the time, I could care less.

Just move on down the line....
 
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master of disaster
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the way i see it is that your bidding the job the right way and the safe way,the other guy is bidding the job any way he can just to get the job. this pisses me off when this happens! it will someday catch up with the guys that bullshit the homeowner, ive been plumbing a long time and have seen alot of these fakes come & go, you just keep bidding right&safeway and you will sleep good at night! these kind of guys will never go away, unfortunatly the homeowner is the one that will pay in the longrun.
 

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Plumber Manhattan Beach
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Don't feel bad, I have a guy going around telling people that 1/2" gas lines work fine for 199,000 btu tankless, and that if there is a situation, just turn off onjje of the gas using appliances until you are done using hot water, also a permit is not needed etc.

I permit, leak test etc all my installs, it prices the job a bit higher, but I sleep well at night knowing I am not risking everything I work hard for. I will never do a crappy job because I want the job. I had a guy call me, he wanted to use all his old supply lines and all his old material that was 15 yrs old on a new water heater I would install, I would be risking a flood, I told him to call someone else, I couldn't afford to work for him.

Those type of customers do not deserve a qualified service person, and when it breaks, floods their house, or kills a family member, then they will wake up.....the whole country will wake up. I see it in my area already, customers are searching out licensed, clean, qualified individuals.
 

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Illinois Licensed Plumber
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I have had inspectors tell me if a home owner tells you that they are not using your service cause he found a guy cheaper, and claims they do not need a permit, to call him with the name and address of the job site and the nature of the work. He has a few unlicensed shops that claim that all they do is drain cleaning, but have been caught doing plumbing. They are the ones that are telling homeowners some real cheap price and stating their is no permit needed for the job.
 

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Good advise above and just remember that by walking away from this homeowner you are also probably walking away from potential problems with them as the job would progress as well. We have done work for these types, whereby we get the bid and throughout the job the homeowner tries to cut corners and expense off the bid to save money like the lower bids did.
 

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Here is my question: how can the customer differentiate a normal contractor from a fake one? Another question is how my competitors manage to get away with this staff? Any ideas?
The customer can tell the difference in a normal from a fake contractor once you educate him on what a normal contractor is.

For instance, Money will always be secondary to safety. The cost of a code-required gas piping test is cheap insurance that your system is in a safe and serviceable condition. By bring all the openings and stops up to code, we're insuring that a "good idea", like a spring loaded stop, that couldn't pass the test of time, doesn't endanger your family.

Also, Money can never repair a reputation that took a career to build. By cutting corners and providing you with a less-than-code-approved installation, or even by encouraging you to consider one, I jeopardize the reputation that I have spent my plumbing career creating. I'm sorry, but a less than safe job is just not worth it. Anyone that tells you this is a viable option should be suspected of being more interested in your wallet than your families safety.
 
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