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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed a Rinnai tankless water heater for a customer about 8 months ago. I also added a drain and water line for a Laundry sink, and hauled away his old 100 gal solar water heater.:thumbup: The job turned out great and the customer was happy. I got paid and marked it off as another successful job well done. Today 8 months later I get a call from the lady first, asking me about a new problem which has recently developed. She complained to me that the pipes have recently began to vibrate and or make noise when the water shuts off on any fixture. I explained to her that she may have other problems and will need some additional work. I told her that if there wasnt a problem with the water heater i installed, or the piping i worked on, that she would need additional work. I explained to her my hourly rate and also told her she may need a new PRV at the street, or if that was ok i could add an expansion tank to stop the water hammer which had recently developed. She did not want to listen to my explanation and said she would get back to me.
A few minutes later i get a call from her senile old husband, who i had already had problems with 8 months ago, trying to explain what the job cost and what materials i would use. He didnt understand anything, was difficult to deal with, and wanted a deal. I almost did not do the rinnai installation for them because i knew he would be a problem.
Anyway he calls me and the first thing out of his mouth is- "im not happy with that job you did for us". I told him i explained to his wife , he needed additional work and his new problem wasnt caused by me. Angrily he said to me- " I can do more just by telling people up here(where we live in the hills) to not hire you". I got pissed:furious: and told him you do that and i will sue you for slander, defamation, or libel and hung up on that a hole.
What a Dick. I thought this guy would be a problem, but since i had done such a good job at a reasonable price, ( i Gave him a good deal), I never heard back. He was happy. Until now. UNrelated to the water heater, i suspected his pressure reducing valve at the street had possibly failed and was causing excessive pressure to build up and causing water hammer when fixture valves closed quickly. This is common on the city water meters in my area. We dont have this problem on wells( which most have). I Guess i could of put the expansion tank in when i did the installation, but it didnt seem necessarry at the time. I do recall offering one to them as part of the contract, but they wanted it as cheap as possible and declined. It just pisses me off that these A holes expect me to be responsable for their new unrelated plumbing problems. The lady even addmitted the problem was occuring on the cold line. UH lady I replaced an existing tanked hot water heater, with a tankless. NO leaks. no malfunctioning rinnai, proffessional installation. I am not responsable if you need additional unknown or unexpected work, and that would come from their pocket not mine. But after that old geezer threatened me with his attitude now he is not getting ****. Good luck at getting someone to come and help him now, he will have to call some one from out of the area to come all the way out and solve his new problem. Its going to cost him alot more:laughing:. *******. I dont care if he complains to the license board about me. Hes got nothing. I have a A+ perfect record with the CSLB, and after 6 years in business he is only 1of 2 jerks to ever complain or not pay.
After that call, now i am starting a local area DO NOT WORK FOR list. I have several plumbing contractor buddies, and several general contractor buddies which i will be contacting about putting their bad customers on that blackball list. I am smart enough to know not to post it on the web, but an anonymous list hanging up at the 2 supply houses i work out of, will let my fellow contractors know who the jerks are. And when they add their bunk customers to the list, it will grow to the benefit of all of us. I can play those games if these bad customers want.:whistling2:
 

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I installed a Rinnai tankless water heater for a customer about 8 months ago. I also added a drain and water line for a Laundry sink, and hauled away his old 100 gal solar water heater.:thumbup: The job turned out great and the customer was happy. I got paid and marked it off as another successful job well done. Today 8 months later ....:whistling2:
If it wasn't for the people, plumbing would be much more fun. If you didn't like the customer in the first place, the second place will be no better.

About 6 months ago, this two-bit remodeler had me install some discontinued euro shower valves that he bought. He's called me twice complaining about them in that whining remodeler voice that drives me freaking crazy. My invoice states I'm not responsible for owner-supplied material, so I told him I couldn't (wouldn't) help him.

Recently, he called and said the copper pipe i soldered on the shower valve blew out and I have to fix it. This was during that deadly freeze/blizzard, so it blew out during the freeze. I told him I would charge him and he called me a nasty name and hung up.

Ever since my American Home Shield thread, bad customers have been haunting me. Some of my worse customer service experiences was AHS customers....whole nother thread there....
 

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WILLPLUMB4$
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This is were setting a SOP (standard operating procedure) of a trip charge and no pricing over the phone come in handy. Also nice to have a receptionist on the phone. People tend not to give her as much grief about pricing cause why would she know she's not a plumber.
As far as not going out, recall or not... I always go. Just to be sure it's not my problem, and there attorney won't have to bring my name up in any lawsuits. Plus with overall sales down, it's another opportunity to get back in there home to either reassure them that they got the right guy to begin with or snag some work. Either way it usually ends up being a win...
 

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You guys are SSSSSOOOOO RIGHT !! These few HO's can make for a miserable day !!

I checked with my brother ,,the lawyer ,,, about a NATIONAL / WEB BASED :Do not work for : List . He said we would probably get our asses sued off for liable before it gets off the ground ,,,,,,,,,,, Oh ,but Angie's list is OK ???

NOT FAIR !!!

Cal
 

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This is were setting a SOP (standard operating procedure) of a trip charge and no pricing over the phone come in handy. Also nice to have a receptionist on the phone. People tend not to give her as much grief about pricing cause why would she know she's not a plumber.
As far as not going out, recall or not... I always go. Just to be sure it's not my problem, and there attorney won't have to bring my name up in any lawsuits. Plus with overall sales down, it's another opportunity to get back in there home to either reassure them that they got the right guy to begin with or snag some work. Either way it usually ends up being a win...
With good customers, I'd be there in a heartbeat, but some customers can rot in hell.

During slow times, the office staff is the first to go. Anyone can do paperwork and answer the phones....as much as I hate to do it. Office work, that is. Support staff is overhead.

You guys are SSSSSOOOOO RIGHT !! These few HO's can make for a miserable day !!

I checked with my brother ,,the lawyer ,,, about a NATIONAL / WEB BASED :Do not work for : List . He said we would probably get our asses sued off for liable before it gets off the ground ,,,,,,,,,,, Oh ,but Angie's list is OK ???NOT FAIR !!!Cal
Yeah, and you can get more info about a plumber than you can a doctor. Angieslist has started listing doctors, I hear.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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I had a few this month. I think its economy related. People with no money will always find ways to complain so they don't have to pay.:furious:
It was my fault though. I have written company policies that I follow to help protect me from getting the really bad customers and for awhile I got lazy and I stopped following them...and guess what? It bit me. Now I am back to following my policies 100% and I am avoiding the bad customers again!:thumbup:

My policies that protect me from bad customers.
#1) Every service call has a diagnostic charge, no exceptions.
#2)We are strictly C.O.D. cash, check or credit card, no exceptions.
#3)No warranty on customer-supplied parts.
#4)No haggling about price. If a customer is overly whiney about price, I walk away.
 

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Your policies?

I had a few this month. I think its economy related. People with no money will always find ways to complain so they don't have to pay.:furious:
It was my fault though. I have written company policies that I follow to help protect me from getting the really bad customers and for awhile I got lazy and I stopped following them...and guess what? It bit me. Now I am back to following my policies 100% and I am avoiding the bad customers again!:thumbup:

My policies that protect me from bad customers.
#1) Every service call has a diagnostic charge, no exceptions.
#2)We are strictly C.O.D. cash, check or credit card, no exceptions.
#3)No warranty on customer-supplied parts.
#4)No haggling about price. If a customer is overly whiney about price, I walk away.
Every policy is counter-productive with the exception of # 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with you guys. I too believe with the state of the economy, all of the but tight money pinchers will try to do anything they can to get something for free. I am an honest contractor who always trys to help and be more than fair with their charges. I am also a solo operator with no employees or people answering the phone. I advertise minimally and get alot of my jobs thru referal. No im not a big shop and with low overhead i can deliver good service at fair price. I am not cheap, but i do charge less(in some cases) than the few large outfits who advertise big and drive around in rolling billboards. The difference with me is you get an experienced adult plumber, licensed, bonded, insured to 2 million, and honest. The other places send out some in experienced kids in their rolling billboards and all they do is screw more stuff up or run up some huge bill. Thats why i dont want or need employees, i just end up having to redo what they did . Someday i would like to grow, but im not sure its worth it. My specialty areas are new construction, remodeling, and repipes. Thats where i can get the big checks. I do service and repairs as well and drain clearing too, any job i can turn a buck on. But with the economy in the dumps i am slow anyhow. I have been doing just enough to stay afloat. No im not getting Rich, but that wasnt the plan anyway. Im a survivor. But with greedy customers trying to squeeze the little bit of blood i have left, I dont know how long i will last.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Every policy is counter-productive with the exception of # 3.
Not in my experience. The policies work. When I follow them, business goes well. When I "bend" them, thats when the bad customers start to slip through and cause problems.
WHy should I drive around for free, and chase money around from deadbeats???:no:
A diagnostic charge to cover travel time and C.O.D. terms are good policies for any service company imo.
 

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...

My policies that protect me from bad customers.
#1) Every service call has a diagnostic charge, no exceptions.
#2)We are strictly C.O.D. cash, check or credit card, no exceptions.
#3)No warranty on customer-supplied parts.
#4)No haggling about price. If a customer is overly whiney about price, I walk away.
Every company I've ever worked for follows those rules. Those are the essence of service work.

I had one lady who wanted a discount because my business was slow. I told her that because my business was slow, I can't afford to give a discount!

Why would anyone give a discount when they're slow? Do our costs go down when we're slow? Does the bank discount our notes when they're slow? No way. In fact, I'm going to raise my prices to make up for the loss of business and strengthen my selling skills.

It is time to get tough.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Today I had a customer while I was draining a water heater, telling me that she only makes $16/hour and everyone else is charging $50-60-70-100 dollars for 15 minutes and leaving.

She grasped that there's costs involved and the like but I thought...


You own a very nice house lady, nice amenities, things that most people can't afford, and you can't pay those who come to YOUR house, driving miles away to fix your house without you going anywhere? :cry:


I charged her $59 for a water heater draining, she had to ask via email before I could do the job.

I replaced a seal on a mansfield toilet and a seat cup/spring on a delta 2 handle upstairs.


I told her I'd "eat" the price of those two parts as I don't mind giving a little for the effort of a simple water heater draining, a heater I installed in 07. Good repeat customers but I won't put up with price haggling the next time they need service.

I'd be the first to tell them that showing up at their home has a price AND a value, and that's what it costs. If you don't like that, Keep moving through those yellow pages and see how many plumbers care about your best interest.

By no means am I special, but being a one man band allows me to personalize the experience and make it a better experience.
 

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Not in my experience. The policies work. When I follow them, business goes well. When I "bend" them, thats when the bad customers start to slip through and cause problems.
WHy should I drive around for free, and chase money around from deadbeats???:no:
A diagnostic charge to cover travel time and C.O.D. terms are good policies for any service company imo.
All of your policies are 100% dead on the "money". Live by them. If you don't you will end up like RGB.

RGB, man I'm sorry but you, based on what you have written, are not cut out for service plumbing. You will be much happier in the new con world. One question why didn't you test the pressure prior to the Rinnai install? I don't install Rinnai but I imagine their warranty has a disclaimer with regard to high pressure. Even if it does not, testing of water pressure prior to installation of ANY water heating device should be sop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, believe it or not i did put a guage on the farthest hose bib, and the pressure was within limits(65lb). They didnt have this problem with the tanked heater and they didnt have this problem with the rinnai i put in until 8 months later. The problem just recently developed and has nothing to do with my installation. According to you im not cut out to do service work, what that should be left to dopes with no experience?. You may think you are mr know it all service man, but you are probably one of those guys whos only done service. I design, install, and complete working plumbing systems in residential and commercial. I have 13 years plumbing experience and have done it all from start to finish. I have worked for service companies as well as new construction companies. Anyone can Replace a water heater and even a monkey can snake a line, so save your conceited better than you attitude for someone else. From my experience just because you can change out a toilet doesnt make you a plumber. Most of the companies in my area use kids just out of high school with little to no experience. They send em out with a mentor for a few jobs then they put em into a rolling billboard and off they go. Now they are "service" plumbers. Like you.
 

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A monkey can not snake a drain line and new can not do service.

I'm on board with you drawing the line with bad customers, though. It just ain't worth the money, sometimes.
 

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Well, believe it or not i did put a guage on the farthest hose bib, and the pressure was within limits(65lb). They didnt have this problem with the tanked heater and they didnt have this problem with the rinnai i put in until 8 months later. The problem just recently developed and has nothing to do with my installation. According to you im not cut out to do service work, what that should be left to dopes with no experience?. You may think you are mr know it all service man, but you are probably one of those guys whos only done service. I design, install, and complete working plumbing systems in residential and commercial. I have 13 years plumbing experience and have done it all from start to finish. I have worked for service companies as well as new construction companies. Anyone can Replace a water heater and even a monkey can snake a line, so save your conceited better than you attitude for someone else. From my experience just because you can change out a toilet doesnt make you a plumber. Most of the companies in my area use kids just out of high school with little to no experience. They send em out with a mentor for a few jobs then they put em into a rolling billboard and off they go. Now they are "service" plumbers. Like you.
Really not trying to get in a pissing match here. I was in no way refering to your plumbing skills. I was refering to your customer service skills and the fact that you obviously did not realize this only confirms my original statement.
 

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What does your policies cost you?

Not in my experience. The policies work. When I follow them, business goes well. When I "bend" them, thats when the bad customers start to slip through and cause problems.
WHy should I drive around for free, and chase money around from deadbeats???:no:
A diagnostic charge to cover travel time and C.O.D. terms are good policies for any service company imo.

How much business do you lost because you charge for diagnosing a problem and how much do you save from losing with your policies. Which one has the greater loss?

How much business do you lose from C. O. D. and how much more would you gain by giving credit. Which one has the greater loss?

You should be in business to earn the maximum amount of profit with the least amount of effort. Before you answer these questions you need to put your superstition aside and grab a pencil and paper. Where I work, we are carrying something around $650k in credit. Are receivables are about $40k per month. I don't think my boss would be doing this if he was losing money. Since January 1st, our sales just from service calls is over $300k. Also, all our estimates are free and we charge for diagnosing some problems, but our policy is, if the customer does not want to pay, we go the the job anyway, try to get them to pay, and if they still won't budge, we will diagnose the problem for free to try to sell a big job. Sometimes you have to put your pride and ego aside and think in dollars. Maybe we sell an extra $500k by outwitting the customer.

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residential service
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How much business do you lost because you charge for diagnosing a problem and how much do you save from losing with your policies. Which one has the greater loss?

How much business do you lose from C. O. D. and how much more would you gain by giving credit. Which one has the greater loss?

You should be in business to earn the maximum amount of profit with the least amount of effort. Before you answer these questions you need to put your superstition aside and grab a pencil and paper. Where I work, we are carrying something around $650k in credit. Are receivables are about $40k per month. I don't think my boss would be doing this if he was losing money. Since January 1st, our sales just from service calls is over $300k. Also, all our estimates are free and we charge for diagnosing some problems, but our policy is, if the customer does not want to pay, we go the the job anyway, try to get them to pay, and if they still won't budge, we will diagnose the problem for free to try to sell a big job. Sometimes you have to put your pride and ego aside and think in dollars. Maybe we sell an extra $500k by outwitting the customer.

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How often do you leave empty handed or do the work for no profit or even a loss just so you don't have to leave empty handed.

Are you doing a lot of comm service or is it strictly resi service?
 

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How much business do you lost because you charge for diagnosing a problem and how much do you save from losing with your policies. Which one has the greater loss?

How much business do you lose from C. O. D. and how much more would you gain by giving credit. Which one has the greater loss?

You should be in business to earn the maximum amount of profit with the least amount of effort. Before you answer these questions you need to put your superstition aside and grab a pencil and paper. Where I work, we are carrying something around $650k in credit. Are receivables are about $40k per month. I don't think my boss would be doing this if he was losing money. Since January 1st, our sales just from service calls is over $300k. Also, all our estimates are free and we charge for diagnosing some problems, but our policy is, if the customer does not want to pay, we go the the job anyway, try to get them to pay, and if they still won't budge, we will diagnose the problem for free to try to sell a big job. Sometimes you have to put your pride and ego aside and think in dollars. Maybe we sell an extra $500k by outwitting the customer.

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Interesting that an employer would give this kind of information to an employee that is not his accountant.
 

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300k since Jan 1 is a meaningless number. What was the true profit on that number? 650K in outstanding a/r at 40k per month means you have paper that is up to 19 months old. Your company is going under with numbers like that. In fact with debt that's over a year and half old, why are you still in business?
 
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