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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I worked for a customer who is Pakistanian and I tried to refer this job away because of how urgent he was to get his job done.


Well, the plumber I referred him to turned it down and I had an opening on a friday night to take the job on. :blink: That's right, I'd take $75/hour over having a wife and kids right now. Better yet, trying to make kids on a friday night. Priorities are success and I can't be held back right now.


Anyway, I give this guy a specific material list and send him up to home depot with his caucasian white wife. The way I conveyed the material list, there's no way he should of came back with anything completely wrong, but he did.



Got the 7/8" hose for the disposal right

Got the two straight stops wrong, they gave him sweat stops

Got the 2 3/8" by 20" supply lines right

Didn't even give him a tubular trap

Gave him a pressure 1.5" street 90?

Oversized hose clamps for the 7/8" hose for disposal

Gave him an accordian 1.5" tubular extension



I "showed" this guy nearly all the stuff on my truck before he left and for him to come back with totally opposite stuff with his wife watching what I was showing him indicates one thing:


Those effing idiots up there at home depot purposely and intentionally gave him wrong parts. I've seen it happen so many times. This "game" is just that; There's this hidden agenda going with the big box stores to purposely send the customer out with wrong product...only a small percentage will actually bring it back, just to avoid the hustle/struggle of going through the return process. This in turn promotes sales.


But in the above situation, I've seen an abundance of those of color/race/creed/religion be treated differently in many respects. This guy spoke relatively clear english, but to have such CONCISE AND CLEAR information to show the home depot mockman, something's up.


The primary reason I give customers free will to supply me with material always gives the opportunity to let them "think" they are saving money this way, which is fine. If I can create a situation where payment to my company is solely sales without a whole lot of materials involved like drain cleaning? I feel that's a better move by far. Less liability in the long run.


Sunday night, minutes before that home depot closes, I'm going to speak to the manaager, somebody of importance and let them know that a couple came into their store on friday night, came in with a precise list of materials clear enough for anyone to read, and your CSA purposely misled the customer by giving incorrect parts and materials.

A video was taken of the conversation between the customer and your CSA, with the customer repeating that the part given doesn't match the part as written clearly for them to understand, but insisted it will work.



The video, along with your store number including the address and state located in will be loaded to youtube so the entire world can see how you acted with not one, but two different couples, one with a foreign husband, the other without.


I would NOT want to be the manager of that store considering the circumstances, knowing that the kind of publicity they are about to receive, is the deserved blame they should own.


BTW, I'm getting around $700 to install this sink; too late to go into the details other than it's a $15,000.00 granite countertop that needs to be adjusted for the composite sink going in.
 

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Just one suggestion about your plan of action: HD has shown repeatedly that they have BIG lawyers, and are not afraid to use them. Although it might make you feel better, well.....just a though.

On the other hand, if you complain forcefully but respectfully, they are apt to throw things at you .....things like free gifts, gift cards, discount coupons, etc. Try it . It works!
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Working like a charm

Called, asked for a manager, let them know what I was up to and hung up on him.


He called back twice after that but never left a message. It's worth making him sweat.


On the other hand the customer was impressed with my custom work; $650 to install a composite sink in granite that was never designed for that model sink was a nice weekend job, and simple.
 

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Question: If you have it on your truck isnt it easier to just do the install and avoid the big box store altogether? The few times i have let the HO get the parts from HD they always get something wrong and it is frustrating for me and the HO. I would avoid the hassel altogether but good for you making an example out of thier under qualified "help" at those stores.
 

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What do you mean? or white, white wife? Or caucasian white wife?:rolleyes: I would venture a guess HD did not do it intentionally, most workers there just do not know what they are looking at.:whistling2:
 

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I was told that Arabs have a different bartering system than we do.

Here, we negotiate a price and thats it.

There they negotiate a price, then renegotiate after the goods have been delivered, sometimes to relentless extents, even resorting to personal insult & insinuations of poor quality to get the price down.

The ONLY time I might consider letting my customer pick up the rough stock for a job is if he were a former plumber that knew what he were looking for...anything else is a guaranteed loss of time, and I'm not up to listening to "Joe homeowner" insinuate I couldn't make the parts work because I'm not skilled enough to make it happen.

There are those calls that set of a red flag, I automatically look at them as a loss before I waste my time.

This would have been one of those calls.
 

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I was told that Arabs have a different bartering system than we do.

Here, we negotiate a price and thats it.

There they negotiate a price, then renegotiate after the goods have been delivered, sometimes to relentless extents, even resorting to personal insult & insinuations of poor quality to get the price down.

The ONLY time I might consider letting my customer pick up the rough stock for a job is if he were a former plumber that knew what he were looking for...anything else is a guaranteed loss of time, and I'm not up to listening to "Joe homeowner" insinuate I couldn't make the parts work because I'm not skilled enough to make it happen.

There are those calls that set of a red flag, I automatically look at them as a loss before I waste my time.

This would have been one of those calls.
I don't care much for that system...
Usually they waste so much time on the first set of negotiations the job is a loss anyhow...
Then you do the work and it's time for round 2...
Then we get into the what part of payment at completion don't you understand as they say you send bill right!

No Deal My Friend... You Pay Extra!:furious:

Perhaps we need to renegotiate all the oil we buy from them as we didn't get enough mileage or warmth out of it...
 

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I don't care much for that system...
Usually they waste so much time on the first set of negotiations the job is a loss anyhow...
Then you do the work and it's time for round 2...
Then we get into the what part of payment at completion don't you understand as they say you send bill right!

No Deal My Friend... You Pay Extra!:furious:

Perhaps we need to renegotiate all the oil we buy from them as we didn't get enough mileage or warmth out of it...
Here's a thought...aren't we one of the biggest producers of essential grains in the world?
 

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Here's a thought...aren't we one of the biggest producers of essential grains in the world?
If we raise our prices we're the devil though.


As for the plumbing thing I would never send them to Home Depot. The time I spent sitting there waiting for them to come back would cost them more then the markup. Should they get something wrong and have to go back they could end up wasting hundreds of dollars. If I sent someone to buy a specific material at a specific store then we would be expected to warranty it as well. I really do'nt think anyone wants to be responsible for the quality of a Home Depot product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ahhh but there's a science to my logic with customers such as these.



When you hear "I got all the parts, I'll pay for all the materials" I actually love it. Here's why:



No matter if I write it out perfectly, whether their white black or purple......most if not always something gets screwed up.

Guess who's waiting for proper parts.............me. And I'm charging by the hour. :jester:


Any time I put a product in my hand whether it was bought from a supply house or from the big box store....I'd rather have that product in the responsibility of the property owner well before me.


They are soooooooooooooooo worried about me marking up the material......then your dumb *** is going to get me the right stuff while I'm sitting in your house or in my truck watching the hands of the clock turn to my benefit.


What cracks me up is the customer that comes back and says......"well you wasn't working while we are gone" and then I say "See that truck out in your driveway? From the time it gets here to the time it leaves, I'm getting paid, period."


The vast majority of them want to buy their own material.......I love the expression on their face when it's the wrong product or it's broke, missing parts.


They lost on their gamble to save a buck. :laughing:



I don't mind watching the homeowner burn gas and time while I'm getting paid......I really don't.
 

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Can't believe you wasted your time with Home Depot! Discrimination - highly unlikely. (Even if it was, doesn't seem like your battle). They are equal opportunity stupidity. :laughing::laughing:
Silly you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Can't believe you wasted your time with Home Depot! Discrimination - highly unlikely. (Even if it was, doesn't seem like your battle). They are equal opportunity stupidity. :laughing::laughing:
Silly you!


Yes, but of course, I want change....just like obama.


If you heard the sincerity in my voice in the conversation with the manager, I have no doubt he's spent the last day or so keywording "home depot" on youtube probably 300 times, waiting for his catastrophe to come true.


Priceless...
 

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I dunno guy....different stroks for different folks I guess. Never ever under just about any circumstances am I going to have a HO go to a box store for parts.

Maybe it's just my defination of a professional, but having a HO go get your parts when you pretty much know that they will either buy the wrong thing or the idiots their will give them the wrong thing so you can get paid to sit on your ass is anything but professional. That sort of action is more of a handyman move IMO. Karma's a ***** bud.
 

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I would rather explain to them why they are better off buying material from me then they are getting it themselves. Usually they listen, if they don't so be it.

If I were the Homeowner and you told me I had to go to Home Depot for you then sat around I would not pay you for that time. You would have to drag me to court to try and get your money and you would probably loose. If I insisted on going and getting material myself then it's another story.

As for the warranty, if you send them to get their own materials you really are responsible for it. I don't know about legally, I'm not a lawyer but from a moral prospective you are. Again if they insist on using it after I warn them not to then it's another story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Question: If you have it on your truck isnt it easier to just do the install and avoid the big box store altogether? The few times i have let the HO get the parts from HD they always get something wrong and it is frustrating for me and the HO. I would avoid the hassel altogether but good for you making an example out of thier under qualified "help" at those stores.
So often these days the consumer wants that physical purchase of the product, the very reason I don't sell many faucets off the truck. That and along with keeping the plumber from making a buck or two off the product. I'm not going to knock that idea too much because the margin of error is great for their instinctive buying thinking they know what is best, not the plumber. Given a multitude of situations, the plumber is usually right in their asessement of the job and the materials purchased do not apply to the repair/replacement to be done.

And if the customer is in doubt with why their stuff doesn't work? I can always explain the reasoning why it won't...no reason to lie.




I did use my product, some of it. (Straight stops, supply lines, 1.5" SCH40 90/pipe, trap) This was while they was gone for over an hour.


I had plenty to do on this job. In a lot of cases in these scenarios, I'm a hero to this situation because it looks and feels like I'm on their side completely, without any rhyme or reason why I'd be so inclined to do so.


So in turn I end up getting paid more than the usual for acting like a team player against the big box store.


I need to go in with a helmet cam and show everyone how I accomplish this feat without being a huge sales pitch or a pushover.

People like the authoritative and instructional, "take charge" approach in most cases and as long as you don't overdo it, you've just solidified total insurance to the consumer to be trusted and left alone to do your job without second thinking that your skills are less than top notch.

I know I've sold jobs just by what flows from my mouth and I'm sure that if someone doesn't follow my routine, I'll be the second or third opinion that's a convincing one, securing my interest financially. Somebody put my ass on Oprah so I can sell my first volume of hardback novels of mighty plumbing stories.
 

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i will walk off a job before letting a homeowner buy material from homedepot and their ilk. its bit me in the :censored: all to often. i explain to my customer that all of my labor is warrentied dont you want the material to be as well. and the little bit more you spend for what is already here in my van you will probably save in the 4.00 $ a gallon trip to home depot w/out the wrong part headache. were selling ourselves even more so than plumbing. but once they buy us, we better be back up what we just sold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i will walk off a job before letting a homeowner buy material from homedepot and their ilk. its bit me in the :censored: all to often. i explain to my customer that all of my labor is warrentied dont you want the material to be as well. and the little bit more you spend for what is already here in my van you will probably save in the 4.00 $ a gallon trip to home depot w/out the wrong part headache. were selling ourselves even more so than plumbing. but once they buy us, we better be back up what we just sold.


Nothing wrong with that sentiment, but answer the following questions:



If the customer has bought faucets/disposals/sinks/the little stuff...

Do you refuse over the phone that you will not install any products they've already purchased and took the time to buy and brought home?


If the customer is head steady of offering to get materials (knowing it costs everyone $4 a gallon to get materials) and the customer is willing to go to a big box store OR supply house...do you instantly say no to any offers,

over the phone or in person?



Can you competitively offer the customer the overwhelming product lines of faucets and disposals, sinks and other products like insta-hots, RO systems, water heaters that they are witnessing by association of seeing the product, in fast form of the buyer wanting product now, and "not" purchasing from the same exact place they're buying from?




I tried to follow the "no way will I deal with big box stores" when they first came out...it worked for a while but the volume of people contacting me with products in hand started to mount, up to today where it is almost common to have customers indicate that they have everything I need to do the job.



I'm hourly, it's a nice situation when a product in hand is wrong or defective and someone else owns the liability of it besides me.


I've never been paid from a plumbing supply house for my time when a faucet they supplied me with was defective or missing parts.


With home depot, 6 times in 5 years. Of course, the customer supplied the faucet that was missing parts, Home depot paid for my time *customer's card was discounted back X amount of dollars on the purchase* and I was adding up more hours to the job to complete the task.



Don't think for a minute I started this thread to convince others to follow my logic in this method...


I'm just telling you how to get the best bang for the buck when given these situations and you either dismiss the opportunity to make the connection with the property owner or make the best out of a bad situation. That's positive thinking for ya. :thumbsup:
 
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