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I am new to this site and was under the impression this was for professionals only. I was very dissappointed to find when entering the site, an advertisement for Home Cheapo on the main page with ads for plumbing products. I will not support Home Depot. The PHCC fought them as they were doing plumbing jobs with unlicensed plumbers, taking jobs away from the professionals depending on the work. I have lost much business to Home Cheapo and Blowes because they have products made for their stores that look identical to my supply house products. But they are made with plastic and cheap chrome. Shame on the name brands that have given in to their greed, and forgot about giving a quality product for a fair price. Has anyone benifited from their existence? I would like to know. Just remember when the phone stops ringing because Joe and Jill the homeowner took a class how to plumb in Home Cheapo, and decided to do the work him or herself, and you are left with all of your unpaid bills. Support your local supply houses...
 

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Here in Southern MA, we have formed a group, that meet every month. Bristol County Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Inspectors Association. This has been a good thing for all plumbers and inspectors in our area to get together, and talk. About jobs, questions we may have, whatever might be going on with code changes.

Sometimes have a State Plumbing board member attend the meeting.

We put a stop to them Home Depot how to clinics at all the area stores near us. They now do not happen.

In MA a homeowner can not install plumbing or gas not even in their own home, not unless they are licensed.

As plumbers we need to stick together instead of against each other. We are all in this racket together, and should communicate more to each other. You'd be surprised the difference it makes...
 

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There are 3 Lowe's, and 1 Home Depot closer to me than the Fergy's I use.....:blink::blink::cry:
 

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The captain of plumbing
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Just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents here about the Home Depot, etc. “big box home improvement stores” discussion on here.
This frustration over these type of businesses has been going on for years, as long as I have been plumbing, and I’ve been in it for over 25 years. Back in the 80’s I remember the grousing about the same stuff that is going on now. Then a group of plumbers and a wholesaler wanted to get the attorney general here in MN to look into a big box store on water heater installs that were ridiculously cheap. There was some talk that their installers were not licensed plumbers, etc. I don’t remember exactly what became of it, but I don’t think much happened. I think the investigation showed that they were licensed, just that they were working super cheap, or that the big box store with their deep pockets were making up the difference between what the installer wanted verses what they were charging the customer.
Back when I was in business in the 90’s I did some referral installs for a home improvement store here in MN called Budget Power. (They are no longer in business.) I’m sure you know the program, a customer walks into a store and buys something, say a toilet, and if they want Budget Power will refer an installer if the customer desires. They had a price list of what they charged customer for that install. They would charge the customer for the toilet & the install and then call an installer like myself to put it in. They told me this is what we will pay to do it, and I could take it or leave it. They had pricing like that ‘to stay competitive‘, as they put it. Most of the time it was a lot less than I would have charged to do the job, but on the other hand it was an easy way to get work. Most of the time I reluctantly took the job, it was better than no work at all in a slow week.
I’ve recently talked to guys that I know that do installs for Home Depot and others, plumbers and other trades, who say that some of those stores are running specials where the company basically eats the difference between what the installer wants to do the job verses what they charge the customer. They don’t do this for everything, but certain things for a period of time, trying to build up business and move product.
This seems to be common amongst not only the big box stores, but a lot of bigger plumbing shops, as well. Here in MN there is a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise that has been offering cheap pricing specials, no doubt trying to build up business. These shops aren’t exactly fly by nights and hiring unlicensed hacks either. There was a recent article in the newspaper here about them doing well and making money with their business plan. Just makes me wonder how is a small shop like the one I work for supposed to compete with this kind of stuff going on.
With the economy the way it is now a lot of people have been ‘doing it themselves’ a lot more, myself included. I’m not exactly getting big paychecks with the little hours I have been getting lately. Which brings up the other side of the issue.
I’m on both sides of the fence here when it comes to these stores. I can definitely agree with the points brought up here. But I’m also a customer of these big box stores, and a DIYer when it comes to my own stuff. I have finished my own basement, painted my own house, added outlets and lights in my garage, added a deck on my house, just to name a few things. With my limited budget, even when I had my own business, it just wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t do it myself. And I know that there are those of you on here that DIY too. You guys can’t tell me that you have never done anything for yourself in your own house, painted a room, fixed some woodwork, put a new door knob on etc, etc, etc….Those of you know who you are…Complain about people going to Menards, Home Depot and Lowes buying plumbing stuff then yourself go buy something from there and do it yourself. It is this kind of hypocrisy that turns me off about these discussions. If you can say that you are pure and never do anything yourself, hire it all out, them maybe I would lend some credence to the argument. The only people I know that can afford to hire it all out are rich shop owners and other rich guys that make a lot more money than your average plumber.
Well, I tell you what, I’m not going to live in a cracker box so I can pay someone to do what I can do better myself.
And how far do you want to go with this, how many of you work on your own trucks, change your own oil, mow your own grass, do your own laundry, get a haircut at home from your wife or whatever….just think of all the professionals like mechanics, lawn care companies, dry cleaners/laundry services, barbers that are making less money because you are doing it yourself.
My point is these stores and what they are doing aren’t going away anytime soon. Putting big box stores out of business isn’t going to solve the problem. I agree that they shouldn’t have unlicensed people doing work, and that should be stopped. I agree that they seem to have an unfair advantage because of their size and deep pockets. However, they have a right to be in business just as much as we do. John Menard became a multi billionaire with his Menards business and when you are talking that kind of money they are not going to disappear. Well more than half of all home type business is done through the big box stores.
A few years ago I took a Delta faucet factory tour in Indianapolis, IN. At the end of the tour we had a question and answer session with the Delta executives, including John Whitehead, the president. I asked him about their business with these big stores. He said that they sell the exact same faucets, models, part numbers, etc. to them as our wholesalers. He said we are talking about millions of dollars when it comes to dealing with the big boxes, they are not going to turn that down. Maybe something should be said to these manufactures about selling to big boxes.
For those of you worried about them cornering the market and putting us all out of business, well I would say that if that was going to happen it would have a long time ago. This type of thing has been going on with these stores for years, with Budget Power starting in the late 40’s or 50’s, and I think even before that with Lampert’s for 100 years or more and family owned hardware stores .
So what should be done? I have discovered that there are basically 3 types of customers, the ones that no matter what will always do it themselves, the ones that always pay someone to do it, and the ones that are sitting on the fence whether to do it themselves or to hire it out, depending on the price, if they have the time or money, etc. The last 2 is what we need to concentrate on. We have to do like I have heard others say in these forums, improve our appearance, our knowledge and expertise, and be fair with pricing, create a good positive image with the public, instead of a bunch of whiners and complainers. I have found the biggest complainers are lazy and don’t want to compete, want things to be handed to them, want the competition put out of business so they don’t have to do anything.
I have found the public images of plumbers and other professionals hasn’t exactly been in our favor lately, either. I have seen in the media lately lots of stories of customers complaining about us trying to screw them, the local evening news reports of ‘shady contractors’… Dealing with customers calling to our shop, ‘us guys and our high prices…’ I’ve heard plenty of stories of complaints to attorney generals of overcharging by plumbing shops, heard talk of inspectors who need to ‘keep us in line’ from screwing people…
Then I see talk here of groups getting together to stop big box stores from holding plumbing classes and making laws against people installing plumbing in their own homes. It is this kind of organizing and collusion ‘to keep prices high’ is what I’ve seen people talking about and is not good for our image.
Okay, maybe more than 2 cents here…TheCaptain
 

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In MA a homeowner can not install plumbing or gas not even in their own home, not unless they are licensed.
Ok, I was going to stay out of this one, but here it is......

Any law stating a homeowner cannot work on his own house goes too far.

I'm all about protecting our trade and as a licensed plumber, it really is my job to protect the health of the nation, but, a guy should be able to do what ever the sam hell he wants with his own property.(AS LONG AS HE PULLS THE PROPER PERMITS AND GETS HIS WORK INSPECTED AND IS ONLY WORKING ON HIS OWN HOUSE)

The only caveat to that is things like plumbing, electrical, GAS, HVAC, etc, MUST have permits pulled and inspections done. Reason being, these types of work can kill or injure others if not done properly.

I don't believe that the DIY market takes much work away from us. The people who want to do their own work will do it. Period. Regardless of what the law says.

Besides, I can't tell you how many times I've been called out to a house when the homeowner got in over his head and needed a professional to finish a job he started, but lacked the skills to finish.

Ok, I'm not going to drone on about this, but I can't imagine living in a place where the government has the audacity and arrogance to attempt to tell me what I can and cannot do with my own property.
 

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Yep, I guess I would agree with that cept that there's not way in hell to enforce homeowners getting permits and having inspections done. You plumbing board only has jurisdiction over licensed plumbers. Nobody should be able to do whatever in hell they want with their home for a number of reasons such as endangering the health and safety of not only the current occupants but the future occupants and the entire neighborhood and raising everyone's homeowner insurance rates. But there are plenty of plumbers that are more than willing to do their shopping at big box and they have no problem with screwing the trade for everyone else.
 

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The captain of plumbing
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Yep, I guess I would agree with that cept that there's not way in hell to enforce homeowners getting permits and having inspections done. You plumbing board only has jurisdiction over licensed plumbers. Nobody should be able to do whatever in hell they want with their home for a number of reasons such as endangering the health and safety of not only the current occupants but the future occupants and the entire neighborhood and raising everyone's homeowner insurance rates. But there are plenty of plumbers that are more than willing to do their shopping at big box and they have no problem with screwing the trade for everyone else.
I would also say there is no way to enforce someone working on their own plumbing even when it is illegal for them to do so. What would you suggest...Having a gestapo type of police force checking everyone's homes to see if they have been doing work on their own house? Dragging people to jail for doing work on their own home? Are you willing to advocate that? Boy, that will be good for our image. And for what reason- so you can make more money?
Like someone else said, I don't see the DIY'ers affecting our business a whole lot. Like I said, either I'm going to do it myself, or it isn't going to happen. I can't afford to hire someone. (And, by the way, I did pull permits for all the major things I have done in my home, for insurance reasons, and I passed no problem with complements by the local inspectors.)
If there is such a big problem with DIY types working on their own houses, where is the huge numbers of people being killed, houses blowing up or flooding out or burning down from them doing their own work? Why isn't the news just full of stuff like that?
Now I will give you people shouldn't just be allowed to do what they want in their own homes, like make a-bombs or raise man eating tigers. But that falls under public nusance law, and I would agree that there is a certain point where safety comes into play. But changing a faucet? Plumbing an extra bath? Even running a gas line? Hardware stores have been selling black pipe & fittings for years even before the big box stores. And where is the epidemic of gas explosions from DIY?
If you have never done anything in your own home, always hired it out, have a lawn care service, bring your vehicles to a mechanic, then let me take a bow to you. In fact, you are making more money than most of us here if you can afford to have it all done. So apperently you are successful doing what you are doing, so why are you complaining about big box and DIY? They are not affecting you financially.
I understand your concern, but I am not seeing it. It is attitudes like yours I have been seeing that is screwing us more than the big boxers are.
 

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Is one death enough?

I say this not caring about home centers or hardware stores selling items.
 
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Carry products that aren't sold at the box stores. This is one reason why I use Wirsbo Uponor pex. The problem with having homeowners do their own plumbing and having to meet the code is, it is almost impossible to follow the code without studing it.

So when the inspectors go to check the job they wind up instructing the homeowner how to do the job and it takes forever. Then when we need an inspection, we will have to wait a week or two until the inspector has time to do it.
 

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Carry products that aren't sold at the box stores. This is one reason why I use Wirsbo Uponor pex. The problem with having homeowners do their own plumbing and having to meet the code is, it is almost impossible to follow the code without studing it.

So when the inspectors go to check the job they wind up instructing the homeowner how to do the job and it takes forever. Then when we need an inspection, we will have to wait a week or two until the inspector has time to do it.
Exactly, and.. it's not the inspectors job to teach someone how to install plumbing or gas. They look at it, and it either passes or fails, and let you know why it failed, if so,
If your inspectors sit there and instruct a homeowner on how to correct the job, SHAME ON HIM. guess what, the homeowner has no damn business installing it.

And don't think it's a problem for a HO to install gas piping themselves?? your kidding me right? Gonna fire up that new piece of equipment, gonna test for leaks? with a manometer? not soapy bubbles, that doesn't fly here for an inspection. Gonna size the new piping and also the exisitng to ensure it is large enough for the new load, and not all be 1/2" thru the whole house.

You DIY'ers posting on this... you also do your own dental work? why not? Why go to a professional to have it done? Someone who has years of schooling, and experience. Why stop at the house work, go for the gusto. What's the purpose of having a license then?
 

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The best way to "keep the work" that is going to blue and orange is to have a good AHJ. If you don't have a good AHJ, then you need to make them better, or be the AHJ, or help the AHJ do a better job.

Another idea would be to band together and hire a p.i. or two to watch where the heaters are going.

--Will
 

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Why not

I personally don't mind a guy (or girl) being motivated enough to do their own repairs. Be it plumbing, electrical, carpentry, concrete, or changing our own spark plugs. I was raised on a farm and we done it all ourselves. Everything. If we had the equipment anyways. I'm the same way today for the most part though I have hired companys to do some things for me in the last few years. Whats wrong with a guy trying to rod his own drain or replace his disposal? I see women who vent frustration because their hubby couldn't or wouldn't fix a drippy faucet or mow the yard. And very often I get called to do a repair where hubby did try but failed. Hey just made me look good cus what he worked all weekend on and failed I done in 1.25 hrs. Made me shine. Happens all the time. All I ask is don't go selling himself as a pro and hiring out to work for other people. As mentioned earlier theres a percentage of people who will hire plumbers. That's our window of opportunity to make our trade and skill look good.
 

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I hired a flooring company to put down some flooring for me a few years back. We bought the flooring at HD and used the company they recommended. What a joke, wife and I could have topped their workmanship without a blink. Simply saying,,, people expect our work to be right, neat, effective, and professional. If we don't separate ourselves in this way, we are nothing more than expensive hacks who carry a license and ins. policy.
 

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I would also say there is no way to enforce someone working on their own plumbing even when it is illegal for them to do so. What would you suggest...Having a gestapo type of police force checking everyone's homes to see if they have been doing work on their own house? Dragging people to jail for doing work on their own home? Are you willing to advocate that? Boy, that will be good for our image. And for what reason- so you can make more money?
Like someone else said, I don't see the DIY'ers affecting our business a whole lot. Like I said, either I'm going to do it myself, or it isn't going to happen. I can't afford to hire someone. (And, by the way, I did pull permits for all the major things I have done in my home, for insurance reasons, and I passed no problem with complements by the local inspectors.)
If there is such a big problem with DIY types working on their own houses, where is the huge numbers of people being killed, houses blowing up or flooding out or burning down from them doing their own work? Why isn't the news just full of stuff like that?
Now I will give you people shouldn't just be allowed to do what they want in their own homes, like make a-bombs or raise man eating tigers. But that falls under public nusance law, and I would agree that there is a certain point where safety comes into play. But changing a faucet? Plumbing an extra bath? Even running a gas line? Hardware stores have been selling black pipe & fittings for years even before the big box stores. And where is the epidemic of gas explosions from DIY?
If you have never done anything in your own home, always hired it out, have a lawn care service, bring your vehicles to a mechanic, then let me take a bow to you. In fact, you are making more money than most of us here if you can afford to have it all done. So apperently you are successful doing what you are doing, so why are you complaining about big box and DIY? They are not affecting you financially.
I understand your concern, but I am not seeing it. It is attitudes like yours I have been seeing that is screwing us more than the big boxers are.

OK, so why bother to license plumbers and gas fitters? If homeowners aren't burning down and blowing up enough houses, how many are professionals destroying? If WE had stood up against the influx of all the cheap easy plumbing products that flood the market instead of selling and installing the crap ourselves it would have gone a long way toward stemming the tide of hack homeowner plumbing. And just exactly is my attitude screwing us? No my friend, it's guys with your attitude that couldn't be bothered to do anything except collect a check that have led to this whole mess.
 

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In Texas HomeOwners are allowed to plumbing and gas in their house.

Add to it all the Illegal plumbers on Craigsllist and all the "Illegals Aliens" plumbers working for peanuts, sometimes it tuff out there to be a real plumber
 

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The captain of plumbing
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Is one death enough?

I say this not caring about home centers or hardware stores selling items.
Ahh, yes, the last refuge of scoundrels, the some one might die defense…

Of course, one death is one death too many, but if you are going to go on that crusade, then you had better include building houses and buildings out of combustible materials, automobiles, guns, hunting, swimming, boating, knives, smoking, alcohol, junk food, etc. etc. etc…

I don’t know who you think you are, but your not banning my twinkies…

The bottom line is here it is about control. Controlling who can do what.
 

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The captain of plumbing
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I’m not here to defend the big boxes, they don’t need defending. I’m not defending DIY’ers doing their own gas lines. I don’t like it either, in fact I can agree with those of you here that it shouldn’t be allowed.
What I am saying is it has been going on for a long time and if there was an epidemic of deaths, injuries, and property damage because of it, believe me we would be hearing about it. By the way some of you talk on here I would swear half the country is on fire right now. But, don’t take my word for it. We have the big bad internet here, do your own research. I would hate anything like facts to get in the way.

What I am defending, is the right to work on my own home, the right to do with what I wish, within reason, of my own property. If you don’t have the right to your own property, then, in effect, you don’t own that property. And, by government decree, you don’t own that property, even though you worked for the money to buy that home, money being the fruits of your labor, then you do not have right to the fruits of your labor. And, if you do not have the rights to the fruits of your labor, then essentially, you are a slave, a slave to the government.
You guys that want that kind of control need to keep that in mind when you sell your soul in perception of making more money.

When you trade freedom for security you will lose both.

It is not because of big box stores things are the way they are. Big boxes are successful because of the way things are.

Too much government, taxes, laws, regulation is why things are the way they are.

Government is the problem, not the solution.

Escalating government control will only make things worse, not better.

With that I’m saying that I am not against licensing and inspections. That is part of a public good, like police and fire and courts and other government functions. What I am saying is, and to quote Barak Obama, is “That attitude, I think, reflects a lack of faith in the American People.”, talking about people doing the right thing. I don’t often agree with Obama, but he got it right in that statement.
People want freedom, plain and simple. This is the United States of America, we were built on freedom. That is basically what the last election was about, taking the county back from big government types. Not no government, less government.

There is a public perception by a lot of people that they are having the screws put to them from all directions. I hear it from customers I deal with all the time. Organizing and getting in bed with government is not the answer. That only further deteriorates our image. That is what I am talking about that is screwing us.

Nhmaster3015, when you say doing something about it, I always hear supporting oppressive laws and actions as the solution by you guys as what should be done. Well I’m not willing to do that, for all the reasons I have stated above. And by saying I’m just collecting a check, well, the bottom line isn’t it what its all about? Are you trying to tell me there is a more virtuous ground for all this than making money? And, if that is true, then I don't call getting into bed with government virtuous. You are misguided.

Nh, my friend, we can agree to disagree.
 
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