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Retired Moderator
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Had a call once for no water. I go out and find that the pump wire was broken. Told the HO and fixed it. Tested the pump while it was above ground and it did not run. Told the HO who said go ahead and replace it. Replaced it, then it would not run, so I checked the pressure switch, it was burned. Told the HO that it too needed to be replaced. He said replace it then, to which I did. Got the thing running and when I turned the faucet on the pump kicked right in, cut the tap off the pump stopped. Checked the air ballast tank, and sure enough it was full of water. Told the HO about the ruptured tank bladder to which he said "I bet you dont even know what you are doing! You are just replacing everything!" I tried to explain the order of events that led up to all this mess

First the bladder went bad, which causes the pump to cycle excessively, when it does this the points are constantly opening and closing which causes the electricity to jump the gap and burn out the points. The points stuck shut and the pump ran untill it burned out.

They did not want to hear it, I was just an idiot who knew nothing. Oh well, they paid me but I never got called back for anything
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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The worst are customers who have absolutely ZERO grasp of simple mechanics, yet they want to argue about how you are doing the job wrong.:rolleyes:
I once cabled a drain for a commercial kitchen. A few days later, the owner calls complaining that the water is rusty and we must have made it that way when we cabled the drain!!!:blink: How do you explain to someone that the waterpipes and drain pipes are entirely separate when they are that retarded?:wacko::help:
 

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Retired Moderator
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Discussion Starter #3
HA, love that one!
Most times though it probably someone who screwed up in the past and concocted some tale that the HO thinks is true, then you try to explain logic to them they dont want to hear it!
 

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i went to look at a possible slab leak for this customer years ago and we were talking about whether the water lines were below the slab or in the attic. she says "all the pipes are overhead". i spent literally a half hour trying to convince her that her drain lines are below the slab. "no, i'm pretty sure everything is in the attic". mechanical aptitude is one thing but if you can't grasp the law of gravity it's tough to get too far.







paul
 

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i HAD THE SAME ho rocksteady TALKED ABOUT. hE JUST KEPT SAYING.................But,

but but you can't get under the slab.:furious:



Idiot!:furious:
 

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Had a call back for a mysterious leak under the kitchen sink after we had put a loop in the dishwasher line for them. Asked them if it leaked when they ran the dishwasher. Nope.

But they didn't have a leak until we worked on the dishwasher.

Culprit - an old jug of water in a plastic bottle was leaking! We didn't charge him, but this kind of stupidity really ticks you off!

Bill your story made me laugh - recently went through a water heater job like that. HO couldn't understand why the gate valve failed.
 

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J. McCabe Plumbing Inc.
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409 Posts
Plumbcrazy,
It might help to cure the customers need to blame the last guy there, if you had charged for a service call after showing him the culprit.
 

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Plumber Manhattan Beach
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828 Posts
HAHAHAHA, I had this the other day, simple toilet stoppage, cleared it with the auger, noticed the fill valve float was holding water, rebuilt the toilet, 3rd time around, noticed water coming from underneath the toilet, old the customer it had ot be reset, this time I told her husband to come home so I could explain what was going on.

Found out the toilet usualy ran before th stoppage, and he plunged the toilet and blew apart the wax trying to clear the stoppage before he called me.

It all made since!! First time customer, I told them straight out I was not trying to drive the invoice up!
 

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ive had them also. do you ever want to just get sadistic and find out where they work, and hire them for thier service, and ***** at them incessently about how they dont know what they are doing. its not high up on my list of things to do, but its on the list.:laughing:
 

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Worked for a large company years ago ,,,, had one plumber who ONLY prided himself on doing as many service calls in a day AS WAS POSSIBLE ,,, he took NO pride in his work or his ethics ,,, ANYWAY ,,, I was sent on one of his call backs were :
Plumber A had told the HO that the hot water spraying under their K/S was from an underground hot spring :whistling2: .

I get there , crawl under the sink and find a pin hole in the hot line just behind the valve causing a fine mist and a lot of hot water blah,blah .
Tell the customer what was happening and what i would do to make it right.

OH NO ,,, " Plumber A said we are sitting on a natural Hot Spring and he MUST know what he is talking about because he also told us how he averages 12-15 calls PER DAY ! . So we want our cabinets pulled out and our floor jack hammered up to re route the Hot Spring !! "

uh huh ,,,, I fixed her leak in 15 minutes and left her to her foolish beliefs.

You can't fix Stupid !!

Cal
 

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Plumbcrazy,
It might help to cure the customers need to blame the last guy there, if you had charged for a service call after showing him the culprit.
You can't fix stupid. The last thing we need is a stupid guy badmouthing our company. We are in growth mode, so more often than not the customer is always right.

If the saying "what comes around goes around" is true, we should be hitting the mother load anyday now. :laughing:
 

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i went to one house twice for a tub stoppage. each time the trip lever was left up and all i did was drain the tub. i brought the tenant in and showed them that the drain works if you let it drain. the next time i went out it was because the room mate thought the tub was backed up. i had to have the same conversation with him too. at least they're living together and not dumbing down otherwise smart households.






paul
 

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I have a story its not a plumbing story but an electricians story.. A friend of mine go to to a job at a womans house. I beleive it was a light fixture outside her front door. well a day later he gets a call back from the h.o. Her chandeleir in her dining room one of those with 500 crystals on it out of the blue falls on her glass dining room table. So she calls him and insists its his fault because he worked on the electricity.. and that there was a surge because he changed the light outside that caused the fixture to come off the ceiling.. now thats a stupid h.o.
Later they found out the maid was spinning the light to clean all the crystals day after day.. it eventualy spun close enough to spin right off...
 

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I did a kitchen sink install ,normally what i do to test the drains,I fill up the sink,and let it drain.The sink blocks.which I have seen before.long story short,I unblocked it using a rotor,which I had to pass several times.Im figuring the line was full of grease,and pushed all the grease into a section,when i let go the water in the sink.She did not want to pay me,she said i blocked the sink,she said i deserve 30 dollars for the sink install.She called me a month later for more work,and got upset when i refused.thats stupid.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
I did a kitchen sink install ,normally what i do to test the drains,I fill up the sink,and let it drain.The sink blocks.which I have seen before.long story short,I unblocked it using a rotor,which I had to pass several times.Im figuring the line was full of grease,and pushed all the grease into a section,when i let go the water in the sink.She did not want to pay me,she said i blocked the sink,she said i deserve 30 dollars for the sink install.She called me a month later for more work,and got upset when i refused.thats stupid.
$30 for a kitchen sink install and free cable job??? Thats insane.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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5,478 Posts
We are in growth mode, so more often than not the customer is always right.



Noooooo no no no no.



That's not true, and there's no way that's true. The customer is NOT always right and to be scared of the customer just because you're in the "growth" mode, is not going to do you any favors, except cost you money in return to "thinking" that's the answer to idiots like these.


If there's any strength to your company, you can assure yourself that if you're following the 70% rule, you'll get by just fine and tossing the idiots to the side are a good way of standing up for your own business practices.


I followed that ritual you spoke of early on and wised up quickly, because people that screw you over are not exactly a huge crowd, they are a limited bunch.


There's tons of people that will never call my services again and that's fine; I keep the wheels turning every week and apparently I've done something correctly with the repeat business and the ongoing calls.

The last thing I offer is someone getting the upper hand on me thinking I give 2 flying ****s about reputation and concern for how I appear.


I've already proved that countless times and that 30% I'll never convince otherwise, **** them and the horse they rode in on. I'm not here to give the trade away, I'm treating the customer properly and any friction coming from their end would indicate they are pure **** in my opinion. They will be treated as such with every intention of me hoping they go and tell a bunch of people the same thing.

They flock together and don't think they don't.


I've had bad dealings with other companies before, and I don't "keep" talking about them. It quickly leaves the mind and life moves on. That's how it is with everything generally in life.

Wishing hardship on others on the turnaround is wishful thinking at best, putting up a hard fight for what you know is right from the go, is defiance against stupidity and there are some who will test this standard constantly.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Yeah, I agree with Dunbar here. Less than 2 years on my own, of course I am still in the growth mode. No excuse to let people walk on me like a doormat.
Plumbcrazy, one observation is that you seem to operate out of fear. You have told us multiple times that you have fear over raising your prices, fear of losing customers, fear of not growing the company, fear of getting a bad reputation, etc, etc.

One of the reasons I started on my own is that I run the show. If a customer doesn't like how I run the show...they are free to call the competition. I would rather have 5 good customers, rather than 10 bad ones. That is one reason I plan on keeping the business small. I get to "pick" my customers that way.;)
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Dunbar, you have a way with words. The more I read your post, the more poetic gems I get out of it.:laughing:

Deep thoughts...by Roast Duck.:laughing: ...priceless.
•The customer is NOT always right and to be scared of the customer just because you're in the "growth" mode, is not going to do you any favors, except cost you money.


•You'll get by just fine tossing the idiots to the side.

•...that 30% I'll never convince otherwise, **** them and the horse they rode in on. I'm not here to give the trade away, I'm treating the customer properly and any friction coming from their end would indicate they are pure **** in my opinion. They will be treated as such with every intention of me hoping they go and tell a bunch of people the same thing.

They flock together and don't think they don't.


•I've had bad dealings with other companies before, and I don't "keep" talking about them. It quickly leaves the mind and life moves on.

•Wishing hardship on others on the turnaround is wishful thinking at best, putting up a hard fight for what you know is right from the go, is defiance against stupidity and there are some who will test this standard constantly.
 

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Yeah, I agree with Dunbar here. Less than 2 years on my own, of course I am still in the growth mode. No excuse to let people walk on me like a doormat.
Plumbcrazy, one observation is that you seem to operate out of fear. You have told us multiple times that you have fear over raising your prices, fear of losing customers, fear of not growing the company, fear of getting a bad reputation, etc, etc.

One of the reasons I started on my own is that I run the show. If a customer doesn't like how I run the show...they are free to call the competition. I would rather have 5 good customers, rather than 10 bad ones. That is one reason I plan on keeping the business small. I get to "pick" my customers that way.;)
Dunbar & Service Guy - In all fairness, you are one man operations. After one year, we had two trucks and were profitable at the same time. When I complain, I am referring to a handful of customers out of 1474 jobs this past year. Most are appreciative. The PITA, we bend over once to try an accomodate. If it happens a second time, we get rid of the customer. Right now, I can think of five customers that we will not work for. That averages about one a year.

Fear - You are correct about operating out of fear.

Raising prices - If we raise our prices just 10%, but lose 30% of our customer base - we lose. Today's economy is unchartered territory. Even those who appreciate service and quality are penny pinching. Plumbing is not valued very much by the consumer. The average consumer (one who hasn't been burned) thinks all plumbers are alike. Rather than raise prices, I am looking to cut costs. Just a different approach to becoming more profitable. Like it or not, we may very well be entering into a period of Deflation.

Losing customers - This is plain economics. The average customer costs $100.00 to reach. If we lose 20 customers, in my mind we have lost $2,000.00.

Bad reputation - The upfront price companies are hurting more than the T & M guys right now. ARS which had 125 people (plg, elec.) layed off 75 people over night. Their trucks sit in their parking lot day after day. We have a loyal base and if it wasn't for them, we would have been out of business too. New business has practically stopped, except for the emergency call.

Why you cannot stay small - If you get the flu, who is taking care of your customers? In emergencies, they will not wait. If you break your leg, you have no business and no income. A one man shop cannot get the same discount as a busier shop. etc.

If these were your only two options, which would you choose.

1. Be a doormat and laugh all the way to the bank.

2. Being right and wondering how you are going to pay your bills.

I choose option 1. However, I try to operate somewhere in the middle.
 
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