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Plumber, Totally
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, changed out 3 residential water heaters. Homeowner had three 75 gallon heaters, 2 in tandem, 1 serving another part of the house. He changed them to 50 gallon models because it's just he and his wife, plus the heaters were 15 or so years old, so the replacement was preventative, also. I was one of 3 or 4 plumbers bidding on the job. Very, very nice house, borderline mansion in Mountain Brook, AL, very nice section of the city.

When I went there to estimate the work, I informed the plumber that my work would include new full port ball valves (among other improvements, code required and otherwise) on the heaters because the current, old gate valves are not reliable any more, and closing them strongly sometimes results in a permanently closed valve. Well, some dumba$$ plumber came in after me, closed one of the gate valves, in order to "test the system", ....so the HO tells me.... Guess what? locked down, and the same dumba$$ plumber had to replace it with a new full port ball valve, aint that great?!?

According to the HO, this plumber took over an hour and a half to sweat a new BV in the line. AND THEN CHARGED HIM $199.00 TO FIX THE THING HE BROKE!!!!!(by the way, if I break it, I bought it. I'm sure this plumber didn't bother to inform the HO that this could possibly happen, but decided to SCREW him anyway - Good business plan, should keep you goin' for a while...)

needless to say, the BV installation that I walked up on looked like the surface of the moon with more drops of solder than you can imagine....and was dripping about a drip every 15 seconds. The BV was located DIRECTLY under some ridgid ductwork(foil wrapped), actually touching it. badly scorched, but "cleverly" covered with new foil tape. (nice touch).

The HO wouldn't tell me the name of the plumber that did it, but did say that he seemed very professional and polite. (great) He also said that my bid came in substantially lower than the other guys, and he also has heard from friends and neighbors that this other plumber is consistently the most expensive in town.

WITH COMPETITION LIKE THAT, I'M THINKIN' I CAN HANDLE IT!

WHOEVER YOU ARE OUT THERE SCREWIN' YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE THAT, KEEP IT UP, I NEED YOU!!!!!

There, I'm done. Where's the Tylenol?!?!?

Total
 

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I aint CPV see in it?
Joined
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4,896 Posts
My tylenol is in the bottom drawer, next to the 22 pistola, which is next tot he bottle of vodka, which is next to the noose, which is next to the pen and paper that the "note" would go on.
 

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residential service
Joined
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1,948 Posts
Today, changed out 3 residential water heaters. Homeowner had three 75 gallon heaters, 2 in tandem, 1 serving another part of the house. He changed them to 50 gallon models because it's just he and his wife, plus the heaters were 15 or so years old, so the replacement was preventative, also. I was one of 3 or 4 plumbers bidding on the job. Very, very nice house, borderline mansion in Mountain Brook, AL, very nice section of the city.

When I went there to estimate the work, I informed the plumber that my work would include new full port ball valves (among other improvements, code required and otherwise) on the heaters because the current, old gate valves are not reliable any more, and closing them strongly sometimes results in a permanently closed valve. Well, some dumba$$ plumber came in after me, closed one of the gate valves, in order to "test the system", ....so the HO tells me.... Guess what? locked down, and the same dumba$$ plumber had to replace it with a new full port ball valve, aint that great?!?

According to the HO, this plumber took over an hour and a half to sweat a new BV in the line. AND THEN CHARGED HIM $199.00 TO FIX THE THING HE BROKE!!!!!(by the way, if I break it, I bought it. I'm sure this plumber didn't bother to inform the HO that this could possibly happen, but decided to SCREW him anyway - Good business plan, should keep you goin' for a while...)

needless to say, the BV installation that I walked up on looked like the surface of the moon with more drops of solder than you can imagine....and was dripping about a drip every 15 seconds. The BV was located DIRECTLY under some ridgid ductwork(foil wrapped), actually touching it. badly scorched, but "cleverly" covered with new foil tape. (nice touch).

The HO wouldn't tell me the name of the plumber that did it, but did say that he seemed very professional and polite. (great) He also said that my bid came in substantially lower than the other guys, and he also has heard from friends and neighbors that this other plumber is consistently the most expensive in town.

WITH COMPETITION LIKE THAT, I'M THINKIN' I CAN HANDLE IT!

WHOEVER YOU ARE OUT THERE SCREWIN' YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE THAT, KEEP IT UP, I NEED YOU!!!!!

There, I'm done. Where's the Tylenol?!?!?

Total
Ok, I am the "dumb ass plumber" you are talking about and yes the gate valve did stick when closed and yes I did charge him $199 to replace it which is the same price I would charge to replace any 1/2" to 1" valve. Why did I close the valve? Well if you were actually on site you surely must of noticed that the 3 water heaters were on a split system and while it seemed obvious that 1 wh served the master and the other 2 served the rest of the house, I learned long ago not to assume anything about what another plumber did 20 years ago so I closed the valve in order to make certain about what fixtures were being served by which water heaters. He also wanted a tankless quote and so I wanted to know precisely where everything went so that it could be properly sized. I did not over tighten the valve as that was not even necessary since a simple reduction in flow rate is all that is required to determine where the hot water is coming from. Are you suggesting that I am responsible for the failure of a gate valve that had been in place that long? It's the ho's gate valve not mine. I in no way did anything to this valve that would exceed what would be considered normal use. It failed but nothing I did caused it to fail. If you close a house isolation valve that is a gate valve to make a repair somewhere and it fails are you telling me that you will replace that valve for free? I won't.

As for the solder drips and the amount of time it took to change it out, yes it took some time (not 1.5 hours) because it was located in an impossible place, the man was in a hurry because he had a card game to go to, and I could not get the water to stop dripping. Jet swet was not an option as the valve was nearly butted up to a 3/4" tee. The duct work was not ridgid but rather was duct board. Had it been ridgid, foil tape would not have been necessary to seal it. Should I have instead just left it or perhaps you think I should have just cut that entire section of duct board out and installed new. The tape sealed it perfectly well because that is precisely what it is designed to do. I do admit that this was not my prettiest work but under the circumstances (trying to get it done so the man could be on his way and fighting the water all the way) it was what was necessary. I don't know what "drip" you saw, but this valve absolutely did not leak when I left it or I never would have left it.

Now what I really want to know is what did the bill finally come out to be? Were you the guy that told him $250 plus the wh (which he had the idea would be under $400 for a 50 gal tank) or the guy that told him $350 plus the water heater? When exactly were you planning on telling him that he was required to install thermal expansion tanks on the replacement tanks and that his spring loaded gas stops no longer were acceptable? If these are in fact your prices, I will be buying your trucks and equipment for pennies on the dollar within a couple of years.

You want to rake me over the coals for charging the man a more than fair price to replace a valve, located in an extremely difficult location, that I did not break (I'm just the guy who discovered that it did not work properly) and the same time you didn't bother to inform the man ahead of time everything that was required. He had never even heard of a thermal expansion tank before I explained to him what it was, how it worked, and why it was required.

As far as being the "highest in town", that's good information to have because that is precisely where I intend to stay. I might also add that it is not true, nevertheless I would rather be at the high end than replacing 75 gal ng water heaters for $250 - $350.

I don't know that I would find any but I'm just curious about how many shark bite fittings I might find on his replacement tanks if I were to go back over there and look. Would I find the necessary code upgrades? Whose tanks were installed? Was the disposal of the 3 - 75 gal ng water heaters included in that $250 - $350 or was that added on later? If he went with you I'm guessing you were the $250 guy. Good luck with that.
 

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Registered
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500 Posts
Today, changed out 3 residential water heaters. Homeowner had three 75 gallon heaters, 2 in tandem, 1 serving another part of the house. He changed them to 50 gallon models because it's just he and his wife, plus the heaters were 15 or so years old, so the replacement was preventative, also. I was one of 3 or 4 plumbers bidding on the job. Very, very nice house, borderline mansion in Mountain Brook, AL, very nice section of the city.

When I went there to estimate the work, I informed the plumber that my work would include new full port ball valves (among other improvements, code required and otherwise) on the heaters because the current, old gate valves are not reliable any more, and closing them strongly sometimes results in a permanently closed valve. Well, some dumba$$ plumber came in after me, closed one of the gate valves, in order to "test the system", ....so the HO tells me.... Guess what? locked down, and the same dumba$$ plumber had to replace it with a new full port ball valve, aint that great?!?

According to the HO, this plumber took over an hour and a half to sweat a new BV in the line. AND THEN CHARGED HIM $199.00 TO FIX THE THING HE BROKE!!!!!(by the way, if I break it, I bought it. I'm sure this plumber didn't bother to inform the HO that this could possibly happen, but decided to SCREW him anyway - Good business plan, should keep you goin' for a while...)

needless to say, the BV installation that I walked up on looked like the surface of the moon with more drops of solder than you can imagine....and was dripping about a drip every 15 seconds. The BV was located DIRECTLY under some ridgid ductwork(foil wrapped), actually touching it. badly scorched, but "cleverly" covered with new foil tape. (nice touch).

The HO wouldn't tell me the name of the plumber that did it, but did say that he seemed very professional and polite. (great) He also said that my bid came in substantially lower than the other guys, and he also has heard from friends and neighbors that this other plumber is consistently the most expensive in town.

WITH COMPETITION LIKE THAT, I'M THINKIN' I CAN HANDLE IT!

WHOEVER YOU ARE OUT THERE SCREWIN' YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE THAT, KEEP IT UP, I NEED YOU!!!!!

There, I'm done. Where's the Tylenol?!?!?

Total

Sounds like the the not only do you have the competition beat but their beating themselves. However if your the cheapest of four bids and the other's aren't specing full port BV's on a WH and their a dunmb ass to boot, you need to raise your rates!

Just a thought.
 

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Plumbing and Gas SCO
Joined
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1,437 Posts
Game on!

Seriously though, I really hope this doesn't turn into a retarded message battle. I hope that you guys can move past the original blast and talk about it. Maybe a few PM's between ya to smooth things out. HO's never help the situation and can really stir things up.

Remember, we are all in this together and I think Birmingham should be big enough for the both of you.
 

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Banned
Joined
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8,808 Posts
It is all a matter of a point of view, what one sees is not what the other one sees, lets keep it at that, no need to see this thread turn into a brawl.

Today is my B-Day, I don't want to set around and watch who said what to who, If you must throw some punches use the PM on here.
 

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Registered
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348 Posts
well, didn't expect that today. I was a little surprised when "totalplumber" said he would be responsible for the gate valve. A valve is supposed to work when you go to use it. If you turned on the light switch wouldn"t you expect that to work or would you feel you should fix that free of charge. Ho would like us to belive that it was working before we touched it. No it wasn't! ----steve
 

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Illinois Licensed Plumber
Joined
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4,253 Posts
If something breaks when I go to use it, I never admit fault since in reality I am not at fault, I was just the unlucky guy to have it fail when I used it. I had door knobs come off right in my hand, and had HO tell me I was responsible to fix it, I tell them I used 10000's of door knobs, the only ones that ever broke off where already broken or on the verge of breaking, I am not responsible for normal wear and tear. If they still want to make an issue of it then I tell them them if they can talk to my insurance agent.

So in the case of the valve breaking while I used it. I would charge them as well and $199.00 to fix it is not all that expensive.
 

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Plumber, Totally
Joined
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well...Smells...

T,
If I ever had an indication that you did that work, I certainly would not have posted what I posted. Your response was very defensive. I was blasting an "unknown, nameless, faceless, hack" of a plumber. Had I known it was you, we would have spoken on the phone.

You and I have talked on the phone a couple of times, and I respect you and hope you respect me as well.

I'll not be sharing with you the amount of the total bill either here or privately. I made enough $ to justify the time there.

the heaters installed have expansion tanks, red handled gas ball valves,NO SHARK BITES, and 10 year warranties.

It was good work for a fair price.

With limited information from a disgruntled customer, you can plainly see why I assumed that the work was performed by a slack-jack-hack. You had the advantage on me by knowing my identity upon reading my post, and you felt justified on blasting my company's policies? I can understand your defensive attitude, I really can. I don't appreciate the assumptions you make, though.

Please call me if you'd like to discuss.

All the best.

Total


Total
 

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Drain Cleaning Specialist
Joined
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2,076 Posts
Not our fault something in Ho's home fails. Ho own's it they should pay to fix it.
Gate valve, squeaky stair, loose door nob Ho problem. Now if we break a window or burn something etc. Then yes thats our fault
 

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AKA house plumber
Joined
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3,560 Posts
Wow. What are the chances of 2 different plumbers from the same job to be on the same forum. Damn we live in a small world. Just remember fellows, we are all professionals here. ho's lie and never give the full story. Nothing to fight about.
 

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residential service
Joined
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1,948 Posts
T,
If I ever had an indication that you did that work, I certainly would not have posted what I posted. Your response was very defensive. I was blasting an "unknown, nameless, faceless, hack" of a plumber. Had I known it was you, we would have spoken on the phone.

You and I have talked on the phone a couple of times, and I respect you and hope you respect me as well.

I'll not be sharing with you the amount of the total bill either here or privately. I made enough $ to justify the time there.

the heaters installed have expansion tanks, red handled gas ball valves,NO SHARK BITES, and 10 year warranties.

It was good work for a fair price.

With limited information from a disgruntled customer, you can plainly see why I assumed that the work was performed by a slack-jack-hack. You had the advantage on me by knowing my identity upon reading my post, and you felt justified on blasting my company's policies? I can understand your defensive attitude, I really can. I don't appreciate the assumptions you make, though.

Please call me if you'd like to discuss.

All the best.

Total


Total
Ok, I'm settled down a bit now. Yes I was pretty defensive when I first read your op. I also have to confess that this was by no means my finest work with respect to the ball valve. I really was feeling a lot of pressure to get it done quickly and nothing about it was cooperating. Not that the ho was breathing down my neck or anything like that, I just knew it was inconvenient to his schedule and I hated the circumstances under which the repair proved necessary to begin with. I was there late in the afternoon to begin with to accomodate his schedule.

In all honesty, and it pains me to admit it, but had I come across the same valve done by someone else I most assuredly would have drawn the same conclusions. Does this mean I'm a hack posing as a plumber? There is no way I would confess that. I take a lot of pride in what I do and how I do it. I unfortunately allowed, in this case, these particular circumstances to lead me down a road I would not have chosen by myself.

As for my pricing, I don't have a problem with being the most expensive. Somebody has to be the most expensive and as long as everything we propose is thoroughly explained to the ho and there written authorization is obtained prior to the work being done, and we are providing the finest service we know how to give, then I am happy to occupy that position in the market place. Having said all of that, I can with the utmost confidence state that in reality we are by no means the most expensive in our market, ... but we are working on it. In fact, the ho himself revealed that he had a quote from a franchise hvac company (who are not supposed to be messing around with water heaters anyway) that was about $400 more than mine. The thing that I will not tolerate from myself or any of my people is not doing for the client, at an absolute minimum, exactly what we promise. We will often do more than we promise but never less.

I do wish that I had this call to do over again. If I could roll back the clock I would not change my pricing at all, which means you still would have done the work instead of me, but I most certainly would have kept my hands off of that gate valve. I just didn't want to make any assumptions about the hot water distribution system knowing that it was split.

Total as far as I'm concerned we're cool and as much as it pains me to say it, if I'm going to speak the truth, then I can't really blame you for the conclusions you drew about the work that was done. Wish I didn't have to say that but it is what it is.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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5,478 Posts
Ok, I'm settled down a bit now. Yes I was pretty defensive when I first read your op. I also have to confess that this was by no means my finest work with respect to the ball valve. I really was feeling a lot of pressure to get it done quickly and nothing about it was cooperating. Not that the ho was breathing down my neck or anything like that, I just knew it was inconvenient to his schedule and I hated the circumstances under which the repair proved necessary to begin with. I was there late in the afternoon to begin with to accomodate his schedule.

In all honesty, and it pains me to admit it, but had I come across the same valve done by someone else I most assuredly would have drawn the same conclusions. Does this mean I'm a hack posing as a plumber? There is no way I would confess that. I take a lot of pride in what I do and how I do it. I unfortunately allowed, in this case, these particular circumstances to lead me down a road I would not have chosen by myself.

As for my pricing, I don't have a problem with being the most expensive. Somebody has to be the most expensive and as long as everything we propose is thoroughly explained to the ho and there written authorization is obtained prior to the work being done, and we are providing the finest service we know how to give, then I am happy to occupy that position in the market place. Having said all of that, I can with the utmost confidence state that in reality we are by no means the most expensive in our market, ... but we are working on it. In fact, the ho himself revealed that he had a quote from a franchise hvac company (who are not supposed to be messing around with water heaters anyway) that was about $400 more than mine. The thing that I will not tolerate from myself or any of my people is not doing for the client, at an absolute minimum, exactly what we promise. We will often do more than we promise but never less.

I do wish that I had this call to do over again. If I could roll back the clock I would not change my pricing at all, which means you still would have done the work instead of me, but I most certainly would have kept my hands off of that gate valve. I just didn't want to make any assumptions about the hot water distribution system knowing that it was split.

Total as far as I'm concerned we're cool and as much as it pains me to say it, if I'm going to speak the truth, then I can't really blame you for the conclusions you drew about the work that was done. Wish I didn't have to say that but it is what it is.

I'm starting to think there is two of you. Your writing prose is totally different on another site, www.plbg.com ...

Are you the same "smellslikemoney" from Alabama on that site? A few of us advisors on that site noticed that you was spending a lot of time on there the past couple weeks. And some of the banter doesn't match what is seen on this site.

Just curious if you could clear this up...because if it isn't you, we want to know who it is. But they are on the site almost around the clock like someone who is not working.
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
I have come up on many many potentials and noted the gate valves...Normally I just won't touch them...I let the client know they are getting replaced. Now when quoting for tankless...I would have done the exact thing....In fact, I would have shut it down completely when figuring out piping because I have seen two zones crossed up before and that can have a big affect on tankless systems...especially with recirculation systems. That said, when I have shut them down I have already explained that there is a good chance they will die frozen and than there is a new valve and labor that needs to be paid, but it's explained beforehand. If the client doesn't know I am going to charge them prior to the work, he has no reason to pay. The experienced plumber will do things like this because buying some cranky old guy a new valve is not my idea of a good time...or spending hours and hours trying to figure out why my new system isn't working correctly...been there, and I have the T-shirt(s).

I think it's funny as all hell that 2 guys came crashing together on some forum......Keep charging and keep doing high quality work...otherwise why bother?
 
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