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Lift Station Whisperer
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, looking for some input. I'm about 6 months into my apprenticeship, and I really like the company I work for. They are probably in the top 3 service companies in the area, and definitely the best at training. The sticky bit is that I currently have to drive 45 min one way to work, and the time cost is starting to take a toll on family life. I'd move closer, but all the housing closer to work is either out of our price range or a total s***hole.

The other piece of the story is that part of the reason I signed on with them is that I was told they were opening up a location in the city I live in. When I asked about the status of that yesterday, I was told it has been put on hold indefinitely.

If you were in a similar situation, would you lean towards moving or switching jobs?

Company owners, what would you say to an apprentice that brought up that they might need to look for something closer to home?
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
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When I started out my commute was about an hour each way, but that was mostly sitting in rush hour traffic.

I’d talk to your boss/manager and see if they can help you out. If you’re a hard worker, and they like you hopefully they’ll want the keep you around.

As a business owner, if you were an above average worker, that really stood out, and would go above and beyond the other guys I’d see what I could do to help you out and keep you around.


How long have you been with said company?
How many employees do they have?
What would it take to keep you there?
Do you use your own truck/tools?
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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7,603 Posts
45 minutes is not really that long a drive.. if you lived in california tthey think that 45 minutes is a cakewalk
In our state, We got people who came from california buying lake houses over 50 miles from work , they think nothing
of a hour and 1/2 r drive back and forth every day.......
if you want to learn the trade and eventually get your journaymans card
then you are probably going to just tolerate the situation for a while ..

or find something closer and but then you gamble on getting laid off some day
after you move.... nothing is for certain when you are an apprentice...

I can think of a LOT worse things than a commute to work every day
like hand digging a ditch all day long...for some crappy company that treats
you like a fuc/ing slave....---

I have been there and done that with the long commute home too
 

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Plumber, Retired 40 years
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The time in my opinion is not a big deal
the fuel cost per week is the killer
I have know helpers that drug up because the gas was cost was killing them
anyone else in your area working there? split the cost of gas with?
 

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Here’s my thoughts as a business owner (if I ever wanted an employee)...

Good workers are hard to come buy. Seriously, especially nowadays. So if I had an employee that worked hard, eager to learn, shows up on time, doesn’t call in for hangover Monday, I would gladly pay a little more to keep them. That said, budget is a very important to have a successful business.

All companies are different, all bossed are different. Is your boss in it solely for the money, or does he care about his customers and employees?

What I would do is ask your boss to have a private conversation. State the facts just as you did here. Since you’re company has such a good reputation, and as you say, it sounds like a great job to learn the trade, as long as they’re teaching you how to do what they’re doing and you’re not just the gopher.

I totally understand about family time, you’re young and are starting a really good trade. You need to look at your future and decide if an hour and a half drive every day is worth a great career. What do you want your future to be?

I kinda stumbled my way into plumbing. The first company I worked for was a shnit show, money hungry, didn’t give a crap about their customers or employees. I swore off plumbing forever! Moved to Michigan in ‘03 and it was a tough job market. In ‘07 I decided to leave the job I was at because I hadn’t had a raise in three years even though they were doing very well. I took a job in plumbing since it was kinda something I knew. Built my skills and reputation. About 6 years ago I decided to start my business while working for a new master who didn’t drain clean anymore. Sucked working two jobs, but he had to retire (kinda) due to health. Yesterday I three jobs, today I had two. Both days I worked about 4 hours including drive time and made about three times after taxes and expenses as I did as an employee, both days.

Talk with your boss, tell him your concerns. There’s nothing they can or should do about the amount of time you are needed to work, but maybe they can give you a small raise to offset your cost of gas some. IF I had a new employee for six months that was told a new location was opening closer to him and those plans fell through, which happens, I would gladly pay an extra dollar an hour. IF he was worth it. But that’s me. Some employers would say not my problem.

Don’t say you‘re thinking of looking for new employment! Loyalty is a big deal both ways! Say that you love this opportunity to learn, like working for them, but with gas prices going up and the distance you have to drive after being told that they would be a new location in your area, it would be much appreciated if they could help you a little. That’s how I would play this.
 

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Plumber, Retired 40 years
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Here’s my thoughts as a business owner (if I ever wanted an employee)...

Good workers are hard to come buy. Seriously, especially nowadays. So if I had an employee that worked hard, eager to learn, shows up on time, doesn’t call in for hangover Monday, I would gladly pay a little more to keep them. That said, budget is a very important to have a successful business.

All companies are different, all bossed are different. Is your boss in it solely for the money, or does he care about his customers and employees?

What I would do is ask your boss to have a private conversation. State the facts just as you did here. Since you’re company has such a good reputation, and as you say, it sounds like a great job to learn the trade, as long as they’re teaching you how to do what they’re doing and you’re not just the gopher.

I totally understand about family time, you’re young and are starting a really good trade. You need to look at your future and decide if an hour and a half drive every day is worth a great career. What do you want your future to be?

I kinda stumbled my way into plumbing. The first company I worked for was a shnit show, money hungry, didn’t give a crap about their customers or employees. I swore off plumbing forever! Moved to Michigan in ‘03 and it was a tough job market. In ‘07 I decided to leave the job I was at because I hadn’t had a raise in three years even though they were doing very well. I took a job in plumbing since it was kinda something I knew. Built my skills and reputation. About 6 years ago I decided to start my business while working for a new master who didn’t drain clean anymore. Sucked working two jobs, but he had to retire (kinda) due to health. Yesterday I three jobs, today I had two. Both days I worked about 4 hours including drive time and made about three times after taxes and expenses as I did as an employee, both days.

Talk with your boss, tell him your concerns. There’s nothing they can or should do about the amount of time you are needed to work, but maybe they can give you a small raise to offset your cost of gas some. IF I had a new employee for six months that was told a new location was opening closer to him and those plans fell through, which happens, I would gladly pay an extra dollar an hour. IF he was worth it. But that’s me. Some employers would say not my problem.

Don’t say you‘re thinking of looking for new employment! Loyalty is a big deal both ways! Say that you love this opportunity to learn, like working for them, but with gas prices going up and the distance you have to drive after being told that they would be a new location in your area, it would be much appreciated if they could help you a little. That’s how I would play this.
sound advice
 

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There was this one time when my hours were cut big time. 50-60 hours down to 20-30 if I was lucky. I started looking for a new job. Somehow my boss found out. Showed up at my house one Sunday with ”all my tools” and said “I hear you’re looking for a new job. I’ll do you a favor and not fight your unemployment.”
 

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Super Moderator
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There was this one time when my hours were cut big time. 50-60 hours down to 20-30 if I was lucky. I started looking for a new job. Somehow my boss found out. Showed up at my house one Sunday with ”all my tools” and said “I hear you’re looking for a new job. I’ll do you a favor and not fight your unemployment.”
The reverse is also true here on construction jobs they tell you at 2:30 to stop working right on the spot pack your tools and go, someone else will pack up company tools and finish the job you were doing. It works both ways.
 

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..............If you were in a similar situation, would you lean towards moving or switching jobs?
...
If you like the job then stay even if you can get more money elsewhere. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how close you live or how much you make, if you hate your job you hate your job. Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.

Keep your eye open for something closer in your price range, call a couple real estate agents and give them your info.
 

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I really don’t see a 45min commute as a big deal. I live 40 miles outside of downtown Boston and I drive in and back every day. If I were in your situation and my family life was suffering I’d ask myself what my real priorities are. Can I cut back on extra activities like golfing on the weekends or stopping off at the bar to have a beer with the guys on the way home, or making sure I make it to CrossFit 5 days a week. If this doesn’t sound like you and you’re going into work then heading straight home after them maybe you need to sit down with your old lady and have a serious conversation about what’s best for your family. At the end of the day your family must come first. A job is replaceable and family is forever. Also if your job is a great fit for you and the best opportunity for you to grow as the bread winner for your family they should be willing to support you.
 

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I'm not sure why 45 minutes is so bad. I drove 33 miles/40 minutes each way to work for 6 years. Would it be nice to live 5-10 minutes from work? Yes. But in the end it's not that bad and just like a low apprentice wage a long drive for a good job is nothing more than the sacrifice you make so 5 years later you will have learned alot and now make enough money to move closer to work or maybe even some day start your own company. You are loosing about 5.75 hours a week compared to living 10 minutes away. Question is "what are you willing to invest into your future" what are you willing to sacrifice for a few years in order to get ahead for the rest of your life.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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Plumber, Retired 40 years
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Just my opinion.
nothing wrong with working service.
BUT, to be a well rounded plumber that KNOWS what is going on inside that wall or under the ground you need to get some construction under your belt.
 

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Lift Station Whisperer
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input everyone. To answer some of your questions:

We do both new construction and service, but we are short handed in service so I won't be crosstrained in new con. We have around 55 employees total with 14 of them in service. I've been with the company 6 months. My plan is to stay with them at least until I get my tradesman card.

I did talk to my manager yesterday about how fuel costs were affecting me, he said some of the other guys from further away had brought up the same issue and that they're working on a solution. They are also opening a new location on the side of town closer to me. Its much larger and will shave 10-15 minutes off my commute. They're aiming for an August opening.

The wife and I are also looking for different housing. The apartment is getting old.
 

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Hey all, looking for some input. I'm about 6 months into my apprenticeship, and I really like the company I work for. They are probably in the top 3 service companies in the area, and definitely the best at training. The sticky bit is that I currently have to drive 45 min one way to work, and the time cost is starting to take a toll on family life. I'd move closer, but all the housing closer to work is either out of our price range or a total s***hole.

The other piece of the story is that part of the reason I signed on with them is that I was told they were opening up a location in the city I live in. When I asked about the status of that yesterday, I was told it has been put on hold indefinitely.

If you were in a similar situation, would you lean towards moving or switching jobs?

Company owners, what would you say to an apprentice that brought up that they might need to look for something closer to home?
I drove over an hour one way for 15yrs to work in a bigger city,if you like the company stay with them
 

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NJ Master Plumber
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I did my apprenticeship at a company just over an hour away from my home. We would then hop in a truck and do work another hour north of the shop pretty much everyday. Worst years of my life driving wise but invaluable learning experience working on old junk near and in the city. Couldnt have picked a better place/guy to learn form.

When I hit my journeyman year I couldnt afford to live anywhere near my first plumbing job, so I knew it was time to leave after a while. It was just my boss and I. The room for growth was very limited. There was only so much I could make there. I know my old boss was mad I wanted to go to other places to work and then one day we got in a big argument. I dropped the mic and never looked back.

My old boss is a great dude but that was the best thing I did for my plumbing career. Turns out I was extremely employable. Had several other jobs then went to do my own thing.
 

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Generally worked within an hour or so after picking up the work truck when I was still in the field. Not bad if your older and don't have kids at home to deal with. Family time is important. no to me insurance & benefits needs to be taken into consideration and may be worth more drive time. If your not happy your not going to last or you may deal with ulcers. Now out of the field I drive about 45 minutes a day to get to work and get in the office by 5:30 every morning. Working for a municipality makes my day, decent retirement, great insurance major holidays paid off, PTO and not having to deal with lay offs make me a happy camper.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
45 min to an hour is considered a long commute in my area. Fuel cost is my main concern at the moment, time is secondary.

I like the company a lot, and I generally enjoy what I do. Yes, even the grease packed drain calls. 🤪 They're one of the only outfits in the area to offer health insurance and 401k. I think my wife is seeing a story similar to my last job as a facility maintenance team manager. 24/7 on call for everything, and no respect for family time even when I was on vacation. Tons of broken promises at that job.
 

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45 min to an hour is considered a long commute in my area. Fuel cost is my main concern at the moment, time is secondary.

I like the company a lot, and I generally enjoy what I do. Yes, even the grease packed drain calls. 🤪 They're one of the only outfits in the area to offer health insurance and 401k. I think my wife is seeing a story similar to my last job as a facility maintenance team manager. 24/7 on call for everything, and no respect for family time even when I was on vacation. Tons of broken promises at that job.
Keep on keeping on! You won’t regret it. If you don’t you will.
 

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NJ Master Plumber
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45 min to an hour is considered a long commute in my area. Fuel cost is my main concern at the moment, time is secondary.

I like the company a lot, and I generally enjoy what I do. Yes, even the grease packed drain calls. 🤪 They're one of the only outfits in the area to offer health insurance and 401k. I think my wife is seeing a story similar to my last job as a facility maintenance team manager. 24/7 on call for everything, and no respect for family time even when I was on vacation. Tons of broken promises at that job.
What type of daily driver you running? Get a car that runs better MPG for commuting if you're running a truck and just commuting to work. Maybe your boss will help you out with a little raise to make up for the fuel increase. Motivated labors are hard to find these days, so a small raise would make sense on their end
 

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Good Point. When I retired form one municipality where I had a city vehicle and only 10 miles to work my Sierra Denali with a 6 liter V8 was OK. As soon as I got this job I traded it in for a 2.4 liter all wheel drive. So my mileage went from 10 to 23.
What type of daily driver you running? Get a car that runs better MPG for commuting if you're running a truck and just commuting to work. Maybe your boss will help you out with a little raise to make up for the fuel increase. Motivated labors are hard to find these days, so a small raise would make sense on their end
 
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