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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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I took on a basement remodel; it actually is a unfinished basement that's being finished.


Typical full bath but the floor had to be slotted to extend from the original tub/shower setup to full size shower.


Along with that, relo for the sink to a double sink on an adjacent wall. Water/drain lines had to be high and specific for this setup...translucent top, pushbutton lavy drains and single hole faucet setup.

In the shower, customer wanted dual showerheads which wasn't a problem.


Outside the bathroom, a bar sink that was designed into what I call a magnificent layout has started off incorrect with a 1.5 drain tapped into a floor drain with the pipe nearly coming out of the floor in the concrete. ***This was all done before I started/arrived***

Anyway, I set this bar sink drain up and ran a vent a looooong ways to a revent off a laundry tub so it be as legal as its going to get.



What's obvious, and the reason I started this thread....is I haven't done this type of "new construction" work in quite some time and now I know why I've turned so many of these away,


they suck! :laughing:



Keeps me in one place for way too long, hands are killing me from running 1/2" copper which was only a peuney 120'. Burned almost 58 fittings however.


I'm slow, real slow. Work looks professional and one leak in all of it (one side of a 90 blew apart because I forgot to solder, tinning flux does that *looks soldered* when the heat transfers close to fittings.

I'm hourly and to be quite honest; some young guys could of nailed it in a day I'm sure. Lots of fitting pipe though.....but if they can rough plumb an entire house in a day, this remod would of been the same and quicker.



SO,

Am I "washed up" as they say? I don't really care that I'm slow, other than I understand that this isn't my forte anymore. I absolutely despise coming back to the same job day after day after day and seeing the slow progress, the customer becoming more and more "use" to me and expecting a little more or less, depending on the situation or change of mind that should and will cost more, especially when you're hourly.


I think the wife wants me out of there and that's fine; I'm done after tomorrow but I made a mistake on some water lines that are super simple to correct tomorrow, no biggie.

Once I get that banged out, I'm off to replace a water heater on a 3rd floor in a condo, then head off to my last meeting for my backflow license to fulfill my remaining 3 credit hours to keep my license active.

In new construction, I've been there and done that, did it for almost 12 years and I'm so effing glad I'm out of it. I'm just doing this as form of punishment to get myself back on track moneywise and follow up on a referral from a year ago.


Being a new construction plumber has made me an excellent service plumber as it's given me the keys to the design of a plumbing system and how it effectively performs, why it would tend to malfunction.


So when I see a rocked wall with plumbing showing in front of it, I'm already plumbing that wall in my head as to how I'd plumb it, figuring how it was laid out so when I go downstairs and confirm the DWV or water line layout, I thank my lucky stars that I did endure the dog days in my trade...because it makes my day job run as smooth as silk when it comes time to correctly diagnose/troubleshoot a plumbing problem.

Damn plumbing giving me insomnia! :censored:!!
 

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The trade has forgotten.

I started working under oldtimers, they repeatedly taught me "slow and steady wins the race".

Later, I got caught up in the hurried production line thinking of new construction.

Worked a large scale multi-residential complex where we were strongly encouraged to race through them, all went well and it was very profitable.

3 months after we started, a ceiling fell in a unit that had been vacant for two weeks after we'd completed it.

There was a slow leak and it slowly built up where an apprentice had worked unsupervised, sagged the ceiling from the weight, then fell - completely flooding the unit and adjacent units, wrecking a hardwood floor as well.

After all damages were Added up, lost trust in a HUGE customer ...slow and steady would have won that race.

There were also other smaller problems similar to this as a result of rushing & cutting corners.

The trajedy, this has started becoming the norm in our trade on new construction, work cheap, fast and cut corners to profit, then hope the risks pan out long enough to make it lucrative before your out of business.

I seldom work new construction, I can count the remodels I do in a year on one hand, maybe two.
 

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The trade has forgotten.

I started working under oldtimers, they repeatedly taught me "slow and steady wins the race".

Later, I got caught up in the hurried production line thinking of new construction.

Worked a large scale multi-residential complex where we were strongly encouraged to race through them, all went well and it was very profitable.

3 months after we started, a ceiling fell in a unit that had been vacant for two weeks after we'd completed it.

There was a slow leak and it slowly built up where an apprentice had worked unsupervised, sagged the ceiling from the weight, then fell - completely flooding the unit and adjacent units, wrecking a hardwood floor as well.

After all damages were Added up, lost trust in a HUGE customer ...slow and steady would have won that race.

There were also other smaller problems similar to this as a result of rushing & cutting corners.

The trajedy, this has started becoming the norm in our trade on new construction, work cheap, fast and cut corners to profit, then hope the risks pan out long enough to make it lucrative before your out of business.

I seldom work new construction, I can count the remodels I do in a year on one hand, maybe two.
I too started under some older guys. I hated them at first I used to think the nasty old farts had square balls. Later I learned why, they insisted on learning there way. In fact one of them ended up acting like a father to me.

I started in 1987 working in New construction, or as i say "factory work". We did multi story buildings and pre fabbed DWV in the shop and installed on the job. BORING!!!!

Later on after years of mass production const, I got into warranty service and trouble shooting. One great thing about warranty service in mass production new const is your trouble shooting skills really blossom.

Later is was full time service and remodel. About 8 years ago I got real burnt out on plumbing and started fixing chips in bath tubs and it has now blossomed to licensed builder doing full bath remodels commercial and residential. Further, I am back into plumbing more and more.

Yes even at 38 I feel a bit of age. prior to this year I was full time running my business and my men. Now I am back out working with the tools again. For the most part I have truly enjoyed it. There is something to be said about working real hard all day and going home tired and beat. Very rewarding. Infact I hired a salesman to handle some of my office duties so I could stay out there for a while, i most certainly can't afford mistakes in workmanship at this time.

I remember when I was starting out.... when the nasty old farts would yell at us. When they wern't looking we used to laugh and copy how they would get up out of the ditch and complain about there knees and backs.

Not so funny anymore.....
 

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WILLPLUMB4$
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I took on a basement remodel; it actually is a unfinished basement that's being finished.


Typical full bath but the floor had to be slotted to extend from the original tub/shower setup to full size shower.


Along with that, relo for the sink to a double sink on an adjacent wall. Water/drain lines had to be high and specific for this setup...translucent top, pushbutton lavy drains and single hole faucet setup.

In the shower, customer wanted dual showerheads which wasn't a problem.


Outside the bathroom, a bar sink that was designed into what I call a magnificent layout has started off incorrect with a 1.5 drain tapped into a floor drain with the pipe nearly coming out of the floor in the concrete. ***This was all done before I started/arrived***

Anyway, I set this bar sink drain up and ran a vent a looooong ways to a revent off a laundry tub so it be as legal as its going to get.



What's obvious, and the reason I started this thread....is I haven't done this type of "new construction" work in quite some time and now I know why I've turned so many of these away,


they suck! :laughing:



Keeps me in one place for way too long, hands are killing me from running 1/2" copper which was only a peuney 120'. Burned almost 58 fittings however.


I'm slow, real slow. Work looks professional and one leak in all of it (one side of a 90 blew apart because I forgot to solder, tinning flux does that *looks soldered* when the heat transfers close to fittings.

I'm hourly and to be quite honest; some young guys could of nailed it in a day I'm sure. Lots of fitting pipe though.....but if they can rough plumb an entire house in a day, this remod would of been the same and quicker.



SO,

Am I "washed up" as they say? I don't really care that I'm slow, other than I understand that this isn't my forte anymore. I absolutely despise coming back to the same job day after day after day and seeing the slow progress, the customer becoming more and more "use" to me and expecting a little more or less, depending on the situation or change of mind that should and will cost more, especially when you're hourly.


I think the wife wants me out of there and that's fine; I'm done after tomorrow but I made a mistake on some water lines that are super simple to correct tomorrow, no biggie.

Once I get that banged out, I'm off to replace a water heater on a 3rd floor in a condo, then head off to my last meeting for my backflow license to fulfill my remaining 3 credit hours to keep my license active.

In new construction, I've been there and done that, did it for almost 12 years and I'm so effing glad I'm out of it. I'm just doing this as form of punishment to get myself back on track moneywise and follow up on a referral from a year ago.


Being a new construction plumber has made me an excellent service plumber as it's given me the keys to the design of a plumbing system and how it effectively performs, why it would tend to malfunction.


So when I see a rocked wall with plumbing showing in front of it, I'm already plumbing that wall in my head as to how I'd plumb it, figuring how it was laid out so when I go downstairs and confirm the DWV or water line layout, I thank my lucky stars that I did endure the dog days in my trade...because it makes my day job run as smooth as silk when it comes time to correctly diagnose/troubleshoot a plumbing problem.

Damn plumbing giving me insomnia! :censored:!!
Oh Great Sense--- Must we remind you?

YOU MUST BE ONE WITH THE PIPE.
I worked with old timer to start. I sold this big sewer replacement with alot of tie ins, and the boss wanted us both there for me to learn, and him to teach.
We get there get every thing laid out and begin to hand dig, and dig, and dig... I know you guys know how the next part of this story goes. The next day we go back for more of the same. We get in the ditch wich is now about 3' deep and begin to dig. Both quite until about 20 minutes in he sais we are done for the day!!!
Mind you this is one tuff old SOB so I know he's not giving me a break, there is no rain clouds out, so I ask why? He sais "I'm not one with the pipe today and that was that...":eek:
Every one has bad days or jobs that kick there but. And there is always someone out there better than you are. As long as your smiling on Fri. and you like what you did to get there. Keep the head up and the shovel down.:thumbup:
 

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Always Something
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Good God, I don't care to remember my sewer hand digging days. That was horrible but I was too young and stupid to know any better. 8 bucks an hour for my first two years...maybe it was 8.25

Mine was an early retired Socal gas worker and he defined old school. Used to curse the new plumbers with their fancy mapp gass as I had two drag the acetylene tanks under the houses. I do remember having to go back to his house mid day for his massages` and how he always complained about how he would hurt. I learned a lot from that old boy, probably the most important thing was even though the work was in the walls or underground that is no reason for sloppy work. Like the OP I am not a production man, especially with 1/2" copper. It takes me forever to setup all my fittings and I use a drill with a fitting brush on the end to save my hands and wrists. I will say this, my joints are solid - my connections are clean and my sh*t never leaks and never hammers. When one takes great pride in their craft it should never be rushed to the point of errors. I have seen what poor plumbing does to a home owner...more importantly another human and their family. I guess that is why I am so anal about my work....that and I pay too damn much for insurance as it is. Charge a fair price for a fair job and be an honest member of society and with a little luck you'll be happy and sucessful. One thing I find myself saying to clients all the time is I just work the way I would want someone to work on my house.

As for the pain, I am sidelined with a torn right bicep muscle wich totally sucks for a plumber / electrician. I have spent 2 full days not working and I am about to go ape sh*t. Thank God my Redsox won last night so I can read all the articles that I already know about!

Anyone know a faster way to heal this. I don't like taking pills for this sort of thing because if I am pushing it, I'd rather feel that pain so I can back off versus causing more of an issue after the pills wear off. Ice helps a little, hot shower does nothing for it. Sorry to run off on a tangent....bored out of my mind.....
 

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Their is one thing I hate about renovations and sometimes new construction and that's the dust. Being stuck in a dust filled building for eight hours at a time wearing a mask just plain sucks. Other then those days I don't mind it. I've never really come across the rush and cut corners type of contractors. All the contractors that we work for are willing to pay extra for quality and listen to almost any recommendation that we make.

Some day I'll be complain about having to hang hundreds of feet of 4" cast iron. For now though I don't mind it. I think working in new construction and remodeling gives you a much better background then someone who just does service. When their is nothing to do on the service side of the buisness the guys come work with the rough-in crew. Some of these guys have been doing service work for eight years and are totally lost when they walk onto the job and wind up playing helper to second year apprentices. It's kind of scary to me that these guys are repairing systems while they know little about them or the codes that govern their installation.

My point is that I think a back round in rough work makes you a better service plumber, or at least makes your life easier.
 

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Good God, I don't care to remember my sewer hand digging days. That was horrible but I was too young and stupid to know any better. 8 bucks an hour for my first two years...maybe it was 8.25.....
I wish I paid that when I started out. $6.00 an hour, hand digging 100 ft trenches while the excavator sat 50 foot away. Yea our Foreman would break the top shelf of the dirt with the machine and make us hand dig the rest. It was either dig or don't eat for me... so I dug ALOT
 

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hey dunbar, im 35 and im feeling old. this job sucks it out of us. i started a new company, took on a re-hab of a house i bought, and the task of giving my brother-in-law, whom is 5 years my senior some direction in life by hiring him to hold the dummy end of the tape. the :censored: of it is he has a 165 IQ. did you take on too much, i dont think so. you might be showing some battle wounds. but dont let that slow you down. i believe i read something in here about the tortise and the hare. your doing your best work now. if you feel guilty about your time lower your hourly to compensate for your "expierence". it all comes down to do you love it, or the paycheck.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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I turned a caller away today. All the questions she asked were trying to pin me down with a price to install her custom sinks and faucets, sight unseen. I finally gave her a wild guesstimate price range based on her descripton of the job with the caveat that I don't price anything without seeing it in person.
She responded, "That sounds high to me."
I told her that I would not argue with the fact that she could probably find someone who would do the job cheaper...and I immediately let her go and went on to work for 3 other clients who paid happily, without complaint.

I don't want customers like her. Why? Because this job tears our bodies apart. I don't have the option of waiting until I'm 65 to retire.:no: If I am a banker at a deskjob, ok then, I can retire whenever. But I'm not. I want to retire from the plumbing field by the time I am 50. I know from watching the older generation of plumbers that my body (knees, back, hands) just won't take it very well after age 50.:wheelchair: So my plan is to make as much money as possible in the next 20 years in this trade. I am not going to do that by playing price games with cheap ladies who want to get a bunch of bids for two little sinks installs.:rolleyes: I charge what I need to charge to meet my goals, and early retirement is one of them. Sure, after I retire from the field I will still do business in some form or another, but I [hope I] won't be physically doing plumbing anymore.:thumbsup:
 

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I wish I paid that when I started out. $6.00 an hour, hand digging 100 ft trenches while the excavator sat 50 foot away. Yea our Foreman would break the top shelf of the dirt with the machine and make us hand dig the rest. It was either dig or don't eat for me... so I dug ALOT
5.00 per hour to start here. I had to purchase my basic hand tools, and make it 90 days to get to the big 50 cent raise.
 

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I quit doing basement remodels a long time ago. Thing is, most customers want five thousand dollars' worth of work for $900. I'd be chopping out the concrete and they'd ask if I could do framing. Then they'd want to know if I could rock and tape and paint. And I did, sometimes, even building in custom cabinets. But they didn't want to pay for any of it.

As to aging, I've done pretty well in that area. I plan to work until at least 70, and most people have no idea I'm as old as I am. Heck, I'm just starting to enjoy plumbing, so early senility must be setting in . . .
 

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I'm with Herk ,,,, but I'd like to go to 75-80 . See NO future in my retiring , just waiting around to die for guys like us that have to live BUSY !!

Train everyday , eat right , work smart ,,,,, I'll probably get hit by a bus:eek:

I know a plumber in my area made it to 82 years old ,,steady working !!

God rest his soul . He was a happy , young at heart , steel minded guy !

Hey ,,, 30 year old Service Guy --- Careful what you wish for , you might just run past all the good stuff trying to achieve your goal . Then you got nothing but some money and NO memories . Just a thought , didn't mean to preach.

Cal
 

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We had a old time plumber here, he died of a heart attack setting a toilet, RIP, he died doing what he liked to do. Did not know him, but heard of him, I do work at his other halves house every now and then.
 

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dunbar,

plumbers don't retire or die, we just float away.:laughing:

i've heard this before; he might be slow, but he never has to come back.:yes:

Vince

your not getting old, your just getting better
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
dunbar,

plumbers don't retire or die, we just float away.:laughing:

i've heard this before; he might be slow, but he never has to come back.:yes:

Vince

your not getting old, your just getting better


Ahh thanks for the kind words.

I'm sitting here at 8:30am this morning like I do every morning, taking meds and getting the levels high enough so I can beat my body down again like I did yesterday.

I'm doing a tough job today and tomorrow; setting a tub with no access to the drain...so lots of premeasuring and hopefully I get it right.

Rough neighborhood but the pay is great....just the surroundings are less than desireable.

I'll have probably 12 hours in it and sunday I have to run 3 hose bibbs on another job, piping everywhere.

Hard core drugs get involved with this equation real quick and monday I'll get hit with a full week of work. I didn't get a whole lot of new calls this week on count of the election...but it's coming.

The nasty weather that came in today isn't inspiring as well. The check however I'll deposit at the bank along with the good start into this job will be the only compliment to my efforts.


But I must say...I shouldn't knock this hardship knowing so many don't have this kind of work load to pull from. I just dropped $1400 for insurance on 2 trucks yesterday, $700 for a truck payment tonight.

$2100 and POOF.....all gone.
 

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Ha. talk about slow??
I was pissed these past 2 days. Seems every thing I do now has gone into slow motion. I dont have the git up and go like I used to. Makes me depressed. I am used to working. 12 to 14 hours a day, no breaks, no food, just work, work work. Now I cant even work 8 hours without feeling like I want to give up.

I am only 47, that cant be the problem, or is it??
 
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