Plumbing Zone - Professional Plumbers Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When do roots do most of their growing? In the summer when leaves are on the trees and they are especially thirsty? Or in the winter when the only source of moisture is from the roots?
I've spoken to various arborists and they tell me different things.
This is important in order to determine what term of warranty to give on a root clog job.
I'd appreciate any insights you might have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Root Job Warranty? You Bet!

Depending on the extent or nature of root intrusion, we warranty our power rodding jobs for either 12, 9, 6, 3 months, or 1 month. Rarely will we avoid putting some kind of warranty on a job. Underscore "rarely."
Crazy? Think of it this way: if and when this thing clogs up again -- and it will! -- , who are they gonna call? Us! If it's within the warranty period, we unclog it, put the camera down, and GET A NICE DIG JOB (no, we won't warranty it beyond that point; a further warranty would disincline them from getting it fixed permanently).
If it's past the warranty period, who do they call? Us! And then we open it up again, put the camera down and GET A NICE DIG JOB!
Either way, we win.
We've found that more people are willing to call us if a root clog happens again when we put a warranty on it.
So what if we have to do a "freebie" rodding once a month or so. WE GET THE DIG JOBS! Just about every time!

P.S. If you're not in our market area, try it. It works. If you're in our market area, keep refusing to warranty root clogs. We love it when people call us to follow up on the area agencies which think the same way.

Happy Rodding!
 

·
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶&#
Joined
·
8,329 Posts
We have tried doing warranties on cable outs. What happens is the customer says "Gee, Xthousand dollars to replace that line? I think I'll just pay you to come out once a year and cable it and give me a 1 year warranty with it. At that rate, it would take 10 years to equal the cost of replacing the line. Yep, just go ahead and cable it out for free. I'll call you back out and pay again when the warranty runs out."

How do you get around that scenario?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Brief Response to a Good Point Made

You asked if the customer thinks, "I'll call you back out and pay again when the warranty runs out." ("when" = "after"? or "when" = "before"?)

If "after", fine. Another power rodding job at full rate. We win!

If "before": Our warranty only covers a full-pipe clog. We don't want people calling us simply because they "think" it might be clogged before the warranty term is up, or because they "anticipate" that it will clog again. If there's a doubt, the camera goes down and if it's not a full-pipe clog, we get a camera job at full rate. We win!

If "before": on a warranty call, any follow-up warranty granted is, of course, of a lesser period than the previous one. The whole strategy is designed to prompt the customer to finally choose the inevitable -- replacing the line. That's, after all, what gives the customer the best value. If they choose something lesser, like having it rodded once a year after it clogs up, that's okay with us. They're not getting a 12 month warranty on a second rodding anyway.

Some people, however, can't commit to a big dig job replacement package right on the spot. When they have a year or so to anticipate it as a necessary reality, then they go for it. Others call every other year or so and have us open 'er back up again. Fine. Another power rodding at full rate!

There is method to our madness, and it seems to be working well. And your circumstances may be different. I sure won't criticize you for your company policy; I'm not there.
 

·
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶&#
Joined
·
8,329 Posts
A warranty is just a promise that you delivered your products or services as advertised and if that turns out not to be the case, then you will fix it by doing XXXXXX.

We warranty a cable out by sending the cam down to verify the line was cleared. You simply can't warrant that a line will stay unclogged. I worked at a company years ago that decided that it would build value by putting a 1 year warranty on cable outs. Not long after, we started getting call backs on houses that had scale buildup on cast iron or rotted out cast iron or even just people flushing with way to much toilet paper. If you don't honor your warranty they call channel 9 or call the BBB etc.
After running the #'s it was determined that of the few jobs that were sold from the warranties the profit was swallowed by the costs of going back out to all of the call backs. They do not offer a warranty anymore and neither does anyone else in my service area.

I warrant that the line was in fact cleared via the camera and record it for proof. By doing it that way you will sell far more jobs because you already know exactly what is wrong and where the problem is and can offer to fix it on the spot. Since you are the only one with the information you have a distinct advantage over your competitors. In order for someone to attempt to outbid you they would have to send someone out to camera the line just to find the problem to give a quote. I find that I sell more jobs by simply doing an inspect on every cable out. Most customers won't tell you that they have had to call out a plumber every few months for the same stoppage. Buy doing the inspect, you will sell jobs because the customer can see the problem. They know that you aren’t making stuff up to sell work and respect how thorough you are. I rarely have a customer freak out or complain because we wouldn't warranty the cable out we did. The few that do quickly shut up when I remind them that we have video footage of the line after we cleaned it and that everything was documented on the invoice including the part where the tech specifically told them about the problem (break, collapse, buildup, back pitch, backward fitting etc) and explained to them that there is no warranty. I have found that good customers recognize good plumbers and the ones that want to rip you off will just go somewhere else when they realize that they are dealing with a professional that's been around the block a few times. If the majority of your customers are that honest and easy to deal with than kudoz to you. In my area it's about 1 reasonable customer to every 2 that want's to get one over on you. We have a lot of what we call "professional customers". They have perfected the art of ripping people off semi-legally.
 

·
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶&#
Joined
·
8,329 Posts
So let me paint a scenario for you. You cable a line. Said line has a break in it. Customer calls you back out 1 month later to tell you that his whole house is stopped up. He says he does not want you to jack hammer open his floor and replace the 20 feet of bad 4" CI because he can't afford it. He calls you 2 more times that year.

What would you do?

BTW, this actually happened.
 

·
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶&#
Joined
·
8,329 Posts
I just realized I hijacked your thread. Let me attempt to answer your original question. I’m not a biologist or a farmer, but I understand that most trees work like this:

Water with nutrients dissolved in it is drawn in from the roots and is “sucked” up thru the plants fibrous circulatory system via capillary attraction. The pulling force is generated from the transpiration that occurs at the pores under the leaves(they have a specific name that escapes me at the moment). Newer leaves are more efficient at transpiring than older ones. I would guess that in light of that, the roots would see the most new growth when the trees metabolism is up and transpiration is at its peek. spring. My second guess would be summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank You ProTech re. Warranty, Roots

They used to say back when I lived up in Alaska, "When in Nome, do as the Nomans do." Unfortunately, some guys (and gals) run their service company the same way: adopting company policies just because that's what everyone else in their market does. No risk taking with the possibility of stumbling onto something that makes one a distinctive agency with a service no one else provides. No vision to try something different to see if it will work or not. No guts.
Sounds to me you're the kinda owner who thinks something out rather than just adopting a policy because you heard someone else has adopted it. You have justified your approach, and I respect you for making it work for you.
This ain't Nome, but I stumbled across something that works well for us, without fail, in spite of all the variety of unexpected circumstances that might derail the expected response and outcome unexpectedly unlike what we prefer to expect.
Let's us both keep giving our customers the value that's best for them. Shucks, maybe someday you might wanna buy me out, or vice versa! Then we might have to discuss it more.
I wish you and your approach the best!
Thanx for your response about the roots.
Warrantingly Yours,
Titan
 

·
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶&#
Joined
·
8,329 Posts
Different areas have different business models that work. Not only do the demographics vary, but the law does to. In Florida, it's a real pain in the butt to get a contractor's license. In some other states it's a matter of going down to city hall and paying a fee. In my state, it's against the law to right a warranty and not honor it. If a home owner was to pull the right strings they could have you fined. In extreme cases, you could have your license revoked forever without the possibility of ever holding ANY type of contractor's license(plumbing, electrical, hvac, general, solar). The laws are also written overwhelmingly in the property owner’s favor. They always get the benefit of the doubt and if the terms are to ambiguous to call, it goes their way. It is for those reasons that I am wary of what I slap a warranty on.

I'm not saying that I don't warrantee my work though. I just don't warranty something that is up in the air from being resolved.

Example:

Repipes 25 year warranty. All terms and conditions written out in extreme details.

Hydrojet descailing. 3 years. Detailed terms and conditions.

As far as busted drains go I usually work it like this:

"Customer's name, I’d like you to take look at this tv screen. You see this (blank)? That's going to be a continuing problem for you until it's fixed. I know that's not what you want to hear, but we at Pro-Tech believe in fixing the problem the right way the first time and communicating with the customer. I would never do the disservice or inconvenience to you of simply snaking this line without finding and fixing the actual cause of the problem. What we need to do to fix this is (blank) for the price of (blank) and it will come with a (blank) warranty.
If we simply open the line and leave the underlying cause, I can't guarantee that the line will remain trouble free."

The customers that end up doing the right thing become long term customers and refer us to all their friends and family. I find that a good majority of the customers that want me to just snake the lines end up calling me back when it backs up again complaining that it’s some how my techs fault. I offer to credit a portion of the original call to the cost of doing a real repair. The ones that simply want a handout and want me to come back and snake it for free again are usually the problem customers and are not loyal to any one company. They usually price shop at every service call and go with the local whore. And that is just fine. Some of the callbackers are reasonable. Once you explain it to them (again) that the underlying problem needs to fixed not just the symptoms, they see the light.

How do you warranty these root cable outs? Do you have any stipulations or will you come out any numbers of times to do the same futile cabling? I'm not belittling your practices; I just don't understand how you don't get burned by the cheap/stubborn ones? I’m just wondering if maybe you’ve developed a good technique.

Again, please don’t read my post as being confrontational. I just learn the most when engaged in a good debate.
 

·
waterheaterzone.com
Joined
·
2,043 Posts
"Customer's name, I’d like you to take look at this tv screen. You see this (blank)? That's going to be a continuing problem for you until it's fixed. I know that's not what you want to hear, but we at Pro-Tech believe in fixing the problem the right way the first time and communicating with the customer. I would never do the disservice or inconvenience to you of simply snaking this line without finding and fixing the actual cause of the problem. What we need to do to fix this is (blank) for the price of (blank) and it will come with a (blank) warranty.
If we simply open the line and leave the underlying cause, I can't guarantee that the line will remain trouble free."

The customers that end up doing the right thing become long term customers and refer us to all their friends and family. I find that a good majority of the customers that want me to just snake the lines end up calling me back when it backs up again complaining that it’s some how my techs fault. I offer to credit a portion of the original call to the cost of doing a real repair. The ones that simply want a handout and want me to come back and snake it for free again are usually the problem customers and are not loyal to any one company. They usually price shop at every service call and go with the local whore. And that is just fine. Some of the callbackers are reasonable. Once you explain it to them (again) that the underlying problem needs to fixed not just the symptoms, they see the light.
That exactly how I do it also.:thumbsup:
 

·
Certified Lunatic
Joined
·
20,658 Posts
We give a 6 month guarantee on every residential line we cable.
I have a callback rate of less than 1%...
What's the problem?
If it does reclog that soon wouldn't you want to be the one that gets the call to say more roots see!!!!
You really do need a new line!
Sign here lets get going!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Rare Responses re. Root Warranty

The warranty is written carefully regarding the individual situation. No stock form. It very simply says something like: "This line warrantied from a full pipe obstruction from roots for one year. Pipe obstruction from any other cause, or a clog caused by anything but human waste and toilet paper (baby wipes, "flushable" wipes", feminine products, etc.) voids this warranty. This warranty grants the customer a free power rodding to achieve flow. Should the cause of the problem worsten during the term of the warranty, further permanent repair may become necessary which is not included under this warranty."
I'm no legal-eagle, and maybe I should be. But we've never been burned on this, and the number of times a warranty has been called in, the customer always appreciated the service and often chose the opportunity to have us do a permanent repair (dig job for repair or replacement).
I think the one hang-up you are making me more careful of is the possible perception that, should a warranty rodding be necessary, we would still allow the warranty to remain in force in spite of the fact that nothing permanent is done to repair or replace it. Honestly speaking, we've never had that happen, but you have made me aware of the possibility and I will consider it carefully. Thank you for the beneficial thinking exercise you're prompting me to undertake!
By the way, if we think it's gonna clog with roots in 60 days, we're not gonna give a 60 day warranty. Probably 30. If we think it's gonna last for a year, we're gonna give them a 6 month warranty. (Lest we be criticized as dishonest, keep in mind that people have come to appreciate that we are the only ones who offer a warranty. And that's become a slight marketing edge which I've come to consider valuable.)
That's the original reason for my inquiry as to the peak growth period for roots.
I sure appreciate the opportunity you're giving me to re-think this through!
 

·
Certified Lunatic
Joined
·
20,658 Posts
The warranty is written carefully regarding the individual situation. No stock form. It very simply says something like: "This line warrantied from a full pipe obstruction from roots for one year. Pipe obstruction from any other cause, or a clog caused by anything but human waste and toilet paper (baby wipes, "flushable" wipes", feminine products, etc.) voids this warranty. This warranty grants the customer a free power rodding to achieve flow. Should the cause of the problem worsten during the term of the warranty, further permanent repair may become necessary which is not included under this warranty."
I'm no legal-eagle, and maybe I should be. But we've never been burned on this, and the number of times a warranty has been called in, the customer always appreciated the service and often chose the opportunity to have us do a permanent repair (dig job for repair or replacement).
I think the one hang-up you are making me more careful of is the possible perception that, should a warranty rodding be necessary, we would still allow the warranty to remain in force in spite of the fact that nothing permanent is done to repair or replace it. Honestly speaking, we've never had that happen, but you have made me aware of the possibility and I will consider it carefully. Thank you for the beneficial thinking exercise you're prompting me to undertake!
By the way, if we think it's gonna clog with roots in 60 days, we're not gonna give a 60 day warranty. Probably 30. If we think it's gonna last for a year, we're gonna give them a 6 month warranty. (Lest we be criticized as dishonest, keep in mind that people have come to appreciate that we are the only ones who offer a warranty. And that's become a slight marketing edge which I've come to consider valuable.)
That's the original reason for my inquiry as to the peak growth period for roots.
I sure appreciate the opportunity you're giving me to re-think this through!

That is exactly it. Abuse voids the guarantee!
As for lines with problems you are there when the reality sets in that a repair is the only option.
Would you rather have a competitor there?
Like I said I have a less than 1% callback rate with a 6 month residential 30 day commercial Guarantee.
 

·
Dream Team Founder
Joined
·
315 Posts
protech i think you have your plan set up and you are sticking to it because you know how things go... more power to you buddy
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top