Plumbing Zone - Professional Plumbers Forum banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
waterheaterzone.com
Joined
·
2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sure, drain-cleaners can sometimes make ok money, and the job is virtually recession-proof, which I guess is why so many people are thinking to get into it lately, given the current global recession.
But think carefully...very expensive and heavy equipment, a lot of liability, unsanitary working environment, very late hours, and of course the endless exposure to human waste!:thumbup: :sick:





So you want to be a plumber? (actually the title is "drain-cleaner" technically speaking, licensed plumbers do a hell of a lot of things besides unclogging drains.)
Here is the afternoon job I did, I was standing in a pile of human waste and toilet paper while cleaning the sewer drain. Keep in mind that I am simply posting this photo as TODAY'S AVERAGE DRAIN CALL. This is not the grossest job by any stretch, this is just your average, run-of-the-mill sewer-drain backed up in the basement. Luckily the lighting is pretty bad so you don't get a real clear view of the sh!t-logs. :sick:

 

·
residential service
Joined
·
1,948 Posts
Took a bath yesterday from the backwashing contents of a kitchen sink drain as I was attempting to jet the line from underneath the sink. I stopped it quickly before it could flood but not before it sprayed me pretty good with whatever congealed skankiness was contained in the line.
 

·
I aint CPV see in it?
Joined
·
4,896 Posts
Last bad one I was on was a stopped up floor drain in a mechanical room. Old building, no cleanouts, naturally i rodded from the 4" flor drain that was oozing out some of that good stuff. First cable in and it broke some stuff loose and here came the flood. Stood in 4" of all kind of stuff, lots of corn, turds, tampons, the usual. Luckily i keep a pair of knee high waders in the truck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
I hate drain cleaning.. I try not to do them.. but when i do im happy with the cash i make...
 

·
every tool is a hammer
Joined
·
4,304 Posts
I made a nice turd slushie yesterday:cry:. A guard shack honeywagon valve busted off on Monday. I plugged the pipe and went back yesterday to repair it. I pulled the plug and my favorite flavor, turds n' piss came out, staining the snow covered sidewalk a nice yellow brown color. I don't even have to fight back horking anymore, I am numb to it. I broomed the mess down the hill and it's covered up till springtime:whistling2: I replaced the cheap ass ABS knife valve with a 3" galvanised nipple, reducing coupling, and 2" bronze ball valve with a camlock connector. Now it won't break off when it's about zero and the plastic gets brittle:thumbup:
 

·
WILLPLUMB4$
Joined
·
584 Posts
yOU FORGOT TO MENTION ARGUING WITH THE COSTOMER THE NEXT DAY, BECAUSE AFTER YOU WERE DONE BREAKING YOUR @#$, AND YOU EQUIPMENT UP, AND LEFT, THEY CALLED AROUND AND FOUND A GUY WHO WOULD HAVE DONE IT FOR $50.00
 

·
waterheaterzone.com
Joined
·
2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yOU FORGOT TO MENTION ARGUING WITH THE COSTOMER THE NEXT DAY, BECAUSE AFTER YOU WERE DONE BREAKING YOUR @#$, AND YOU EQUIPMENT UP, AND LEFT, THEY CALLED AROUND AND FOUND A GUY WHO WOULD HAVE DONE IT FOR $50.00
I never really have that have problem. But I do get a lot of calls from people just looking for the cheapest price in town. I never go out on those calls. They all say the same thing, "Umm, let me get right back to you, I have to think it over." :rolleyes: Yeah right, I never hear from them after that.
 

·
I aint CPV see in it?
Joined
·
4,896 Posts
Maybe they can call this guy on craigslist I found tis morning. "Honest, reliable, cheapest rates in town":2guns:
Forwarded his ad to the head plumbing inspector here.
 

·
residential service
Joined
·
1,948 Posts
yOU FORGOT TO MENTION ARGUING WITH THE COSTOMER THE NEXT DAY, BECAUSE AFTER YOU WERE DONE BREAKING YOUR @#$, AND YOU EQUIPMENT UP, AND LEFT, THEY CALLED AROUND AND FOUND A GUY WHO WOULD HAVE DONE IT FOR $50.00
I'm about 5 minutes from walking out the door to a family Christmas party last night (Saturday) when a guy who is a retired judge and lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my market calls with a stopped up toilet and a house full of guests. His cost had nothing to do with who he was (I didn't know at the time anyway) or where he lived but I really did not want to go since I was about to leave. So I did something that I virtually never do and quoted him the price, if it was a simple augering, over the phone. $118 to come out, which is twice the normal service call rate (and very reasonable for after hours weekend call) and $99 to auger the toilet which is the same amount it would cost to auger a toilet on Tuesday at 10:30 am. I wanted him to say "I'll get back to you" but he didn't, so I change clothes, get the truck warmed up, drive over there, auger the toilet, clean up, pack up, collect, listen to him tell me how "although I appreciate your prompt service (I was there about 25 minutes after he called) this is pretty stiff for 15 minutes work". I tell him "thank you. I know that I made solving his problem look easy but that I know my numbers and what is required to get a "cold" truck to his house on Saturday night and that the price was fair and really only $59 more than he would pay any other time." I also let him know that it was good that he called when he did as I was about to walk out the door to a family Christmas party of my own. He readily acknowledged the quality and promptness of the service. It made no differance. He won't call us again. I was over an hour late to my Christmas party. His was virtually uninterrupted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
I'm about 5 minutes from walking out the door to a family Christmas party last night (Saturday) when a guy who is a retired judge and lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my market calls with a stopped up toilet and a house full of guests. His cost had nothing to do with who he was (I didn't know at the time anyway) or where he lived but I really did not want to go since I was about to leave. So I did something that I virtually never do and quoted him the price, if it was a simple augering, over the phone. $118 to come out, which is twice the normal service call rate (and very reasonable for after hours weekend call) and $99 to auger the toilet which is the same amount it would cost to auger a toilet on Tuesday at 10:30 am. I wanted him to say "I'll get back to you" but he didn't, so I change clothes, get the truck warmed up, drive over there, auger the toilet, clean up, pack up, collect, listen to him tell me how "although I appreciate your prompt service (I was there about 25 minutes after he called) this is pretty stiff for 15 minutes work". I tell him "thank you. I know that I made solving his problem look easy but that I know my numbers and what is required to get a "cold" truck to his house on Saturday night and that the price was fair and really only $59 more than he would pay any other time." I also let him know that it was good that he called when he did as I was about to walk out the door to a family Christmas party of my own. He readily acknowledged the quality and promptness of the service. It made no differance. He won't call us again. I was over an hour late to my Christmas party. His was virtually uninterrupted.

Did he tell you he would never call you again? My bet is he will. (Great reply to his comment)
 

·
residential service
Joined
·
1,948 Posts
Did he tell you he would never call you again? My bet is he will. (Great reply to his comment)
No he did not say that specifically but he was pretty whiney about the cost and while I try to NEVER be rude to a customer, I find myself less and less patient with this sort of thing.

I don't know if anybody else has found this to be true but I find a lot of people who are lawyers (not all) seem to find it very important to themselves to preserve their "stature" based on "dollars per hour". They are not stupid people but when they do their faulty math, faulty because they only consider the amount of time you are actually hands on to their problem, they quickly calculate that you make $200 per hour or more which is more than they are able to charge. Well first of all that's not true on either end but the point is that they don't seem to be able to accept the idea that a skillful manipulator of modern plumbing systems should make more money than a skillfull manipulator of our legal system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
I'm about 5 minutes from walking out the door to a family Christmas party last night (Saturday) when a guy who is a retired judge and lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my market calls with a stopped up toilet and a house full of guests. His cost had nothing to do with who he was (I didn't know at the time anyway) or where he lived but I really did not want to go since I was about to leave. So I did something that I virtually never do and quoted him the price, if it was a simple augering, over the phone. $118 to come out, which is twice the normal service call rate (and very reasonable for after hours weekend call) and $99 to auger the toilet which is the same amount it would cost to auger a toilet on Tuesday at 10:30 am. I wanted him to say "I'll get back to you" but he didn't, so I change clothes, get the truck warmed up, drive over there, auger the toilet, clean up, pack up, collect, listen to him tell me how "although I appreciate your prompt service (I was there about 25 minutes after he called) this is pretty stiff for 15 minutes work". I tell him "thank you. I know that I made solving his problem look easy but that I know my numbers and what is required to get a "cold" truck to his house on Saturday night and that the price was fair and really only $59 more than he would pay any other time." I also let him know that it was good that he called when he did as I was about to walk out the door to a family Christmas party of my own. He readily acknowledged the quality and promptness of the service. It made no differance. He won't call us again. I was over an hour late to my Christmas party. His was virtually uninterrupted.
This guy sounds like a real tight a s s. Your price was more than fair!
 

·
waterheaterzone.com
Joined
·
2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Some of my best customers are lawyers. One of them is by far my best customer to date. I have done over $15,000 in repairs at her house so far.

She feels I treat her fairly, and one time I was explaining the bill to her husband ( he's a retired lawyer too, they work for some sort of high-power securities firms on wall st.) and he looked at me and smiled...
"don't worry about explaining your invoice, Carl. My wife is one of the highest paid attorneys in the whole country and she understands the value of good service."
Another recent lawyer customer had me replace his 300' sewerline and then called me to video-inspect his downtown office drains. I somehow get along well with lawyers as customers. I guess I am just lucky.
 

·
residential service
Joined
·
1,948 Posts
They're not all bad ... customers, but I've had different ones refuse service before along with a comment similar to this, "I don't make that much per hour". I don't know, it just rubs me wrong like "how dare you think you can charge me more than I charge everyone else. You're just a plumber! I have a degree and I've learned to use the legal system to steal people blind. You're just a plumber! You play with poo! I drive a BMW! Did I mention that you're just a plumber!" Now it may sound as if I actually care what they think about me and my place in the world, in reality I do not. All I care about is whether or not they will pay my price and how well I do my work. As I said I do not think they are all this way. I have worked for a couple who were very agreeable and appreciative of my work.
 

·
I aint CPV see in it?
Joined
·
4,896 Posts
well, he must know that you own the business. In some occasions i try to make it a point not to let the HO know that i am the owner of the company. that way if they do complain about the prices i can very quickly let them know that i dont make the rules. I just follow them.
But i do feel you on the other point that some of these rich pricks think that they are so ABOVE us because of there place in the world.
 

·
Certified Lunatic
Joined
·
20,658 Posts
I once had a main line cleaning job I did for a cardiologist.
He commented on the price being higher than he expected.
I told him that I was going to give his line an angioplasty then after I was giving it an angiogram to make sure there were no problems with it...
He laughed and said do it!
He later came down and watched me do the angiogram...:laughing:
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top