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This is where I will be describing my adventures into service plumbing. I don't want to clog my other thread. Feel free to add your stories. It makes for a great read when Master Mark posts so I grab some popcorn. Hopefully he likes these.

The customer knows best

I get a call :vs_mobile: at 9 am this morning, a black man saying he's got a ceiling leak and he thinks it's coming from the shower. He asks how much for the repair. I tell him it may be something else and I have to find the root cause. He says I want a receipt. Ok no problem I always give receipts.


I say my hourly rate. He exclaims "you are higher than the others!" Yes of course I'm higher priced bla bla bla and I can be there in 45 minutes. I figured he got my number from the black market ads. My thoughts are he called around and no one wants to go or there... He says okay come over and hopefully you can fix it for the price you said. I said no 1 hour is $__ 2 hours is $___


I get there and his street is perpendicular to the school boulevard, no parking signs all around. I'd have to park almost a kilometer away. I drive around to the boulevard and see there aren't any signs and I see cars parked at a distance so I park there. Usually I bring my work order pad and my indoor shoes. Since I still have to walk a little ways to the duplex I bring along my tool pouch. The duplex is in disrepair, peeling paint, 2 suvs in the driveway rusted through around the fenders and I say to myself bad omen. :vs_rain:


He shows me the ceiling in question and as I look around I see in the back yard a dug in pool. This must of been people with money before this couple bought the place. I see a stack of tires in the vacant without any furniture in that room. I look up and the drywall is sagging and about 4' square is about to crash down where a chasm splits in two. He then shows me upstairs. I know exactly the problem the previous owner installed his own toilet with steel bolts, didn't cut them no caps all corroded. :nuke:


I say this is where I start and it will take at least 2-3 hours to fix it. He says no it must be the shower but I want the ceiling opened. Ok I'll open the ceiling but it won't fix the issue upstairs. I fill the work the work order and I show and explain him everything on it and he refuses to sign. By then I know somethings up and he's not going to pay or rig something at the end. I don't want to waste anymore time I put my shoes grab my tools and I say goodbye.


He calls over an hour later and leaves a message stating he's got to leave soon and when I'm coming back. I guess he didn't get the memo when somebody packs everything up and leaves in a hurry.:vs_whistle:
 

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One thing I don’t understand about your area Tango is the government. Government is inherently greedy. I don’t understand why your local government hasn’t found the cash cow that requiring permits and inspections is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for inspections! If a job needs to be done it needs to be right and there needs to be a system that insures it.

Let me give you an example. In Lansing MI we got a call from a LL who failed a rental inspection. No sticker on the water heater, electrical panel or furnace. So he had to call all the trades. What we do at that point is meet our inspector there to see what he wants.

Obviously we know what’s wrong with the heater and how to correct it... but the drainage was all foobard, new pvc ran wrong per code, no sticker. Water, well, think of every material can and it was there, and wrong. Vent was 2” through the roof. Total repipe. We meet with our inspector and LL so the LL knows we aren’t blowing smoke up his rear end.

So we already have plumbing, mechanical and electrical right? Well my plumbing inspector shows up sees a fairly looking new roof out comes the computer. No building permit. Now the building inspector is involved.

From all the trades it cost the LL just over $30k to bring this $8k house up to code. $2500 of that $30k was permit fees paid to the city.

I can say plumbing wise, it needed to be done. Did everything work? Yes, but just not right.

What really gets me, I’m not an electrician, but I’m also not an idiot, the panel was original 1950, and no obvious repairs or upgrades. But it didn’t have a sticker. Need a permit and bring it to code, no grandfather without a 1950s sticker.

All city workers, meter maids, lawn care, cops, trash collectors, inspectors, everyone is to report any work they see being done. Twice in one week we had two emergency heaters and were busted installing them. Of course we pulled permits that night, we have 72 hours to pull them, but the city makes it known they want their cut. Almost like paying the local gang for protection.

Now that’s just in my area. California where I started plumbing, I had two weeks of training then I was on my own replacing main lines, drain cleaning, bathroom remodels, you name it. I feel ashamed of my work as I now know how wrong it was. My job was to make it work and not leak. My inspector would either have the best time of his life or drop dead on the spot if he saw my work from back then.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One thing I don’t understand about your area Tango is the government. Government is inherently greedy. I don’t understand why your local government hasn’t found the cash cow that requiring permits and inspections is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for inspections! If a job needs to be done it needs to be right and there needs to be a system that insures it.
I really can't answer why we don't have inspectors. It must be a money issue or we don't have enough population? Could be our cities are spread apart not enough population or money to justify offices in each city and town?

I guess they rely on the trade licences and employee journeyman and apprentice certificate but it's not always effective. Each worker has to go to trade school at some point and pass exams. Generally in commercial or high rise buildings an inspection from the engineer compares things according to their plans. Then they hand out a deficiency list of thing to fix.

Also generally new construction in Quebec the code is closely followed by most trades. I guess they follow it closely because someone can denounce them and get fines and or get their licence revoked or penalized.

It's when renovations occur that's a free for all. No permits, no inspections, one man gc's calling the pizza delivery guy to do electrical and tiles. A haven for black market work and hacks.

To top it off consumers don't know anything about proper verification of the rules when it comes to renovation. All they ask is how much does it cost. If the hack or cash work is lower than a licenced INDIVIDUAL TRADE that's all that matters and happy for a lower price. They can't be bothered in learning who to hire and consequences of bad reno's. I see it every week now. The tile guy did the plumbing...

I think in modern days people are bombarded with ads saying you can have everything, in new condition just apply for credit and pay 9$ a month for 25 years for your new TV. Once they have all these shiny things they want luxurious new walls, floors and quartz counter top. They'll pay for that but they try to save on labor to the lowest bid. Labor shouldn't count as an expense because they bought so much fancy things they don't have money left over, the bank won't give me more.


While on the topic of inspection :

To finish off people get conned buying a house because there are no regulations about "home inspectors". You can work at Wally in the morning and register a company name in the afternoon(takes 12 minutes online with 34$) and you are a legal home inspector. These guys always say the house is great even though its obviously a bad investment and people just take their word for it. They purchase not knowing the inspector was flipping burgers in the mcdonald in the wally, decided to skim a black&decker handyman book on his lunch break. Decided he could make a lot of money the next day!
 

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We have privat home inspectors out here too. Usually retired handymen. I pissed on off one day. My main realtor called me for a video inspection for her client. I really liked the potential buyer, so I started pointing out a few things to that were some real concerns. Old fart walks past me and mumbles “I’m not here to inspect for code...”

I just shook my head. I most certainly don’t know all the codes, it’s why I have a book. But if I’m hired by a client I’m going to give them the truth. Good or bad.


The population of Lansing in 2010 was 114,297. Not really sure, but the tallest building is 7 or 8 stories. Lansing is surrounded by quite a few “cities” nearby, mine which is 10-15 minuets away has a population of 7786 as of 2010. Having lived in San Diego and other cities, I consider Lansing to be small, but they pack a punch with fees and taxes!
 

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I got price shoppers all day today but nothing panned out. One guy was told by his insurance to install a electronic valve on the house main in case of a flood.
He proceeds to tell me he purchased it already. I called the resaler to know the certification on it. He said he'd send me the info later as I need to know if its code approved.

Anyway the guy calls me back and I tell him the price and I can do it tomorrow morning(friday). Smugly he says he 's getting another estimate on saturday morning. I'm like something is wrong here no one gives free in home estimates on saturday. I told I bet its mr Looter in the province over, Am I correct? He says yes. I told him good luck with the estimate that'll be 600$ more than mine for shoddy work.

If he calls back the price will go up to the summer rates.


There are more stories but ......
 

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Yes because it more trouble to warm up the truck, drive through tough snow sometimes. Always putting on a coat to go to the truck to get things. Bringing wax ring inside each night with my batteries.

Then in the summer the rate should go up because everyone wants work done during the vacation and you are overloaded with calls. Funny how they want everything done now. Tomorrow or the day after they call someone else.
 

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I had one yesterday night that called me to ask if I could match his plumbers price to either reapir or replace a delta kitchen faucet....125 to repair and 325 to change out... I had a bad feeling about this bozo and told him I was just too busy to fool with it.. He acted like he was doing me a big favor to allow me to work for him..

I gave him the name of another good guy who is normally slow all the time because he does not spend a penny for advertiseing.. We say good bye and then this morning he calls me and stated that he was not happy with the person I referred him to because he was 15 minutes late to his house and he does not like someone if they are not punctual I guess he thinks someone is gonna wear their best suit to come out over a 125 dollar rebuild on an old delta faucet......:vs_laugh::vs_laugh:

He tells me that he is looking for someone else in the book already and I wonder what he expects from me..???? I cut him off mid sentence and tell him ----well good luck and I hope you find your boy...you have a nice day...bye...:vs_laugh:..


I call Jeff the plumber and his wife answers so I tell her to just forget this guy and go on with your day because he is a NUT.....
 

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I had one yesterday night that called me to ask if I could match his plumbers price to either reapir or replace a delta kitchen faucet....125 to repair and 325 to change out... I had a bad feeling about this bozo and told him I was just too busy to fool with it.. He acted like he was doing me a big favor to allow me to work for him..

I gave him the name of another good guy who is normally slow all the time because he does not spend a penny for advertiseing.. We say good bye and then this morning he calls me and stated that he was not happy with the person I referred him to because he was 15 minutes late to his house and he does not like someone if they are not punctual I guess he thinks someone is gonna wear their best suit to come out over a 125 dollar rebuild on an old delta faucet......:vs_laugh::vs_laugh:

He tells me that he is looking for someone else in the book already and I wonder what he expects from me..???? I cut him off mid sentence and tell him ----well good luck and I hope you find your boy...you have a nice day...bye...:vs_laugh:..


I call Jeff the plumber and his wife answers so I tell her to just forget this guy and go on with your day because he is a NUT.....
When people call me and ask if I can put it in for the price of another guy. I say I don’t get it that makes now sense. If you want me to do it for the same price why didn’t you have the other guy put it in. Especially if it is going to be the same price.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Last night I had a woman call me wanting 2 toilets replaced, one lav sink and one shower.

She asks the price. I say about $___ for each toilet. She replies the other plumber charges about the same so would I lower the price. I say no because I provide a better and timely service and thats the ways it is. Then she says if you lower 50$ each and better service I'll hire you.

WRONG ANSWER! Anyway she ask for an estimate for the lav and shower. She calls me 25 minutes later! I said I'll send it to your email. Annoyed I should of sent sorry not interested so I sent her a estimate of 5000$ thinking she'd back off. She replies back asking for a break down. I wasn't quick enough to delete the email.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the posts in between mine. I just don't want to sound like a whiner and annoy the members.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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There are calls sometimes you just need to walk away from and dont look back.


You will find tha ta lot of relatives will call you expecting you to stop whatever you are doing today to come out and work on their faucets for some special cousins price....

normally you only see them at x-mas and the only reason that they are calling you is for the discount deal....

Over the years, I have taught them all that I am an dirty rotten ass-ho/e that pisses icewater....:devil3:

they dont invite me out to their house when they are having a hog roast with 100 guests, or some other function , so why in the hell should I come out and fix their plumbing a week before the party for them FOR FREE.........and then hear about the big event a few months later???

It seems fair to me.....




 

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The second half of today I’m still working on taxes.

Two or three weeks ago I get a call from someone property management. IIRC they contacted me a year ago and we discussed a discount for using me exclusively. I told the lady my wife was working late that night, and the soonest I could be to the tenants house by 8pm. She took the appointment. An hour later she calls back saying she found someone else.

She called again just after noon with another. Haven’t returned the call, don’t plan on it either.
 
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