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Pricey plumbers

Dan HolohanDan Holohan Moderator Posts: 11,877
How about this?
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Hug your kids.


  • JStarJStar Member Posts: 2,668

    - Joe Starosielec
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  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,598

    I'm a simple homeowner, not a professional but my opinion is maybe he needs to pick up a torch and some wrenches and get to work if its so easy.

    Of course, doing his own work will not give him the joy in dealing with miserable customers like him self.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    Central air project pictures
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,934
    Sour grapes

    A disgruntled former public employee who thought his State job meant lifetime employment in exchange for a perfunctory effort, at best.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Member Posts: 1,911
    Insurance companies

    would go nuts and lawers would line their pockets if migrant workers began plumbing. That article reminds me of a favorite quotation of mine. We the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for the ungratefull for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do just about anything with almost nothing.
    Ramer Mechanical
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • TonySTonyS Member Posts: 849
    You have to read it closely

    The part where he says hes fearful, his problem is the same as many today...they are AFRAID. Living in a world they cant understand, lashing out at others abilities to make his own seem more important. I tell my apprentice we are like the Morlocks in the book "The Time Machine' At the end of the day you will eat and not be eaten, unlike the Eloi. Now get back in the

    As far as this guy goes...we should blackball him..(In the voice of the soup Nazi)

  • Pencil-pusher

    There are a nice lot of responses on the newspaper website developing, and maybe more should be added.

    This is an example of simplistic thinking: plumbers only know 2 things, and I will not list them here.

    The writer probably had a plumber come out to do a simple repair, and when he saw how simple it was, he suffered from a type of "sour grapes".

    If plumbers only know 2 things, then how many things would a reporter know?

    If he had summoned an "hydraulic engineer", would he have complained less about the bill?--NBC
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,582
    TImes, they are a changing Nick...

    We have pumps that will pump SH** up ANY hill you've got, and pay day is the first and the 15th, and that is rarely a Friday ;-)

    The problem as I see it is the way it is invoiced. Invoice should read;

    Cost to unclog toilet: $5.00

    Knowing HOW to unclog toilet: $95.00

    Total due: $100.00

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Dan HolohanDan Holohan Moderator Posts: 11,877
    I just wrote this for Supply House Times

    I think it applies here:
    Site Administrator

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    Hug your kids.
  • Wayne M. LawrenceWayne M. Lawrence Member Posts: 18
    edited September 2012
    Experience is worth the price we charge!

    I just performed a service call at an electricial engineers home. He shared with me that he recently took some heating classes, and now since he is an "expert" at heating decided to replace the boiler himself. I have never seen such a terrible install!  I gave him an estimate to repair all the leaking fittings, completely repipe the boiler to obtain the correct flow rates that would comfortably heat his home, and also provide the nessesary provisions for make up air. With my explanation of how and why, he now understood why we "earn" our hourly rate. 
  • GordanGordan Member Posts: 891

    The "what if" scenario sounds more than a little like the plot of "Atlas Shrugged" for the plumbing and heating profession. What shall we name our main protagonist? John Clogg? :-)
  • Dan HolohanDan Holohan Moderator Posts: 11,877
    I like it!

    Who is John Clogg? 
    Site Administrator

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    Hug your kids.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 1,811
    What does it cost... purchase, insure, maintain, fuel and outfit a good service vehicle with about $15,000 worth of materials that require constant replenishment, $5,000 worth of hand and power tools that need periodic replacement, a mechanic that has every right to the medical insurance and paid sick and vacation days you provide, a helper who gets less but similar benefits while you teach him the trade because there's really no school for it, times that by how many trucks you've got (in my case 5 right now) and then hire a skilled support staff to receive calls and dispatch personnel. Then after all that's said and done, try to put something...anything... in your pocket at the end of every day.

    I wish I could do that on only $100 an hour. Here in New York City, it takes twice that.
    For private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    Or at Gateway Plumbing & Heating
    John travels regularly to out-of-state clients for consulting work.
  • BioBio Member Posts: 255
    I say

    Blame it on the knuckleheads, they impersonate the good plumber, charges like a good plumber and performs terrible, I'm a H/O and many times we read stories on horrible jobs, then it makes you wonder why pay so much... for this??

    I know what you guys mean, but if you see it from my side of the street, how is a customer suppose to know who's the real deal, they don't come with a knucklehead badge, can't go by references, I had an Old Timer (high 60's) beauuutiful web page and came by my steam boiler with a binder full of "references", I read at least 10 of 40 or so, all customers were very happy, and I said to my self "boy this is the guy I need", we were ready to seal the deal and then I hear the oversize boiler he wants to give me and that it will be done in blood pressure went up! and walked the sweet old timer to the door.
  • MIke_JonasMIke_Jonas Member Posts: 209
    I don't see where..

    he's complaining about the quality, only the cost.

    His last line is priceless..

    "Indoor plumbing at such a price is a luxury I'll have to reconsider."

    Maybe someone could quote him an outhouse. And a water pump in the yard.

    "The pump don't work 'cause a vandal stole the handle"

    I still lived in Northwest Indiana in 1980, working at a factory. I drove down a two lane highway the same time every morning, through corn fields, pastures and the occasional farm house. There was a good ol' boy who had a working outhouse in his backyard. How do I know it was "working?" Because at the exact same time that I was driving to work, every day, rain, shine, or snow, the good ol' boy was "using" it, with the door wide open, smoking a cigarette.

    At least he was regular.

    The house is still there, the outhouse, and probably the good ol' boy, is gone. I think of him every time someone complains about indoor plumbing.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,598

    Then he would complain every time he had to pay someone to dig a new hole and move it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    Central air project pictures
  • radmixradmix Member Posts: 189

    I remember reading some time back a list that was posted here on the reasons way we charge what we do. Can someone repost this.
  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 677

    I plain refuse justify my pricing to customer. Take it or leave it. I calculate my expenses, overhead , then add profit on the top. I'm ENTITLED to my income. And if someone is thinking otherwise, well this is free country. And i'm firm believer in clear and upfront pricing. I tell my rates upfront, and save the trip. I'm not ashamed of making decent living.
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,530
    I plain refuse justify my pricing to customer.

    It seems to me you can run your business any way you want to, provided you comply with the laws and regulations of the place(s) you do business.

    As a homeowner, I might wish to know, in general terms, how you arrive at your prices. and it would be up to you to decide the level of detail (perhaps none) you might wish to provide this information. Then, on that basis, I would decide if I wish to do business with you or not. If I am too fussy, you might not wish to do business with me, and I might have to go with another, possibly inferior, contractor.

    It seems to me that you might not be charging enough. In running a business as the owner, you need to cover quite a few expenses, and the list you gave misses out on some.

    1.) Cost of goods sold.

    2.) Labor: your own and that of any employees, such as office employees.  This is more than their salaries: salary, insurance, benefits, safety equipment, ... .

    3.) Overhead - rent on property, insurance, utilities, benefits for employees, inventory if any, including tools.

    4.) Time value of the money to maintain that inventory, trucks, tools (especially expensive ones such as digital analyzers, infrared cameras, etc. Time value of the initial and any subsequent investment in the business (remember all that could have been invested elsewhere, and you should make about as much from your business as you could have made in the stock market, savings accounts, or whatever).

    5.) Your own salary if you do any of the work of your business yourself (you may even do all of that). In other words, you deserve, in addition to your profit from the business, a salary for the work you do. Some of the people I know who run businesses seem to forget this last item. They should not.

    5.) Profit.
  • RE:Pricy plumming

    Firstly I want to say that if the problem of leak detection is really complex then we have to call plumbers and all plumbers doesnt take so much money as it depends on the leakage system and the problem associated with it ,firstly we have to solve our own problems by detecting the problems.

    Water Leaking Pipes Repair
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,173
    all plumbing

    Hey!  Even outhouses need repair from time to time.

    Yours,  Larry
  • billbill Member Posts: 429

    Where did that picture come from? Was it from highway 395?
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    edited September 2012
    location, location, location

    it looks like route 6 in Cisco, ut. 84540.

    when the interstate was completed, then need for that outhouse declined, and it fell into disrepair.

    the outhouses in Cisco were equipped with carrying handles, like a sedan chair, and could be quickley moved to a new hole, when the old one was full!--nbc
  • billbill Member Posts: 429
    No, it's in California or Nevada

    It looks like a place I used to rent. This is what urged me to learn about piping:) It's somewhere around or enroute to death valley.
  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 677
    on the matter of price

    one has to pick and chose its customers. I just saw documentary on sushi chief in Tokyo.

    Restaurant has only 10 seats. Sushi costs $300 a pop. Waiting list is 1 month. How about that? Documentary is "Jiro dreams sushi" .
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 677
    edited September 2012
    How I arrive at my price

    I will explain maybe only after prospect will get same explanation from Costco or from Wallmart.
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,530
    How I arrive at my price

    I suppose they can get a better price from Home Despot or other big box store than from you. Better initial cost, that is. But from what you post, in this thread and elsewhere, I infer the total cost of ownership with something you did would be much lower. If they have any clue, they would not need a detailed itemized costing bill of materials and labor from either. Just look at the merchandise, ignoring everything else, and they would avoid big box stuff. If they asked the big box store what contractor would actually do the work, they might be interested in the evasive answers they get. As a homeowner, I would not dare to get any home system, even a new roof, from a big box store.

    When I needed a new faucet for my kitchen, I looked at what was available in the two big box stores around here. I did not even have to look at the prices. The stuff was so crappy I did not want it in my house. I had to go to a full service plumbing supply house to get what I needed at 5x the price of the stuff in big box stores. But it was better quality (the cartridges in the unit instead of globe-valve things in the early 21 century -- what were they thinking of?) and better looking stuff.

    When I had my boiler replaced and a lot of changes made, I looked at the prices I could get on the Internet. And I knew I was definitely not going to do the work myself. It seemed to me it would be pretty rude to buy all that stuff from the Internet and expect a contractor to install it. Maybe they would do that, but they would still need to charge for design review, labor, overhead, profit,  contract administration, and the list goes on. For my system, this cost more than the boiler and indirect. This is not a complaint, just an indication of reality. And by going with a contractor, the workmanship was way better (except for one thing) than I could have done (not being a contractor), and it got through the inspections on the very first try. In any one project there should be exactly one person responsible for the whole thing. If I start second-guessing the contractor, even if he does not quit, the responsible person would end up being me. And I sure would not want that.

    Now I would be interested in how the contractor  figures out all the costs of the job, including overhead, G&A, and so on. But I do not really need to know that. What I really need to know is how good he is, and as a practical matter, it is impossible to know that. You can sometimes get hints. But that is not enough. I find recommendations from friends were useless. Unless the thing was gawd-awful, they love their contractor because otherwise they would be admitting they picked the wrong one. And they usually do not know good from bad.
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