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Cass
11-27-2008, 09:19 AM
I went on a Stopped up kitchen drain call last night. New customer.

When I got there I spoke with the home owner a while long enough to find out she was widowed, 83 years old, and legally blind and long enough for her to tell me the Cincinnati Branch of Roto Rooter had been there in May to replace part of her kitchen drain line.
When I opened the cabinet and looked...RR had replaced the trap, 4' of drain pipe, a 90, and connected it to 1.5" existing copper drain in the wall.

They had used a flimsy 1/16" thick rubber coupling (not banded) to transition from the copper to PVC then it 90ed and the PVC ran 4' to and accordion type trap

http://ac4.yt-thm-a01.yimg.com/image/e3a0268fe498f2d2 (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefPp1S5JiIQB1CqJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBwaG5sZzl uBHBvcwMxBHNlYwNzcgR2dGlkA0kwMDFfNzA-/SIG=1n0vob288/EXP=1227892585/**http%3A//images.search.yahoo.com/images/view%3Fback=http%253A%252F%252Fimages.search.yahoo .com%252Fsearch%252Fimages%253Fp%253Dflexible%252B plumbing%252Btrap%2526sp%253D1%2526fr2%253D%2526y% 253DSearch%2526ei%253DUTF-8%2526fr%253Datt-portal%2526x%253Dwrt%2526js%253D1%2526ni%253D21%25 26ei%253DUTF-8%2526SpellState%253Dn-3851973541_q-JDqUvK5MfX5E1FGT8LlTxwAAAA%2540%2540%26w=175%26h=1 99%26imgurl=www.**************.com%252Fimages%252F flexible-plastic-pipe-j-bend.jpg%26rurl=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.*********** ***.com%252Ftubularparts.html%26size=5.9kB%26name= flexible-plastic-pipe-j-bend.jpg%26p=flexible%2Bplumbing%2Btrap%26type=JPG %26oid=e3a0268fe498f2d2%26no=1%26tt=8%26sigr=11fs2 s93i%26sigi=11uf9cd4i%26sigb=160bfher2)

and was unsupported except by the friction washer on the tail piece. The PVC drain was level not pitched.The drain at the rubber coupling connection was twisting and hanging down...

I will be calling RR on Monday on behalf of the lady to get them to come back out and do this job right...and maybe even see if they will pull a permit and have it inspected...:D

master plumber mark
11-27-2008, 10:14 AM
Cass.....you forgot the punch line...


how much did they feel they deserved to charge
this blind little old lady????.

Cass
11-27-2008, 10:40 AM
Mark, the bill was 369.00 and that reflected a 10% senior citizen discount. I guess they had to make up for the 10% discount with cheap, junky not to code parts.

master plumber mark
11-27-2008, 11:12 AM
yes that is a little salty....

I suppose they cleaned the drain out...
and installed the 3 dollars worth of fittings...


you got to remember that those poor saps work on a
commission, so they get half and the owenr gets half....

what comes around goes around....

hj
11-27-2008, 02:40 PM
Might like one plumbing store that used to be in this town. They doubled the prices and then gave a 20% discount.

nhmaster
11-27-2008, 07:17 PM
And away go troubles.... Down the drain....
(along with a whole lot of your money)

Cookie
11-28-2008, 12:55 AM
In all fairness to people in general, not all RR are careless, inexperienced or money-grubbing; I had great experiences with them and they were reasonable. I have had Certified plumbers take advantage of me, do half-assed work and still, wanted to come back wanting more.

Cass
11-28-2008, 03:26 AM
Mark...they work on roughly 1/3 and 2/3 for guys starting out. You can make a little more if you are a master plumber.

The plumber gets 1/3 and RR gets 2/3.

So for the worker to make any $$$ they have to quote high prices.

And BTW they did not snake the drain when they installed the parts...

Redwood
11-28-2008, 05:07 AM
Mark...they work on roughly 1/3 and 2/3 for guys starting out. You can make a little more if you are a master plumber.

The plumber gets 1/3 and RR gets 2/3.

So for the worker to make any $$$ they have to quote high prices.

And BTW they did not snake the drain when they installed the parts...

Pimped Plumbers!

&

6 Week Wonders

6 Weeks ago I couldn't spell plumber now I are one!:eek:

hj
11-28-2008, 06:08 AM
They have to quote high prices to make money, AND they have to create needless repairs in order to quote those high prices. Preferably "critical" repairs that have to be done "right now", and/or "we have a backhoe working around the corner and they can be over here within a half hour to get started." Just a variation on the Holland Furnace Company that would give a free inspection and then tell you that the furnace was defective and could not be safely put back together, but they had a new one on the truck, AND since the temperature was in the 20's they were ready to install it RIGHT NOW. Of course the price was three times what it should have been but when the house is getting cold they did not have time for second or third opinions.

seaneys
11-28-2008, 06:32 AM
And away go troubles.... Down the drain....
(along with a whole lot of your money)

My neighbor has nasty drain line problems (tree roots). About 5 years ago he left while RR was cleaning out his drain. He asked me to keep an eye out and make sure they locked up as they left.

A few hours later I went over as they were packing up. The RR guy was giving up and going home. He had broken off two cutters (not sure what they are called) and left them in the line. He gave me back the check for $450. The line was now completely clogged (as opposed to just being slow).

I was a little amazed that they would give up. My neighbor is an attorney. He had to threaten to sue them to get them back to complete the job.

Steve

Cass
11-28-2008, 06:41 AM
They have disclaimers in the fine print when you sign that they are not responsible if they break a snake in your sewer line.

burleymike
11-28-2008, 08:51 PM
Their logo should be a victem bent over with the snake, well you know where.

Long ago when we had our first house the main line plugged up. It was sunday so the only place that returned our call was a business with "rooter" in their name. The guy showed up two hours after he said he would be there. Because I did not know where the cleanout was and he did not feel like looking he decided to pull the toilet.

I asked if I should put a tarp on our new carpet and he said he would not make a mess. Guess what, he did.

After he left I noticed dirt in the bathtub. Then I saw daylight coming from the drain in the tub. There was a crawlspace vent right under the tub. I went into the crawlspace and the dummy disconnected the tub drain. I put it back together and ran some water in the tub.

Of course now the tub was plugged so that would explain why he disconnected it. He probably was hoping we would not notice the water in teh crawlspace.

Turns out our old terra cotta line has collapsed under the street when they replaced the water mains. The city replaced the sewer line for free since they caused the damage. I had to replace the line coming from the tub because rooter man somehow mangaged to get rocks and sand stuck in the tub line.

My wife called the rooter guy to complain about what he did. She eventually got to the owner who told her to go F*** herself and hung up. She then called the state contractors board and they said that this business had their license suspended and should not have been working.

Everytime I hear the rooter name I get angry!!

Dunbar Plumbing
11-28-2008, 09:03 PM
These national chains right now are hurting, and more of this is coming.

I ran one off on another site,


all I had to do was speak the truth about what happened, and they "disappeared".

master plumber mark
11-28-2008, 09:27 PM
We used to do that kind of work when I was a kid
and I hated it....

those days were hot and miserable.....to grind and grind in
roots and get nothing accomplished except to get covered in crap.......




I now give all of that work away,
and refer those calls to two companies in town....
and they refer plumbing calls to me.



Their is a special breed of guy who likes to mess
around in sewage all day long

day in and day out....

they are something a-kin to a cave-man..
something like "the missing link"..
and they are hard to keep around as employees......




as far as I am concerned

sewer work is just the perfect job for the Roto rooter guys

I say......let them wallow in it.......



.

SewerRatz
11-28-2008, 09:48 PM
Hey now, I love rodding sewers and drains. My father started his business as a sewer and drain contractor. Yes we are a special breed. I know many guys that started off doing plumbing and asked to do drain work, and they hated it and made bad service techs. But many that have started in the service end of it and then became plumbers are great plumbers. Trouble with places with Rooter in their name is that 98% of them have no idea what they are doing. They came from a different walk of life, like say a used car salesman that decided to become a Rooter guy. They train him for 6 weeks mostly how to fill out the paper work and price the jobs. They never get properly trained to run a drain cleaning machine. My father and his father before him been cleaning sewers all their lives. I got into the work with one difference I went and got sponsored for my plumbing license and became a journeyman plumber.

I do not like the "Rooter" companies much either, they give the rest of use that is out there trying to earn an honest living a bad name. I do wish here in Illinois that they would require sewer and drain guys to be properly trained and licensed. It used to be that way many years ago, but a lot of plumbers felt that it was to dirty and messy to deal with so they let it get done by "Handymen".

master plumber mark
11-30-2008, 08:48 AM
its just another form or area of plumbing..

and their are much worse jobs ,,,,

like pumping out septic tanks....
.

we could never get our service plumbers very excited
about going out and cleaning out main drains...

usually their was a lot of complaining that went with doing them, dragging a large heavy cable down into someones basement, or digging in the front yard looking for a clenaout... or going up on the roof.....

and all said and done the small profit was not worth the
downside....

and the guys that liked doing sewer work
seemed almost impossible to keep around as employees...

never show up on time, ect...

so I just gave it all up for cleaner forms of work.

I dont miss it one bit....
and we are very busy without it.....



Roto Rooter can have it....,


..

Redwood
11-30-2008, 09:36 AM
I for one don't mind the "cleaner" part of the business!

When I was 12 years old on weekends I used to ride with one of my dads friends on a honey wagon. He would tell me where to dig the tank lid and I'd do that while he went and had a "pop" at the local gin mill. He'd return open the lid and pump the tank. He paid me $50 cash for the weekend and that was in 1968! Pay was a helluva lot better than getting up at 5AM everyday to do a paper route!

Smells like money to me!

When I show up at a drain cleaning call it's pretty much guaranteed work!
Plumbing tends to have a lot more tire kicking and price shopping.
On a day when I do mostly drain cleaning I make a lot more $ an hour than I do plumbing.

I'll take it!
When you have good equipment and know what you are doing it's easy work.
Go in see what's going on select the right machine and cleanout point n do it!
I manage to stay clean!:cool:

master plumber mark
11-30-2008, 10:34 AM
I can go out and instal 4 water heaters tomorrow
and basically come home about as clean as I left...


I go out and try to clean out a just one kitchen drain,

and it looks like an egg-beater went off all over me.,

or I got to climb up on the roof in a rain storm
, or go down in the crawl space and grind it out from down there.

or its overhead in a clean finished basement with a white carpet...



you name it......and its happened to me...


and of course the customer does not feel you are
entitled to anything more for all the extra effort..

I have walked away from a number of them,
and referred them to others,,,,,
just becasue I could feel the doom and greif creeping up on me.....


so unless their is absolutely nothing else to do
that day....

I try to avoid them

99k
11-30-2008, 10:54 AM
This is a funny thread. You couldn't pay me enough to do a cleanout job ...
Several times I have needed the pipe from the D box to the septic tank snaked. In each case the guy has shown up very neat and well groomed, wearing a fresh pair of nitrile grooves. Before they leave, they are totally dishevelled, covered in $hit from head to toe, and the gloves are no where to be found ... what a sight. I always am appreciative and pay the bill in cash and leave a generous tip ...

Redwood
11-30-2008, 03:38 PM
99K tell him next time, he can use a piece of 1 1/2 pvc to extend from his machine into the hole for the d-box...
He doesn't have to get up close an personal with his work!

I don't wear my work!:cool:

kingsotall
11-30-2008, 03:55 PM
The new boots :( were in the muck yesterday when Greyhound called and said floor drains were souping over. You, see redwood, these were black friday specials, and I got 'em at a good price and... :cool:

Redwood
11-30-2008, 04:25 PM
The new boots :( were in the muck yesterday when Greyhound called and said floor drains were souping over. You, see redwood, these were black friday specials, and I got 'em at a good price and... :cool:

As Redwood reaches behind his seat and pulls these on over his shoes...

Proper PPE anyone?

http://ace.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pACE3-1042454dt.jpg

99k
11-30-2008, 06:10 PM
99K tell him next time, he can use a piece of 1 1/2 pvc to extend from his machine into the hole for the d-box...
He doesn't have to get up close an personal with his work!

I don't wear my work!:cool:

Great tip ... they say necessity is the mother of invention. I certainly would be doing things different than the last two guys that showed up at my house, however, I think some guys just don't care.

Redwood
11-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Yep, Quite a few times I have snaked a line from some distance away by using the pipe trick...

10' away on level ground sitting on my bucket seat running the machine...
The cable running through a piece of 1 1/2" pipe to the location that I don't want to be at.
Sure beats wearing your work!:cool:

I've got all the tricks!

Cass
12-01-2008, 05:27 AM
I just got off the phone with RR and they said they would be calling and going out today to correct the problem.

We will see what happens...to be continued...

SewerRatz
12-01-2008, 04:19 PM
We get 265 bucks to rod a main sewer for the first hour. If it goes longer than that it is 80 bucks per half hour. I enjoy clearing drains, people really are excited to see me pull up in their drive way and are super thankful they can flush again. Kitchen Sinks are messy but have a great gratification factor, after rodding a sink line and you fill up the kitchen sink and show the home owner how well it drains, they always say" WOW, it never drained that fast." When ever I do a plumbing job the expect it to look great and not leak and usely complain about the bill.

Cookie
12-01-2008, 05:10 PM
REDWOOD,

These are cool,
:D
http://img.alibaba.com/photo/50247648/Ladies_Rubber_Boots.jpg

kingsotall
12-02-2008, 04:02 AM
We get 265 bucks to rod a main sewer for the first hour. If it goes longer than that it is 80 bucks per half hour.

And we're slamming rotor rooter¿! :eek:

Cass
12-02-2008, 05:09 AM
I never slammed RR for the price only the quality of work.

For what was done in my NSHO it was a litte pricey for 1 Hr. worth of work and not snaking the drain and it was hacked on top of it all.

kingsotall
12-02-2008, 05:16 AM
Yeah, I knew that was coming once I sent my reply. The roto rooter in this town is owned by a guy that definitely has his sh*t down pat( no pun intended). We called him in to jet a main and I thought the whole process was awesome.

SewerRatz
12-02-2008, 07:48 AM
kingsotall,we have been in business since 1959. The sad truth about the plumbing industry lots of contractors do not know how to price for their services. You must base your prices on what it costs to run your business not what others in your area charge. Yesterday I got 4 calls that I can tell where from plumbers in the area shopping prices. My father used to do the same thing till one day he was shown the light.

Another thing that lots of contractors do not realize is there is three parts of business you can provide a customer. 1) Price, 2) Quality, 3) Time (promptness of service) You can not give the home owner the best of all three. If your price is low and you provide quality service, your phone will be ringing off the wall and people may have to wait days for you. If you have a low price and you get to each job as fast as you can, your quality will suffer. So in our case we provide the best quality, and prompt service, for that people will pay a higher rate. One thing I failed to mention we guarantee our roddings for 2 years. The only recalls I get are abuse (tampons, paper towel, and so on) or a pipe collapsed.

kingsotall
12-02-2008, 05:14 PM
Well, from my experience customers won't wait 4 hours much less a day or two, especially for drain back-ups. They'll just call another plumber but yeah I hear ya. I just think the price is a bit on the steep end but that is a nice warranty on the work you guys have. Shows integrity, something I can respect.

SewerRatz
12-02-2008, 05:22 PM
Well, from my experience customers won't wait 4 hours much less a day or two, especially for drain back-ups. They'll just call another plumber but yeah I hear ya. I just think the price is a bit on the steep end but that is a nice warranty on the work you guys have. Shows integrity, something I can respect.

Thank you Kingsotall, well in Chicago area our price is middle of the road. There are guys out there getting $650 to unclog a main line, same guys charge $450 to reset a water closet. Where we get about $150 to reset a water closet. Like I said contractors need to base their prices on what it costs them to due business not what their competitors charge. The guys that charge the $450 to reset a water closet they have ads on TV , radio, billboards 20 new trucks and so on. So their charges reflect their costs.

master plumber mark
12-02-2008, 06:00 PM
our . The guys that charge the $450 to reset a water closet they have ads on TV , radio, billboards 20 new trucks and so on. So their charges reflect their costs.

the companies that have 20 trucks are beginning to feel the weight of their own overhead...

perhaps its the sign of the times we are going into but I get a lot of calls from people that were in shock from the prices they got from some of the big companies...

1400 for a 40 gal gas heater.... ok....thanks, I will get back to you

in this town a lot of the big companies are still chargeing the same high prices, but have "consolidated" or merged with a couple of other companies in one building...

I am sure its the same story across the USA, with a lot of larger comapnies implodeing from their expences and high costs... we have 3 in our town already that I am aware of....

.

kingsotall
12-02-2008, 06:19 PM
450 to pull and reset a toilet¿

650 to mainline¿

CHI-TOWN here I come!! :eek:

MPM, the crunch is being felt here, too. Some are going so far as saying, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!"

Next coming months and years are going to be very interesting, to say the least.

99k
12-02-2008, 06:33 PM
Another thing that lots of contractors do not realize is there is three parts of business you can provide a customer. 1) Price, 2) Quality, 3) Time (promptness of service) You can not give the home owner the best of all three. If your price is low and you provide quality service, your phone will be ringing off the wall and people may have to wait days for you. If you have a low price and you get to each job as fast as you can, your quality will suffer. So in our case we provide the best quality, and prompt service, for that people will pay a higher rate.

I agree. The simple fact is that regardless what the price is, 20% of your prospects always will complain about the price. If you are getting every job, then you are doing something wrong. Providing the best quality and keeping your word (at a fair price) are the foundation to a successful business

SewerRatz
12-02-2008, 06:54 PM
My father said it got like this back in the late 70's Back then the phone books plumbing section was twice as thick as the lawyers section. A few years later it thined out alot and there was alot of used plumbing equipment to be had at pawn shops.

kingsotall
12-02-2008, 06:57 PM
Now we're talking! You won't find my copper cutters at the hock shop, though!
*knocks on wood*

Redwood
12-02-2008, 07:19 PM
Another thing that lots of contractors do not realize is there is three parts of business you can provide a customer. 1) Price, 2) Quality, 3) Time (promptness of service) You can not give the home owner the best of all three. If your price is low and you provide quality service, your phone will be ringing off the wall and people may have to wait days for you. If you have a low price and you get to each job as fast as you can, your quality will suffer. So in our case we provide the best quality, and prompt service, for that people will pay a higher rate. One thing I failed to mention we guarantee our roddings for 2 years. The only recalls I get are abuse (tampons, paper towel, and so on) or a pipe collapsed.

Just the other day I went to a call. The woman asks me if I know "Jerry"... I'm clueless! She then tells me the kitchen sink is backing up and needs to be snaked. Okay I go over to the sink and run the water for several minutes with no sign of backing up...

I must be pretty dumb because when I tell her that the kitchen is not backing up... I get the rest of the story...

It backs up in the laundry sink downstairs... But, Jerry always snakes it from the kitchen sink via a removed trap. He comes about twice a year. So I ask to go in the basement to check things out...

She gives me this look like what do you want to do that for... Jerry always does it from the sink up here...

I go into the basement and just below where the laundry sink connects behind the washer is a 3" cleanout. So I'm not going to snake it like Jerry does. I'm going to use the big machine with a 3" blade in the basement.

I go back up and give her the price and she tells me nevermind... I just found Jerry's Discount Rooter's card... He only charges $129 to snake a line!

Some people are just destined not to be your customer!
But then again do you want them?

I don't even auger a toilet for $129!:D

Why would I want to drag my K-7500 down into her basement to clean a line for that price? We'll let her continue to have Jerry come over and run his 3/8' cable without a blade through her 3" pipe every 6 months. She clearly cannot comprehend that there might be a better way, that costs a little more, that would have her line running clear a long time.

BTW when I auger a toilet it includes a complete check of its operation, setting the tank water level for optimum flushing, cleaning of the ports under the rim and the siphon jet, adjusting the flapper chain, and replacement of the flapper for parts cost only if needed.

We do the work and do our best to make sure it doesn't recurr. We also totally clean up our work area so it looks like we weren't even there.

I bet jerry just runs his auger through, watches the water go down and collects.

Yea we're not cheap... But we're good!:cool:

Redwood
12-02-2008, 07:22 PM
REDWOOD,

These are cool,
:D
http://img.alibaba.com/photo/50247648/Ladies_Rubber_Boots.jpg

I don't think so!:eek:

Cass
12-03-2008, 04:10 AM
Well...the original Roto Rooter installer of the bad, not to code job called the woman and said he would be over in an hour to see what the problem was...when he showed up the H/O sat quietly as he inspected his work, or so she assumed as she is blind and can't see, the guy states to her that yes it needs a new / different coupling at the connection in the wall, a banded coupling...but that is all it needs...nothing more...she said are you sure...the other plumber said the pipe was level and needed to be pitched and that it needed support and that the trap was not the right one...Roto Rooter now changed their tune and said well when we change the trap it will make the correct pitch and we can add a hanger...Ill be back when it is convenient for you...

If she hadn't said anything they were going to leave it like it was with the exception of changing the transition coupling to a banded one.

They were going to try and get away with as little as possible and not make the job right...figures...we will see what happens...to be continued...