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Thread: I need help!!!

  1. #1

    Default I need help!!!

    I havenít been around much because Iím now on my 8th week of being a full time plumber. Right now Iím a one man show unless you count my wife who just hands me stuff and dose all the paper work. I need a helper bad.

    This week
    2 - 40 gallon rheem electric
    1 - Broken pipe in a basement that had a foot of water in it
    ... 1 - Sump pump and a pump out
    3 - Used upper elements and quick clean that I will switch the heaters before noon in the morning (out of heaters).
    I have one house I need to trim out on Wednesday
    One addition I need to look at this week and will do next week if I get it
    First thing in the morning I have to drive to the city and get a truck load of water heaters, burner of a gas heater, a few sump pumps, and some odds and ends.

    Last week
    2 Ė 40 gallon rheem electric
    1 Ė 55 gallon rheem electric
    3 Ė Sump pump change outs
    1 Ė Needed a 80 gallon that I didnít have and I put in a old 40 gallon that had. Swap out in the morning.
    2 - Broken pipes in muddy crawl spaces.
    2 - Fill valves on some water closets.
    1 - Service call on an apartment building that had 4 gas heaters and turned one off that I could not fix (no parts) ordered the stuff and will fix it in the morning.

    Week before
    12 - broken pipes
    3 Ė 40 gallon rheem electric
    4 Ė 55 gallon rheem electric
    redid all the drain lines under a house that looked as bad as the ones in them pics
    5 - sump pumps
    2 presser switches.
    ...1 - new tank.
    1 Ė 80í ditch for sump pump drain

    The thing thatís getting me is the markup in the towns that Iím around and itís 60 miles to the city. For hot water heaters itís an extra $2 a gallon and everything else is sky high. The bad part is they donít stock much.

    I have only done service work for the last 8 weeks and donít know if this will keep up the way its going. Iím only bidding on whole house under 3 contractors now (was 4 when I was part time and no service work).

    I canít decide what I need to stock at my shop in the way as hot water heaters and sump pumps. Should I assume that it will keep up or should I think that the end is around the corner? Iím starting to think that I should get a semi load of electric water heaters and a pallet of sump pumps. I know the sump pumps will fall off after the winter is over but how long will the water heater last? My shop is 120í by 75í so the space is not a problem and having them on hand will let me charge more and still be lower then everyone else.

    As far as getting help I donít think I want another truck but I think that having 2 extra hands will help out. What would be the best way about getting someone? I know that some times itís better to work alone but sometimes you need a second person. I have not run the numbers on what it would cost me to have a second person yet.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    You have to pay that person 8 hours pay a day. Whether he is doing something, or driving to the job, or driving supplies around. You have to figure out how much to charge for "him"/ Obviously you know that you have to cover his hourly wage, 7Ĺ% SS, whatever your state disability and unemployment is, insurance, etc.

  3. #3


    I agree with the previous post only if you can justify paying someone 8 hours a day.

    Depending on the kind of work you may want to look at local trade schools for part time help. Someone who is new to the business, but knows that basics. Depending on local laws you may be able to work them just 2-3 days a week and just pay them like a contractor and not a full time employee.

    Good Luck.

  4. #4
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Licensed Grump


    From my perspective, this is some GOOD trouble.
    I remember having a chat with you months back about going self.
    Over time, you're either going to want to choose between the service work & the construction, OR take on help.
    The construction is less money, but more consistent.
    On service you could make in a day what you once made in a week for a shop...but then you might have dry spells where there's no work for weeks.
    I'm very happy to hear ya made the move and that things are going so well.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  5. #5


    Grumpy you are right that I do need to chose and I think Iím going to head for the service work.

    As far as trying at the local trade school word be the way to go to find help.

    I have a lot of thinking to do in the next 2 weeks to get my ducks in a row or I will suffer.

  6. #6
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Licensed Grump


    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed View Post
    I have a lot of thinking to do in the next 2 weeks to get my ducks in a row or I will suffer.
    Thats it right there.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  7. #7


    Some days you keep checking the phone to see if it's working . . . other days you hang it up and it rings again over and over. One day you get chickens, the other day you get feathers. Hang on to some chickens for the day you get the feathers.

    In a one-man shop, it's hard to know what to stock. Things seem to go in bunches, then you don't get them for a while. This week it's water heaters, the next week it's toilets. I think that what works for me is allowing time to get stuff - you can't make money and get stuff at the same time, but you can't work without it.

    And long round trips not only use up gas - they use up vehicles quickly. Think about a delivery service. Most supply houses will deliver. Make lists and have them deliver a bunch at a time, but make the deliveries regular so that you don't have to build up too much stock and get caught with it if it slows down.
    Last edited by Herk; 01-01-2008 at 06:59 PM. Reason: kept thinking . . .


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